We’d been talking about what I should do for the next couple of days (after leaving Kiwi’s mum’s house), and whether Kiwi could come along. Ultimately we split the difference, and I spent an extra day near Tauranga. We went to a nearby cafe and stocked up on tasty & portable food, then her brother came over and drove the 3 of us to nearby McLaren Falls. She had hurt her knee a few days earlier, so she found a comfortable spot on the rocks while he and I scrambled upstream a bit, hopping from rock to rock. They were perfectly spaced and not slippery, and it was a lot of fun. I kept looking for eels in the river, but didn’t see any.
Back near the road, we put our feet in the water and watched kids jump off the bridge into the pool below the falls. Apparently kids make good eel bait, but I wasn’t going to jump in after them to find out!
We drove a little further up the road to a nice picnic area, enjoyed our tasty lunch (and Anzac biscuits), and relaxed for a bit before heading back to the house.
The rest of the afternoon we spent looking at old photos and telling stories about our time in Denmark. Then, a selfie photo shoot around the backyard until we shook off the pesky paparazzi arms. A tearful goodbye (and promises to see each other again), and I headed off to Taupo.
The 3rd gas station I stopped at accepted my pesky US chip-and-sign credit card. Someday maybe we’ll get PINs like the rest of the world…
My motel in Taupo was very clean and well-stocked, but came with strict instructions not to cook seafood or curry. Fortunately, Kiwi had provided me with plenty of other New Zealand food for my journey. Who needs “real dinner” when there are chips and Jaffas?