This morning I awoke to the sound of the people in our room throwing things around, smashing plates against the wall and fighting with each other. Ok, so it wasn’t quite like that but the racket they were making certainly made it seem that way and it was quite a loud awakening. Eventually they left the room and I forced myself out of my top bunk and onto the floor to get dressed and packed to leave. Thinking that I might have been able to have a little bit of a lie in this morning, at least until 9:30, I’d packed as much as could have last night which meant that it wasn’t long until it was all sorted and we were ready to be off. My zip had tried to interfere with things and had dropped off my bag but Codie managed to fix it in no time and we were able to check out and leave our things in the luggage room in barely any time at all. As it was only about 10am, we sat upstairs in the little common area for a little bit, writing blogs, talking to people at home and looking at things to do on the rest of the trip. We’ve been booking things through the website bookme.com and have managed to get so many good discounts that I just can’t stop checking it, hoping for some more cheap things to do! It really is a great website for if you’re on a budget but don’t want to spend your time just relying on decent walks and we’ve got quite a few good things planned now like kayaking at Franz Josef and stargazing in Queenstown. I’m just waiting for the seal swim or seal kayaking to come down in price a little bit then I’ll book that too. Fingers crossed it does!
Since we had quite a bit of time before we needed to go to the bus stop and the hunger was starting to eat away at my concentration, we decided to go back to the “World’s Coolest Mcdonalds”. I was still feeling a bit miffed that they closed the plane so early last night but to have missed out due to my own annoyance would have been a bit of a silly thing to do so we collected everything together and off we went. After spending $12 on a meal last night, we didn’t really want to pay too much and so after ordering a drink and a cheeseburger each, we walked towards the plane and made our way up the stairs. Hooray, it was open! Walking into the aisle of the plane, I was quite surprised at how small it all was as for some reason I thought it would be bigger. I’m not entirely sure why, having seen it from the outside, but it still came as a bit of a shock. Don’t get me wrong, it was still really very cool to see. I love a good plane and a burger so it was a fab combination and definitely the best McDonalds I’ve ever been to. I liked that you were able to walk to the end and have a look in the cockpit and read all about it’s history. It’s actually a decommissioned DC3 plane built in 1943 and was used by South Pacific Airlines between 1961 and 1966. It was then used as a top dressing plane from 1971 until being decommissioned in 1984 and bought by the Taupo mayor who had the intentions of using it as an office. It would have made an absolutely incredible office but I have to say, I am quite glad that it made in to McDonalds so we could have a walk around it. I was happy to just wander around reading the information but I think Codie was more interested in getting into the burger!
After finishing our food, we had a little walk over the road to the lake to have a sit down and take in the views for perhaps the last time. It’d been really nice being in Taupo and although there’s not really that much to do unless you’ve got a lot of money to splash out on activities, the views of the mountains are incredible and well worth a visit. I enjoyed just sitting there soaking up the atmosphere and watching the numerous seagulls squawking their way through the sky and the ducks splashing around in the crystal clear water below. It was very beautiful. Unfortunately, we couldn’t spend all day there as we had to leave to catch the bus to Wellington so after a quick timelapse of the lake, we reluctantly turned our backs to it and set off back to the hostel to collect our bags. It was a shame that we didn’t have too long there as it would have been nice to have made it to Huka Falls or seen the dam opening but with only being here for 3 weeks and with there so much else to see, we didn’t really have a choice. I’d definitely like to return there in the future though as we’re both quite disappointed we didn’t have time to sail on the lake and see the Maori carvings so we’ll just have to go back to rectify that!
