Two nights at Ngongataha

I received a lovely welcome from the manager, he offered to park the Ducato on my reserved site, right next to the lake. I was grateful, I had yet to use reverse! I did have a moment of panic, as he plugged me into the power and nothing happened. “Oh no” I thought, “I’m here for two nights with no power”. I had the wisdom to suggest it may be an idea to try one of the other power points and, yes, I had power.Ro van

The lake was misty at first as it had been raining earlier. There were many scaups, black swans and ducks and  I enjoyed just sitting, door open, having coffee and reflecting on my first drive. I did OK. 🙂Ro cygnets

I could see the Sunday morning sunset would possibly be clear; I set my alarm, poked the camera out of the door, shut it and went back to sleep!!             Ro dawn

I spent my two days setting up house, becoming familiar with the Ducato and relaxing. I took two walks to the store, looked at people fishing, took lots of bird photos and did very little else.

Ro shag

Ro duck dance

I  recommend Willowhaven, great lakeside camp sites and reasonably priced motel/cabin style accommodation.

Ro Sun down

c4

Advertisements

Paeroa to Lake Rotorua.

It was the fourth of July, and I was having my own celebration.

maxresdefault.jpg

With the business side quickly done and a firm handshake from “the dork” (Lena was impressed with that) it was official, I owned a camper van. Lena showed me all the important stuff, like the toilet, the power, the gas and was off back to Levin. I am so grateful for her help, not only in choosing the Ducato but taking me to Paeroa with having to go back the next day. It’s a long way to we Kiwis, living in a small country.

4 July 12.46pm

The supermarket was across the road and I bought a few supplies for the next two days.  I had brought my pillow and a sleeping bag so I was very basically prepared.

z-paeroa-online

I was about to fill up with diesel when the thought occurred to me  “Uh oh, no insurance!”. I spent an hour on the mobile sorting that. The 2 young ladies working at the gas station were clearly amused, what was this lady doing! I had been parked there for ages.

Screen Shot 2016-09-11 at 12.45.05 PM.png

So . . . . . .  to my first solo drive, carefully planned, to the adjacent gas station. We filled up, I climbed back in, started up, drove to the curb and realised, in my haste, I had forgotten to pay. The young ladies were laughing at me 🙂 Thanks heavens I realised or my first solo drive would be followed closely by the Police cars and sirens!

It was now 1pm, Lena had kindly left me her GPS and off I went, slowly and over a rather narrow bridge, holding in my breath and praying there would be no traffic. Not welcome to Paeroa but farewell!!

Paeroa

It was possibly the slowest trip, ever, from Paeroa to Rotorua. Had there been a cyclist on the road they would have overtaken me. Fortunately, the traffic was light and I didn’t hold anyone up, I would pull over if needed. At Waharoa, just before Matamata (home of the Hobbits), I stopped for coffee and a sandwich. I text Lena and she had stopped at the same place. Waharoa has a population of 10 (that’s not true, I just Googled and it is 400+). I also got my Lotto there, and won nothing.

the-facade-of-the-shop

Driving through the thriving metropolis of Matamata (population 7,500) I saw Hobbit buses and the Hobbit i-Centre but was not confident in parking so carried on, sobbing quietly at the missed opportunity. A borrowed photo will have to suffice . . . . .

10327875
I did see it with my own eyes though!

It rained from Matamata to Rotorua so I was pleased to know the windscreen wipers were efficient, I hadn’t thought to check. By now I was reasonably confident at knowing I was correctly positioned on the road and not once did I hit the rumble bars. Pretty good, I thought. I even managed to change the radio station and sing along with it! Going over the Mamaku Ranges was a slow process, by now the rain was persistent and visibility not good. Somewhere I saw a red car that had gone off the road and was lying sideways against a tree after going through someones fence (I read later nobody was injured). There was nowhere for me to stop and check, or I would have.

fitzgerald-glade

Fitzgerald Glade, not far from Rotorua

I could tell I was approaching Rotorua with the gentle smell of sulphur!!! I hadn’t travelled this road before so really, I had no idea where I was, although the GPS was giving me occasional instructions. I couldn’t get it to adhere to the window so it was lying on the passenger seat.

ngongotaha-rotorua

Then I was there, at Ngongotaha and at the Willowhaven Holiday Park. I had made it, safely.

c4