26-10-2008 - Te Aroha

Travel blog about our trip to New Zealand in October/November 2008
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Lid geworden op: 15 sep 2012, 21:44

26-10-2008 - Te Aroha

Bericht door Pieter »

26 October 2008 - Te Aroha, New-Zealand

Here we are again. All’s well, we even have free internet … not the best in the world, but he! We left nice and early this morning, 8:10, because we had a long trip ahead of us, just over 300 km in order to get far enough below Auckland, and we did. We’re near the Coromandel peninsula now, mucked out the campervan, the laundry is in the washer and we’re all fresh and tight again after hitting the shower nice and early. The main advantage on being early at a campsite is that it’s quiet and the showers and toilets are fresh and clean.
We had some severe rain showers today and driven past the crowded urban areas around Auckland, but the further we came, the quitter it got. Even on a Sunday it is very busy in the Auckland area, luckily we weren’t there during weekdays. The landscape is flat around here, but the mountains are near and we already see landscapes that makes us think of the Shire from LOTR. Beautiful scenery with lots more cows than sheep (yummy, steaks!!), but that will change as we go further south.
It’s lamming season down in New Zealand and there are still more sheep than humans here.
As stated, an early departure. It was chilly, heavy rain showers followed by sunshine. The first part southbound was peaceful and quiet, but soon enough we reach the outer suburbs. First thing we noticed is that the standard of living is much higher near the big cities, way up north you could say that it was quite poor.
At 10:30 we made a stop in Helensville at “The Art Shop Café”, where we had a delicious cappuccino with liquid chocolate on top! Yum! Pieter had a slice of dark brown chocolate cake, with on top a dollop of buttery yellow cream … ow dear ( Tineke: my weight is going oke, but Pieter’s weight … I can’t guarantee :sad1: ). Also at the café was a very nice gallery with some delicate items.
Because children were very welcome at the café they had put up a warning sign in the gallery. It stated: “Children left unattended, will be given an espresso and a free puppy”. That will make you to think twice before you let your kids roam free, :lach1: .
At 12:00 we left the crowded roads around Auckland, back into the quiet countryside. We know it is a beautiful city, but I don’t regret missing out on it, the rural areas are doing it for me!!
Oke, I’m going to check on the laundry and pick up some dollar coins for the drier. Just a few facts, petrol costs around NZ$ 1.39 = € 0.70 (nice for us, not for you guys :-P ).
Pieter’s driving skills are unrivalled, the first few days were about getting to know the campervan, especially because of the length of it and because it’s an Fiat ( brand loyalty isn’t my strong point :knip1: ), but other than that, he’s got it all under control and cruises over the small mountain roads as if he never did anything else. Hats off, I would be scared shitless!
That’s enough from me, my back is protesting. Pieter has somethings left to tell and there is a thunderstorm coming, which is always nice to look at :-) . Dyan: I’ve got some prepaid cards and will call you at 9:30. We’ve got about half an hour or so, hope that’s enough??? Bye all!! (M)

As said, a thunderstorm comes down on us with lots of rain and hailstones, so my jacket, which was on the washing line for some airing has been washed as well. Too bad it isn’t dark yet in order to try and make some photos from the lightning strikes, but it’s a beautiful show that nature is putting on display.

It’s been a long trip today and an average of a 100 km/h isn’t possible over here, especially not when there are mackerel swimming on the road, so much water came pouring down during the rain showers. Normally it isn’t a problem to go 100 km/h on the state highways, but during the rains 70 km/h was more than enough. During the showers there were also some mean side winds, so both hands were needed on the steering wheel.
Despite the traffic around Auckland we made good progress, although we took a wrong turn somewhere. Maybe for the best, the road via the west isn’t as good as the highway on the east and soon enough we reached highway 1, where we crossed the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Once across it’s a maze of concrete and it takes all eyes in order to choose the right lane. Luckily I’ve got an excellent navigator ( very unusual for a woman ) so we didn’t get lost in the concrete jungle.
We looked at some places to eat along the road and found that the money is here for the taking, if only you take care of some signs along the road and make sure your place looks inviting and open for business. Many of the places we saw looked to be closed or only noticed them when we just passed them, even when we were looking for some lunch.
We’re close to Matamata now, this is where they filmed the scenes for the Shire in LOTR and tomorrow we will try to make some photos in the area. We don’t intend to visit the film location itself, because it’s nothing more than some holes in the ground and it costs big money. What a clever Dickey :lach2: . Later this week we’ll be near Mount Doom and if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to take some photos there, hopefully the clouds will be gone by then. Below there is a link to find out about all the film locations for LOTR.

http://scrapbook.theonering.net/scrapbo ... /view/6752

Rotorua, also called sulphur city because of the smell of sulphur in the air, is our next target. Here is where Mother Nature is cooking up al kind of stuff, from bubbling mud pools to geysers. Needless to say we’ll be making lots of photos and even some film.
I’ll stop for now, there’s an inch thick sirloin waiting for me to be turned into a steak sandwich and her indoors goes for some Wieners. Time to eat before we’re totally wasted by our drinks :lach2: . Everybody says drinks are expensive here (vodka and rum), but a 1 litre bottle of the stuff costs € 24, so long live life :knip2: . In the Netherlands a bottle off 75 centilitre of Bacardi or Smirnoff cost about € 28. We chose for rum and vodka because wine and beer would take too much space in the fridge, which isn’t too big as well.
Los Ballos all, we’ll be writing soon. (P)

It’s me again (M), I wanted to add something about the camper park where we’re at. It’s a beautiful spot with some very old trees and flowering shrubs. Very quiet besides all the noise from the sparrows … but that’s all fun! The owner, Anna Blättler, is from Swiss origins and took over this campsite in 1990. With the help of just one cleaning lady she’s managing the site all on her own. The campsite has a three star rating, understandable maybe, but when we arrived this afternoon everything was spotlessly clean and tidy.
The three stars are about the facilities, which is oké for the people that judge the sites, but they are more than adequate although not super luxury. There. Just some advertising for Anna! ( she mowed the whole campsite today, so she could go skiing on Tuesday; where?? I wouldn’t know!! )

Well, phooey, the laundry hangs … out of the drier … onto the line, the steering wheel and the gear stick. Now to keep an eye on the weather :sad1: Hooray for camper life when it rains!! (M)
Don't put your mouth into motion, before your brain is in gear.

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