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Published: December 14th 2009
(Day 618 on the road)
I am on the move again. After taking it easy for the last few weeks in Australia with good friends of mine, I have finally arrived in New Zealand. I haven't been so excited about any country in a long time and am thus very happy to finally be here!
After a considerable hold-up at check-in for my flight from Sydney to Auckland (I was not allowed to board the plane as I only had a one-way ticket to NZ; they made me purchase a completely unwanted ticket out of NZ) I soon touched down in Kiwi-land. And being upgraded to fly business class on the new Airbus A380 was an unexpected and much welcomed luxury compared to my usual mode of travel: Freshly squeezed celery-apple-carrot-ginger-detox juice, delicious canapés on free-flow, quality noise-reduction earphones, fully reclining seat ... you get the picture).
In Auckland I went straight to what I had been dreaming about for a while now (after eating a kilo of delicious kiwis first of course): Purchase a cheap but reliable van. The idea was to get one with a mattress in the back and lots of camping equipment to travel around NZ
for the next few months. Oh yes, and of course I had to cancel the plane ticket they had forced me to buy at the airport. And yes, of course there was a penalty to be paid for that - what a seriously misguided policy by the NZ government and what a complete waste of money for me. Seems like the only party benefiting from this silly bureaucracy are the airlines.
But back to my soon-to-be-had van. It was actually a lot more complicated than I had anticipated and took me a full three days (and I was not even picky at all). Some were nice but too expensive for me, some were within my price range but had no camping equipment, some were not yet available, some were already sold etc etc.
But to cut a long story short: Three days, some expensive pre-purchase repairs and lots of paperwork later, I am now the proud owner of - drums please - a 1989 Toyota Liteace diesel van! Best of all it comes complete with a comfy double mattress in the back, lots of stuff that is great for my purpose (blankets, pillows, camping gear, solar shower, large
organiser boxes, 20l water tank etc) and some stuff that I don't really need at all (i.e. snow chains or a fishing rod). But anyway, I am happy. And lacking any imagination whatsoever I have decided to call it "Ben-Van" (until somebody comes up with a better name for me). Now I am just hoping that Ben-Van will not break down on me and that I will be able to sell it again at the end of my trip across New Zealand.
Let the journey begin!
Next stop: Trekking - Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (North Island, New Zealand).
To view my photos, have a look at pictures.beiske.com
. And to read the full account of my journey, have a look at the complete book about my trip at Amazon
(and most other online book shops).
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