I’m in the back of my X-trail beside a steaming hot pool in Rotorua, about to spend my first night.
I arrived early afternoon, and immediately wasted an hour and $6.50 learning that instead of the great waterproof fold-out map they used to have, you now can only get a booklet (now a soggy mess after one ride) or a “mankie”, which is a map printed on a handkerchief; so small it is completely useless.
By this time I was at the Redwoods Information Centre, so I set off up the hill into the park. About 45min later the distant thunder had shifted directly overhead, and the drizzle was getting heavier.
So I turned around, enjoyed a fantastic 15min of downhill, carried my bike most of the way down an impossibly steep 10mins, then rode out to Tarawera Rd under the trees.
By now I had my coat on, but everything was starting to get wet, so I returned to the car and caught up on my email. Then the sun came out, so I hopped back on the bike and road for several km along the Tarawera River.
The trail lead through a thermal area I’d never seen before, and eventually ended up next to the Polynesian Pools near the downtown area.
By now the weather was looking dodgy again, so I headed back to the car.
Now that I’ve had a feed and a long soak in a hot pool; I’m ready for sleep.