Sunday, October 9, 2011

New Zealand trip, day 9: Surf Highway with the Germans

Sunday, October 9

Julia works with a couple girls from Germany who wanted to do a day trip and invited Julia and two of her flatmates to join them. (Side note: I think the term "flatmates" makes so much more sense than "roommates." Unless you actually share a room with your roommates, they're really housemates or apartmentmates . . . a.k.a., flatmates. Why do we just use the term "roommates" in the States?) And Julia picked Josh and me to go with her!
Caroline and Stefanie bought a car here, so they have a little more freedom when it comes to travelling. They were excited about driving down Surf Highway 45, and we were just along for the ride, so we were cool with whatever. The Surf Highway stretches for 105 km (65 miles) south of New Plymouth, around a bump in the coastline created by Mt. Taranaki (map). Contrary to what the name might suggest, it actually winds through farmlands much more than it trails along the coast. But there are frequent brown signs that say something like "Surf Beach" or "Scenic Lookout" and point toward the coast. So our basic mode of operation was to drive along through the farmlands until we saw a brown sign, then follow the brown sign, get out and walk around the beach, then pile back into the car and hop back on the highway. It was a lot of fun! We took jumping pictures on one beach, picnicked on another, played Frisbee on yet another, and took pictures on/of all of them. At the place labeled "Scenic Lookout," we could look down and see waves coming in from multiple directions and colliding with each other. As in, waves from one direction would be perpendicular to waves from another direction. It looked bizarre but really cool!

On the way home, we took an alternate route around the other side of Mt. Taranaki. Then we filled up the tank, settled up on petrol (that's what they call gas here) money, and the Germans dropped us off at the house. We've spent the evening eating and chilling with the flatmates, and we've got a load of laundry going so we can pack up and head out of New Plymouth tomorrow morning.

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