It's 8pm here in New Zealand. I think it's 7am in England. So this is a bit like the morning paper. I didn't say in my last blog that NZ is so much like England. They drive on the left for a start. You order drinks at the bar and pay at the time. None of this sit down rubbish and then get a bill. No need to tip either.
The expected tip in Canada and USA is 20%. Someone wrote on a toilet wall in a bar in San Diego 'Tip the wait staff you Euro trash'. So I wrote underneath ' If you paid them a decent wage we wouldn't need to!!' ps 'the war started in 1939 not 1941'.........I didn't really but the damn cheek of them. We need to put the colonies back in their place I say.
Anyway back to NZ. Very very English. It's easy to see why so many Brits move here. It's lovely green fields and the climate is better. Also only 4 million people live here and 3 million of them are on the north island.
The other thing is fuel is only 60p a litre. Shall I say that again. One thing about travel is that it makes you realise that everyone has the same gripes. Currently here they are moaning about binge drinking following a mini riot at a rugby match. They are hosting the rugby world cup next year. They are planning to raise the age limit to 20 for buying in off licences.
The other big moan on the news is the cost of fuel. When I told a taxi driver the cost of diesel in England he nearly crashed. See, none of us are ever happy and we all think everyone else is better off. Beer is over £4 a pint here. Drink driving is not an issue..you can afford the car just not the booze !!
Anyway, I digress (sounding like Ronnie Corbett now). Right we got a cab from Auckland out to Mangere to pick up the camper. The camper company arranged the cab and it was half the price the driver outside the hotel quoted us.
The pick up site is on a big industrial park near to a supermarket and fuel station....suprise.As you can see from the pics the RV (yank speak) is a Ford Transit with a bit stuck on the back and top. Once you've done the paper work they sit you down and play you a DVD 'Everything you need to know about camper vans' . It's then a quick walk round with the chap and off you go.
Ok the main things about a camper......1. it has three power supplies.One normal battery for the vehicle, another one for appliances and a third when you plug into the mains at a site. 2.some things only work when you are hooked up to the mains. Oh what fun it is finding out which !!! 3. There are two water tanks. One for fresh and one for dirty. Fill one often, empty the other often. 4. You wont get hot water if you forget to switch on the LPG cylinder. Queue me having a cold shower.5. The toilet is chemical. It has a slide flap to stop stuff sloshing out when you are driving. Remember to open the flap when you pee. You will only make that mistake once.
Anyway we get provisions (code for beer and wine) and off we head north to the Bay of islands. Along the way we stop to make a cup of tea at a beauty spot. Guess what doesn't work without mains....bingo the electric kettle. Its to stop dumb ass campers making tea while they are driving. You have to turn on the gas and use a stove top kettle. Anyway I thought I'll have pee instead. Would it flush....nope. So I went to a fellow camper and they showed us how to make it flush. They were old hands and had been renting for 3 days.
After a drive north we arrived at the 'shuttle ferry' to take us across to the bay of islands. It holds about 5 cars and two of them shuttle back and forth all day. Quaint.
Our first camp site was great. All mod cons and a view over the bay. We had dinner in a bar near the bay. Then it was back to the camper for a night cap and bed. I have to say it was very comfortable.
Next morning, it was tea in bed. Guess who made it?
Then we headed south passing back by Auckland, through Hamilton and out into the wilds. We are sat on a site near a small town. Its very quiet and I've just cooked a spagbol on the cooker (now you know who is writing this!!!).
We have a box of red on the side and the sun is just going down. Tomorrow its off to glow worm caves.