8:00 am

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Our time in Franz Joseph was up and it was now time to say goodbye. Amazed at how quickly you can become attached to a group of strangers it was sad to leave them, but with exchanging names for Facebook, there is always hope of reuniting in the future.
We hopped on the bus once it arrived, but since it was pretty full there were no two seats together so Lauren and I split up for the ride and I ended up sitting in the front seat beside a a lovely lady from the Uk.
As our driver played with the buttons for the sun shade we chatted about various things, allowing the landscape the pass by as well as the time. We stopped a few times, once at a coffee shop, another in a small town I believe named Hakaintiki where we had a half hour, so I bought a chocolate bar and explored the beach. Along the beach there was heaps of drift wood lying about and some locals had taken the initiative to gather up some here and there creating sculptures, one of which was of a whales tale reaching out of the sea of sand. During the remainder of the drive we passed by some really pretty landscape but one of the really neat features we passed was a one lane bridge that not only cars had to wait for their turn but so did trains, since the railway turned onto the road for the length of the bridge.
Our last stop of the day was in Punakaki, where we were staying for a couple days. The bus pulled into the stop up at the top of town, where the trail to pancake rocks and the blowholes were located, but he had offered if we were willing to wait he would drop us off at the hostel near the middle of town. We decided we would wait and explored the little shops in the meantime.

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