After watching some football with people from the hostel (not the way I’d normally choose to start the day) I caught my bus to Rotorua. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that you can smell Rotorua before you see it, and today was no exception. We rounded a starp corner and got a strong whiff of eggs – lovely.
Rotorua was just a brief stop before I was on my way again. The bus driver for the second half was… interesting. He yelled a lot, told two girls to ‘get away from me’ because they were asking whether this was the right bus for them and he knew they weren’t on his bus. And he refused to put my backpack in the luggage section, telling me I had to take it on with me, which is fine on the big coaches, but on the tiny little buses there’s just no room, so I had a cramped 2hrs. But worst/funniest of all, he left someone behind! The guy had obviously checked in with the driver, put his bags on a seat and then had to run to the toilet, well the driver didn’t double check the people (that’s the first time I’ve seen a driver not double check on the smaller buses). And we got to the guy’s stop, no one got off, and so the driver had to ring the office and drop the bag in the nearest town!
Aside from the rather eventful bus journey, I got to Whakatane with no problems. Well aside from having to say the town’s name… it’s pronounced ‘Fak-ah-tan-ee’, you say that out loud without worrying about it sounded wrong.
I was greeted by beautiful skies and a blustery river – makes a change from all the clouds I’ve had recently!
I popped into the isite to find somewhere to stay and long story short, the girl who was helping me finished, and the guy who replaced her, well turns out he was a bit rubbish. All I wanted was somewhere for 3 nights, preferably a hostel, and not more than 1km out of the centre… We decided on a particular hostel and he got ringing… I guess it’s my own fault for not triple checking (because I did double check) but I’m not at a hostel 3km from the centre…
The only up side is because it’s so far from town they give you a free wifi voucher – not much, but it’s something to be able to check my emails from the comfort of my bed!
After popping my stuff on my bed I decided to see just how far I was from the centre and walked in. Turns out it’s not ‘too’ bad, a little annoying though since I’m hopefully going a few long walks tomorrow and the added walk from the centre to my hostel isn’t going to be fun when I’m tired from a 8hr walk in the scenic reserve…
All along the front there are lots of sculptures made by locals artists, these two in particular stood out for me
this one, 'kiwi boy', mainly because I actually found it kind of creepy
Whakatane is a really pretty turn, and surprisingly big too! I pottered along the river, before sitting at a little café outside and enjoying the sun and the views.
I also made a little detour to Pohaturoa which is a massive rock jutting out that is sacred to the Maori as a point of several rituals and important rites
I’m in a room with 2 boys, one is asleep (it’s 5pm…) the other I actually met in town when he started chatting to me at the café and asked for my number… Not awkward at all… nope. not .at. all