At 13:00pm, we arrived at the iSite and settled down for an hours wait. Yes, we might have got there a little bit early but to get to Wellington we had a journey of about 6 hours so didn’t really want to get seats apart for that long. That would have been pretty boring as on these buses, nobody comes across as very friendly and they never, ever want to make conservation. Not the most fun in the world. I think for that reason alone, the Kiwi Experience would have been much better for us but for the price we paid, I was happy to just get on with things. For $79 for 5 stops, we couldn’t really complain, could we?! Well, it turns out we could as 2:10pm, the time the bus should have turned up, came and went along with various other buses. There were just 6 of us left wondering what was happening and all hoping that it might just have been stuck in traffic. Sadly this was not the case at all. A girl turned up at 2:30pm and told us that she’d received a text saying that the bus was 2 hours late and that there would be a replacement bus. Since it was a little bit vague and none of us was sure whether it meant we the replacement would be late too, Codie went off to the information centre to see if they’d ring them for us. It turned out that we did have a whole two hours to wait so I sat with the bags whilst Codie went off to the Countdown down the road to get us some snacks for the trip. It was really quite annoying but there wasn’t much we could do until it arrived so I settled down, leaning on my bags and watching about 20 skydivers leaping out of planes. I think I’d quite like to do a skydive though for the price, I just couldn’t justify it. i’m sure it’d be worth it but I think I’d much rather do a couple of things in a couple of different places instead. Perhaps it’s a shame having visited so many ideal places to do one but it really is a little bit too expensive for me. Grrrrrr.
Two hours came and went and at 4:10pm, we all stood up, hopeful that the bus would suddenly appear in front of us. Unsurprisingly, however, it didn’t and it took another hour and a half for us to finally get on our way to Wellington. As I mentioned, we’d paid barely anything for the bus pass around the country but I’m not entirely sure that we deserved the terrible service we’d received. It really was absolutely shocking. A couple of buses turned up whilst we were waiting and each time we were informed that we were unable to get on them, even one which was totally empty and heading to Wellington! Neither of us could believe what was happening and the stop was now so busy that it was absolute chaos whenever one arrived with everyone trying to find out whether they could board it or not. (Rats down a pipe springs to mind!) Luckily, at 5pm another bus turned up and even though we couldn’t get on that service either, the driver pestered the company to see what they were going to do for us. It turned out that they hadn’t actually bothered to send a replacement bus for us at all which meant that we’d been waiting around for hours for absolutely nothing. Nothing was ever going to turn up to collect us. By arguing on the phone, the driver was eventually able to get them to sort out a bus to come and get us and told us it would be there in 30 minutes or so. At this point we were all tired and hungry so when a tattered, beaten up old thing arrived, we all just shoved our bags on and climbed on. I say we all climbed on, poor Codie was in charge of loading everyone’s cases on whilst I sat back in my nice comfy seat. Hehehe.
Finally, with everyone on, the doors closed and we set off on our journey to Wellington. I really hoped it’d be worth it after the hassle of trying to get there though I’d heard so many good things about it, I was pretty sure it would be. It transpired that the driver didn’t actually work for Naked Bus at all and had bee drafted in at the last minute because there was nobody else. I couldn’t help but wonder how terrible the company actually was if it didn’t have enough people to drive in case of an emergency. Probably quite terrible. Having said that it was quite nice to have a different driver non “Naked” driver as it meant that he was a lot more friendly and even pointed out some things of interest along the route like the prison and the mountains. On most of our journeys so far, the drivers have been quite grumpy and cross and so it made a nice change really even if we were incredibly late. He even let Codie use his phone to ring to hostel to let them know how late we were going to be which really was a nice thing to do.
The rest of the journey passed fairly quickly and once the sun had set on our beautiful surroundings, we watched a couple of things on Codie’s laptop until we arrived. It wasn’t the worst journey in the world, even though I kept being burnt by a hot pipe, although I was incredibly pleased when we made it to Wellington at 11:30pm. Once we’d checked in at the hostel, which was handily right next to the bus stop, carefully put down our bags in the pitch black room and had found somewhere to buy a drink, we made it to bed. It was quite a challenge when you couldn’t see anything at all but we finally made it under the cosy covers and snuggled down for a well needed sleep. It had been a longer day that we thought it would be and we were absolutely shattered but we had arrived in Wellington couldn’t wait to discover all the new sights and sounds around us. All we needed was a nice, long sleep so I settled down, trying not to think of why Wellington is called that when they call actual wellingtons gum boots here, and drifted off.