Thursday, 22nd November – Whangamata to Roturua

Awoke to another brilliantly sunny, if chilly, day, but the clouds were already beginning to thicken over the mountains behind us.

Another superb breakfast, and a saddish goodbye to Sallie, David and Jackson the golden retriever. This is a very nice spot – two more pics as a reminder:

Then on our way to Rotorua for a couple of nights’ stay at the Millennium Hotel in the centre of town. Much shorter drive – only around two and a half hours, but not particularly inspiring, although there were tantalising images of mountainous scenery in the distance.

First port of call was at Rotorua Airport, so we could get Jean added to the hire car contract as a second driver, which I hadn’t been able to do in Auckland when I hired the car (I had been despatched to carry out the formalities on my own whilst Jean relaxed in the hotel…..)

Checked in at the hotel, but the room wasn’t ready, so we sauntered down town to the tourist info centre, as is our wont, to get some ideas. Half an hour later, after some superb service again, we walked out with a booking for a local lake cruise and geothermal trail for the day tomorrow, plus a Maori-style experience for the evening. For once, we actually have a plan for tomorrow before tomorrow even starts!

Back to the hotel via a cafe for a coffee and an orientation around Rotorua centre. It is, of course, well known for the geothermal activity hereabouts, but it is quite a small place. I like it. Wide streets, low rise stuff everywhere, good vibe, laid back. Oh, and a nice lake:

Next big thing was to utilise the hotel guest laundry to get the washing on. These things are important, you know……

Nice enough room, but the hotel is looking a bit tired. Had to get a man in to fix one of the lights in the room. Good view, though:

Very good and reasonably priced meal in the hotel restaurant. Odd smell in the atmosphere – one might expect sulphur given the geothermal activity, but it’s more like smoke. Making me sneeze like hell.

Very much looking forward to tomorrow, though.

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