April 8th and 9th
On Tuesday we headed up from Taupo to Hamilton.We drove via a very nice highway. The highways here remind me of America in the 1950s.Most we drove on were two lane and of course driving on the left side always. We kept telling each other look right... look right even when walking across a street. Most highways are 100 kilometers speed limit ( About 60 MPH in America). We went though towns with names like..Wairakei, Putaruru and Tirau, to get to Hamilton.There are roadside Cafes along the way at nice intervals and in all the small towns.
I know a framer in Hamilton via a framers chat room. His name is Lance and he owns a place called Imageland. Imageland has a downtown store and a workshop/ store in another location. We met him at his workshop store. He showed us around and I learned some interesting things we can use in our shop when I get back. He was very generous with his time. He said: Ok now let me show you the downtown store ( the main operation) We piled into his tiny Bright Yellow Suzuki Van. Lance told us about the balloons that would be going up the next morning ( one with the name of their business on it) . We saw some in the morning before we left.He also showed us the race way (track) that happens once a year through the streets of Hamilton. He is very much into motor sports. The track winds around close to his workshop. All the businesses in the area of the race track ( city streets ) will be closed or very hard to get to next week for 3 days ..as they will have concrete barriers in front of all driveways. He said many businesses are kinda upset that they will lose business during that time ( I can understand ).
Lance is around 30 or so and had just got married on April 5th. The yellow mini van has red writing with the name of his store at and angle. He showed us a pedestrian bridge right next to where the raceway is... that him and 8 or 9 .... other( Suzuki van club owners of these little vans were going to race on during the big race coming up ( and not exactly legally). YIKES that bridge walkway looked pretty skinny ..but he assured us it was wide enough. Anyway we rattled through the streets and got to his main store downtown. It was very nice..a long thin store interior . They do a lot of cameras and photography and wide format printing as well as framing. We went back to his other store and said our farewells.
The next morning the 9th we got up and decided to travel to the up highway 1 towards Auckland. We stopped at a cute place for breakfast ( a combination paint your own pottery and cafe) New Zealand is full of cute cafes. I willl post a few pictures. Then on to the west coast ( Taisman Sea area) We drove a very windy rose (some gravel) to Port Waikato. A very tiny port indeed. Got some refreshments at the little store and drove just a little further to a small reserve /garden and had a picnic lunch at the reserve ( pictures will show) We then and headed back up towards Auckland.The we stopped in Pukekohe to look around and do a little shopping.
We checked out our route to the airport again and stopped in a town called Papatoetoe for the night.
In the morning we leave at 8 AM.
New Zealand Observations:
Beautiful countryside. Steep hills rolling green vegitation Weather was fantastic the whole time ..but they said they do get plenty of rain. Some places look just like the States.
Favorite place for Bob and I was the Karangahake gorge and the road to Waihi Beach and of course our ride on the sailboat.
Diet Coke... and COFFEE...I was happy it with Diet Coke it was plentiful was just like home ;)
Poor Bob every time he orders coffee it has milk in it. He had to make a point of saying BLACK coffee.
Motels. Many we stayed in were older straight from the 50s or 60s in the America. Every motel gave us the key and offered a small pint of milk when we checked in. Milk in tea and coffee is big here. :) They were all clean and all hotels and motels do not allow smoking in the rooms ...so they were fresh smelling. We had to use adapters for all the plug-ins.
The People : ..were all very friendly towards us even when we asked idiotic questions about which way was this or that place. They patiently helped us make change most every time with the New Zealand coins at stores.
Names of towns....wow what tongue twisters is all I can say!
What would we have done without Stanley. I named our GPS Stanley. We programed Stanley to find places but still got lost and we got really good at turning around when he said "Make a U turn when possible" in his New Zealand voice.
Round -A -Bouts: %$#&^% ROUND A BOUTS!!!!!!!! Oh my god! Stanley would say "Take the 3rd turn at the ROUND A BOUT..Cars are tuning in and out no stops signs just give way signs..It was like a maze of mice running around and around! We are getting better at them but dislike them non the less. Bob says the only thing those things are good for is making a legal U Turn.
Well we leave onto Adelaide at 8AM so I will sign off and we get some dinner hopefully at a nice little Cafe.
JUdy and Bob