I opened the passenger door and hopped in the car. In front of me was a steering wheel and a little yellow sticker that said “keep left” for us Yankees! The rear view mirror was on my left and the whole thing seemed a bit odd. For the first time in my life I was about to drive on the wrong side of the road and it was right. Well, that is, we rented a car in New Zealand and I got to drive on the left side of the road. It was pretty simple most of the time since we were on a single lane road most of the time with very few crossing streets so I can’t complain too much. If I had to drive in Uganda that might have been a very different story, but here in New Zealand there aren’t many cars on the road, they were well paved and the experience hasn’t been too bad. That was until we arrived in Nelson, which is a reasonable sized city.
Learning to turn and where to look when turning has been the most challenging part. The drive from Queenstown to Franz Joseph Glacier was pretty spectacular. There were some huge lakes and a couple of amazing waterfalls. There was also a raging river with amazing white water falls through a canyon. It was a rainy day so we didn’t get to see all of the mountain peaks, but the south island of New Zealand seems like a collection of mountains popping out of the sea. Pretty amazing all around. In Nelson we headed out to Able Tasman, a national park that is beautiful, caused us to drive a bit more through some city areas. The roundabouts are a bit interesting when driving on the left side, everything is backwards, including these traffic circles. Making a U-Turn was really weird as we decided to pick up a hitch hiker that we passed on the road. I had to make two U-Turns and that was fun 🙂
The last drive was yesterday to Picton for a ferry to Wellington, where I go to work today. All is all this has been a pretty special trip for us. The people have been very nice but I must admit that the food has been just OK until someone told us to eat the fish. After they said that, this is an island and the fish has been very good since we took that path. From our excursion today we might look to take a wilderness adventure with the kids at some point in the future. Maybe head to Alaska during a school break and do some camping, white water rafting and hiking. Those are things that the whole family will enjoy. Not sure about Ilise and the camping part, but we will work on that one.
“Til next time …..