Day 2: Aukland / Hobbiton / Lake Taupo

Day 2: Aukland / Hobbiton / Lake Taupo
hobbiton

This is day 2 of 9 days/8 nights exploring New Zealand's North and South Island. If you haven't yet, you should check out Day 1: Aukland!

The Short Story
9:00 AM
Brunch at 8|Eight in the Langham Hotel
11:00 AM Pick up Camper Van
1:00 PM Shop for food at Pack & Save
3:30 PM The Hobbiton
6:00 PM The Green Dragon
9:00 PM Thai Delight
10:00 PM Park Camper Van overlooking Lake Taupo

The Long Story

9:00 AM Brunch at 8 Eight at the Langham hotel.

When it's all you can eat, I try to eat everything. Waffles on a stick are my new favorite things. I make the mistake of ordering an iced latte again. This is the last time I will make this mistake.

I order a hot latte to meet my 2 caffeinated beverages a day quota.

Lessons Learned
Stop ordering iced lattes!!! Just stop.
When taking pictures of food- or anything, put effort into taking a good shot- or you'll spend hours repairing a photo that looked and still looks like shit.

11:00 AM Pick up Camper Van

Lessons Learned
Check out the "Free" cabinet for some camper van swag. Useful items I got include umbrellas, olive oil, and sun-dried tomato pasta sauce.
Be nice to people there- especially the ones that are returning vans. You could end up with some pretty sweet camper van swag (like Sand Fly repellent).

1:00 PM Go to Pack and Save to pick up groceries

Highlights of the Groceries
Claratyne (I assumed it was Claritin branded for New Zealand- I hope that assumption was correct)
Towels - smelled like gasoline when wet
Water that has a motto 'for when you're really thirsty". - tasted like plastic (and gasoline)
Veggie Sausages - tasted like rubber
Pasta Sauce - not bad
Vindaloo Sauce - made our pasta that much better
Trash Bags - these were the best purchase!
Vitamin C- I may have overdosed on this later in the trip (oops)

Why is this so cheap?!?

Why is this so cheap?!?

Lessons Learned
When you're buying cheap things, buy low mid-range. Don't buy the shittiest thing (like rimless plastic plates... or gasoline towels). This is a good philosophy for life.
Don't go to Pack and Save. Go to Countdown for groceries.

2:00 PM Hit the open road. Wow. Life was so much  harder without Google Maps. I realize I need to relearn how to read maps.

Lessons Learned
Download CityMaps2Go. It's seriously worth it. They're offline maps that make navigation SO MUCH EASIER. Doesn't use data or Wi-Fi- just uses your phone's internal GPS.

3:30 PM Arrive at The Shire- I mean The Hobbiton. I really don't understand why this place isn't just called The Shire. Whatever.

What? $75? This is a thing. I have to do it. Ok. 
Lady at The Hobbiton: You get to see 40 Hobbit holes.
But I only want to see one or two good Hobbit holes. Can I get a discount?

hobbit-hole

This tour had so many kids. The tour guide was such a good sport. Tour guide, you deserve a beer.

6:00 PM Get a Beer at The Green Dragon (the Hobbit bar). Don't get excited. The beers served here are all less than 5% ABV. It's included in the tour!

greendragon

Lesson Learned
New Zealand beer is generally not as strong as the 10-13% we get here. Regardless, after 3 hours of having to dodge kid obstacles, some beer is better than no beer.

9:00 PM Arrive in Lake Taupo and eat at Thai Delight.
I'm sure this is a major tourist trap, but it hit the stop. When I asked the Thai woman for "spicy"- OH- she gave me spicy. I nom-ed it.

thai-delight-lake-taupo

10:00 PM Park Camper van overlooking Lake Taupo

Lessons Learned
Remind the driver "left side of the road" when he or she is making turns.

Finding food that worth the calories.