New Zealand: Arrival and Auckland
Arrival at the Airport
We flew from Barcelona to Heathrow with Iberia where we got a flight with Air New Zealand via Hong Kong to Auckland.
Once you get to Hong Kong you kind of think that you're almost there but there is another equally long flight to go! However after almost two days travelling we arrived to Auckland early in the morning. Unfortunatly Cris' bag was left on the plane for a long time after the rest of the bags had come off. That got us worried but it was soon sorted out.
We headed out past the bio-security guys to find that no-one was waiting for us. A quick call to Maui (the camper rental company) and we discovered that they had never intended to come and collect us but that there was a shuttle bus to their office every half an hour. A slight bit of misinformation on Taureg's part but we soon saw the bus (the bright yellow paint job made it hard to miss).
Picking up the camper
We were quite surprised by the size of the rental place (about 10 desks!). We were shown a DVD about the camper we were getting, signed the various papers and were sent out to verify the state of the camper.
In the end we had a camper from the same range as the DVD but a newer model. However the diferences were few. We had an automatic Mercedes Sprinter instead of a manual Volkswagen Crafter and some of the buttons in the living area were in slightly different locations. A very long vehicle though - 7.2m.
Since Joel had never driven an automatic before we had some difficulties getting going but we were soon out the gate and on our way. For our first day we wanted to cross the city to a campsite to the north (as we planned to head north first) and we'd printed out our directions from google maps. However we soon found that following directions is easier with a good map of the city! Which naturally we didn't have...
We managed to find the motorway (State Highway 1) without problems but we had continual difficulties staying on it. We were sticking to the leftmost lane which kept turning into an exit only lane. Of course every time we left the motorway we had to fumble around the city until we got back on.
We did eventually made it to the campsite - having converted the 35 minute journey into a two hour trek through the suburbs of Auckland!
Our first attempt at pulling into a site went badly (hadn't yet grasped the sheer size of the camper) but with some assistence from a helpful passer by we parked up only to find that we were in the site adjacent to the one that we had been assigned!
We were too wrecked to want to correct this so we asked reception to change the assigned site which they had no problem doing. We also decided that weary as we were that we weren't going to do much sightseeing and arranged to stay a second night in Auckland.
A nearby petrol station supplied the ingredients for sandwiches and we sat down to lunch and to relax. Exhaustion took over and we soon drifted off to sleep where we sat, waking four hours later to setup the bed and go back to sleep in more comfortable positions.