The day has finally arrived and we are going to New Zealand! We are extremely excited. We worked for most of today and then packed our bags and headed to Sydney at approximately 6pm. After what was a pretty average 3 hour drive to Sydney (as per usual), we arrived and stayed at the Ibis Budget in Mascot which is right near the domestic terminal. We like staying here and have done it a few times. It’s basic, cheap and close-by to the airport which suits multiple needs. There is also a McDonalds, KFC and Krispy Kreme right next door which is convenient but not great. It would be nice if there were decent restaurants around here. We went with a classic Maccas feed. The Big Mac Meal with an extra cheeseburger – really the best order you can make and we’ll challenge anyone who disagrees. This went down heavily as McDonalds usually does. We decided to go over to Krispy Kreme for an original glazed which would go down lovely for dessert. As we were waiting in line for our single original glazed, we were given a free one each. Naturally, as polite citizens of society we still all bought an original glazed. Good value, but also we were way too full after this.
We had a difficult, cramped and hot sleep in the Ibis budget and woke up at about 6:30am to start getting ready. We had a Sumo Salad for breakfast which was a nice change of pace after the heavy McDonalds meal last night and boarded our SYD – AKL flight. We had booked Air New Zealand and ended up on a budget airline called HiAir which was very clearly a budget airline with no on-demand entertainment. Luckily we had some Netflix shows preloaded on the Ipad. ‘Dark’ is a very entertaining German series and we would recommend it!
We arrived in Auckland and picked up our rental car. It is a very sweet and spacious SUV which would be perfect for our NZ adventure. We drove directly out of Auckland as we had heard it is just a typical city with not much to see to where we are currently staying which is a little town called Whenuakite on the Coromandel Peninsula on the North-East side of the North Island at a place called “SeaBreeze holiday park”. The drive was really nice for the most part. New Zealand’s north island is extremely green. The whole thing is made up of pasture after pasture with dairy cows everywhere. It’s quite scenic and lovely. The roads are windy and a bit scary at times.
(open pastures picture)
There is a craft brewery called Hot Water Brewing Co. that is located in the park which is really nice. We stopped in and had some dinner here. We ordered corn fritters and buffalo wings. The corn fritters were pretty excellent and the buffalo wings were good too but they were very spicy, as all good buffalo wings should be. Ronnie also ordered a tasting platter of craft beers – 5 different lagers. Some were good, some weren’t. One of them was peaches and cream flavoured beer. Not great.
After this we decided to go down to Hot Water Beach. It is about a 10 minute driver from where we are staying. It is a really nice beach that has caves and rocks on one side and crashing waves and beautifully coloured water on the other.
When it is low-tide at the beach (we missed it by about 2 hours) due to a natural phenomenon you can dig a hole in the sand and it fills with hot water and you can enjoy a nice warm bath. We walked up and down it and we put our feet in the water which was nice. As we were leaving we caught the sunset which was really beautiful.
We were about to head home and we heard some music coming from down in the valley so we decided to follow our ears and came across a different holiday park that had a stage set up with a band playing. We were definitely checking this out! They were also selling hot macadamias and Tacos from a van. We chilled here for a bit which was super laid back and cool. We bought some ice cream which had lollies in it that tasted nice and had a “pinky bar” which is a chocolate covered pink marshmallow bar with caramel which was delicious.
We came home from that and settled in for a nice sleep. This part of New Zealand has a sleepy, pretty laid back feel to it that is distinctly different from Australia – and we like that.
Ronnie & Aimee.