I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Friday 16 February 2024

The BIG One 2024 - New Zealand - Days 5, 6 and 7



Monday 5th February - Auckland


We landed in Auckland about 1pm.  Neither of us had slept well, but I guess the adrenaline saw us through.  The flight had been fine but we so glad to get off.  My feet had swollen up even though I had compression socks on.  There is a long customs declaration form that you have to complete before entering NZ and I had heard real horror stories on Facebook about people being stopped and fined or having their goods taken away from them.  One of the things was that all medication had to in its original packaging and that each item had to be listed on the form - it didn’t unless there was over 90 days worth.  Pills for 2 people for 6 weeks in their original packaging took up a lot of space in the suitcase!  Anyway we went through the red channel as we had walking poles which I was worried about but all they were concerned about was the $7k of goods that I was bringing into the country, oops a tick in the wrong box, methinks!!


In the arrivals hall I bought a NZ SIM card to go into my old phone so we have free calls within NZ, we used it immediately to phone the hotel to arrange for the shuttle bus to pick us up.


Once in our hotel room we crashed out for an hour on the bed - we needed a quick recharge!  The hotel was out in the sticks a bit so we ate in the restauant, we both had steaks (Scottish of course!) which were excellent.


An early night was called for.

Tuesday 6th February - Auckland


We both slept well and felt quite refreshed. 


Today was Waitanga Day which is a public holiday.  It is to celebrate the day when the Māori Chiefs signed over NZ to the British in 1840.


After breakfast we took an Uber into Auckland.  We had been warned not to take a taxi as they are very expensive.  The concierge at the hotel had suggested that we go to the Quay as we said we like water.  It was lovely there and very hot.  We walked around for a bit then I saw an empty table in a restaurant overlooking the marina so we grabbed it.  The food was OK, I don’t think our stomachs knew what meal they were having just as our brains didn’t know what time it really was!!  We then walked round the marina and the photos below were all taken from our walk.


We took an Uber back to the hotel, and crashed out on the bed again!  As we had had a meal at lunchtime we shared a pizza for dinner in the restaurant.  


Wednesday 7th Frebruary - Paihia


Today is what the whole trip is about, driving a motor home round NZ.  The rental company sent a complimentary taxi for us which was very helpful.  We did the paperwork for the van, had a look round the outside then we went inside and I just said, I’m sorry but this van won’t work for us!  The two layouts shown on the website for the class of van we had booked were either an island bed or two singles.  This van had a French bed which meant that I couldn’t use my CPAP machine for my sleep apnea.  It was suggested that it was my fault for not telling them my requirements but I explained that the two types of bed on their website were not what we were being offered.  Off they went into a huddle and came back saying that they had a brand new van which we could have but not until Friday as it needed checks doing on it.  We could take the original van and then swap it over when we passed back near the depot on Friday, but we weren’t passing on Friday it would be Sunday, but jthey don’t open on a Sunday!  Another huddle and they came back and said it could be ready by 3.30pm in the afternoon!!  We jumped at it, they even lent us a car to go and get our shopping.  3.30pm saw us loading up the van and starting our adventure 😃


The journey up to Paihia wasn’t too bad except that is was getting near the rush hour and the motorway kept getting jammed up.  We finally arrived at our site at about 8pm.  I had phoned the site to tell them we would be late so they said we were on pitch 6, but when we got there the pitch was occupied so we had to go onto 7.


  1. Well I think you’re both amazing and everything crossed it goes smoothly from here on in.

  2. My late hubby's fishing tackle was thoroughly checked before we were allowed in! We liked the harbour in Auckland very interesting. We hired a car tho and booked ahead daily. I envy you. So many memories even afta 20 years like it was only yesterday.