Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Aukland & goodbye Kiwi Land - New Zealand

On our penultimate day in Kiwi land we drove to Auckland and stayed in a campsite where we didn’t have too far to go in order to return Queenie the camper to the hire company.  We spent the evening blowing the dust off our rucksacks and doing all the necessary laundry and packing we could do.  Perhaps it wasn’t fair to not give more time to Auckland but most things to do go hand in hand with emptying the wallet.  This isn’t unique to New Zealand of course; big city usually means bigger spending so we had got into the habit of avoiding these places in general unless we had good reason to go.  We stayed at a great campsite on the coast just on the outskirts of the city.  On our final day we took Queenie to a manual outdoor carwash and got her looking spick and span again.  The machine operated by feeding coins into the slot and you could then select what water or soap or combination you wanted to fire at high pressure towards your vehicle which was actually quite fun. 

We didn’t have any problems on returning the vehicle and made our way to the airport in good time for our flight to Santiago in Chile.  We managed to sell the guitar to the guy running the hire car to airport shuttle service and threw in a few beers for good measure.  We had a great chat about music and the band he used to be in and left on very good terms.  

Feeding the sparrows, they actually took food from my hand!

The campsite kitty trying to get into the van

Kitty manages to find an admirer

We had both had an amazing time in New Zealand with absolutely no regrets on our decision to spend a humble six weeks here.  It is obviously possible to spend more time here and actually do less driving and more relaxing in these destinations but we still had a suitable amount of time to see the vast majority of things we wanted to without feeling too rushed.  The downside was that everything costs the same as at home which took some getting used to after paying Asian prices but this was no surprise and reinforced our decision to choose only New Zealand instead of Australia as well this time around.  The people are great, the landscapes are simply astounding and the sense of space is phenomenal.  According to the van we clocked up 5282km or 3282 miles on very drivable roads, easy to navigate and stress free.  I would very highly recommend the country to anybody who lives by the philosophy that ‘the best things in life are free’ as there is so much natural beauty here that you won’t even care what a city looks like afterwards. 

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