...of the Geothermal area of Rotorua.
Leandra and I had great plans to be on the road by 7:30. We knew we had a long day from Te Awamutu to Rotorua. Then, it rained. It always takes longer to get packed up when it's raining. Of course, it didn't help that we were reading the Waikato Times newspaper in the kitchen at the campground. The writing was pretty funny. Anyway, it stopped raining and we were able to get our tents packed. I even took a dry bandana and swabbed off as much water as possible. by the time we were rolling out it was sunny, but 8:30. So much for the early start!
We had to backtrack back to Kihikihi. To get on the road to Putaruru. We weren't following any mapped "route" today. We were going rogue and just following a map for the shortest and quietest road to Rotorua. We just looked ahead to a town on the map that was on the way. That was Putaruru. It was also about the halfway point.
Our route turned out to be quite nice. However, we did see another accident. This time between a tour bus and a car. We also found out that the accident we had seen yesterday involved Canadians. The passenger was killed.
We ended up going over the Arapuni Dam Bridge. Even though it wasn't quite noon, we had been pushing pretty hard so we decided to stop for a lunch break at the dam.
After lunch, we really wanted a nap, but we still had quite a few miles to go. So, no nap.
From Putaruru, we had to get on Hwy 5. Although it is a busy road, it has a pretty good shoulder for most of it. We had a pretty good climb. As we were almost at the top, we saw a covered wagon going down. Now, you don't see that everyday!
A few km later we entered the Fitzgerald Glade. It was a very wooded, jungly looking corridor. The worst part was there was no shoulder. There was alot of traffic. When we came out, we decided to stop at the Fitzgerald Cafe. As we pulled in, some guys came out and offered us food. They were the support for a bike tour put on by Bicycle Victoria (Australia). They were doing a 9 day, 600 km ride. They had leftover food and so we had chicken salads, juice and crackers. Then when we went back outside, they gave us a half of a loaf of bread, and more juice.
While we were still at the cafe, a guy rode in on a KHS folding bike. His name was Tatsi (or something like that). He was from Japan and riding with a friend from Norway. We exchanged photos and they headed down the road. We followed shortly after taking pictures of the cute chickens.
We started the last long climb for the day up and over the Mamaku Plateau. It wasn't really a bad climb except that it was after already having gone about 53 miles. Coming down the other side was a sweet reward for the climb.
That brought us into Rotorua. It is a pretty good size town. We are staying at the Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park. We got in at 6:30. We were going to go to the Kiwi House tonight, but we decided to go tomorrow. First we will go to the geysers then the Kiwi House then a cultural program. Then we will hit the road to Taupo.
As for the stink, no it is not us. It is the sulphur smell from the geo-thermal stuff nearby.
As I am very tired and want to go to bed, I'll leave you with these photos from today.