A Jaunt through the New Zealand Countryside

Trip Start Nov 22, 2006
Trip End Dec 16, 2006

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Monday, November 27, 2006

General Facts:
Kilometers Driven: 400
Miles Walked: 4.5
Weather: Very windy with some rain
High Temp: 16
Low Temp: 8
Sheep spotted: 500,000

New Zealandisms:
Takeaway = To go (food at a restaurant)
Boot = trunk
Zed = Z (the letter. Instead of saying NZ, they say NZed)
Give Way = Yield
Works End = End Construction

Denise Says:

Hello from Hamilton.

What a great day! We spent 10 hours in the car, but it was well worth the time. We left our cute little hotel in Rotorua about 8:00 this morning and began the long journey to Hamilton. Our first stop was the top of the mountain overlooking Lake Rotorua. Not fantastic. There wasn't much to see.

Last night I found a brochure for The Redwoods at Whakarewarewa Forest just outside of Rotorua. There are several walks (from 30 minutes to 8 hours) through beautiful forest including redwoods that were planted here in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Best of all, it's free. So we made our way to the forest and wandered around for a little while. It was very serene among the tall trees. Then we drove up the street to the Blue and Green Lakes (also a part of the Whakarewarewa Forest) to take a few quick pictures.

Next was the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. It was neat, but we're not big fans of paying to look at nature. It provided some fun pictures and a decent walk. We continued south to Taupo stopping at Huka Falls just north of town. The falls were actually wild rapids that dropped about 20 feet at the end. They were pretty cool, but the town of Taupo and the north end of Lake Taupo weren't much to talk about. It was pretty cold, windy, and threatening rain so that may have tainted my opinion of the area.

We decided to keep going, driving south along the eastern shore of Lake Taupo. At first it looked like the weather was going to ruin any attempt at picture taking, but as we drove the skies began to clear and we began to see how beautiful the lake actually is. We rounded the lake at the southern end and drove north toward Hamilton. This is where things started to get interesting. We were driving through the heart of the North Island, surrounded by sheep and cows. The landscape was phenomenal. From time to time Aaron would slam on the breaks and pull over to the shoulder; I would jump out, run back up the road and snap a picture or two. It was great. I've never seen such amazing scenery. For hours we oohed and ahhed over each twist of the road (and there were lots of twists!).

Now we're in Hamilton (free wireless internet in the room again!) and eagerly waiting for tomorrow's expedition to the depths of the earth. Can't wait to tell you all about it.


Aaron Says:

Howdy from the colorful land of New Zealand.

Today was a very long travel day. Instead of taking the direct route back to Hamilton from Rotorua, which is about 2 hours, we took the long way...about 10 hours.

We started the morning off with a drive to the top of the large hill near Lake Rotorua. We got to the top to find that there were no views to be found. We would have had to go into the restaurant to get any views. Bummer. We grabbed some pictures on the way down the hill, and headed to a nearby Redwood forest.

The forest was very cool, I'm sure the pictures speak for themselves. Here's a quick recap of the rest of the day: We stopped at a geothermal park. After paying $25 NZ each, we got in and saw boiling water. Ha. The pictures are better than that, but the rain clouds kind of matched our mood as we headed south to Lake Taupo.

Huka Falls was outstanding. The town of Taupo was pretty blah. The lake didn't even look that cool due to high wind and rain. We kept moving south along the lake, and as we did the sun started to come out and the views of the lake were outstanding. Driving along the southern end of Lake Taupo and back up the other way was well worth the 10 hour travel day. The pictures we got are outstanding. The colors everywhere are bright and vivid. It is truly a visual feast. One thing you may notice from the pictures, it is hard to find any flat land around here. All of the land seems "folded". Take a close look at the pictures and see if you agree.

Two successive street names seen on our drive presented here for your enjoyment:

The hotel here once again has wireless internet, so I'm happy about that. Also, it seems to be a custom to give you a carton of milk when you check in to the hotel. Odd! I prefer mints on a pillow.

Tomorrow it's Black Water Rafting day! We can't wait.

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