Tuesday morning dawned beautifully, bright and clean and sunshiny. We had another great breakfast involving a fresh fruit bowl and homemade muffins, with the sun streaming in the window and making the lush greenery sparkle.
After bidding a fond farewell to Berris and Alan, and a promise to come back some day if we could, we headed back down south on Highway 1 toward and through Auckland. We took a few photos from the car, but this is as close to seeing the city as we got. Again, next time…
From Auckland, we drove south, then east across a range of hills, then south through a wide valley to Matamata, about 2 hours. There was a good bit of road construction going on, and I noticed how the workers here seemed more like they were just working in their yards or something – wearing shorts and t-shirts, no flaggers, just guys working on the road. New Zealand roadwork seems to involve lots of rocks, too, I noticed – several places where they were widening the road or fixing washouts, we had to drive across stretches of riprap-type stones, with very little warning, which made it a little exciting.
Here are a few photos taken along the way, just to give an idea of the look of the countryside:
We arrived at our farmstay around lunchtime, ate some leftovers we had brought along (Chinese food, fruit salad, yogurt, etc), and drove the 5 miles or so into the town of Matamata for our 2:00 reservations for the Hobbiton tour – squee!