Auckland, New Zealand

[ 1 ] February 25, 2012 |

As our first stop in New Zealand, Auckland was a whirlwind.  No finding great dinner spots, no quaint cafes, all business.  Prior to arriving in NZ we had a Hostel booked for our first night and that was it.  Everything else needed figuring out.  Al and I knew we wanted to buy or rent a campervan to tour NZ with and we heard Auckland was just the spot to do that.   After landing around 2pm, we b-lined it to XBase Auckland, our hostel for that first night, dropped our bags and headed off toward the Backpackers Car Market, which was closing at 5pm.    Our best bet (or so we thought) to find a decent campervan quickly, the Backpackers Car Market is basically a forum for backpackers who’ve finished their journey to sell their vehicle.  The day we arrived the lot was full of duds so with a little less bounce in our step we headed out to figure out our Plan B.

As we left the car market and turned the corner, Alison suddenly screams out “Nikki”, “Wayne”.  It was Wayne and Nikki Bodie, our friends who we went on the mission trip in Uganda with a few months ago.  Now we knew the Bodies were going to be in New Zealand around the same time as us, but we sure didn’t expect to literally bump into them on the streets of Auckland.  Probably one of the most serendipitous moments on our trip, we all exchanged some warm greeting and hugs all around and decided to grab a bite together that evening and catch up some more.  BTW the Bodies must really like us considering Al and I had literally landed in Auckland just a couple hours before, slept in the Melbourne airport the night before, and where going on about 36 hours without a shower.

Connecting Uganda to New Zealand

After diner we decided to take a stroll through Albert Park in Downtown Auckland to check out the Chinese New Year Celebration which was going on that night.  Between the crowds of people, rows of food stalls, amazingly awful karaoke, chinese lantern making booths, costumed people on stilts, and carnival rides we had a great couple of hours just wondering around, chatting, and laughing.

Alison and Nikki in Auckland

Pat and Wayne in Auckland

Auckland Chinese New Year Celebration

The Auckland Sky Needle

We parted ways a few hours later and agreed to meet up again in Wellington in a few days at the end of their trip.

After returning to the hostel Al and I furiously went to work on finding a campervan.  The main weekly auction was held Sunday mornings, 6 days away at this point; that’s not an option.  Most rentals were at least $100-$150 a day for the most budget option plus another $300-$500 for a one-way fee since we were dropping it off in Christ Church.  Classifieds,, and the where our next best option, however, these would take at least a couple more days to sort out.  It was about this time we ran across Rental Car Village.  While “cozy”, the Mazda Bongo Campervan we found was only $50 a day with no one-way fee – SOLD.  We went to look at our options early the next morning, and with everything as advertised, went ahead and picked out our home for the next month.

Bonnie the Bongo - Our Home for the Next Month

Not letting too much grass grow under our feet, we set our heading to north and hit the open road less than 24 hours after arriving.  Hello New Zealand!


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Category: Blog, Destinations, New Zealand, Pat's Blog

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  1. Cynthia Gunter says:

    How cool is that! What r the chances of just “bumping into” someone in New Zealand! It was meant to be! Love u guys!

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