Our first day in NZ was big on getting organised. Pick up the car – A Blue Ford Focus – a NZ mobile and that sort of stuff. We noticed that the CBD and specifically Queenstreet was very busy, hurried and incredibly loud. When we talk about the CBD do not for a moment imagine anything like an inner city downtown thing in Europe. Just highrise offices and some high rise apartment blocks. Auckland does not have a nice cool interesting inner city area. Auckland is essentially a group if small towns that has grown together to become a conglomerate that is now one city. Big corporates are there, but not much fun. However if you know the way you can get some really good food there. We ate at the Sushi factory. It is one of my old favourites, where sushi rolls in frotn of you on a track, all fresh and lovely. Our love for sushi was indulged completely.
After that we drove to Mission Bay to relax a little and talk through our plans. We sat on the Belgian Beer Cafe balcony. Mission Bay nice and a lot more peaceful than the inner city and from the balcony you have a pretty good view. In the evening P and her man took us out to dinner to one of their favourite places. Clevedon Oysters were very good at this place.
After tow days Auckland we decided to drive south to Taupo. It was amazing to see friends, but as it had been my hometown I noticed that I could not relax and stayed in work mode. To much akin to normal life I guess. Not that I feel I’d want to go back there (good news) but I need to relax and I could not.
From the part of Auckland where we were staying to Taupo is a 3-4 hours drive. On the way to Taupo we stopped at Sylvia Park shopping centre. SO entered official kiwidude qualifications when he bought his flipflops. In all honesty he is more and more entereing dude stages due his unshaven look and buff headpiece. We’ll call him Pirate Pete We both purchased a buff and love the holiday look, but he looks much better in it than I do.
We booked a hotel when traveling. We used Travelbug . We decided to go slightly upmarket to allow for to to completely overcome our jetlag. In part as I am not feeling well at present. I am not really ill, but I am definitely off colour. coughing, sneezing etc. I guess it is a follow on from tradition. I was sick on our wedding night and now on our honeymoon ;-(. I assume it is just a cold and stress and hope that a few good night will bring me back to life.
As we traveled here to Taupo yesterday we decided to take it easy today. We went to visit Orakei Korako It is a gyser theme park with obviously geysers, but also mudpools, and multicoloured terraces. The latter are always pretty but this time no bright blue stripes to highlight the colours. The colours on the terraces depend on the salts being formed, algae in bloom and whatever is coming up through soil and precipitation. It always changes and shifts.What was disappointing was that you could not enter the cave and move down to the water anymore. In the past you could. Steep walk down and back up. Clearest water ever, before you knew it your feet were wet as you did not notice the water there. Now there is some kind of viewing stage which allows you to look down into the cave. I do admit I did not see it. SO went there on his own as my breathing was simply too restricted due to my cold. and the sulfurous vapours. So I did not make it to the top of the hill
After Orakei Korako we went into Taupo town. We had a nice lunch there. Even here we saw the impact of the earthquake in Christchurch. We had lunch at an Irish pub and SO ordered Guiness The barman told us they were getting low on their Guiness stock and it being close to St. Paddy;’s day this was a concern. However the NZ Guiness needs to be shipped from Chrischurch and this was not looking possible before the big Irish day.
After lunch we bought some life essentials (shampoo etc) and I have to admit I was tired then. We went back to our room and I slept for a few hours. My cough is getting worse and that means that my energy levels are low. We are staying in Taupo for two more nights as we like the room/hotel and because we are in no hurry. We have agreed to meet E. in Wellington coming weekend and really this is the only plan we currently have.