Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula

Look kids, it's Big Ben

February 26, 2005

Today is the day we got our first set of wheels. Craig was voted first driver and did a great job. It was very weird at first but I made sure I kept him on the left hand side of the road. Finally a country I can get on board with since left handed people are always being subjected to a right handed world in the States. We found that most of the cars are similar to ours, but with just different names. The car we hired (rented) is a Toyota Corsa. Craig kept thinking it was a Corsica when he spoke with the rental car company on the phone, close but no cigar.

On our way up towards Thames we stopped off to fill the tank up and I had my first "celebrity" sighting. Rudy from Survivor I was sitting in the convenience store enjoying a meat pie. What are the odds of that? On we go driving north and what a great drive it was. New Zealand has a big safe driving campaign going on so I kept seeing billboards which were in the design of a postcard and would say "To: Death From: Speeding" or "To: Hospital From: Drunk Driving". Things to make you go hmmm. During the drive we tried to decipher the road signs that would actually keep us out of the hospital. One being a Give Way sign. The sign itself is a circle with a black and red arrows, one being bigger than the other. Well as we zipped along the coast we noticed such a sign but had no clue what it meant as we weren't given any directions from the rental car company. We soon found out it was a one lane bridge and whomever had the smaller arrow on their side of the road was to give way(yield) to the other driver. Luckily as we sped( figuratively
speaking of course) onto the bridge we had the big arrow but we had to pull over to catch our breath after that one.

Overall the drive was amazing! The coastline is breathtaking and the town of Coromandel is cute and relaxed. We even had time to hit the beach for a couple of hours this afternoon. Dinner was takeaway(take out) of a burger for Craig and a veggie burger for me. The chips with sour cream were "primo", another NZ slang term we've picked up.

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