I have been on my fair share of road trips, and I previously don't even know if I would qualify four short days of driving as a road trip. However, there is no way that these four days of driving on the wrong side of the road in a foreign country cannot constitute as a road trip. After only a few hours, we gave up with all the conversions, because what fun is this math problem?:
If Becca and Dennis are driving 4.5 hours at 95km/hr and gas is 3.15 New Zealand dollars per liter, how many kiwis do they have to pick to pay for gas?
But really, it wasn't all that bad. Driving on the other side of the road makes a lot more sense to me now. In fact, if I were to spontaneously arrive in the US behind the wheel of a car, I reckon y'all should run for your lives.
On our little trip, we drove from Auckland down to Otorohanga where we were able to take part in a tour for the spectacular Waitomo caves. Definitely a huge recommendation from us. From the boat ride, hard hats, head torches, and stalactites/stalagmites as far as the eye could see, I felt like a real-life spelunker. It's a bit hard to see from these pictures, but there are WORMS that GLOW and cover the entire ceiling in these caves, quite reminiscent of the night sky. Thinking about it for too long can be a bit creepy, but the experience is incredible.
From Otorohanga, we drove down to the little town of Rotorua, a truly gorgeous place situated right on Lake Rotorua (quite original in their naming). We checked into the Rotorua Downtown Backpackers where we were blessed with FREE WIFI (whaat??) and some pretty rad Indian food. Our original plan was to leave the next day and stay in Taupo, but we liked it so much in Rotorua that we decided it was a necessity to stay another night. (Pretty hard to turn down free wifi right there in your own room.) We got to watch some good ol' American movies from the comfort of our own room (the driving scenes about drove me bonkers). But to top all that, we found some pretty bomb walking paths around the Lake Rotorua, more black swans than you could ever hope to see in the entirety of your life, and a pretty cool street fair, complete with pony rides for all the thickly-accented-kiwi-children.
After our second night in Rotorua, we drove just about 35 kilometers to Kerosene Creek. "What in tarnation could that be?", you ask? Why just a little hot spring creek that is just around 30 degrees Celsius ALL THE TIME. (Ahem, about 86ish Farenheit.) The rotten-egg-sulfur smell leaves a bit to be desired, but after some dreary drizzle and constant cold weather, nothing could be better. From Kerosene creek, we drove to Taupo and enjoyed a little picnic lunch overlooking the parasailers in Lake Taupo, and drove on down to Wellington. The next day we hopped on the ferry to take us to the South Island of NZ and have thus embarked on a new adventure.
The ferry takes you through the Cook Strait and into a quaint little town called Picton where we spent two days enjoying some bike rides, an on-site hot tub, FREE WIFI (yip yip yip), and the company of many like-minded travelers. And, just a couple of days ago now, we hitchhiked into Blenheim where we are currently in the process of finding jobs to continue our travels. It seems as though Blenheim is very much a working town for backpackers and we are presented with quite a few options, assuming we can find a job opening. There is mussel shucking, vineyard pruning, or working in a salt or garlic factory. With such a variety in opportunities, I'm sure we'll have some great stories to tell. Ain't no one can say we're leading boring lives down here!