Sooty, Sweep and Sue take on a campervan...

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June 30th 2007
Published: August 9th 2007
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We arrived in Auckland (New Zealand- or Aotearoa, meaning The Land of the Long White Cloud) on 27th June. We were promised 'freezing' weather so were quite relieved when we got off the plane to be met with just a 'cold chill'. We got a taxi to our hostel which was quite a way out of town. As we pulled up, it was rather reminiscent of the hotel from 'The Shining'. We got inside and were a little shocked to find it was actually colder inside than out. We were shown into our 'bedroom' which was actually the lounge with a few random mattresses and fold out beds dotted around with interesting bedspreads and 2 strange boys lurking in two of them. The bathrooms were also a little less than desireable with too many stray hairs on the floors for our liking. However, the lady that showed us around was friendly enough and although it was near freezing we were happy to stay there for 2 nights. (Anna also spotted 3 resident cats so was comforted by this fact).We quickly freshened up and then headed straight out into the nearby village where there was a lovely selection of trendy eateries and coffee houses. We ate at a lovely Indian Restaurant where you could have a main meal for $10. We felt Indian was a good choice as it could warm us up!! We had 3 delicious meals and tummies full headed back to the old house on the hill...

That night was very cold. We all slept right inside our sleeping bags and our noses stayed very cold for the whole night! Sob! In the morning early riser Bean enjoyed the benefits of a hot shower whilst the lazy Anna and Fee were punished with freezing cold showers on the horrid hairy floor. Another sob! We dressed as quickly as possible gaining a little heat from the GHD's as they sizzled on our wet hair. We then walked into the city centre (took about 40 mins) where we had an explore and then booked a campervan for 2 weeks!!! Yey!!!

On the way back we treated ourselves to the cinema (Ocean's 13). We also treated ourselves to some popcorn. Erm, and some pick and mix and a nice fizzy drink... For the next 2 hours we drooled over the lucious Brad and George and walked home planning possible relationships with them both... in our dreams - we know.

So today, we got up again (early this time!) and had a hot shower before walking into the village to have a beautiful breakfast of hot chocloates, teas and coffees with bagels and cream cheese and eggs on toast! Yummy!! Fee made a few purchases in a charity shop whilst Bean and Jan went on a pitiful walk in the rain to try and find an internet cafe. Alas no luck and they soon gave up and hailed a taxi to take them to the van rental place, picking the pea up on the way.

Half an hour later we found ourselves sitting up front in our new automatic van after very VERY sketchy instructions from the van hire assistant man. Bean found herself in the driver's seat which was a little less than comforting considering the last time she set foot in a driver's seat was when she crashed and wrote off her car... excellent. Soon we were edging out of the car park and on to the main road... gulp!

Somehow she got us safely to a nearby carpark where we all had a little practise (yes a bit sad i know). I then took the wheel for the next leg of the journey and somehow the girls managed to navigate us successfully from Auckland all the way to Mercury Bay using a very small and not very helpful map! Unfortunately Bean had the job of driving the last hour in the rain in the dark through the windy mountain roads, with cars honking behind her and flashing their lights for a large majority!! Not the easiest of conditions to drive in but Colin (our newly christened van) and Bean did us proud. We finally arrived at Mercury Bay which was very desserted for the 'winter season' but we managed to find a hostel to park outside and after some food and a hot shower we finally fell asleep!

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3rd July 2007

Hi I know it's strange getting comments from people you don't know, but I have been wanting to leave one for I have! I picked up your blogs in Hong Kong as my daughter was there the same time, you all did slightly different routes from there (my daughter went to Vietnam) but you are now in NZ at the same time. I think your blogs are great and your photos are too, my daughter isn't putting too many on so its allways nice to look at someone else's when they are in a similar area. In fact, sadly I am addicted to this website and will probably continue to check it when my said daughter eventually comes home. One last thing, I live in Colchester and I see Ipswich got a mention earlier on. Ok, will go now. Hope this hasn't freaked you out too much, but they really are fun to read. Good luck with the driving.
10th July 2007

Hi Debbie
Hello! Thanks a lot for your comment - it's lovely to think that there are other people reading this too. We are really enjoying NZ and have so far been very lucky with the weather. Beautiful blue skies with snowy mountains in the distance! We would have liked to go to Vietnam but unfortunately didn't have time. I hope your daughter enjoyed it! Fee (Pea/Sooty) lives in Ipswich and knows Colchester very well! Wohoo! Please do keep reading! Really appreciate your kind comments! Take care xx

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