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Published: July 14th 2012
After our ‘holiday’ away from travelling in Fiji, it was time to get back to being backpackers again as opposed to vacationers. Our next destination…. New Zealand. We had wanted to come here ever since we were in Australia over 6 years ago as so many people raved about how awesome this place was and how nice the scenery was. So at long last, here we are!
We decided to do this part of the trip a little differently from the previous sections, and so we hired a campervan for both our transport and accommodation needs. This, we were told, was by far the best way to get out there and see the country. We can go where we want to go, stop where we want to stop, and the most important part, no more dorm beds! This all sounded amazing, however there was a possible snag….. we would be hitting NZ in their winter and campervans do not tend to be the warmest of places to sleep at the best of times. Still we had a ton of blankets and were ready to drive, seek and explore this country we had heard so much about. After picking up our
little beast of a van in Auckland, we were ready and rearing to go….New Zealand, here we come!!
By far the most important thing we had to do after having just picked up the campervan was to name her. Donna and I are traditional about this kind of thing, and so on the drive towards Auckland city centre, this was the main issue that needed addressing. After a few throw away names we decided to leave this huge decision to fate and so we turned the Ipod onto shuffle and agreed that the first song we heard by a female singer was to be our vans name. It took a good half an hour or so for a female’s voice to hit the speakers, however when it finally did there were mixed feelings. The song was by Alexandra Burke. She was a previous winner of X Factor in the UK for those not in the know. For those of you who are aware of who she is, I know what you’re thinking and yes, I am a little ashamed that it is something I possess on my Ipod. Still, we had a name, and so ‘Ali’ would be the
one to help us explore NZ.
The recommendation that we got from the campervan company in regards to a place to stay in Auckland was a little place on the beach in a town called Takapuna. This is just above Auckland city centre on the map in North shore with good connections into the city and so we headed straight there. As soon as we arrived we picked a spot next to the beach and started getting ourselves sorted. We needed to fill up our water tank so that we had fresh water coming from the tap we have in our van and so I went to grab the hose. After successfully filling up the water tank, we both gave each other a look of recognition that we were already pretty good at this camping lark and I set about reeling the hose back in. Just as the hose was nearly all the way back into its holder, it broke and I was left holding the whole thing whilst the post that was supposed to hold it up fell apart…. Disaster Mike strikes again! Looks like this camping maybe a little tougher than we suspected after all!
the time we were here, we decided to basically just get to know both Auckland and Takapuna a little better. After finally getting the handyman to repair the damage I had thrust upon the hose, we managed to take a sunset stroll along Takapuna beach and admired the huge houses and apartments overlooking the bay before walking through the town centre and checking out the restaurants and bars that lined the main streets. For the first time in a long while, we were reminded a little of home, and although I cannot speak for Donna, I think there was a part of both of us that wished our family and friends would be in one of the bars or restaurants, waiting for us so we could all have a beer or two together and catch up. It’s been a long time.
Over the next couple of days, we headed into Auckland city centre itself and strolled around checking out the parks and buildings. One evening, we managed to meet up with our friend Helen that we met all the way back in Peru, and being her birthday, we helped celebrate with her and a couple of her Auckland based
friends with a nice meal and a few drinks round the dock area of the city. At nearly £5 a pint, this was going to have to be something we did very rarely! From what we had seen of Auckland, we had really liked it, however we didn’t want to spend too much time in the city and so after only three nights, we decided to head up North with Ali to see what was on offer up there.
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