I left Rotorua early on the fourth day of my holiday to fly to Bay of Islands. This is the tiny plane that took me from Rotorua to Auckland on the first leg of the trip. It's such a small plane that there is no crew member, the co-pilot explains the safety procedures whilst the pilot is busy flipping switches in the cockpit. I had a great seat for this flight, no window but full view of the pilots and out of the cockpit window. Getting the local Air New Zealand flights was like getting on a bus. Check your luggage, head to the gate, follow a member of staff to the plane and sit down. No security checks, no passport checks, just a quick look at your ticket and you can watch the plane being flown. Amazing!
Things went slightly down hill when I arrived in Auckland. The plane from Bay of Islands, that I would be getting on for it's return journey, was delayed. After an hour or so it was displayed as cancelled, as was my flight. I collected my luggage as instructed and headed to customer service to find out what was going on. It was raining in Bay of Islands. Really hard. When this happens the pilots can't see the runway. And when they can't see the runway they can't land. Luckily Air New Zealand are used to this and rather than facing an unknown delay as everyone fought for seats on the afternoon flight (which was still running at this point) we were sent off to one side to wait for the bus. Plane replacement bus service! I did have a nice surprise as we stopped for fuel somewhere outside of Auckland and I bumped into 2 of the cast who it turned out had been in Rotorua the night before and were headed to Bay of Islands. Small world!
A couple of the passengers on the flight/bus were quite excited that we were going to stop in Kawakawa for the toilet. I figured that they maybe had small bladders - but no. Kawakawa is in the guide books for it's loos! They were designed by artist Hundertwasser and use bottles and ceramic tiles to create a very unusual loo.
I finally arrived at my accommodation about 5 hours later than planned. The Bay Cabinz Motel. I had one of a handful of wooden chalets that cluster together on the hill. I had a bay view cabin, there's my view - across the car park and shopping strip to the sea. The cabin was lovely, a comfy bed, a little kitchen and a covered veranda that I sat and drank a cup of tea on as soon as I arrived.
After a trip to the shop for provisions I had dinner on the veranda then headed to the beach for a walk in the dusk. I had another close encounter of the actor kind as I bumped in to the same cast I'd seen earlier in the day, now finishing dinner and a glass of wine looking across the bay.