Wednesday November 28th, 2007 (Picton to Wellington to Ohakune)
We started off the day on an Interisland Boat Ride from Picton to Wellington. We didn’t do much on the boat; I watched a movie and took a few pictures, and Kacey slept (she had been really tired lately). Once we got in, we got the rental and got going on the road. We hadn’t made much of a decision of where we were going, just roughly toward the central part of the island, probably around Tongariro National Park. Once we reached Bulls, this is where the highway split and we needed to make a decision. As Kacey was just sleeping the whole way, I woke her up once in town. We were hoping to get information packets on the parks, but could not find anything. So with the information we had, we decided to head toward Ohakune and the National Park. We got to Ohakune after much driving and started looking for a place with internet as we wanted to plan the next couple days. We found the Hobbit Motorlodge after driving for a few minutes and they had a vacancy sign with a wireless internet sign. We stopped in, got a room, and asked about dinner. We ended up going to town, filling with fuel, buying a couple groceries, eating at the Mountain Rock Café, and going to bed (after some internet time of course). Dinner was pretty good and since it was not ski season, it was mostly locals just hanging out.
Pictures from Wednesday can be found here.
Thursday November 29th, 2007 (Ohakune to Hamilton)
We got up and headed toward Tongariro National Park and stopped in the Whakapapa Village for some information. We got information for a couple hikes, but as Kacey was not feeling to well, we went to Tawhai Falls and got going. We had a lot of nice views of the volcanoes as we drove, so we stopped for pictures along the way. As we approached Turangi, we stopped for some views of Lake Taupo (map). We stopped in Turangi for some lunch at the Mustard Seed Café. The sandwiches would have been better toasted, but we moved around Lake Taupo toward Taupo. In Taupo we stopped at the doctor to make sure Kacey was ok. Turns out she wasn't tired from hiking and traveling for three weeks, she was pregnant! So as you can imagine, this is a most unique way and place to find out you are expecting, so we will probably never forget this day as long as we live. We then headed to Huka Falls. These were a little cheesy as it is a man-made falls and river that empties from Lake Taupo and it is used to generate electricity. We then headed across the road to Crater of the Moon Park. This was interesting as Kacey had not seen geothermal activity before. There was not much activity or water pools, but there was one bubbling mud pool. We got on the road for the two hour drive to Hamilton. When we arrived, we drove to the place we were hoping might be available, the Barclay. It was, and it was a pretty big and nice room. After some dinner at Pasta Mia, which was pretty good, we got to bed.
Pictures from Thursday can be found here.
Friday November 30th, 2007 (Hamilton to Waitmo to Auckland)
Today we got going pretty early and headed down SH3 toward Waitomo for our 10am tour of the Glowworm Caves. I had been looking forward to seeing the Glowworms. This was a pretty cool boat ride through the cave with a nice tour. At 11am, we then had a tour of Aranui Cave which is a dry cave, so no glowing worms. We stopped in Otorohanga for some lunch at the Copper Tree Café. We each got a small pizza that was not too bad. We then started the three hour journey to Auckland. Once we got near the city, traffic got very bad. Driving downtown was a nightmare as the streets are not straight, and many one ways and no turns made it take a while to figure out how to get to the hotel. At the City Life Auckland, we got put up on the 15th floor with some nice views. We walked through a few stores, ate dinner at the Middle East Café, and got some gelato down at the Harbour. We headed to the room to get ready for the long plane ride back home tomorrow.
Pictures from Friday can be found here.
Saturday December 1st, 2007 (Auckland to Honolulu to Denver to Indianapolis)
Tired, because we lived Saturday December 1st twice.