NZ 2 days in …

Posted by Spalding Hurst

March 3, 2004

I have now been here for two days.   The place is beautiful.  As soon as I claimed my baggage on the first day I was met by Nathan and Tarrah, a young couple from Canada who were here backpacking.  I was to buy my car from them.  So we took it for a test drive around the suburbs of Auckland, the biggest city in New Zealand, but by no means large.
 
The car is nothing to look at, but it seems reliable.  I have already driven in 600km down to Wellington, where I am now.
 
So after I test drove the car on day one I headed south for a bit to Hamilton, stopped in for the evening at a hostel.  Or a backpackers as they seem to be called here.  Besides the terrain, things aren’t so different here.  They have the same music, tv shows, restaurants.  What is different is that you have to drive on the left side of the road.  Confusing at first, but you get used to it.  I’ll probably have a hard time re-adjusting to our way when I return.   On my drive down to Wellington I picked up some hitchhikers.  A couple from Switzerland.  So we were all off and on our way, driving through some incredible scenery.
 
The landscape changes every 20 minutes from lush green hills, to a drier desert road with high mountains.  All kinds of weird looking trees grow everywhere.  And sometimes you would think you were in Kentucky with all the cows and farms.  There are also a lot of sheep farms.

 Day 2 was spent in Wellington, the capitol city.  The weather has been great everywhere but here.  This place seems to like the rain and the wind.  But today is actually really nice.  I guess the weather changes here like it does back home.  The locals keep apologizing for the weather.  They say it’s not normally like this.  So Yesterday I met up with Justin and then met some friends of his here.  A group of students, all of them German.
 
You would think that Peter Jackson is the king of New Zealand these days.  That is all anyone is talking about here.  Since Lord of the Rings swept the Oscars, this place has gone crazy over the news.  They also have those dragon things from the movie mounted on the tops of buildings through out the city.  And driving here I saw a mountain or something that was in the movie.  More to come!

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