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sept 28, 2000
Coromandel Town... (more)

sept 27, 2000
Mercury Bay Beaches... (more)

sept 25, 2000
Coromandel beaches at Kuaotunu... (more)

sept 21, 2000
UNITEC farewell... (more)

sept 20, 2000
Critters at the Auckland Zoo... (more)

sept 18, 2000
Visit to Auckland University of Technology... (more)

sept 17, 2000
Orewa and northland beaches (more)
september 30, 2000
Today was an early start (up at 6:00 AM, so this is not all lounging around on holiday) to leave Coromandel Town. Tuck, the owner of Tui Lodge, the place I spent the night, had offered to drive me down the road to the pick up location for the InterCity bus that would take me to Rotorua.

nz location mapI was met by Ray the bus driver, a chatty Kiwi who provided amusing narratives on the road. There were not many others aboard this early trip. The ride south from Coromandel Town weaves its way across more of that green super-undulating farm/ranch land, but nearly always in sight of the sea. Once past "Goldfields" the road rose sharply to the top of a divide, providing a grand sweeping view of valleys behind and oceans ahead. I regret this part of bus travel because I cannot stop to snap photos!

Beyond this high point, the road then drops again, snaking its way all the way down to the water, where it hugs the cliffs of the coast all of thew way into Thames. The "highway" is extremely slender here, and it felt like on some curves, the cliff outside my window was only 2 inches away.

At Thames I jumped off for a 30 minute wait for the next connection, a bus that would take me to Tauranga, where yet another bus change got me on the way to Rotorua. The trip here was through some uneventful country, a series of small towns such as "Te Puke", Kitikiti" and mid sized towns/small cities like "Tauranga".

today's photos
- all photos   o o o o

o o Rotorua

I spent much of the time reading and finishing Paulo Coehlo's wonderful book, The Alchemist, the symbolic story of the shepherd boy Santiago and his travel to Egypt to discover his treasure, his own Personal Legend. it was very fitting for this traveler as well.

photo here Arriving in Rotorua I was greeted warmly by Laraine and Roger, my hosts for the next few days. I had been in email contact with Laraine for a few years, when she had come across our Writing HTML tutorial and as a writer, she also greatly appreciated our Hero's Journey project as well. Laraine writes fantasy stories for children and teens, and her book Obsidian Quest will be published soon. More details and some of her other writing is available from her web site. When I emailed her about this trip, Laraine quickly invited me to visit her home in the country outside of Rotorua.

The first adventure here was to pick up a rental car as my plan was to use it to explore around here and then drive to my next leg of the trip. photo here This would also be my practice time for left side of the road driving for later next month on a trip through the South Island. I picked up my 1998 Honda Accord from Hertz and followed Roger's car back to their home. It was not too eventful though my knuckles seem clenched to the wheel. It was not too hard at all!

They had a long list of things for me to see as suggestions, but the weather was pretty grey and very threatening of rain. Roger took me on a walking tour of the land around theirs ( a few aces with 3 cows), which is farmland of medium to large size plots. The topography here is extremely hilly and crazy with contours- it is very close to the active Waitapo volcanic region, and there appears to be large amounts of ex tensional stress that opens up valleys and holes. And it is greener than anyone in Arizona can imagine.

photo hereOn Saturday we drove into town to visit the city museum (the sky was not conducive to our preferred plan of hiking or mountain biking). This is housed in a building that was one of the old Tudor style bath houses. It has a lot of fantastic information on the old baths, and history and art of this region. There is a nice movie reviewing the social and natural history surrounding the 1886 volcanic eruption of Tarawera. And there was an exhibit called "Family Treasures" where school kids researched some object of important historical or special value to their family and produced a display based upon it.

photo hereAfter touring here, we walked to the nearby Blue Bath house, a neo-classic style structure housing the still in hot baths fueled by springs nearby.

photo hereWe also passed through another developed hot spring resort, the Polynesian Springs. This had numerous pools of varying temperature, plus saunas.

photo hereThe walk here also provided some good looks at Lake Rotorua, which was teaming with sea gulls on this day. With its milky water and strange objects sticking out of its depths, it provides a spooky look on this gloomy day.

After this we walked a bit around the downtown area, looking at shops and such. Rotorua is bigger than any other town I have been in since Auckland but still has a comfortable feel about it's size. We were unsure about where all the people were today as the streets were fairly deserted.

Hopefully the morning will bring at least some clearing so I can take in more sights.

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