Day 4 (September 11, 2012)   Auckland


Route for New Zealand's 1st day   Flight is scheduled to land in Auckland airport at 6:30 AM, as motorhome rental office open at 8 AM, it seems we're going to have time enough for going through the severe immigration process.

   Once in our vehicles, our first stop would be at BNZ bank office for activating our account and picking the debit card up and some cash, which we will spend immediately in the supermarket in front for basically food, but also, in a local cell phone SIM card.

   In our way to Auckland, we would stop, first at Mount Eden, and then at Backpackers Car market to purchase our ferry tickets, as they have the cheapest prices in the country.

   We will start our visits in Auckland at Kelly Tarlton's aquarium. Then, we will go to Sky City to take a look to Weta Cave and go up to the tower.

   The next would be drive to Coromandel. It is a 184 Km long route which could be covered in 2 hours 50 minutes. While going across the forest we could stop in the biggest kauri in the peninsula, and then we would choose a Holyday Park to spend the night, ideally, the Hot Water Beach Holiday Park.

   Visits in Coromandel can be done between this afternoon and the morning of the next day and what we can do this day would depend of how the jet lag is affecting to us. The two must-dos here are Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove. Both are scheduled for the next morning, as they need low tide and it will happen then.


 Going up the Sky Tower:  28 NZD


The long night is ending

   Although this flight is longer than the previous one, all of us have felt it as shorter with all the sleep. I even haven't used my display with games or movies as I've been writing the L.A. pages.  It even lands 30 minutes before time and immigration process, with their biological procedure for avoiding the entrance of any animal or vegetal specie in the country, haven't been that tough so we're ready in the hall, and already wearing our winter clothes, at 7 AM. Welcome to New Zealand!

Breakfast in flightKia Ora at Auckland's airport

   We must wait one hour to let the motorhome rental office to open and we've got an appointment in the bank office to 9 AM. For the first, as there is an i-site in the airport I provide there with maps and information about the whole country and it's in there, where they call to our office to be picked up.

   While waiting the van outside, we can check it's not such cold as we thought. When van arrives we can realize live is "slower" here, in a way that is not strange the process of picking the motorhomes up takes three hours! We've spent the most part of the morning in there.

Apollo office in Auckland airport   At the moment first motorhome is ready I and the driver go to the bank just for finding our appointment has expired as the man I should meet with, two hours and a half before, is not there anymore. They call him and reschedule the meeting for 15h and we cannot miss it for any reason. I just exchange 50€ for the next expense.

   We come back with the news and, as all three motorhomes are finally ready, our convoy leaves to Auckland. All our plan for today have been rewritten and our target now is reaching Kelly Tarlton's at 12:30h in order of don't missing the Shark Cage activity, which 71$ per person have been paid few days before coming. We're on time if we don't get lost, but that's asking too much.

   A very nice woman from a flower shop of who-knows-where not only give us the indications, but even prints us a map showing how to get the famous aquarium and, thanks to her, we only arrive a few minutes late.

   We've been able to realize driving a motorhome is slow while coming to here, but managing it in a common parking is a real challenge.

   Shark Cage is for a maximum of 6 people groups, so two of us are out of it. I'm one of those and that's the reason I exchanged money before, to be able of purchasing the general admission ticket, which is 27.20$ per person with the 10% of discount coupon we've got from a voucher in Apollo offices. The six for the Shark Cage are taken to a "Personnel only" entrance and we look the Stingray tank and the tunnel through the big one, where we're waiting to see our group.

Kelly Tarlton's Underwater worldStingray tank

   Around 30 minutes later they appear, wearing neoprene clothes, inside a cage which, otherwise I thought, it moves in a 15 minutes going and return trip across the tank and we can see them through the transparent tunnel walls.

Shark CageEmpty Shark Cage

Shark Cage experienceShark Cage experience

   Once they're back with us, they're mainly talking about how funny it is and how cold the water was.

Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic encounterSeahorse Kingdom

   We visit the penguins - why the babies seem to be bigger than the adults? - and seahorses areas and leave the place as we must come back to the airport because missing our appointment there would be a tragedy. We get the bank office on time and we're able of activating the account and get the card, but the procedure has taken one hour and a half Be careful with the procedures in this country when planning time.

Auckland's skyline from Kelly Tarlton's

   Once we've got access to our money we can think about doing things, but the time spent has been a lot, too much. We cannot come back to Auckland. Remaining time today is for lunching, shopping - the basics, at least - and driving to Coromandel, where our plan starts tomorrow.
Auckland's airport area
   Lunching: fast food, in the McDonalds in front of the bank office.

   Shopping: In "Countdown" supermarket, besides the bank. I spend 78$ in what I need for the next breakfasts, you know, juice, eggs, bacon, fruit, cookies, ... and something to eat with a quick cook like soups and cans with spaghetti or beans. We got a plug adaptor as well and a SIM card with a local number to my free cell phone in the "Warehouse" along the supermarket.

   The map is showing the airport area and why we spend almost the whole day in there:

   1- Auckland International airport
   2- BNZ bank office
   3- Mc Donald's
   4- Supermarket area
   5- Apollo rental office

   Driving to Coromandel: As we're leaving the airport area at dark we've got an intensive course about driving an eight meters monster, on the left side of the road, by night. We're going slow and, after three hours driving with no stops, already in Coromandel, but far from our destination we agree on the next available place as all three drivers are very sleepy now.

   After some minutes driving between absolute darkness, a picnic area opens at our left and we go inside with no doubt. We get toilets ready to use with the chemicals bought at supermarket and set everything ready to sleep. We need to rest. It was a long time driving across forests darkness doesn't allow us to see. Tomorrow we will be able to appreciating them.

Going to bedMotorhome room from bed