7 February 2018
After a successful introduction to New Zealand it was time to get on the road. The drive from Auckland to Rotorua should only be 3 hours assuming you take the most direct route, but then again when do we ever take the direct route?
The day started easily enough, we checked out and drove from Auckland down to Hamilton. Once in Hamilton we walked along the river and briefly in town. From there we planned to take the scenic route to visit sights southwest of Hamilton. Instead of following a map we plugged it into the GPS and instead of taking the quickest route we doubled what should have been a 90 minute drive. We ended up winding through the mountains where there are far more cows than people. When the GPS said we arrived we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere. Eventually we got back on track and found our first stop, Marokopa Falls.
Luckily the falls were quite impressive and an easy walk from the car park.
Mangapohue Natural Bridge, our next stop, was only a few minutes down the road. Again an easy walk and a great display of nature helped easy the pain of a long day in the car.
We will be staying in Rotorua, a good center point for exploring the areas tourist sights including Tauranga, Taupo, Hobbiton, and the sights along Thermal Explorer Highway.