Rotorua Day 1

We said goodbye to Tony and Marigold this morning. We’ll probably never stay in a nicer place using AirBnB. We talked to Alex and Max for a while on FaceTime — schools are closed due to a blizzard today. I fiddled with the lighter socket in the rental car for a while — my phone charger isn’t working. It could be a fuse, or it might be that the plug isn’t fitting into the charging socket. I looked online to see where the fuse was, but I’ll wait to stop at a service station before I fiddle with the fuses. 

Bags were packed into the car and we were just backing off the driveway when the drizzle started. Oh no. Should we wait out the rain, or should we just go? We decided to just go. Good call — the rain stopped as quickly as it started and the sun came out. And the one hour drive south to Rotorua was great. Rolling hills, grazing sheep and deer and cattle, good road. But by the time we got to the big (stinky) lake at Rotorua my phone was almost dead. 

We found the B&B we’d booked but didn’t check in — too early. Instead we drove into town and had a look around. We finally parked near the lake and went for a long walk around Sulphur Bay, a geothermal wildlife refuge. We ended up back in the town centre. Stopped at a McDonalds for lunch. Then back to the car and back to our B&B, which was in a ‘suburb’ or Rotorua. 

I stopped at a Toyota dealership on the way. Explained my lighter plug problem. No problem. Have a seat in our waiting room, help yourself to tea or coffee, read a magazine. They took the car into the shop. Not the fuse. Must be the little adapter that doesn’t fit into the lighter socket. Now the mechanic and the service manager take a new Toyota GPS unit, gently cut open the package, in order to see if my plug is too fat — not a standard size. And then we head out into the car lot and find a new Toyota Yaris and see if the plug fits into THAT socket. Pretty tight. Then the mechanic draws a map for me, suggests I go into town and buy another plug from a discount store in town. Yikes! How much is this going to cost? They spent a good 45 minutes on my car and we’re still nowhere. I suggest they spray a little WD-40 on the plug and jam it into the socket. I don’t care if it never comes out — as long as it will work for the next few months. The service manager sits down in my car and does just that. We plug in my phone. DING! Charging. It works. Whew! He’s pleased. I’m about to head back into the shop to take care of my bill — he looks at me and says, “Enjoy your holiday!” No charge.

We drive the short distance to our B&B. Check in. Angela welcomes us into her bungalow. It’s not like the home we just came from, but it’s fine. We’ve arranged to meet the Funks back in town at a restaurant for 6pm. At quarter to Angela and her husband Chris invite us to join them on the patio for gin and tonics. Nice! After a short visit we excuse ourselves and head into town. We find the Funks at a bar on Eat Streat, an arcade full of bars and cafes and restaurants. We decide to go for Thai food. 

After dinner we discuss plans for tomorrow and the weekend. The Funks will go visit ‘Hobbiton’ tomorrow. The Nikkels will do a few more walks. We’ll probably meet for dinner again tomorrow. After some discussion it’s decided that we will NOT do the 19km Tongariro Alpine hike as we had planned. Maybe at a later date. Instead we’ll head to Napier, on the east coast, for the weekend. 

Back at our B&B, Chris and Angela are watching TV. We go to our room and fall asleep watching The National on my computer.