Day 1 of our NZ road trip was going to start off with a bang- ice cream for breakfast. After picking up the car and making our way to McDonalds for road trip breakfast, we set our GPS towards the famous Pokeno Ice Cream for an early morning treat.
We arrived after an hour and made strong moves. Double sided 4 scoop cones for the gents and single sided 2 scoop cones for the ladies. All was off to a good start until we tried to pay and they didn’t take foreign credit cards and we had no cash. Jennie and I stayed put while John and Debbie went to explore the surrounding stores to find an ATM and/or a cash back option. Unfortunately, after about 15 minutes of no success, I asked a nice lady who was in line if she’d pay for our ice cream in exchange for the US equivalent. The “team” gave me flack for offering USD when we needed NZD and she’d have limited use for it but she accepted as it wasn’t that expensive and they’re just a nice bunch here.
After the morning excitement, we decided we’d stop at the first ATM we passed. We unintentionally ended up in Hobbittown home to many of the Lord of the Rings movie sets and pulled over to explore the welcome center as well as get some cash out so we wouldn’t be stranded again. We got back in the car and proceeded to make the final 2 hours of our drive to our AirBNB.
Our first AirBNB was very nice- a little 2-3 story house alongside the lake with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Aside from a minor insect issue which we called to address, certainly was acceptable living arrangements for our first two nights. We headed to the grocery store to purchase some beverages and food and tried to check out but realized you couldn’t purchase any liquor unless you had passports. As Jennie was the only one with passports, she went next door to go shopping for adult beverages while we checked out.
After returning, we had a late lunch and the crowd rested up as some were still fighting jet lag. We got up in the late afternoon to move towards the tree walk area. The tree walk is a park with elevated platforms and bridges suspended about 40 feet in the air for you to walk around the red wood forest.
We were trying to wait for the sun to set so we could walk around at night to see the lights but still had quite a ways to go to get there. After 90 minutes and 3+ laps, the group decided to adventure over to Eat Streat for dinner.
The Eat Streat area ended up being way nicer than expected. It was a covered area with 10-12 eateries ranging from Italian to Thai to India to fancy small plates. We sat down at the Indian Restaurant and had a nice meal before heading back home and watching a movie / doing laundry and calling it quits.
Next Up- A full day of adventure in a Rotorua – ziplines, hot springs, and a spa
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