© 2011 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated_usa_road_auckland_05

New Zealand – Auckland – 7th/8th November

Our Qantas trans-pacific flight was easy enough with over five hours of sleep to pass the time and the obligatory movie or two. We all know what airplane food can be like, but recently both of us have been fairly impressed with the offerings. However not this time! Dave’s fish dish was very dry and Helen was only given the option online of setting a Vegetarian Indian Meal which was below par, even including a chickpea curry breakfast! Whilst everyone else got cereal, muffin, egg omelette with mushrooms (and bacon) etc. After some bartering with the slightly unfriendly air hostesses, (who even said that maybe next time we should bring our own food for Helen! She only avoids red meat!) eventually we managed to get a spare continental breakfast! Victory!

Landing at 9am New Zealand time we headed for our pre-booked hostel Garden City Lodge using the fixed price shuttle service which cost $36 for both of us and our luggage. The hostel is located just outside the main part of the city in Parnell on a quiet side street. We checked into our small bunk bed twin room which was basic for $60 per night, but good enough with shared bathrooms, a mid-sized kitchen and good communal areas downstairs. We bought a quick sandwich at the Italian Bread Shop before heading into Auckland through the park to look for the Backpackers Car Market to see if there were any decent camper vans for sale as we didn’t want to rent like we did in America.

The Backpackers Car Market was shockingly bad, overpriced, poor quality and poor choice of vans and cars. We decided the most important thing was a new mobile as our American phone would more than likely cost too much to unblock. After some backwards and forwards between shops we found our new phone and SIM for NZ, let the van hunt continue. Stocking up on provisions at the Countdown supermarket we headed back to our lodgings to cook up some dinner, it had been a long day!

We spent most of our time in Auckland looking for a van to buy rather than sightseeing. We checked out the adverts on the hostel wall and gumtree (at this hostel you only get 100mg of free wi-fi, it’s $10 per 100mg after that) and we managed to find a couple of possible candidates to purchase in a much more reasonable price range than at the backpackers market, and made some appointments to view the next morning. We really wanted to get something ASAP so we could get on the road and start exploring as well as beat the peak season backpacker rush for vehicles. One possible candidate was situated just around the corner so we decided to view that evening as it looked promising.

After a short walk we arrived and started to give it the once over. The van looked in good condition with no rust in the arches, practically new tyres, relatively clean, converted with a double bed in the back and cooking space, recent repairs to radiator and a new battery. After meeting with Jodie and Sam, the current owners, who showed us around and answered our questions we went for a little test drive around the block, the Mitsubishi L300 Sportpac handled gracefully enough and we said we would sleep on it. Before we got back to the hostel we had decided we wanted her and contacted Jodie and Sam to say yes to the purchase. Prior to some garage tests… We just bought ourselves a camper van!

The following day we booked a garage appointment on Parnell Street to give the van the once over for any issues that we couldn’t figure out ourselves. For $85 worth of peace of mind its definitely worth it and there was only a minor issue that was fixed and we were good to go. We withdrew the money over the counter at a local bank rather than accessing lots of cash machines and then signed a couple of documents with Jodie and Sam, got the van registered in our name and within 30 minutes we were the legal owners of Po. A spot of 3rd party insurance through Travellers Car Insurance and we’re all set for our New Zealand adventure. Tomorrow we would head north in our new home for the next two months. Before the day was out we went to the Warehouse store in Newmarket and bought some additional gear for the van; toilet roll, and extra chair, pillows, sheets and a few other necessary items for our new home!

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f/2.0, Leica 90mm f/2.8, Zeiss 18mm f/4 ZM processed in Lightroom 3)

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One Comment

  1. Posted 25 Nov ’11 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Good to speak to you both this evening. Mobile home looks great Look forward to the next series of pictures and comments.

    Happy BIrthday Helen. We look forward to you being here next Christmas,
    love, Mum

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