Whew Sue and Neil, that Quiz night was something else!!
The drivers' meeting was held at the earlier time of 8.30am and we were given the choice of two routes to drive to Rotorua - one via Gisborne and the other (which most of us chose to do) via Lake Waikaremoana. My parents honeymooned at the Lake House Hotel in 1947 and had often talked very fondly of the place so we were keen as neither of us had been there before, even though there would be several hours' driving on gravel roads.
The first part was through lovely scenic bush and trees, but heading towards the lake was alternating between sealed and gravel roads, and the corrugations on the gravel roads were 'something else.' To put it mildly we were 'shaken silly.'
Getting closer, we caught some views of the beautiful lake, which appeared to be bright blue in colour. We saw a large camping ground on the lakeside but there was no sign of the hotel, or other houses at all for that matter, and certainly no shops, not even a dairy. This is a really out of the way place, left just the way it has been for years.
We caught up with the other MG'ers at a nice picnic spot by a river, and we all shared our experiences of the day's trip so far.
At the informative Anawanina Visitors' Centre, near to our picnic spot, one of the ladies showed me a photo in an old photo album of the Lake House Hotel in the 1960's before it burned down. This place must've been like an oasis in the desert for people driving their old cars for hours on muddy gravel roads to Lake Waikaremoana from both Napier and Rotorua.
We walked over a little bridge to see little waterfalls and babbling brooks on both sides of the bridge, which looked very pretty.
Just before the bridge there was also a really old 'lorry' (the trailor with wheels) from 1905. It had huge wooden wheels with steel tyres, and was still in pretty good condition for its age.
Some MG'ers walked to other nice waterfalls close by the Aniwanina Falls.
After being pretty shaken around in our little red MGB on the way to the lake, and Ross's inside window handle falling off in the process, I was pretty nervous about driving on a gravel road most of the way to Rotorua, another 3 hours or so away.
Ross got out his little screwdriver and tightened up all the screws he could find in the car. We didn't want to lose any more 'body parts!'
However the road to Rotorua (State Highway 38) wasn't really as bad as we thought it would be. We were even sidetracked by several lovely horses on the road, a young cow and bull taking a walk on the side of the road at one part, and another cow helping itself to some grass on another part of the road. The saying "the grass is always greener" came to mind.
We came in to Rotorua on the south side (on the Thermal Explorer Highway) and bypassed the city, driving around Lake Rotorua to Marama Resort, our accommodation on the banks of the Ohau Channel between Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotorua.
We had driven 340kms/211miles that day, much of it on dusty gravel roads, but we were told by the Resort that we were not permitted to wash our cars, so there were a lot of very dirty and dusty MGs parked there. But we enjoyed seeing Lake Waikaremoana, as it's in such an out of the way place.
At 6.15pm that night we all drove in convoy to Sue and Ernie Martin's holiday home on Lake Rotorua, close to the Resort. Everyone really enjoyed the dinner that Sue put on for us ham on the bone, carrots in a special yummy sauce, peas/beans, potatoes dotted with parsley and trifle for desert. People sat on the front and back decks and socialised, enjoying the dinner that had been laid on for us. What a nice end to a really 'full-on' day.
I suppose I should mention the 'booby prizes' presented to members by Sue Martin at the end of the night, including one to Ross and me for being late starters that morning....
A big thanks for everyone involved in organising this trip (especially Sue and Neil Courtney for all her hard work on the 14-page Trip Book for everyone) and may there be many more MG long weekends away! They are so much fun.