Taupo to Wellington!!!
06.30.2010 60 °F
Our first stop out of Rotorua was Lake Taupo. About an hour and a half drive. Now, I had been to Taupo before with my friend Aki as we were passing through for me to get to Wellington. So I was already familiar with it. However, Curtis and I would just be driving through. Our first glimpse:
We stopped for lunch here. We went to Burger Fuel. A chain of restaurants quite popular in New Zealand and Australia as well.
Curtis and his stupid L&P.
Here was one of the signs in the bathroom:
They pretty much say what they mean in New Zealand. For example:
You won't find a sign like that in the states!!!
A few photos of the town and lake:
As you leave Taupo you go around the lake and up the mountain which makes for some spectacular views:
From this point on, Curtis and I would be taking "The Forgotten World Highway". It was recommended to me from a friend that I met in New Zealand. We met up again while I was in Australia and she told me all about it and how it's a must do. It takes you to a town called "Whangamomona". Pronounced Fun-guh-mum-uh-nuh. Crazy, I know. But it's the only part of New Zealand that is NOT part of New Zealand. It declared itself a republic back in the day. You can go there and actually get your passport stamped!!! As soon as she told me this I was all over it. I told Curtis about it and we stopped at an information center to get more info and it even has it's on pamphlet!!! It looked really awesome so we decided to go ahead and drive it.
Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side at the beginning. One of our first stops was supposed to be this spectacular 360 degree view from this lookout. This is what it looked like where we parked our car:
We were on top of some stairs that you can climb to see this "amazing" view!!! So Curtis was like "Let's get a photo of us with this awesome view!!!"
That is literally what he said when he took the photo which is why I'm laughing. HAHA!!!
We got back in the car and continued on. We eventually started to see signs for Whangamomona and the Forgotten World Highway:
Now, this is where the adventure REALLY begins!!! Within the first hour of our drive on the highway, we ran into this:
AWESOME!!! I was so stoked on it!!! Why??? Cause New Zealand is known for sheep and I've seen loads of photos of shepherds leading their sheep on the roads and not once did I get caught up in one. I think the Good Lord was looking out for me on this day!!! I was so excited!!! The sheep got confused and didn't know which way to go when we were driving through in the car. Yes... we took video!!!
HAHA!!! That was so much fun!!!
The Forgotten World Highway kind of reminded me of Jurassic Park minus the T-Rex's. And thank God for that!!!
About halfway through there was a rest stop that had the grave of the guy who started the construction of the Forgotten World Highway. You can pull off to the side of the road and walk for about 2 minutes to his grave site which is surrounded by little rivers and bridges and beautiful foliage:
It was so pretty there!!! We got back in the car and drove on until we came upon this:
Okay, one... how did this bull get out of it's pen and two... how scary!!! It literally just stood there and stared us down. For about a minute. Which is a long time if you think about it. Curtis was taking too long to take the photo and I was freaking out!!! I was like "Curtis, I would like to live to get my passport stamped at Whangamomona!!!". And then the bull made a noise and I was like GET US THE HECK OUTTA HERE!!! It was so scary. Then we came upon a Hobbit Hole. Or at least, that's what it called itself:
That was kinda scary, too.
Then FINALLY we made it to Whangamomona!!!
Can you believe that people actually live there??? The Whangamomona Hotel was where you went if you wanted your passport stamped. So that's where we went. The guy running the place was really nice and had one of those dry sense of humors that are so highly underrated in my opinion. We got our own passports stamped and then we also bought a Whangamomona passport for 3 dollars that made us official citizens of the Republic!!! WOO-HOO!!! Curtis and I can now vote in elections and even run in them. My life is now complete. LOL!!! We got a coffee before we left. This guy made the meanest flat white I've ever had in New Zealand. It was grand. You know those signs I was talking about earlier that New Zealand has all over??? Here's another one:
The rubbed off bit says "Which car will you piss off in tonight???" LOL!!! I love New Zealand.
We told the guy that our final destination for the day was Wellington. He said we had another 4 hours to go. UGH. We had already been in the car almost 8 hours. But we had to move on as we had hostel reservations for that night. On the road again. More photos of the beautiful New Zealand sky at sunset:
With just a few stops on the way we finally saw the lights of Wellington in the distance:
I know it's a stupid photo but Curtis insisted that we get a first shot of Wellington as we arrived. I actually kinda like it.
So we finally found BASE Backpackers which is where I lived and worked for 4 months the last time I was there. It was really weird to be back and only like 3 people were still there that I knew of from the first time. When I think about it, it makes me miss all the people I met there. =(
As soon as we got all our stuff situated we went down to BASEment Bar for a beer. We needed one after all that driving!!!
And so ended our day of exploring one of New Zealand's most overlooked attractions. I recommend it!!!