I chose not to spend the night at Solscape, a lovely spot high up on the cliff overlooking Ngaruni Beach. It has composting toilets and solar showers and plenty of surfers mostly under 30, places like that make me feel old, really old. Besides the light was fantastic for taking pictures so I headed up to the falls. Great walk to the cliff top then stairs down below and of course back up again. I kept stopping as the light got more and more mellow. Of course when that happens, eventually it gets dark! Driving into an unknown city with little chance of camp grounds that I could find, I parked on a dead end street, beside a park, drank a beer and fell asleep. My back unfortunately is still waking me up. Plus the ever present assumption that someone might come along to shift me gave me a rather interrupted sleep.
The lady having a smoke outside said g'morning in response to mine and I left. Parked beside the Hamilton Rowing Club and watched the early morning teams prep and push off down river. A rather pleasant place to prepare myself for the day.
Where did I go? The library! after purchasing a pair of Chacos for NZ$49. They have been bought out by Merril so all the old stock is reduced to clear. Hamilton has charm and I felt compelled to move on.
I've been thinking... (this is news?) realizing how much I have been driven by my judgments of how I should be doing this trip. My journey at the moment involves a lot of movement. I want to cover as much territory as possible and I want to see it. My experience of NZ has been determined a lot by the geography and I want to get a sense of the people. Each time I spend more than 2 hours in one spot I get some of that. I will be spending 20 days with the Permaculture course and 15 other folks, staying with contacts in Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Auckland and maybe other places. What am I trying to say? I dunno! People are different here, lots of tourists and retailers is who I mostly bump into so the real NZ is always going to be just out of reach I suppose. I accept that.
Stopping in Tirau where corrugated iron is king. The Info centre is a giant dog, next door the giant sheep sells.. can you guess? Marino clothing and plenty of sheep souvenirs, among all the other souvenirs. I picked up some shorts, this is the default uniform of NZ men, I seldom see men wearing long pants.
Onward past a rock monolith with the usual religious message spray painted on the side I didn't see, how nice! Into Rotorua, open the door to go outside and the smell is overpowering. I stopped at the Thermal Park and wandered around looking at boiling mud plopping skyward and oily surfaced water looking rather unattractive steaming away. Some young "folks" chucked a bottle into it to see what might transpire..., it sank.