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Last updated : Nov 2009
Back to cold weather again
North Island, New Zealand
Sep 22, 2004 21:37 ( local time )


Written by jeffs

So, Sarah and i left hot tropical Fiji and arrived in cold wet New Zealand on the 22nd September. The question of 'did we make the right choice?' echoed in my mind. You see, we cut Fiji short as everyone i'd met had raved about New Zealand, and in particular, to get down to the south island quickly. We spent around 10 days in the north island and went to the following places..... Auckland, Bay of Islands, Rotaura, Taupo and wellington.

Also, we were in 2 minds as to what sort of mode of transport we should use. Several companies offer bus transport across the north and south island for unlimited stops within a year, but from what i've heard from fellow backpackers these tour guides seem to value alcohol as a number one priority with sight seeing coming a poor second. Because of this, and because we wanted to do our own agenda, we opted to hire a camper van for the duration to hopefully cut costs in accomodation and to travel as and when WE wanted to and not have out travel dictated to us be a bus timetable. The backpackers where Sarah and i stayed for 2 days also arranged our van for us. We had a few simple questions and requirements but you could hear the cogs whirring in the head of the girl behind the desk. For example, i asked whether or not the van came with a tv or not. She told me no, so my next question was along the lines of, if we brought one, could it be connected to the vans power supply. A look of pure confusion spread across her face quicker than acne did over mine as a 15 year old. She had to telephone the van rental company to find out. Mid way through her conversation where she was simply not getting my point across, she addressed me and questioned 'an electrical tv, right?' Hmmmmmmm. Does that mean the 'gas' tv i brought earlier today is useless? 'yes, an ELECTRICAL TV' i said, emphasising the word electrical... She still didn't get it. Sarah and i laughed though. So, after a stressful van booking scenario we finally managed to get it sorted.

We left the next day 24th September i think) in our 3 year old van which was to be our home for the next 5 weeks. I must say that i was impressed with how modern it was inside, how big it was and how easy to drive it turned out to be. First port of call was the bay of islands. We only stayed her for one night before leaving the following day and back tracking on ourselves with voices in our heads shouting 'why the hell did you go there?!' No real answer to that so we decided that we would research places to go to from now on rather than just get in the van and drive. Bay of islands was a sleepy little town and i guess it was worth the journey for the fantastic views. Second port of call was a place called Rotaura which is supposed to be the smaller brother of Queenstown, offering many of Queenstowns adrenaline activities at a discounted rate. The town of Rotaura itself wasn't up to much - a few bars scattered around but with no real feel to it. We left after 2 days without doing anything worthy of a mention. From here we ventured South to Taupo and again, stopped only for a couple of days doing not a lot. We left via the countrys capital city, Wellington, a few days later and enjoyed a 3 hour boat journey to the south island and took in some amazing scenery en-route.

Upon arival in the South Island we headed towards Nelson as i'd sent a few bits 'n' bobs over to a friend who lives there named Jules. Basically, i sent all my cold weather gear to her to store for me after i finished my trek in Nepal as i really had no use for it in the rest of SE Asia. Sarah and i drove to her house to discover that she was out, although her mum, and friendly dogs were in. Jules's mum made us feel very welcome, offering us coffee and cakes etc (so welcome infact that i made a return journey just before i left NZ!) So, we spent about 10 or so days in the North Island having taken advice and headed for the South Island quickly....