The continued adventures of Koen and Vicky in New Zealand. Today featuring a dynamited dolphin, an extremely large tree and probably the worst hotel in this country!
Today was a day of travel. We had to drive 600 kilometers to get from Russel to Waitomo. To make life a little more fun, we decided to drive via the east coast (the Pacific Ocean) and not via the west coast (Tasman Sea) to Auckland, being at 2/3rd of our trip today.
This route brought us to Opononi. Small town with beautiful dunes and a very sad history. (Een diepdroevig dierenverhaal): the dolphin Opo, whose mother died, was not shy at all to humans. It came to the village of Opononi, where it would swim with kids and perform tricks. Dynamite fishers killed the dolphin in 1956 (by accident?) and the dolphin was buried in full Maori style. The killing had national press coverage in New Zealand.
Some hours later, we arrived in Waipoua forest. In this forest, some great species of the Kauri tree can still be found. The tree on this picture, Tane Mahuta, is the largest known Kauri. He is 212 meters high. (we have been told…)
This day was a day that took us 600 kilometers south on the Northern Island of New Zealand. Expectations were high, but the surprise was a big one. The hotel our agency booked for Waitoma, was the Waitoma Caves Hotel. A first look at the outside made it clear that this hotel was not in the running for any first price or award, but the worst had to come…
Best room in the house…
While checking in, the lady at the counter told us to wait and fill in this paper, while she was waiting people in the restaurant. It turned out later that she was the only person working in the hotel that night. Ordering some water was impossible, the curtains were too short for the windows (and the sun rises here at 5 in the morning), there was corrosion in the bathroom, etc…. Fortunately, the lady confirmed that this was the ordered room and that this was the best in the house. I’ve never ever given 1 star in a Tripadvisor tip, but there seem to be a first for everything.
We slept a rather short night and enjoyed breakfast in this room where the paint was falling from the ceiling. We didn’t finish the coffee and drove off, looking for a café with some real food.
Pictures of the hotel can be found on Flickr.
Stay tuned for more updates on our New Zealand Trip!
Koen Blanquart is a strategy consultant, journalist, and author.
Wanderlust is one of his driving factors, and he shares his travels here on Boarding Today. Koen is also the skipper of SV Bagabonda, a sailing vessel making a slow circumvention of the globe..
Koen recently published a book on how to manage a remote team: The Suitcase Office.