When my friend Akshatha and I decided to do a road trip, I was excited, but was super nervous. This was the first time I was attempting to drive 850+ kms in 3 days. I had never driven a car on a highway, be alone such a long drive. I took up the challenge, well I had to start somewhere.
We drafted a tentative itinerary and after the bookings, we were set to go. We did stick to the plan (of course, I had Akshatha with me 😀 ), bit by bit, but the number of kilometers and the time of the drive increased.
Day 1 (Friday)
After reaching Auckland, we picked up the car from eZi car rentals and started for Taupo at about 4 PM. It took us a while to get out of the city as we had a bit of a problem in understanding the roundabouts and the GPS. We had decided to take constant breaks every one hour. The first break that we took was at Waikato to have our dinner. Even though Waikato is a small little town, it was very lively even at 7 PM.
After having our dinner, we started for Taupo. My GPS had a little bit of glitch and took us through some country roads where we were lost. But this was a good thing as we had the opportunity to see the Aurora Australis (The Southern lights) – Woohooo! We saw the beautiful orange lights along the horizons. Wow, it was stupendous.
We reached Taupo at 12 AM and called it a night!
Day 2 (Saturday)
Since we had had a hectic start of our trip on day 1, we started our second day at 7:30 AM. The view from our room was so beautiful with the autumn colors.
We started for Tongariro National Park at 9 AM from Taupo. The distance between the Taupo and Tongariro National Park was close to 100 kms. The landscapes along the way was breath taking.
We were welcomed by the beautiful volcanic mountain – Mount Ngauruhoe in the Tongariro National Park.
Since, we did not have sufficient time to do the Tongariro Alpine crossing, we decided to do a 6 hour return walk to the Lower and Upper Tama lakes. The walk provided us with the astonishing and amazing views of the volcanic mountains – Mount Ruapehu and Mount Ngauruhoe.
I also had to add some bit of drama to my walk, so I turned on my Bollywood music on full volume 😀 .
After walking for close to 2.5 hours, we reached the first milestone – Lower Tama lake. Oh my God! It was stunning. The pictures captured here does not do any justice of the beauty we witnessed.
The second milestone was the Upper Tama lake. The walk from Lower Tama lake to Upper Tama lake is quite steep and takes up to an hour. But the walk is definitely worth as the Upper Tama lake is even more beautiful than the Lower Tama lake.
After enjoying the views of the two volcanic mountains and the two lakes, it was time to head back. The sunsets along the way was very impressive.
The last 30 minutes of our walk was the highlight of our walk – we walked under the Milky Way and that was the memorable moment of my day. For some magical reason, I have always been fascinated of the Milky Way.
Day 3 (Sunday)
Starting our day lazily, we were set out to explore the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal wonderland in Rotorua. The distance between Tongariro National Park and Rotorua was about 185 kms.
The Wai-O-Tapu geothermal wonderland is definitely a wonderland which must not be missed. It is an active geothermal area at the southern end of the Okataina Volcanic Centre. Wai-O-Tapu supposedly means ‘sacred waters’ in Maori.
After lunch, we started from Wai-O-Tapu to Auckland. The distance between the two was close to 258 kms. We made a quick photo session at the Lake Taupo.
For some unknown reasons, my GPS by passed all the highways and took us through the country roads. The drive was fantastic.
Day 4 (Monday)
We dropped the car at the eZi car rentals and took an early morning flight from Auckland to Sydney. I landed in Sydney to a wet Sydney morning 🙂 .
I will definitely remember this road trip for a long time. I had driven 850+ kms in just 3 days. My first self-driven road trip – Check 😀 .