Tuesday 22nd January

Lorry loading for the rifle shifters started at 4am for a planned 5am departure for the 8-9hr haul down to Trentham by the British Isles Roadies (the 4 from GBRT have been augmented by the Channel Islands’ Dan Richardson and Colin Mallett).

In the makeshift armoury, the oldest and youngest roadies were roused by a phone (alarm set for 3:45am). The resulting washing/dressing activity was a triumph of speed and synchronisation that even a Formula 1 pit crew would have admired.  After commenting that they felt reasonably good but didn’t feel like they’d been asleep for very long, both parties looked at their phones/watches and were somewhat bemused to find the time was actually 11:33pm! The ‘alarm’ was actually a phone call from the UK that its recipient had cut off.  Equally swiftly both returned to bed to enjoy the extra four hours’ sleep that they had gained before doing it again for real!

It took about 40mins for the team to load the 64 rifle boxes and 30 or so bags (around 1.7tons) into the truck in near silence out of respect for our fellow hotel guests. The journey was pretty uneventful apart from one squeaky moment when two big logging trucks threatened the group’s safety. Exactly 12 hours after starting to load the truck, the group arrived at Totara Lodge to be met by the Captain and Vice.  Baggage was unloaded, rifles taken to the secure storage on the range and reunited with the ammunition sent over 3 weeks earlier. After a swift meal and a beer or two, it was time for a well-earned rest…

With all members of the Lake Rotorua household waking up gently close to 8am, it seemed as if jet lag had been thoroughly conquered. As a lovely breakfast was prepared, Rick Shouler discovered the wonders of the local hens’ output as the scrambled eggs contained 5 double yolks out of 8 eggs. After a poor Wifi connection led to a slight diary delay as a way round was found, the group set off towards Rotorua around the west side of the lake to go up the Skyline gondola. From there they had magnificent views of the huge lake and surrounding area; after a drink they decided to take the fun way down by racing in wheeled ‘luges’. They were a hair raising ride, with everyone ending up on two wheels at some stage. Rick started first and took advantage of gravity to reverse Zoe’s overtaking move on him, while Matt C squeezed past Nick and David Cr before catching the other two on the line. Afterwards, the group had a Mad Dog lunch (featuring the tallest burger any of them had seen) before walking around the extraordinary volcanic sights of Wai Tapu. They then moved on to Tongariro Lodge, just south of Lake Taupo, to another very pleasant house in a leafy complex with an excellent restaurant.

Also near Lake Taupo were the wine tasters, who haven’t yet reported any wine tasting. In the morning they hiked up to the top of Wairere falls which had some spectacular views. They then had lunch in Matamata on the way down to Taupo. In the evening they hosted the sightseeing crowd (more on their activities tomorrow) for a barbecue at their house overlooking the lake.

The Aucklanders’ waking times varied from 3-9am so they went for a walk along the coastal path to walk off any lingering jet lag, then a quick lunch at a local bar before jumping in the car to go horse riding on Pakiri beach. The degree of comfort they (and their horses) enjoyed varied wildly but the views were stunning and set them up superbly for some body boarding in the ocean to cool down. This was followed by a period of contemplation of rush hour on the M25 as they stared at golden sands and blue skies as far as the eye could see.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *