December 24, 2016 - January 11, 2017
That was our overall vacation, but since I'm just getting to this, I'll take it by smaller chunks. Today we are looking at arrival in Auckland to Tongariro Alpine Crossing
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="640"] So weird being a passenger on the left side of the car! And crazy for Matthew to get used to driving on the right of the car and left lane on the road! He did great![/caption]
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Huge hedges of agapanthus every where![/caption]
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Found a little park to stop at while Matthew got some rest.[/caption]
Arriving in Hamilton we had some time before needing to be at our AirB&B, so we went to Lake Rotoroa. There is a nice pathway around it, so we enjoyed the fresh air, birds, and flowers and saying 'hello' to everyone we passed just to hear them say it back!
The next day: Waitomo glow worm caves
These next pictures are out of order. The board walk ones and Soda springs came first. The girl in the red jacket is Lilia from South Korea. She was staying in the other room at Jude's house and asked to hike with us. It was a really cool experience to get to know her!This, I guess, is Mt. Doom from Lord of the Rings.="In case of eruption, climb to high ground along the ridges of previous lava flows."The sulfur was pretty strong in some areas!Soda Springs, photo credits to Lelia1,000 of people out there that beautiful day!Interesting lava formationsOne of the basinsHaving a language barrier was a new experience for me. Lelia's English was really good, but sometimes I had to find more basic words to explain things.
The crossing is just over 19 kilometers (12 miles). Basically going up for 6 and then down for 6 miles! This was the view going down.
Steam from some vents.This stream was strangely murky.Finally back in the shade of trees and a tangle of bushes.This tall rail bridge was on our way back to town. We stopped here to vlog about taking hitch hikers from one 'carpark' to another. We had parked at the far one and taken the shuttle in the morning. So we hiked back to our rental car. Driving out from the carpark one Spaniard guy and a couple from France were trying to get back to the parking lot where we started hiking. Matthew tripped out a little since it was his first time picking up hitchhikers! It was a fun experience that we got to repeat once later in our trip.I think anything would have tasted amazing after all day hiking in the fresh New Zealand air and full sun but this rack of lamb with local roasted veggies was a winner dinner! Had fun chatted with our server about the root veggies on islands being quite superior!