Thursday, 3 November 2011
Driving a manual car in New Zealand
On my 1 day off I decided I was going to leave Rotorua - if you've ever been there - you would know that Rotorua smells like sulphur all the time. The Hot Springs are amazing and the views spectacular but the smell - awful!
I asked some of the locals if you ever get use to it and they said NO! So yes it's overwhelming.
I told my new friends I was going to drive to Hastings and Napier and received some raised eyebrows - I realized later it was because the locals use planes like we use busses. So I thought I would experience more of the country by driving and that I did!
I'm always up for a challenge and so when the local Budget Rental dealer asked me if I knew how to drive a stick I responded absolutely - my first car was a stick - don't ask my little sister or bff about how brutal it was to learn as they will tell you stories I would prefer to forget :-)
Anyway I've always enjoyed driving a stick so thought this would add to adventure - again forgot to check I would be travelling more than 700 km in a day in a strange country.
When she brought the car around I got a quick lesson about how to slide into reverse - to my horror I realized it was a left hand stick - never done that before. So the first few kilometres - it was remembering to stay on the right (or the wrong) side of the road! I must admit when I tried to signal I was turning on the wiper blades and when it started to rain - I signalled but eventually I got comfortable on the open stretch before I hit the mountains - good thing!
The traffic outside of Rotorua as of course it was the Labour Day weekend so it was busier than I was told!
Now driving through the mountains - I've travelled a lot so I appreciated the great shape that the roads were in but was surprised on the very tight S-curves - many were 15 degree angles so the warnings to take the turns slowly were an understatement!
On the way to the coast I must admit I thought I was crazy but a quick stop for a long flat (or as we would call it Americano) I was on my way again - not willing to take a chance of driving with a coffee.
The trip was worth it though - seeing Hawk's Bay in person.