Central North Island Road Trip Day 1

by nmj17

Saturday, 2 Jan 2016

Mais and I went out to get the car. We walked all the way to Beach Road, which was located 15 minutes away from my apartment… In the rain. It’s the first day of the roadtrip and it’s raining. Ooh la la~

The guy who was in charge of preparing our paperwork at the rental company was super nice. He had a slight German accent so it was fun to hear him explain all the terms and conditions in that German accented English. After showing him our driving licences, he printed off all the paperwork and then processed the payment for the car. Afterwards, he showed us to our car, a Mazda Demio, and bid us a safe journey.

Once we got the car, Mais called Maryam to wait for us downstairs and we took turns to bring our stuff into the car.

Our first destination is the Cathedral Cove, located in Coromandel.

The drive to Coromandel was winding. It didn’t help that it was raining all the way. After driving close to 3 hours, we finally arrived there.

It wasn’t that easy to get access to the Cathedral Cove though. To get there, we had to first do the Cathedral Cove walk, a 45min walking track. There was a parking space close to the start of the walking track but I was worried that it’s going to be full so I parked the car a bit further away, about 15min away from the parking space close to the walking track.

So to get to the Cathedral Cove, we now have to climb 15min up a hill, reach the start of the walking track, and then walk on soft sand and mud for another 45 min. Imagine the look on our faces when we finally reached that cove.

We were wearing our hiking boots and waterproof jackets on the way there so it wasn’t that bad. Some of the people there wasn’t expecting the rain and they simply wore beachwear and sandals. The walking track was located on a beach, yes, but the mud and the rocks located along the way would make it pretty hard to cross when you have slippers on.

We spent some time there taking pictures and videos. It was raining so there were no signs of blue skies and nice clear waters but the scenery was still pretty nonetheless. We spend some time enjoying the views under the Cathedral Cove and returned to our car around 5pm.

Little did we know that things are gonna go downhill from there.

Our initial plan was to spend the night in Tauranga but somehow we made a mistake with the accommodation for the first night and they canceled our reservations. We were tired and were looking forward to crash into somewhere comfy so being told that our accommodation has been given away to someone else was pretty disappointing.

We spent quite some time figuring out what to do, lol. We tried driving around and asking if they rooms for the night but that didn’t work – they were fully booked. We also tried calling different places and looking up online for empty rooms but sadly they were fully booked as well. Mais emailed a couple of places when finally one old man with a think local accent called us back around 10pm saying that they have a room for us in his hostel. He saved our asses and we were so happy!

Too bad that happiness was shortlived, lol. Because on the way to place, I missed an exit and we ended up on a highway that leads us all the way to the next town, Rotorua.

Of course I was disappointed. If I hadn’t made that mistake, we would only be 10mins away from reaching that hostel. We told that nice old guy that we couldn’t make it to his place and said goodbye to our plans to stay in Rotorua.

We thought it couldn’t get any worse than that but nope… To add on top of this whole no-accommodation-for-the-night situation, the car’s fuel gauge was getting pretty close to E.  We were not supposed to miss that exit, and we were not planning to drive in a car that’s running low on fuel. It’s close to midnight, we’re in the middle of the highway, we still have quite a long way to go before reaching the next town, and our tank fuel is running empty. I’ve never felt more stressed out in my entire life.

I had no other choice but to continue driving on the highway to Rotorua. The possibility of having our car stranded in the middle of nowhere at night is pretty scary. In an attempt to calm the Category 5 Hurricane of Panic and Terror that’s going on in our minds we did a couple of Google searches like “petrol stations near Rotorua,” and “how far can you drive on empty.” (To answer that question, you can still drive for another 40 to 80 km after the fuel gauge hits E depending on the model of the car)

Miracles do happen though. After driving for god knows how long, we finally reached a gas station in Rotorua.

Of all the road trips I’ve had so far, I’ve never had this much drama happen in a single day. I’m so sorry that Mais and Maryam had to suffer through such a horrible first day and I hope that things will be better in the days to come.