Today started slowly. After yesterday's energetic experience, the bones were a little weary. Spent the morning having breakfast and on the internet. Then walked from the hostel back to town to catch the bus to Rotorua.
Ended up sitting around for a while waiting for the bus; not enough time to actually do anything though. Had a look through the museum but I was feeling too tired to digest so much material on the cave systems' histories. So I had some lunch, grabbed an ice cream and sat.
While I was eating lunch, I had a brief encounter with one of the locals. He was an interesting character. He'd lived all his life in Waitomo; knew all about the place as you would expect; followed the rugby, of course; knew all the drivers of the tourism vehicles in the area (a lot of them were rellies); and he described Waitomo as "the best place on earth". But he had only seen a bit of the south island and nothing of Australia. It probably sounds like I'm being judgemental, but that wasn't my interest. I was just so fascinated at how solidly he believed what he was saying without any apparent realisation that he hadn't been anywhere to compare with. For me, it was actually a bit of a wake-up call. I mean, you really never know what you don't know.
The bus trip to Rotorua went quickly thanks to a young lady from Hong Kong joining me in conversation. Learnt a few things about Hong Kong; like they don't have paid leave. Just gotta love Australia!
The New Zealand countryside is very pretty and has been since Auckland. I'm told there has been more rain than usual for this time of year which is why everything is so green.
At Rotorua I checked into the "Base" hostel and had a look around the place. There is an indoor rock-climbing facility within the hostel complex but as you need a partner, I doubt I will have a go. Had a few beers and played pool in the bar at Base and chatted with some of the local boys for a short while. Enjoyed a good chat with and interesting lass, Lyn, from England who was sharing my dorm.
"Waitomo countryside" - Shot of the land around Waitomo. New Zealand is largely volcanically formed which gives it the dramatic changes in its topography.
"Walking to town" - It was a 1.5km walk between the hostel and the Waitomo township. First time I had actually lugged this backpack around like a backpack. Needs some adjustments.