Thursday, May 16, 2013

New Zealand Touring: Ups And Down

We drove a heck of a lot today, mainly along the nicely-publicized Twin Coast Discovery Highway, without actually covering a lot of ground. We drove a lot of curvy roads and once in awhile the scenery justified the efforts. New Zealand roads, by the way, tend to be both curvy and hilly, and we’ve lost track of the numbers of one-lane bridges we’ve encountered along the way; the Kiwis have figured out that it’s much more cost-effective to build a one-lane bridge and make drivers accountable for sharing it equitably.

We paid a bit extra for a GPS unit, and our rental also comes with a tourist-oriented GPS, also attached to the windshield, that plays soft rock and announces tourist information (and clearly paid advertisements) when we arrive at a given place.

It also offers advice wheneven Brian exceeds the speed limit by as little as five kilometers (three miles) per hour with a nasty bell. The GPS also offers motherly advice when we’ve driven two hours that it’s time for a rest.

Thank you Nanny!

Today we stopped at some well-publicized glowworm caves but the next 45-minute tour was 25 minutes later so we drove on. We then stopped at the site where the Maoris signed a treaty with the British. For 25 dollars each we could tour the site but we were too late for the cultural shows ordinarily included in admission so we passed on that opportunity as well.

We’ve camped tonight between the towns of Paihia and Kaitaia. It’s a little campground that looks a lot better in the publicity that it does in actuality.

By now you’ve possibly gotten the idea that today has not been a peak experience for us in any  way. Still, we’re  sitting quite comfortably in our van drinking Shiraz and eating spaghetti, so all is well.

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