A view of the ocean along the highway 1 in New Zealand
Early flight from Australia to New Zealand with a three hour time change. We were lucky enough to get a rental car although we had been told by phone earlier that one wasn’t available. We left Australia a day early since we decided to leave from Brisbane istead of Sydney. It is a good thing we did leave from Brisbaneas there is no way we could have seen as much as we did had we had to make the drive back to Sydney. Our hotel, near the airport, wasn’t anything special but easy to find. We drove into central Auckland which is situated on a bay but it is not nearly as spectacular as Sydney. It is also very hilly with many of those hills called volcano cones. There are still active volcanoes around New Zealand.
We left Auckland fairly late and entered Highway 3, then 26 which skirted some spectacular scenery on a pennisula. I love it when a road follows the ocean and we were very close to it on a two land highway. The vegetation is tropical looking with unusual looking palm trees but few ecualyptus. Lots of green and gold rolling hills with many denuded of trees and the ocean was a beautiful color-turquoise/blue with a smoky look to it from glacial work I am sure. There was quite a bit of traffic as it turns out that this is the celebration of the day a treaty was signed with the Maoris, which some say now was not fair. The Maories were fairly war-like with infighting between tribes and the killing and eating of ten of Captain Cook’s men at one point. They seemed to have held their own when the English arrived. We saw the small town of Thames and several other old mining towns and ended at Waili Beach. We had trouble finding a place without a reservation but finally got a B&B from a really nice man right on the beach. The weather is much cooler here which is such a delight after the heat of Australia. There is always a breeze blowing here as well.
After a nice breakfast on the terrace of the B&B over-looking the ocean and a friendly talk with the owners, we set off for Rotorua. On the way we stoppped at a dormant volcano and climbed to the top-a very hot climb-and Maurice swam in the ocean, something he did anytime we were on a beach. It’s a great beach and off the beaten path. When we arrived at Rotorua there was a slight odor of sulpher in the air. Our hotel, a Quality Inn Geyserland, is looking a little worn but our room looked right out on a great area with geysers, steam and bubbling mud. About 5:30 PM we drove to nearby Waiki Pool and sat in a hot pool, which was naturally warmed by a boiling hot water source. We could see the steam rising above the trees before we arrived. The water felt great with the air being in the 70’s.
What we saw from the terrace of the B&B. Maurice swam in this water as well.
The geyser and bubbling mud that we could see from our hotel in Rotorua.
The steam rising from a hot spring near the pool where we swam.