Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Zealand 2010: Auckland to Rotorua (Sunday, February 14)

Written in the room in Rotorua, 10:58 pm on Tuesday, February 16

After breakfast, we packed and checked out, left our bags at the hotel desk, and caught the shuttle back to the airport to get our rental car for the rest of the trip.  Mom had done all the driving when we went to Ireland, but she’s letting me do much of it on this trip.

Aiee!  Left side of the road!

It has proven a bit difficult to get used to driving on the left side of the road.  Without really realizing it before, I now see that I track the left side of the lane when driving an American car, so I started off doing the same here in New Zealand.  But from the opposite side of the car, that is hard to judge, so I kept drifting onto the shoulder.  (Two days later, I’m getting much better.  I did once lapse into right side driving, but quickly fixed myself.)

The other oddity with this driving is that the wiper and signal controls are switched from where I’m used to (opposite sides of the steering column), so every time I try to signal, I turn on the wipers instead.  (Fortunately, it is being drippy in Rotorua, so that’s less of a problem than it might be.)

Before leaving Auckland, we had kebabs at Kebabs on Queen, and drinks from a local “dairy” (the local name for a convenience store).  I had a Frank brand Tangy Blood Orange soda; it doesn’t taste any different from a regular orange soda.  We then caught coffee from The Coffee Club.

We drove south from Auckland about 90 minutes to Hamilton, switched drivers, and then another hour-plus east to Rotorua.  Rotorua is on a crater lake, the second largest lake on the North Island.  In the 1800s, it was home to the Pink and White Terraces, fabulous calcite pools formed by the geothermal activity; one mention we saw referred to them as the 8th Wonder of the World, but lots of things dubbed themselves that.  The Terraces were destroyed in 1886 by a massive eruption that killed 120 people nearby.

We are staying at the Marama Resort, a Worldmark timeshare property.  It is actually on the far side of the lake from Rotorua, about a 15-20 minute drive; it is closer to the village of Mourea.  I drove into Rotorua that evening, just to scope things out.

Internet access is only available at the registration office.  They have WiFi, but I have to hang out over by the closed-at-night office, either on their stoop or in a parked car. Annoying.

Updated on March 11, 2010
Added links.
Added travel map.
Updated on April 2, 2010
Changed travel map to a live one.
Updated on May 18, 2010

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