Sunday, November 27, 2011

Kia Ora Taupo!

Day 4 (Wed, 23 Nov 2011)

Rotorua to Porirua (just before Wellington): 444km

We had a long drive ahead of us so we started out nice and early. However, driving on State Highway 1 turned out to be a breeze. The road conditions are excellent and we made great time.

We made a stop at Lake Taupo, about one hour on. At 616 square kilometres, Lake Taupo is the largest lake in NZ - almost the size of Singapore! We stopped at a scenic lookout to view Huka Falls.

Also at the Lake Taupo area is the Huka Honey Hive. Here, we tasted all types of local honey. Our favourite was the Rewarewa Honey - it's creamy and thick and not too sweet. I imagine it would taste heavenly on toast, better than kaya.

It's never too cold for ice-cream! This one is honey flavoured, of course.

We stopped at a little cafe at Turangi for lunch. It's a tiny town and they obviously don't get many tourists as we received many stares. We love their cafes. All their pies, quiches and cakes are twice the size of those back home and appetisingly displayed in glass shelves.

Steak pies, sandwiches, burgers and chips are common fare. For dessert, we're also discovering that the New Zealanders love caramel and meringues. You can find chocolate caramel flavours in cookies, cakes, chocolate, muffins and fudge. Pavlovas too, make frequent appearances.

Then it was more driving through very scenic countryside. When we stopped at a scenic lookout along the way, a tour bus rolled up and some tourists alighted. Then we heard, "Hello Chief!" It was one of the tourists from the Te Puia group yesterday!

We saw this scene where half the sky was bright blue and the other half was white. It's like God took a paintbrush and hadn't finished painting in the blue portion.

Our next pit stop was at another little town called Bulls and we were so glad we stopped there cos it's just so darn cute! The townsfolk played with the image of the bull and even the word Bulls throughout the town.

The signposts are simply hilarious!

We made it to our motel just outside Wellington, 2 hours ahead of schedule. We stayed at AAA Mana Motel in a little town of Porirua which is just before Wellington city. We had a 1-bedroom apartment that was very clean, comfortable and spacious. What we didn't know though was that it was next to a railway line so every now and then, we would hear the rumbling of the train.

It didn't really bother us though. We were out like a light that night!

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