Today did not feature any exciting outdoor adventures. It was more of a travel day, transitioning for the South Island to the North Island. However, we did have some new experiences.

We took the first flight from Queenstown to Auckland, arriving in NZ’s largest City around noon. We located GO Rentals several blocks away from the terminal (this is why they are also the cheapest car rental). As it turned out we got a Toyota Yaris… just like Eric’s car back in America. However, there were a few minor differences and one major difference:

Minor: automatic windows, four door, automatic locks

Major: steering wheel on the right side of the car

The steering wheel on the right side of the car also meant that the windshield wiper and blinker/light switches were on opposite sides as well. Luckily the petals were the same. We loaded up the car and then Eric drove a few laps around the parking lot before driving to the supermarket a few blocks away. Turning required lots of though after years of many sharp rights and wide lefts, we had to think deeply to ensure making sharp lefts and wide right turns. But we survived the short journey to Count Down…an affordable supermarket in NZ (as affordable as NZ gets anyway).

After groceries, Eric drove us onto the highway toward Waitomo. Here we learned of the fun tendency to drift over to the left side of the road. Eric also had a habit of turning the wipers on every time we needed to change lanes. Passing on the right was also fun and well as seeing exits on the left. It was an 80 mile fun filled drive through fields and fields of sheep and cows. Nothing but farms after be left Auckland.

In fact, YHA Waitomo Hostel was on a farm! We checked into a shared 4 bed room and ventured out to meet the animals. There were 4 piglets and squealed with delight when we came over to pet them. Larger male and female pigs (mommy and daddy?). Came to the fence as well. When we began petting them the piglets started squeaking very loudly. So Eric peted the babied while I petted the adults. Daddy pig rolled over to have his tummy rubbed! Also in the pasture was a red deer (common to have domesticed deer in NZ) and a goat, but they were not very friendly.

We took a 10 minute walk down the road to Waitomo Village and them came back to the hostel for dinner. I must comment that this was a lovely, low key hostel. Clean, country-like… and the nicest I’ve ever been in.

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