Friday: March 11, 2011:
After a great evening with Clive and Margaret, I somehow fell into bed and slept like the dead. Had a tornado gone overhead, I would not have been aware of it…..at all!! Sooooo tired, sooooo tired.
However, this morning….I did feel refreshed after a good hot shower……and some clean clothes. The 1st Lady also slept really well…..until about 5AM….and then she couldn’t sleep any longer……wrong time on the clock for her body, which was awake no matter what that clock said.
Clive had the table set……and, we had “ordered” just toast this morning…..and, he had gathered together several different kinds of jellies, syrups, lemon curd, etc., etc……and all four of us just sat there and enjoyed a great hour together over the coffee and tea cups.
It was all tooo quickly time to leave our “new” friends…….citizens of this beautiful country of New Zealand. Our Texas friend, Sally, was absolutely correct is saying that we would quickly bond and become friends with Clive and Margaret…..and we did just that.
Loading up the car….a Nissan Sunny of some age(??)…..we followed Clive/Margaret to the local AA(AAA in the U.S.)…..and picked up some brouchures and maps from them, as well as purchasing a needed plug for the NZ sockets….one that my European set did not have. Then……Clive/Margaret led the way out of Hamilton…..pulled over to the side and we all waved our goodbyes as we drove south on Highway 1, heading to Wellington, or at least part way there.
Our first stop was in the small town of Tirau……and we visited the Information office….and picked up a few other brochures. We then walked a couple of blocks down the street and then back to “Sunny”, stopping to pick up a quick, VERY hot cup of “filtered coffee”….their name for totally black coffee. WOW….was it ever hot.
Back in Sunny, we continued down the highway……traffic was quite heavy, and I felt a bit more secure today driving on the opposite side of the road. My main problem is when making a turn into an unmarked street and finding myself in the wrong lane, which to me is the right lane. I just have to remember to REMEMBER what I am doing when turning a corner.
From there, on southward and to our next stop at the Taupo area……where we stopped at Huka Falls. OMG…..just beautiful….the water soooo blue….and they are soooo gorgeous. Quite high to begin with, but coming down through this cut in the rocks they descend in steps until they roar on down the little chasm and out of sight. This is quite the touristy area with tour buses, lots of campervans(vans that are campers), and soooo many people.
We made a couple of other stops in the area…..and then it was back to the highway. The countryside is gorgeous…..first it was just rolling hills of ohhhh sooooo green colors….and then the forested areas began to appear on these hills, which turned into small mountains the further south we drove. Lots of cattle and milk cows at first…..and the further south, the more sheep we saw in the fields.
Lake Taupo was incredibly blue and very, very, very large…..miles across it. The town on the banks of the Lake was quite the tourist town…..and with many, many hotels and wonderful homes. Again…..people everywhere enjoying themselves in all ways with lots of activities, including sky jumping from airplanes above the area of the town. This is a place to revisit sometime……….looks like a great place to relax and have fun.
On down the road…….a couple of picture stops, a petrol stop…….and, get this!!! : At $2.18 per LITRE…..it was $8.75 per gallon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I do not want to hear any American complaining about the costs in the states…….however, diesel prices were quite a bit lower than in the states.
Another tidbit of info I learned from our friends in Hamilton…….that the minimum wage here in NZ if $14.00 per hour!!!!! Almost twice our minimum in the states………!
As the hour of the afternoon became later…..we began to think of stopping for the night. We did stop in Sanson, a very small town….and called a hostel about 30 miles nw of Wellington. Nope…they were full. Soooo, we looked around and spied a little motel…..Brooklyne Motel…..and we drove over there, inquired about a room….and soon were looking over a small little apt……a double bed, single bed, kitchen with all the things needed stored in it, toiled and shower, plus closet, and great tv…..but, no internet service here.
The cost?? $84NZ……minus about 25% of that in US dollars. We had stopped at the little town before we arrived here at a grocery store. Purchasing some sliced ham, cheese, freshly baked WARM bread, crackers, biscuits(cookies are what we call them), some apples and other fruit, mustard, etc., etc. Soooo, after getting the key to the little home-away-from-home, we also were given fresh milk in a cute little pitcher, some potato chips, and she told us there was coffee, tea, hot chocolate mix, and a few other things in our kitchen for our use. A really very lovely lady she was!!!!
Sooooo, for some strange reason all of the pictures from the past two days were deleted off of my camera!!!!! DAMN, DAMN!!!! Sure upset about that, but what can you do??? Sure am not going to drive back and do the trip again, but I did have some lovely pictures of the Huka Falls and that area…..and so, to say the least I am DAMN UPSET!!!!!!
Soooo, more pictures to be taken tomorrow and saved quickly!!! We plan to go into Wellington tomorrow……hopefully see the great museum that is there in the capital city of NZ…..as well as just look around this city. From here on Sunday morning, we take the 3.5 hour ferry trip with Sunny over to the south island, unloading and driving from the town of Picton. This is supposed to be an incredibly beautiful trip…..and I do hope the rains do not appear!!!!
OK…….even with the strange happening with my camera……this has been just a fabulous day!!!! And…….as always…..
LIFE IS JUST INCREDIBLY GREAT!!!!!…..And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!
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