Day 37 - Napier to Rotorua
Longish journey today, around 4hrs is the estimate so no hanging around after breakfast. Is not really that far but with no motorways, loads of bend and road works seemingly every few miles it takes much longer than you think it should.
It's really weird that no one is in the restaurant again save one family of French, but as most of the hotels seem to be like the US in that they're room only and they charge a lot for breakfast it's not that surprising. The service is pretty slow too given they have no one much to cook for although the food is good when it eventually arrives. Weather not brilliant again, very cloudy although it is supposed to improve at Rotorua. We left the coast and headed inland and went through rolling hills and pine forests for most of the way. No towns or villages for over two and half hours, simply amazing. More traffic than we have been used to except around Wellington and I lost count of the number of lorries hauling timber. It seemed to be almost a continuous stream of them. I guess given the amount arriving into the port at Napier we shouldn't have been surprised. We arrived at Rotorua early afternoon and began looking for the hotel; I'd left the instructions in my bag in the boot so we just drove around expecting to see the hotel as it is by the lake. After a while though we stopped at a park in the centre and got the instructions out only to find that it is about 10km outside of the town which is a bit disappointing as there is nothing else near here at all. Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely hotel but it would have been nice to just wander around the town without having to drive in all the time and it does rather restrict where we eat as well. We did find a Maori settlement nearby which was interesting to see the community house that is beautifully decorated with all of the carvings. The hotel has a coach party staying tonight which consists mostly of Americans so we had to have an early dinner as they had pretty much booked out the restaurant. Bill managed to totally embarrass himself but also had me in stitches when trying to get some salt out of the salt cellar he tapped it rather hard on the table and the bottom fell out and deposited a mound of salt all over the floor which he then scooped up with the spoon and put on his plate! He then joked that he should complain that his duck was too salty - honestly you can't take him anywhere!
Planning some thermal spas tomorrow and hoping for some sun which didn't put in an appearance today…….