Arriving in New Zealand!
We are here!!! I was so stoked to land in Auckland airport. After taking the bus into the city center, I checked into our hostel on Queen Street and waited for Tyler to arrive 3 hours after me. He ended up not getting off the bus until about midnight so our first night was pretty short lived as we were both exhausted.
The next day, we started setting up our lives in New Zealand by getting our bank accounts set up, getting sim cards for our phone, and sending in our IRD forms to get a Tax ID. We also got to walk around the city a bit to check out the harbor and surrounding streets. The first initial shock came in the restaurant prices, eating out is expensive in this county. We did find a decent noodle house off Queen street the first night, then just stuck to Kebabs, as we seriously love them.
The next day was the most exciting day in Auckland as we bought a van! Our friend back home is from New Zealand and happened to have a friend who was selling a van. As we have 5 surfboards with us, a van is esstenial. He was kind enough to bring it to Auckland for us, and give us a driving lesson, as we were both pretty nervous to drive on the left side of the road (still am). Since our beauty is a Toyota Lucida, Tyler named her lucy. (He actually also named our tent Mary, I am wondering what the next piece of New Zealand equipment is going to be named). Below is a picture of Lucy in her natural element the first night we went camping with her (soccer moms stuck in the 80’s I know your super jealous right now).
After we officially bought Lucy and had her parked back near Queen Street, we went to go check out this place I found online that sells used camping equipment. In our 8 pieces of luggage ( 3 duffels, 2 surfboard bags, one camping backpack, two smaller backpacks) we did bring our own tent and sleeping bags, but needed a lot more equipment to survive camping the next month. After walking down Queen Street for what seemed like eternity, we arrived at this garage in a not so nice part of town, at first I thought we were in the wrong place. Backpacker Car World turned out to be a goldmine as they had a whole wall of everything we could possibly need for camping. It looks like backpackers just dump all their stuff off at this place when they exit the county, as there was about 100 guidebooks in a box among the stuff of camping gear. For $188.00 USD we were able to score the following:
2 camping chairs
2 burner camping stove
2 chilly bins
cutlery, plates, bowls, 2 larger bowls
1 fishing pole
1 french press
1 tea kettle
1 cutting board
1 sleeping pad
5 plastic storage bins
American Pickers would have been proud. You definitely had to pick through the whole lot as some of it was in not so great shape but if you had time you could definitely find some quality stuff, some practically brand new. We were especially grateful for our find after visiting Warehouse (NZ Walmart), where the cheapest cooler was $110.00. After a good wash, it was all ready to go. The van also comes with a bed frame in the back so we could technically sleep in it, but with all our stuff it is currently just a storage area. It made it really convienent to stack all of our camping food, supplies, and bags in the van.
The next morning we loaded up the rest of our stuff and left Auckland for our first destination, Whangamata. (pronounced Fanga-ma- TATA as we came to find out lol)