First impressions: I have a really good view of what looks like a eucalyptus tree. It takes up a large chunk of the screen, preventing me from examining the tidy yard I see glimpses of. There’s a hydrangea (or what seems like hydrangea) bush to the right, a palm tree in the distance, a neat little fence, immaculately cropped grass, and a tiny veggie garden growing tomatoes. We could be in Sandy Eggo (my pet name for San Diego) or we could be in suburban Australia? Gosh, it’s hard to say so far.
Looking around: More cute little fenced in yards and more palm trees. The landscape beyond this patch of town seems to be rolling hills. Nothing that indicates ocean is far or near. In fact, everything looks relatively flattish. A man is mowing the lawn near the street, which I find odd, since in the US, anything that close to the street and outside a fence is considered city property or part of the easement and ergo, the city takes care of it.
Also the street signs are blue.
Looking East: I finally notice what I should have noticed in the prior shots. The signs and the road stripes are for left-lane driving. Australia? New Zealand? Definitely English speaking, as the Ford and Union St convergence attests to.
Heading west: I decide to head west on the theory that the green swath at the end of the road might be a park? In any case, it breaks up the neat little suburban plane somewhat.
This assumption proved to be wrong, but Forsyth Street dumped me onto a much more trafficked road with an abundance of road signs to show that I’m definitely somewhere that uses kilometers. I didn’t have much doubt at this point.
There’s a river called the Waideka River. I’m hopeful we’re in New Zealand. I keep getting put in Australia. Which I believe I mentioned. But I would like to go to New Zealand sometime and I’ve never been in GeoGuessr. Although, you know, I don’t even know if they got the Google Car there yet.
We are on the number 2 highway outside of Whakatane. I think that sounds New Zealandy. And the cute little swirly thing looks New Zealandy too. *crossing fingers*
IT’S OFFICIAL! WE’RE IN NEW ZEALAND!!!!! OMG!!!
We are near somewhere called Opotiki and the town we just left is Gisborne, I think. (We were headed towards Whakatane, but when I looked behind, I saw this.)
Oh, and look, there’s Gisborne on the coast!
However, I don’t see any Opotiki outside of Gisborne and when I check Whakatane, it turns out it was actually where we were. Silly me.
And look, there’s the junction of Union and Ford streets with Forsyth wrapping round.
6.6 meters from the correct location. Woot.
Here’s some tidbits about the history of Opotiki: “The British invasion of the Waikato resulted in the Whakatohea tribe lending their support to anti-British forces. In 1864 a war party was sent to assist the related Ngaiterangi tribe, who had defeated the British at Gate Pā, but while making their way along the coast the war party was attacked by combined British and Te Arawa forces. The paramount chief of the Whakatohea, Te Aporotanga, was taken prisoner and then executed by the wife of an Arawa chief who had been killed in the battle. While this action was compatible with ancient Māori custom, the fighting had hitherto been conducted according to Christianized rules of engagement, and this was accordingly taken as a sign that the British were no longer to be considered as a civilized enemy.
So in accordance with Māori custom, utu (revenge) was taken by killing the missionary Karl Völkner, who had been recruited as an agent by the British Governor, Sir George Grey, and who had been transmitting secret reports. The so-called “Volkner incident” resulted in the invasion of Opotiki by British forces in 1865. Within a few years the Opotiki district had been settled by military settlers, and the Maori tribes had been confined to villages with little land attached. A desultory guerilla war followed, led by Whakatohea chief Hira te Popo and Tuhoe chief Eru Tamaikowha, but they eventually surrendered and were given amnesty.”