Back to the consulate. Had to wait for nearly an hour only to find my lady wasn't there. The new woman really was not keen to give me the six month visa and said that I would have to give all kinds of evidence that I wasn't going to live in Australia (most likely, a letter from an employer or school) - but that she was happy to give me a four year / three months per visit visa - so that's what I got.
Walked to the bus station and bought my ticket. Took the bus back to Ponsonby, had a quick lunch, and grabbed my pack from the hostel. Caught another bus to the bus station and go there literally minutes before the bus took off. Called the backpackers that had been recommended to me only to find out they were full. Called then hostel that they had recommended and reserved the last bed - I'm feeling pretty good about renting a SIM card for my mobile phone yesterday.
About an hour into the four hour trip the bus stops - we ran out of fuel! The driver explained that the bus had been being serviced for two weeks and somehow no one thought to fill the tank. He didn't explain why he hadn't looked at the gauge! We sat there for an hour and another bus (from another line picked up as many of us as it could. The remainder of the trip was uneventful.
In Paihia I got my pack and started up the street looking for the backpackers I'm staying at. Less than five minutes after getting off the bus I realized I'd left my favorite pullover on the bus (the same one I had to drive back to Melbourne to pick up). The bus was already gone, but I immediately called the bus line where they were remarkably unhelpful (i.e. they wouldn't call the driver), basically if the cleaners find it, and if they turn it in I can call tomorrow to find out. Found the hostel and passed about five other backpackers that had been on the bus who had been turned away - lucky I'd called ahead!
At the hostel I also had a message from the dive center saying that the tomorrow's dive to the Rainbow Warrior is full. Nothing seems to be going right today. Sat down and worked on my journal then wandered up to the office and spotted a flyer for a different dive shop. Called them and... tomorrow I'm going diving!
Walked down to the water again. The bay ("The Bay of Islands") was beautiful in the last bit of sunlight. Also got to watch some fishermen weigh a ten foot (3m) long blue marlin - 340+ pounds (155 kg)! Hope I don't run into one of those diving... Had diner at a little restaurant, watched some TV and headed for bed - I've got to be at the dive shop before eight - with a packed lunch.