Out into New Zealand

Early this morning, I scared an Italian man within an inch of his life. I wasn’t trying to scare him. In fact, I really wanted to show him I was a good driver.

I hit the windshield wiper instead of the blinker once. I almost ran a red light once. I misjudged how much van was on my left and almost hit something four times.

To be fair, the center of Auckland (home to a third of New Zealand’s inhabitants) would not be my first choice for learning to drive.

The Italian man and I were on the way to a campervan rental shop. He and his girlfriend had just sold me their van, Opheila, and now they were going to rent a van for their last week in New Zealand.

I left the couple with all their belongings on the side of the road a block from the rental place.

Slowly, I took Opheila up the coast to a campground near Waipu called Uretiti.

The campground is an official Department of Conservation campground (one of more that two hundred), and is situated on a beach. The campground itself was not too busy today, and I had the beach to myself.

I went on a coastal walk for an hour and saw some cool plants and views, but most of the time was spent figuring out what exactly came with the van.

I am glad to be out in the New Zealand countryside, and excited to make my way around the North island this spring.

Does Anyone Need a Hand? #1 finale

I left the boat today.  It was a sad goodbye.  The week was a fun departure from my original plan, and I am glad I got to meet some really interesting people.

I will definitely be doing side projects like this in the future to see if I can help out people in the places I travel.

I felt like they took care of me more than I helped them on the boat, but I am grateful for the chance.

Last night, I also got to see a pretty spectacular sunset, so here are some pictures of that.

I spent this morning calling places, and I finally have my van located.  I pick it up tomorrow and will say goodbye to Auckland.

Pictures and more stories to come.