Koura Lodge

New Zealand ’17: Day 03 – Waiheke Island to Auckland to Rotorua (Sat)

Lodging: Koura Lodge
Date During Trip: July 1, 2017

This morning we catch the ferry, return to Auckland, pick up a rental car, and drive down to Rotorua. The weather is a bit wet this morning, but the cloud cover is higher. The view of the bay outside the window where we have breakfast is lovely in the heavily overcast morning with the tide slowly coming back in. The tide varies here about 6 feet.

We enjoyed this hotel. Keith, the owner, was great–a friendly guy with an easy smile. The views were special.

The ferry ride back to Auckland was a bit of a bumpy ride in the beginning as there were large swells. I felt like we were riding a roller coaster. Lots of babies.

When we arrived, Uncle’s helper took us to the car rental place where a very anal woman waited on us. She was ever so particular and rarely smiled. She was rather outspoken and bossy. I told Steve she must have been a librarian in a prior life.

She was very specific about exactly how we were to get to Highway 1, and that the GPS was not reliable, and we should stay on Highway 1 no matter what the GPS said. She seemed very anti-GPS. She actually took great pride in her work and in doing it well, exactly, precisely, being helpful whether you wanted her to be or not. We were emphatically told not to speed!

Another guy was renting a van to pick up a band at some airport. He had a huge case of water. He was friendly and told us that, despite how the librarian made it sound, the trip down was an easy one. Our friend, Anthony, from Australia, had told us the traffic in Auckland was diabolical. Both were right.

At any rate, the librarian’s advice was all exactly correct. The GPS messed up. My guess is that this device hasn’t been upgraded ever. I got out Navigon once again to save the day. And we saw traffic police everywhere.

We arrived at our hotel without any issues. It is a lovely mid-century classic design with the high exposed ceiling like our home on Crecienta Lane, but this ceiling had an “A” frame point to it. I told Steve this is the style of house we need for retirement, with a large open floor plan (kitchen, dining, den, living space all as one large room) and high, very high floor to ceiling windows. Love it!

The manager, Mike, is a 20-something with big eyes. He is friendly and very talkative. The views from the bedroom are stunning. As with Breakfast on the Beach, we are the only people staying here at Koura Lodge. Steve walked out to and got in the hot tub over the lake for a bit to warm up. The weather was drizzly and windy. Cool to cold. The lake was choppy.

This evening we had a “cultural experience” at a Maori Village. We were to also have dinner there. I must confess that I thought this would be lame beyond parallel, but, as it turns out, I really enjoyed it. Our host was a nice enough fellow, a bit hokey, but nice. He has gorgeous tenor voice, though I don’t think he even realizes this. He sang at one point.

Night River Paddle
Maori river paddle in complete darkness save for their torches

At any rate, 14 countries were represented by the crowd of 50 or so. We had an initial orientation to the evening before going out in the darkness and rain and romping through the rainforest along a creek to watch the warriors paddle up with their lanterns ablaze. It was a tad bit hockey, but still was kind of cool. To think, this really was how the indigenous Maori people traveled back in the day.

We then went into a covered pavilion (thank goodness) and saw a mocked up village with tribe’s people in it, including the chief, a young, bare-chested fellow. The sang and danced. This was the amazing part. They were really good, very entertaining. Steve and I both enjoyed it a lot.

Dinner was then served. It had been prepared in large outdoor pits. We had pleasant conversation with people from the Blue Mountains of Australia, Germany, Georgia (yes, Atlanta, specifically Kennesaw), and one other place. The warm custard was delicious! We then went hiking through the rain forest again to see the glow worms. I think they were fake.

Other 2017 New Zealand Trip Posts

For a synopsis of all of the posts from this 2017 trip to both the North and the South Islands of New Zealand, with links to each post, click here. The posts listed in the OTHER RELATED POSTS HERE @ TT.US (below) may include posts from our 2014 trip.