Note to self, having to get up at 4am would be a lot easier if you were running on less than 4 hours’ sleep. Regardless, manage to shove myself out the door and get to the Harbour in time to catch the Naked Bus that’ll take me into Auckland, where I’ll catch my Mana Bus connection to Rotorua. Thanks to the Easter Holidays, I’m going to have to wait three hours in the city for an Intercity bus to Te Puke, which means I’m not going to arrive in town until 6pm at the earliest. Quite the travel plan.
Thankfully, the Naked Bus into Auckland is a small and very modern looking machine, and getting some sleep while it rolls into town is gratefully easy. We even arrive a good half an hour early, so with a lack of open-at-8:30 options, I camp out at McDonalds and abuse the Wi-Fi while nursing a cup of tea before I head off again at 10am.
This is my first time on a Mana Bus, but got to say I prefer them to the other brands I’ve travelled with so far. For one thing, they have plug sockets which endear me to them no end, and they have Wi-Fi (although admittedly I couldn’t actually connect). The biggest downside was actually another traveller, who got into an argument at one of the stops over whether he’d paid for some crisps, and later dropped his bottle of coke to the floor resulting in it spraying and leaking everywhere. Only just got my bags off the floor in time.
Traffic is smooth, and we make it into Rotorua just after 2pm. The first thing I have to do is double check bus times, but definitely appears the bus I’d like to catch isn’t running today, forcing me to book the Intercity Bus for an additional $10. I also have to call up the hostel and let them know I’m arriving much later than planned, but at least my day’s going better than another bus from Auckland, which suffered a punctured tyre and nobody has any idea when it’ll arrive.
With my bags to worry about, I’m not really in a position to travel around Rotorua, so instead camp out at the Intercity office and abuse both plug sockets and Wi-Fi in order to plan my next few moves. I’ll be staying in Te Puke hopefully for a few months in order to get the most out of the kiwi season, but need to watch my finances since between the Bay of Islands and work bonds, it’s gonna get a little tight.
Thankfully my bus pulls up right on time at 5:15, just as the office starts closing up, and 45 minutes later I’m rolling into Te Puke, the kiwi capital of Auckland. It’s a very small down, consisting mostly of take away shops and discount stores. The hostel is on the outskirts, a 10-minute walk away (or 20, if you have to lug around a bag). When I arrive, I meet up with the woman I’ve been speaking to, Tracy, who takes the cash necessary for the job searching option, and checks me in.
Turns out in a strange twist of fate the last bed left is actually a bottom bunk! At least something good happened today!