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

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Auckland, New Zealand

TRAVEL QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It is not down in any map; true places never are.” - Hermen Melville

Okay, okay, I know New Zealand is on a map; but the feeling this quote gives me is more about how some truly wonderous places, miraculous places that touch your soul, aren’t indicated that way on a map. You simply find them and feel it. That is how I feel about New Zealand - it touches a chord in my heart I never knew was there...

Woke up a little before 7 to some sunshine and a few clouds; most of our mornings have started like this and then the showers come so I’ll take the sun while it lasts. It was a quiet night, no street noise here and only some birdsong as the sun came up. This was a very nice place to spend our last campervan night in NZ for this trip; a unique place that we had all to ourselves to enjoy. This would be SO hard to do in the US, maybe impossible. One more thing I love so dearly about NZ…..

Got dressed and tried to get internet but we are not able to, so looked at maps and planned our route back to Auckland today. We didn’t have to turn the camper in until later in the afternoon, but we had a few chores to do to get it ready to give back. So we drove on the Hibiscus Highway back down; we traveled up it on our way up to the Northland so we knew the route but had done it in less than glorious weather so it was a real treat to see the ocean and seaside towns in the sunshine. Stopped in Orewa and dumped our grey water and black water one last time at a nice free dump station at a park. Gave everything a good clean and then went into Orewa town and parked. It was about 10 and we walked around looking for a bakery. Did a little shopping at the New World; got 2 chocolate kiwis for Jackson and Kate across the street for Easter. Then we found a bakery and got two pies; mince and cheese for me one last time and a chicken and cheese for Art. One last cream bun too. Got a flat white and a hot tea and it was all to go; tab was $21NZ. Carried it to the beach across the street and sat and enjoyed our morning picnic on a bench by the water. It was just a beautiful view and the breakfast was pretty good too. One last bakery meal -I will miss these….

Walked back to the camper and continued on towards Auckland about 11:30. Stopped again in Albany at a Caltex service station and filled up with diesel ($1.20 per liter) and filled the LPG tank too ($19NZ to fill it up). Then it was on into downtown Auckland. Since our proposed factory tour at the Tip Top Ice Cream Factory didn’t pan out, we decided to ride bikes along the waterfront. Parked in Mission Bay about 1:30 on a side street and got the bikes out. It was not a long ride into downtown Auckland along the water but it WAS a beautiful ride! About 7kms to the end of the trail at the Britomart; don’t ask what that is, I just saw the word on the side of the building. I would call it down at the ferry dock where we’ve caught the ferry to Devonport before. Turned around and rode back to Mission Bay and got there about 3. Stopped at a fish and chip shop and got an order to go of hoki and snapper and chips ($19NZ). Ate in the camper about 3:30 and it was maybe the best fish and chips of the trip!

Drove off at 4 to our hotel near the airport; it was supposed to take about 30 minutes and the traffic was a little heavy but mostly we got stopped by a huge piece of construction equipment backing out of a construction site that they had to stop traffic for. Finally got to the hotel, Silver Oaks Inn at Silverpoint. We had Pricelined a deal on it for $150NZ which is way too much but the going rate for airport hotels; we paid something similar for the Best Western when we arrived. It was 4:45 by the time we got parked and checked in and so we had to hustle to get our stuff out of the camper and get it straightened up for the return. We just grabbed stuff and threw it in our room, which was luckily #1 right next to where we were parked. It was a melee but we did it and were ready by 5:25. Shelley and Steve showed up right on time (actually think they were waiting across the street for 5:30). They didn’t seem all that interested in looking the van over but I insisted she go in and take a quick look around. They walked around and then were ready to go, just like that. And then it was over….campervan living, NZ adventure, the freedom of the open road - over.

Finally back in the room amidst all our belongings and the long, long job of packing it all back into 4 suitcases began. We worked until about 7:30 and decided to try ordering NZ Dominos pizza for supper. I worked on an online order and got it to work; the fellow delivered it about 8:15 and we had a mini feast on the table watching TV. We got a medium pepperoni pizza, a cheesy garlic bread and one 1.5 liter Pepsi and one 1.5 liter Mountain Dew. Had to get the order to $20 for delivery so we had way too much. And it was about the quality of our local Dominos but was better than many of the pizzas we had here (NZ, seriously. I love you but your pizzas just don’t cut it...LOL). Finished packing and then got a shower. We have a handicap accessible room again, just like at the Best Western. Art’s theory is that they think one of us is feeble and keep giving us the accessible rooms; I pointed out that he’s the only one they see when he checks us in, so…….yeah. LOL. It was a fine shower; I was just glad it was indoors and warm and I didn’t have to go traipsing around to it! And the lights stayed on! And no timer! It was great.

Worked on the journal as Art finished packing his suitcase and got a shower himself. We half-watched the movie Good Morning Vietnam on TV as we worked. It was funny to have TV again; we haven’t watched much at all in the last 7 weeks. Art worked on the pictures for the journal and I did some proofreading and then caught up with my email for a while. Finally turned in about midnight. I always stay up late on the last night of the vacation; just don’t want to turn out the light and thusly signal the end of a trip. I know the next day is just travel, going home, no fun and so I am always slow to pull the plug on it the last night….sigh. Tomorrow we fly!



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