We started with breakfast at 4am!!!...then a lift from Te Aroha to Auckland to catch the Intercity bus....a two hour wait in the bus station as it gradually lightened and the streets slowly busied.
At last the bus came, and we were off by 8am...into the traffic and off South on the Expressway.
The driver had a dry sense of humour, gently pointing out the bus rules....no food, and no drinks especially coffee...you don't want it on your lap if he has to brake suddenly, and HE has to clean up the mess!! No i-pods without earphones firmly plugged in....after all, not everyone shares your taste in music!!
We had a short "pit stop" in Hamilton at 9.30, then on to the Big Apple for a half hour food break....
Then at 11.15 on towards New Plymouth....
It may be a State Highway, but in places there are one vehicle width tunnels and windy stretches with rock on one side, a drop on the other and seemingly only just enough room for the bus and the large, long, lorries to pass each other.
The lorries have eight axles, either four on the tractor unit and four on the trailer, or four on a rigid front lorry, then a long rigid bar to a trailer with four axles. They are, I think 50 ton lorries.