Cunninghams On Parade - 2017 New Zealand: Return to the Shire travel blog

After visiting a number of breweries on the South Island,  we did...

Monday, March 27, 2017

Auckland, New Zealand

TRAVEL QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” - Mary Anne Radmacher

I hate to be packing up; means the end of our time on the South Island is nigh. I’m like a kid who’s on summer break; I refuse to acknowledge the approaching day to return to school and just pretend it’ll stay summer forever! LOL. Don’t want to get school supplies, don’t want new outfit or shoes. Want to stay up late, sleep in, ride my bike, watch TV and enjoy the good life. For me in New Zealand, that means staying up late, sleeping in, riding my bike, eating lots of pies and roaming the roads of this beautiful country. Thank goodness we have 2 weeks on North Island still to come!

So, woke up naturally at 7:30 so my sleep tank is full although my heart is heavy at leaving South Island today. It’s cloudy, sort of cool but not cold. The gas tank ran out in the night so our heater cut off and it was chilly during the night and first thing. But Art switched the tanks and then we were good to go. Made tea and had 4 shortbread cookies with it for breakfast; I know, I know….that’s no breakfast. But as I stated yesterday, the larder is exceedingly bare and it is what it is. Art had the last of the milk with cereal and a coffee. We packed up some more and started doing a little cleaning up ahead of getting to Amanda’s this afternoon. We are only an hour from her house here and want to stop at a famous winery on the way so no rush to leave early today.

Finished doing our packing and pulled out of the campground at 10:45 and drove onwards towards Christchurch. About 11:15 we were passing through Waipara which is a famous vineyard area with lots of wineries and we pulled into Waipara Hills Winery that I had read about online as having the best reisling wine in NZ. Went in and they weren’t very busy so we were able to start tasting some wines right away. Very nice lady there and I told her I was only interested in reislings; 3 tastes were free and then $5NZ would get you all the tastes you wanted. Since Art wasn’t so big on wine (for the record, neither am I but I do like the fruity, sweet reislings), I just gave him sips out of my wine glasses and we were good with that. I tried 7 different wines: 5 reislings, 1 rose and 1 pinot noir. They were mostly good but I really liked the sweetest reisling that they called their dessert wine. Unfortunately, no room in my suitcase for wine so I had to be content with the tastes.

Left the winery at noon and drove on towards Christchurch. It was drizzly the whole way and we finally got to the northern part of the city and went to a recycling center that also had a free dump station. We dumped our grey water and black water; we had filled up with fresh water in Nelson and Amanda said don’t worry about filling it. Then we stopped at a Mobile station and Art filled up the camper one last time with diesel for $1.33 per liter less our 6 cents per liter New World discount and it took about $75NZ to fill it back up. Looks like our total for the South Island was $463 in diesel and we went 3,000 kms. Whew - that’s a lot of driving but man did we have fun!!!

Being a rainy day, we decided to find a mall and just hang out there until time to go to Amanda’s house. We went to Northlands Mall, apparently the largest indoor mall in New Zealand. But it was nothing compared to American malls. Probably not quite the size of Southpark in total. We went to the food court to get some lunch since it was about 2; we both got some indian at a place called Sharimara. Thought it looked good but it was just meh. I got butter chicken, rice, naan and coke combo for $15NZ; Art got lamb madras, rice, naan and L&P soda for $15. He liked his better than I did mine; I think my curry sauce was tomato soup with cream in it. It had no spice really at all and it seriously needed salt. But I got filled up and that was good.

Walked around and just window shopped except for a place called The Warehouse which had a lot of different things for good prices. Bought a couple things there including a 100% merino wool shirt for Art that was black, long sleeved and only $29NZ. Deal. Finally left the mall and walked back to the camper we had parked in a nearby neighborhood since mall parking was too tight at 3:30 and drove the 10 minutes to Amanda’s. Got there at about 4 and zipped up the suitcases, emptied out the fridge into trash bags, etc. Got everything ready and cleaned up and then sat and drank the last 2 cokes while we waited on her to arrive. It was nice not to have a frenzy of packing and racing the clock! She pulled in about 4:50 like we had agreed to. She came and checked the van over inside and out; we had not had anything break or malfunction since the electrical cord in the first few days and the TV never working so nothing much needed to be noted. She did find a chip in the windshield but we had seen it and never had a rock hit the windshield so we think it was there before us. Should have paid more attention at the beginning but she was in a hurry then and we just didn’t see anything. It was not a real big problem and she didn’t charge us for it which was good since we didn’t complain about the TV being dead and took care of the electrical cord problem ourselves. We had to pay the diesel tax they have here of $.06 per km and so we owed $180NZ less the $15 we paid for the cord.

After taking care of the business, Amanda drove us to the airport about 20 minutes away. We got there at 5:45 and got checked in no problem. We weighed our luggage at the kiosks and shifted just a couple pounds around and were good to go. They have the kiosks where you check yourself in and put your own luggage tags on and then lump your own luggage on the conveyor belt that carries it away. No one ever checked our ID of any kind; we only had to enter our reservation confirmation number. And the worker at the conveyor belt asked if our bags were 23kgs or under and we truthfully said yes. I had no idea any airline would handle your luggage on the honor system with regard to charging for overweight ones!! LOL. We were all set by 6:10 and then walked around. Not a lot of eating options really but we had a big lunch so we just went through security and to the gate. Security too was refreshingly not awful: no taking off shoes, no 3-1-1 mess, no problem taking bottles of water through, etc. It was easy-peasy; just put your backpack on the x-ray machine, walk through the metal detector, boom-done! Wow, I really really wish all traveling was like this again-just like the good old days before terrorists ruined everything for us……

At the gate and sat down, not too crowded. Our flight was scheduled for 7:30 departure but we got an announcement that it would be delayed because the plane arriving was late, so we didn’t actually board until 7:40 and it pulled away at 8:00. We were in seats 25E and F and no one was in the aisle seat so it was a nice comfortable flight of a little more than an hour. No real views to be had out my window unfortunately but I knew it was going to be a dark flight. Arrived at 9:15 and got our luggage easily then called the Best Western Pioneer Motel near the airport that we had Priceline Express Dealed for $100US and waited for them to come in their shuttle to get us. There were 3 others already in the van and he luckily could get all our luggage in there too. Took about 10 minutes to drive to the hotel which is an old school style, 2 story, doors open to the outside motel. But the inside was nice (AND BIG!). We had a recliner, bed, table and chairs, mini fridge, microwave, dishes, tea/coffee station. Wow, that was really nice. It was good we could make tea and coffee because there was NOWHERE to get dinner around the hotel. At the airport, we tried to find something but everything was closed since it was 9:30 and I guess they figure no one eats after 9? So dinner tonight a little past 10pm was an apple each and some tea and coffee…..boy, I will need a good meal tomorrow for sure! We don’t have breakfast possibilities either, so lunch will be vitally important to me tomorrow after we get the new campervan.

Relaxed a bit with our fruit and beverages and watched some TV for the first time in almost forever. Found I didn’t really miss it much after all although it was nice to see the news and weather. I caught up on the journal and Art worked on the pictures for a bit. Finally turned in to bed about 11:45.

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