We’ve been a bit quiet as we’ve been back in the UK for four weeks to attend a lovely wedding and to say hi and bye before the bulk of our trip. A huge thank you to everyone we saw and that put us up (particularly Mum and Dad and Julie and Dave!) We’ve now zipped over on a short 23 hour double flight to Auckland, New Zealand to begin the next leg of our journey: 3 months of campervanning around NZ.
It really is a mammoth flight. We stopped over for an hour in Kuala Lumpur which made the whole journey pretty hard work and we’re still very jetlagged a couple of days later. Definitely wouldn’t recommend Malaysian airlines; they only have powdered creamer for their tea. No milk! Outrageous. Service was crap too.
Auckland is wonderful. It reminds me a lot of the US, but much more relaxed. The city feels very quiet, limited traffic and nice wide roads. There’s a lot of parks and open spaces too. It seems a world away from somewhere like London, but there is still a lot here to see and do. The city is spread out over a huge area and we’ve only scratched the surface, but we’re flying out of here in a few months so we’re going to leave the bulk of our exploration until then as we’re keen to hit the road.
We had originally intended to buy a campervan when we got here, but having been scouring the forums for vans that meet our demands (automatic, has a table and kitchenette) we were found wanting. Dearlerships were really pricey, and we visited the backpacker market and again found nothing. Remembering we’d gotten a quote about 6 months ago I dug out the email and found it actually wasn’t as expensive as we’d thought. After a flurry of emails with various firms negotiating deals we eventually managed to settle with the company Laura had found and wanted to go with from the start, escape rentals. As well as being reasonably priced compared to buying, we’ve got full insurance AND 24/7 roadside coverage, which hopefully means we’ll be ok if something goes wrong- although apparently we have to change flat tyres on our own. That’s going to be fun.
Escape’s USP is that all the vans are custom decorated by their spray artists. The van you get is luck of the draw, but Laura is pleased with ours; introducing, Vanatar!
I’m not a big fan of the giant blue guy, but the other side has spaceships firing at each other and stuff. It’s pretty cool. We’re in the middle of pimping it out at the moment (throw rugs and cushions!) but we’ll upload some proper photos soon. Having never driven a van or an automatic it’s taking some getting used to, but so far so good (read: no crashes yet).
We’ve one more night in Auckland before we’re heading onwards to our next destination, Orewa, where we’ve booked into a “luxury” site to help us ease into the whole camping thing. More news soon!