The royal buzz has made its way to the Bay of Plenty, and one Tauranga woman is travelling to Rotorua today in the hope of catching a glimpse of the visiting couple.

Welcome Bay resident Lisa Luke said it would have been easier if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had come to Tauranga, but she didn't mind making the trip.

"It makes a day of it, being in with all the crowd.

"You only see them on TV now and then. Since they're coming to New Zealand, it's pretty special.


"It's going to be a lifetime opportunity. I don't know when, or if, we'd ever see them again."

According to the Rotorua Lakes Council website, thousands of people are expected to attend the royal walkabout in the Government Gardens this afternoon.

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick will join the couple for the stroll down Queen's Drive. It is the only provincial public appearance the duo will make in the North Island.

Much to Lisa Luke's surprise, her 17-year-old son is also jumping on board for the ride. The Ōtūmoetai College student is "keen as" to come along and is planning to take the day off school.

"I was quite surprised. I didn't really think it'd be something he'd get into."

She thinks people are becoming more interested in the royals since the younger generation has grown up.

"I think the whole royals picture is changing. You didn't use to worry about them so much. Now that the younger ones like William and Kate and Harry and Meghan are all changing the royal perspective, they're more personable."

While she's never been a mega-fan, Luke admitted to being teary-eyed after Princess Diana, mother of William and Harry, died tragically in 1997.


"It was really sad when their mother died … Diana really changed the whole thing."

The plan is simple: they will head to Rotorua and aim to get an early spot, with the hope of catching a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess.

While the trip is all planned, she hadn't thought about what she'd say if she had a chance to speak to the couple.

"Probably just well wishes with the baby and that sort of thing."

The royal visit

• The walkabout is from 3.30pm to 4pm along Queen's Drive in the Government Gardens.

• Motorists are being warned to expect some congestion, with increased traffic and closed roads.

• Rotorua Lakes Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council are offering alternative means of transport.

• Attendees are advised to arrive early, bring water, and plan for traffic and any weather.

Source: Rotorua Lakes Council website