I rose at my usual 830 and packed up my gear. After this many days on the road, I can do it quite efficiently.

My mission to start this day was “Petit Paris” (a French cafe across from the Quest hotel that I was staying at) and the Len Lye exhibition at the Govett-Brewster Gallery in New Plym.

They were two simple tasks easily accomplished. The omelette had Brie in it. The latte was strong and tasty. Len Lye proved to be exactly the funky artist that I heard that he was. The gallery, which I saw the exterior of on D36, was architecturally fantastic. The wood benches in the gallery were also tres cool.

The weather included a little “spitting”. I thought that my gallery visit might lead to drier skies … and I was right. My ride to Rotorua was occasionally spitting but it never came close to requiring my wet-riding gear.

The coastal beauty slowly gave way to the same interior sights that I had seen in the Mackenzie district on the South Island. Imagine a selection of hills ranged from small to large. Cover the entirety with green felt. Add the occasional clump of trees. Add a smattering of sheep here and cows there. BOOM! You have the gorgeous NZ rolling beauty.

After the scenic routes around Dunedin, Highway 30 from Te Kuiti to Rotorua was my favourite. Dry, windy and almost free from traffic. An amazing highway to ride.

A faint rotten-eggs smell of sulphur told me that I was approaching Rotorua before I could actually see it. The “Bay of Plenty” area is active volcanically. Much of the town is laid out like Vegas in a long strip leading to the “Lakefront”. My hotel, the Millennium, welcomed me and I decided to book for an additional day.

Inge the Danish front desk gal tossed me a free couple of drinks at the bar as my room was not quite ready. Talk about a good welcome. I grabbed a plethora of activity pamphlets and quaffed a local brew.

After I was settled into my newly cleaned room, I headed back down and Inge was most helpful in booking some activities for tomorrow.

I headed down to Rotorua’s “Eat Streat” (not misspelled) to see about dinner. They have a single car-free block (which is covered by a raised covering) and it is jam-packed with restaurants. I chose Brew, a craft beer pub, and tucked into a fine rib-eye steak paired with a decent pale ale called “Enduro”. The Croucher Brewing Co owns the Brew establishment and makes some tasty beers (including the enduro).

“Ponsonby Rd”, Bar in Eat Streat, served up a fine Pinot Noir from Nanny Goat Winery in Central Otago, NZ.

I decided that an eve chilling with Jennifer Lawrence was exactly what the doctor ordered. So I went to the cinema and took in “Red Sparrow”. Not bad.

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