10,939 kilometers from home

Upon arriving at the Auckland International Airport John promptly pulled out his handy GPS devSky Tower Reflectionice and determined how far from home (well, technically from Rachelle’s house because that’s where we have a mark for Newberg) exactly we were at that moment. In miles 10,939 km works out to be 6,837. Even though we are so far from home Auckland reminds us of Portland, but with palm trees.

We spent just about 48 hours in Auckland gearing up for the next 9 weeks. Gearing up meant finding a campervan to hire, picking up camping supplies we didn’t bring with us, purchasing a small guitar for John, sampling the fine food of the city, figuirng out a general route to take around the country, and visiting with the Department of Conservation representative (we’re pretty sure he has spent more time talking to trees than people). Yesterday afternoon we picked up our campervan and slowly made our way out of the city. We say slowly because we’re getting accustomed to driving on the left side of the road–we have found people really don’t like it when we try to drive on the right side, American style.

The campervan lifestyle is definitely for us. It’s luxury camping! We have a two burner gas stove, broiler, table, mini fridge, double bed, and awning. Also, the “Holiday Parks” of New Zealand are nicer than our home. They have a full kitchen, laundry, internet room, TV room, and this one even comes with a trampoline. Yes, a trampoline like the one you would have in your backyard as a kid. It’s hard to want to leave your van or park during the day. Of course, this is really only day one for us and the weather is a bit cooler so that could have something to do with it too.

New Zealand is an incredibly beautiful country and we have only seen about 150km of it so far but have wanted to stop about 15 times only have been too afraid to pull the car over. We’ll get the hang of this left side stuff soon. We are in what is considered the Northland of the North Island. The North Island is actually considered to be second rate in terms of beauty in comparison to the South Island, but we have found it to be gorgeous and incredibly green.

Speaking of green, NZ is very proud of their efforts to be a green country in terms of recycling and general stewardship of the islands. We have noticed a few things already that we really appreciate: the option to half flush the toilet, recycling bins placed throughout the city and even the campground, and most food products are locally manufactured/grown (and we have yet to find anything in the stores that contains high fructose corn syrup!!!). It seems like most folks are on board with the efforts to keep this place as beautiful and natural as possible.

We are heading to the Bay of Islands today where we plan to find a good tramp. Then, we’ll probably head up to Cape Reinga where the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea meet. From there we’ll head south back toward Auckland, stop at some point at Waiheke Island, then on to the Cormorandel Peninsula, Lake Waikaremoana, Lake Taupo, Tongariro, and Raglan (for surfing), among other stops I’m sure we’ll make. We aren’t sure if we’ll make it all the way down to Wellington, there just may not be enough time. We plan to fly out of Auckland on the 10th of November and down to Christchurch where we’ll pick up a different campervan and cruise around. We will be in the North Island for 23 days total and the South Island for 37 days. We’ll be doing more tramping in the South as there are many more hikes to explore. We are trying our best to quench the feelings of needing to see everything and reminding ourselves of our trip objectives and that we don’t want to run ourselves into the ground. It’s hard to do though when everything here seems to be so cool!

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7 Responses to 10,939 kilometers from home

  1. andra says:

    oh my goodness you guys, what a blast! nice ride too! we miss you guys so much already but are loving keeping up with the blog. glad you got to visit with derin in fiji, wish i could have been there too. can’t wait to see more pics of the island life. have fun in new zealand!!!

  2. Joy says:

    Hi, guys. I’m Joy, Sherry Macy’s cousin, and I just wanted to drop you a comment to let you know how much we are enjoying reading about your travels and experiences thus far! How fun! We are living life a little vicariously (and jealously) through you. 🙂

  3. JeanineS says:

    Hello fellow world travellers (I’m an friend of Sherrys ),

    I used to live in New Zealand – may I recommend the fish and chips shops… it is so novel to have your dinner rolled up in newspapers – and it tastes unbelievable! I still haven’t found anything that compares (sorry, to the rest of you NWerners… even Seattle and Portland can’t compare with the fresh fish and chips from down under). As a side note:beware, tomato sauce really doesn’t taste like ketchup, it’s sweeter and has different spices but really complements the food there. Also, you definitely have to check out the kiwi burger at McDonalds – Kiwis put beetroot (picked beets) and cabbage on their burgers and even McD’s has made a salute to that cultural preference. A few sweetie favorites: caramel squares (found, homemade, at the local dairy(like a 7-11 shop), and Cadbury “Flake” bars.

    Hope you enjoy that kiwi hospitality, I sure miss it – people tend to be friendly with a great sense of humor (when someone is hilarious they call him/her “hard case”).

    Be sure to keep a look out for pic-nic tables on the side of the road, and for little tea shops along major routes… it is perfectly normal to pull over and picnic on the side of the road in someone’s field (they often graciously supply the table in favorite stopping spots) or to stop for tea if you are “knackered” or “stuffed” (tired out).

    Happy travels – thanks for blogging, I am living vicariously through you.

  4. Nancy Almquist says:

    So, last night on the amazing race, they pitstopped in New Zealand – meeting Phil’s Dad (Phil is the host of TAR). The reflection in the windows of the tower was a part of last night’s adventure – how cool to be there, among all the green and beauty!! Keep writing, as I love your reading 🙂

  5. Rachel says:

    I’m so in love with the jumpin by the camper pic I can’t even tell you. It is like there is music playing when you look at that pic. Really fun quirky music, you know…like, well, you guys. So that you’ve found time to write so much and so well is incredible. And such a treat for those of us enjoying our everyday lives. I think of you every day and can’t wait to hear more…. Love you both! Rachel

  6. Tami says:

    I just want to know how many times you took that picture in front of the van in order to get both of you in the air…I keep thinking of “Hot Denim” and how hard we tried to get everyone jumping. I guess things might be easier with two instead of 9…

  7. Robby says:

    Tami is so right. But let’s be honest, without Pete there it had to be quite a bit easier!

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