Ghost townDecember 25, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C
We arrived at 5 in the morning. We were lucky to be from two of the dozen or so countries that were allowed through the quick 'self service' passport scan. Unfortunately though, neither of our passports worked and we still ended up queueing, albeit in a much smaller line than the other peasants. Next stop and a first for us: bio security. A rather rude old dude hastily pushed us through a questionnaire about our gear and food. We thought people in New Zealand were friendly, but this guy seemed keen on leaving a different impression early on. We were sent behind a fenced area where we had to show our hiking boots and tent. The tent was then taken from us for inspection in their 'lab'. We were released and in the airport arrival area. After a desperate expensive basic grocery shopping (because we were afraid to starve knowing almost everything outside the airport is closed on Christmas Day) , we received our tent back. The next step was to get our rental car. Using a free number on an airport phone we ordered a free shuttle to get to the pickup place. There, they let us watch a short movie on how to drive in New Zealand and then we were allowed to leave with our Morris Garages car. While it wasn't a first for either of us to drive on the left hand side, we certainly needed some time to get used to it.
We drove off to the north. Avoiding a toll road brought us to the small beach town of Orewa Beach. An excellent opportunity to have Christmas breakfast at the beach while watching some surfers. Driving further we could already admire the variety in New Zealands fauna just by looking outside the car windows. At a not so special viewpoint we found a nice snack shop selling us a sandwich and milkshake to stay in our happy but very tired Christmas mood.
We were slowly running out of drinking water. Trusting the CamperMate app, we pulled into a campsite. We didn't find drinking water but the very nice Uretiti beach in Waipu bay. Later we read someone drowned there that morning.
Knowing that we needed to buy groceries, towels, flip-flops etc for our beach trip to the very north, we thought it was a good idea to spend the night in the city of Whangarei. We found a campsite nearby, which was a bit expensive for our standards but we soon found out that's just how it is here. You can easily pay 10 euros per person to occupy a single tent spot. We wanted to enjoy our Christmas dinner by going out, mainly because we were super tired as our bodies were thinking it was 16 hours later and we also just didn't have anything we could cook except for oats. Walking into the center, it felt like a ghost town. We only saw a handful of other (desperate) people walking around, and despite of knowing all shops were going to be closed, we had hoped for more than a single restaurant to be open. The choice for dinner tonight was an easy one.Read more