Being on my second road trip now (I actually wrote this on the trip two weeks ago) I realize I haven’t written about my first (small) road trip. At the second weekend of August Elysia, Nathan, Dan and me rented a car to spent the weekend in the area of Coromandel, which is on the east coast, about a two hour drive from Auckland.
We started early Saturday and stopped for various scenic places, like a waterfall (where I did a lot of nice photos) and some old trees (which were kind of disappointing). In the afternoon we arrived at our hostel, which turned out to be a really nice place (and only 25$/night) less than 100m away from the ocean. We did BBQ for dinner and went to a local bar later in the evening where a live band was playing. On a side note: as Elysia even mentioned in her own blog, Dan and me lost 3 rounds of pool in a row against team Canada (Elysia and Nathan) :P We’ll practice and beat them sometime!
We ended the day by sitting on the beach and enjoying the ocean for a while. The next morning we visited a place called Cathedral Cove, which was approximately a 30min hike away from the parking lot. The Cove turned out to be less interesting than I thought, but we spent a long time at the “Stingray Bay” which we passed on our way. It is a beautiful little bay with a beach, where we (especially Nathan and me) took a “shit ton” (an expression I caught up from Alison) of photos.
Around midday we proceeded to the “hot water beach”, an interesting geothermal phenomena. Basically there is a really hot rock underneath the beach and when you dig a hole in the sand on the right place, it fills with water from the ocean which gets warm pretty fast. In other words: you can dig your own hot pool! That was really cool… although the bottom of our pool was so hot that we had to be careful to not burn our selfs! After a while our hot pool experience was ended by sudden rain and we were glad to be dry and back in the car, driving back to Auckland.
Oh yeah, I forget to mention, I was driving… a white Nissan Sunny with way to little power (I’m pretty sure it was less than 50 horse power). I was quite excited about finally driving in New Zealand and also a little scared about driving on the “wrong” side. While my driving was fine (it turned out to be easier than I thought to drive on the left side) on the way to Coromandel and on the way back until right before Auckland, I failed embarrassingly while driving back into the city. Although I keep telling myself that it’s normal to mess up a little when driving in the dark in a big city and on the “wrong” side of the road, there is no excuse for missing the exit (Elysia still makes fun of me for not passing the straight line to make the exit… I just thought it’s better to refrain from my bad German driving habits on my first NZ drive :P), driving on a bus lane and turning into the opposite direction lane at an intersection -.- Nevertheless, we arrived safely at our apartment and returned a quite dirty, but undamaged car at the rental place.
Another word about driving in New Zealand: we drove on so called gravel roads, featuring varying amounts of gravel and mud (that’s why our car was so dirty). I’m pretty sure most people in Germany would turn around when they would end up on such a road, because there is a good chance you have done something wrong then :P Anyway, here it seems to be a normal thing. We were glad though that we payed the extra 2$/day for tire and windshield insurance.
Sorry for the amount of text… and for the delay… I hope I’ll get up the post(s) on the South Island trip sooner.
And now: enjoy the pictures:
Yeah, a couple of people actually started singing that song at the farm today :P
The farm was approximately a 20 minute bus ride away from the university. In fact it was more of a park than a farm… huge area with beautiful landscape… a lot of trees and plants we also have in Germany, but also stuff like palm trees, because New Zealand has more of a subtropical climate. I’m still mad at me for not bringing my camera today -.-
Anyway… they showed us how to milk a cow and how easily one can make butter out of milk by just shaking a jar of milk with marbles in it (took a while though). And this butter tasted really good! A lot better than the stuff they sell in supermarkets.
Next “lecture” about “life on a farm” was shearing a sheep… but I felt really sorry for the sheep, because it was trying to get away all the time and this guy shearing the sheep had to be really rough to make it work… at the end the sheep was even bleeding…
But all this stuff was not that interesting for me… because most of my life I lived in small towns with lots of farm land around… so I already knew that cows aren’t purple :P
At the end it got more interesting: free BBQ :) And they had a lot of food… so much that we were allowed to take the leftovers… oranges, sausages, toast… we got plenty of stuff (here are two of my favorite PHD comics about “free food”: first, second).
Overall it was a nice day… and I’m kind of tired now, although it is 9 p.m.! :P