Up reasonably early, packed up, found the Skybus stop (around the corner), and headed back to the airport. While enroute, I prepared for driving in New Zealand by taking some online tests.
I stopped in at an airport cafe for a flat white and while waiting in line, overheard two girls behind me speaking Danish. I had to say “hej” and told them the story – that I’d been an exchange student in Denmark forever ago (1993-94), and was here in New Zealand to visit a girl who had been a really good friend while we were both there, but who I hadn’t seen since. I took their presence as a good omen, and got on with the show, catching the bus to the rental car place.
The drive was green and uneventful, and with very few sheep (mostly cows!?) until I got close to Tauranga.
It was so good to get to visit with “Kiwi” after all these years. We had lots to catch up on, and talked nonstop for about 3 days! The first day included stops at a local (and very popular!) fish & chips spot (we had to wait for around an hour – they need more fryers!), lunch by the water, a drive out to Mount Maunganui, an afternoon at Mount Hot Pools, sunset on the beach where we met up with a family friend of hers (who had with him a disco ball bedazzled portable stereo system, so we had an EDM soundtrack for the evening). Then dinner of fantastic Penang curry fish.