North Island NZ – A Jucy experience
After our long, sleepless 11 hour flight from Singapore we arrived in Auckland and were instantly regretting not having more warm clothes on. We didn’t hang about for long though, we headed to the depot to pick up our Jucy camper – we were given a super quick overview and then got on our way. As neither of us had driven an automatic before it took a little while for us to get the hang of it. Either way, we made our way to the nearest supermarket and proceeded to stock up on essentials, which mainly consisted of a lot of carbs…bread, pasta, rice, potatoes.
We then got on the road and headed north of Auckland and made our first stop at Orewa. We rocked up to a campside right by the beach and obviously first thing on the agenda was FOOD! And then washing the mountains of dirty clothes we had acquired over the past couple of weeks. After the essential tasks were complete we went out for a wander, along the beach and into town to find some free wifi. After nonchalantly standing outside several establishments to see if they had any wifi we found a cute coffee shop and drank some hot chocolate.
That night for our first meal cooked all by ourselves of course we made Spaghetti Bolognese – well Scott cooked it, I mainly wrapped up in multiple layers and chugged beer and wine and scoffed doritos and salsa- naturally. After trying to cook out the back of the car, Scott gave up and headed inside to use the park facilities. Our first night in the camper was pretty painless – a tad cold but otherwise ok.
The next day we moved on and I got driving – we made our way to Mangawhai Heads, which was stunning. After a long afternoon walk we treated ourselves to fish and chips…mm mm mmmmmm. I have to say Kiwis are a little more stingy on the portions of chips compared to back home, but we had just about enough to fill us up and the Hoki was gorgeous. No mushy peas though 🙁
The next day we made just a short journey up to Waipu Cove which was stunning and the weather happened to be beautiful that day too, so we took ourselves on a nice long walk along the beach and even broke into a little sweat as it was that warm.
Next stop on our mini road trip was a Bay of Islands; Russell to be precise however by the time we reached that area the weather was blowing a gale and it was torrential rain. We stopped off at one campground initially but were recommended by the owner to move on and try keep inland away from the east coast. So we half listened to him and carried on up to Bay of Islands regardless but parked up in a campground a couple of km from the coast in Paiha. The weather was horrendous the whole time we were there – we ventured into town but didnt linger too long, had a hot chocolate and then left. We did stop by the Waitangi Treaty Grounds though and took a scenic drive back to the campground, where we spent the rest of our evening, sitting watching TV in the kitchen, wrapped in our blankets and drinking wine…a common theme on our trip.
Due to the awful weather the entire time we were in Bay of Islands we decided to move on and continue our journey back to Auckland via the West Coast. On the way this included a stop in Waipoura Forest where we saw Tane Mahuta, one of the oldest and biggest trees going. I can confirm it is really big – definitely not possible to hug. After some “tree hugging” in the loosest possible sense we resided in a campground called Kauri Coast, despite it not seeming to be remotely near the coast. It was set in some gorgeous surroundings though, and it had amazing showers – what more could you want. Unlike the previous night this campgrounds kitchen/lounge had a lush heater…so much time was spent that evening cooking our dinner and watching TV curled up in our blankets including a new sitcom with Charlie Sheen in which wasnt a patch on 2 and a half men.
The sun finally came out the morning we left Kauri Coast, which was wonderful. We packed up and set off towards Matakohe where the Kauri Museum is – upon arrival we totally intended to go to the museum however it was $25 each so we soon changed our mind and ventured out looking for some free fun, aka a walk. The site we stayed at was really nice though, although there was a pet cat which lazed around in the lounge area so that gave Scott some gyp due his allegies. He definitely does not take well to big fluffy long haired cats.
So on the final day we set off relatively early to ensure we were back in Auckland to drop off the car – we stopped in Orewa again on the way back to have a bite to eat and finish off some of the food we had bought.
Once we had got back to Jucy depot and sorted out the car, Dan rocked up to collect us – perfect timing as he had been dropping off some friends at the airport.
It was great to see a familiar face and after it being just the 2 of us for the past month or so we were pretty excited to speak to a fellow brit – I think the entire journey to Dan and Sarah’s was spent by us asking loads and loads of questions. The poor guy was so hungover it was probably the last thing he needed.
Dan and Sarah’s house was soooo lovely – was such a shame Sarah wasn’t in the country but on her way back from the UK (fingers crossed we will be able to see them both in Auckland again someday soon).
Dan was such a great host, the first night in so long since we had had really gorgeous food and wine and been in a proper house. In a way it made us a little homesick, but we loved every minute. Sorry I nearly broke your dishwasher though Dan – you dealt with it very calmly despite you probably wanting to kill me.
The next day we all woke up with slightly sore heads and Dan kindly dropped us in to Auckland city centre, where we then proceeded to search for some warmer winter clothes. We treated ourselves to a Dominoes too – why wouldn’t you.
Next stop, Napier to see Jimmy and Jo.