February 05, 2019
Tuesday 5th February
Auckland, North Island New Zealand.
Temperature is 25.5 degrees at 11am and more to come.
So.. we arrived in good order into Auckland after a real short flight. Fiji Airways was a little dated but provided some screen time and a decent meal. Arrival at Auckland airport was dead easy at first but they are even stricter with what one can import. We even had to Declare to the Eco Officers that we were carrying in our pre used snorkel gear. Bit of a queue but only 20mins or so.
We caught a free transfer yellow bus to the THL depot that deal with Maui, Britz and Mighty motorhomes to collect our 4 berth Maui Campervan. To be honest they were NOT good with customer service. After an hour of being asked to wait we were pretty unhappy. No one apologised despite most people who had arrived after us heading out on the road. Eventually we exited as the janitor was locking the gates..!
Our next shock was how damn small this motorhome was..! Oooh.. who’s idea was this?! Three people in this little box for 20 days…! Particularly as the bed configuration is..double ‘pull down’ bed at the rear. So far so good. Double bed underneath this one which requires dismantling the lounge and converting it into a bed with cushions. (Remember those caravanning days in the 70s.?) Ok. However the height above the lower bed is like a very small cave.. soooo claustrophobic. I have never slept in a coffin but guess this is how it would feel. .! Since Trina is yet to join us we have managed a ‘work around’. God knows what we will do tonight. ..!
Anyway back to Sunday. NZ drive on the left so no real difficulties just a slight variation on signs etc and having to drive what feels like a big blancmange. !
We wanted to stay close to the airport as we had to work out what the motorhome kit comprised of and how to sneak onto a site without paying.! so we chose the nearby Ambury Park site at NZ$60 (£30). It was real good. Plenty of space on grass with toilets in the milking barn nearby. It’s amazing for a couple that love to spend time in five star hotels can suddenly compete with mosquitos and spiders in a barn. ! Well to be honest it takes a while to adjust but we slowly start to love the camping again soon afterwards. So..yesterday we packed up and headed up slightly north east to find some sea. We passed the glorious sight of the Auckland skyline which was damn impressive and then stopped for a break at a beach at the Orewa River. It’s so cool to just pitch up and put the kettle on and grab food out of the fridge. Next we went to Snells beach and a free camp site overlooking the coast. We backed the motorhome up within 10 feet of the beach so the huge panoramic rear window gave us a great view of the sea. It was not ideal as there are many ‘free campers’ so we were a bit close to our neighbours but over time we will gain expertise on where to park. We did manage to paddle a bit in the sea but are yet to swim in the NZ Pacific. How come it is so much colder than Fiji’s Pacific Ocean? It’s not as cold as many places but after Fiji everting else is brrrr..
This morning we watched paddle boarders and a couple riding horses in the sea whilst still in bed. (We were in bed NOT the couple riding the horses!) There was a great sunrise at 7.30.
Our priority then was to get back to Auckland to the airport to collect Trina. As we were also near to the depot where we collected the motorhome we went back there and requested they look at the fridge. 28+ degrees outside and the fridge is barely alive. Warm milk, warm orange and runny butter is not the luxury we expected. The fridge was replaced after about a hour and a half which somewhat compensated for their shoddy customer service yesterday. Meanwhile Michelle used the courtesy bus to meet Trina and join me back at the depot. All good. Welcome to NZ Trina. Turns out she had good two flights via Dubai and looked surprisingly sprightly.
Soo..not much real holiday activity at this point but headed south now towards the Bay of Plenty. Great roads, great mountains, great beaches. Bring it on. You will be pleased, no doubt, that we have exchanged our two backpacks and two suitcases on wheels for Maureen our Maui Motorhome. For now. Goodnight. !
Did you know..New Zealand is around the same size as United Kingdom (although upside down). The population of United Kingdom is 64 million people whilst New Zealand is less than 5 Million….!!!!
Happy birthday Russ and Bern