TUESDAY, 6th Sept.
The next day the weather got worse. It was cloudy and rainy. I had a shuttle at 2 p.m. to Otorohanga and then a coach to Hamilton at 3:45 p.m. I didn’t want to go to Hamilton too early, because it was the middle of the week and my hosts were working, so I didn’t want my arrival to collide with their plans.
I stayed at the hostel. At about 2 p.m. came Bill, a slim with grey hair, about 70 year old gentleman. He took my heavy bag and loaded it on his van, talking all the time cheerfully. We stopped at the village to pick up another passenger and all the way to Otorohanga Bill talked about limestone, Maori, volcanoes, cows and sheep. When he found out that I want to stay in New Zealand a bit longer, he said we should find a rich farmer, never mind that I don’t want to live on a farm. But he was very convinced to his mission and we stopped by his friend’s farm to see sheep and meet the farmer of many skills: shearing, milking, hunting… drinking – added the farmer. He already had a wife, but Bill didn’t seem to care about it.
When we got to Otorohanga, the Kiwiana Town of New Zealand, I still had a lot of time before my bus would come, so Bill asked me if I wanted to see a real kiwi. He offered he’d take me to Kiwi House and a shorter visit would cost me $10 instead of a full visit for $20. I thought it was a good occasion to finally see a live kiwi bird, because I doubt I see it in the wild. I couldn’t take photos inside the house and Bill took this photo. I’m telling you, full service!
Kiwi birds were so funny and cute and I could see them very close! After that Bill dropped me off by the bus stop. I promised him to tell my friends about his service, so here it is: Bill Millar, Waitomo Shuttle, freephone: 0800 808 279, email: email@example.com; cost of the shuttle $12.
It took me 1 hr to get to Hamilton from Otorohanga. This time the bus driver was quiet. He took my bag, he didn’t even ask about my name, just where. In Hamilton, there was my CouchSurfing host waiting for me at the Transport Centre. His wife and him were my first CouchSurfing hosts and what a great couple they were! J. welcomed me at the door, I got my own room with a double bed, my own toilet and bathroom almost the size of my room back at home. They were about my parents’ age and so hospitable. After I had some rest, J. offered me some New Zealand wine. We sat down in a living room and talked eating crackers with New Zealand cheese while dinner was getting ready in an oven. In the meantime their younger friend arrived. She was about my age, had a good job and had just bought a house and had 10 month old kittens. She works in Cambridge (20 min drive from Hamilton) and by the end of delicious dinner (lamb, yams and kumara, the proper New Zealand pavlova with kiwi fruit and hokey pokey ice cream from Tip Top for dessert) and the lovely evening, E. said if I ever wanted to stay at her place, I’m very much welcomed.
Before I went to bed, J. had turned on an electric blanket on my bed… CouchSurfing RLZ!