Day #72 & #73 - Halfway! Where Did That Day Go?

Christmas arrived
at the hotel!
So two days' blog posts for the price of one today. Why? Well, today was a transit day where we were travelling from Tahiti to New Zealand. This means we crossed the international date line and went from being about 10 hours behind our friends and family in the UK to being about 12 hours ahead. We suddenly jumped from Saturday morning into Sunday afternoon. While the principle is straightforward, its practical implications really do screw with your mind. Luckily, we let the travel agent take care of this phase of the trip and so all our flights, hotels and connections went smoothly. 

You may notice a change in the sequence of dates of the blog posts too. I think you may see two entries for 1st December. This is due blog's timezone is GMT but the laptop is operating in local time! Hopefully it will all sort itself out!

So we started this day in our hotel in Tahiti, which became the hotel at which we have spent the most nights - eight in total. We did seven nights there before Bora Bora and then last night when we returned. We needed to say over since our flights to NZ are too early in the day. So, we were up, bright and early to be picked up by our taxi at 6am. Since the travel agent had organised this part of the trip, it was nice to have hotel to airport transfers included, meaning we didn't have to think about organising taxis. 

As we drove to the airport, I took the opportunity to take some pictures of "real Tahiti" - pictures of the streets and buildings as we drove past. Although the countryside here is stunning and the people delightful, I don't think you could describe the architecture as pretty or the towns as charming. 

We flew with Tahitian Airlines who provided a very nice service and one of the best in-flight meals we have had. James loves miniature things, so a meal that is all compartmentalised and in small bite size chunks is right up his street. He got very excited! 

Brunch: Fish terrine & potato salad; Pan-fried country style omelette with poultry sausage, Mornay sauce; Fruit Salad & yoghurt.
We sat next to a lovely young lady called Carrington from Missouri on her way to aupair in NZ. She had been travelling for the past day or so, with Tahiti being her lay-over. We chatted about the excitement of travelling and I shared my experience of traveling and looking after children when I worked at an American summer camp when I was a student. I tried not to sound too much like an old fart reminiscing but hey. I am at that age when I have things to reminisce about, so I'm going to! 
Welcome to New Zealand!
On arrival in New Zealand we had to run the gauntlet of their famous bio-security checks. NZ has strict laws about what you can and can't bring into the country in terms of foods, plants and animal products in order to protect its ecosystems. To do this, there are forms to fill in followed by a verbal check with a biohazard officer before either being funneled to a manual bag check or allowed to proceed. While respecting the process, it does add about 45 mins to an hour to your time after baggage claim so it is a little frustrating. However, we were allowed to skip the manual baggage check since we were very compliant and headed out to the arrivals hall. Carrington however, did draw the attention of one of the sniffer dogs (a cute beagle) which meant we had to leave her as they wanted to double check her bags. It turned out (when we saw her later) that all was good and the dog had just found something that took its fancy!
Our next challenge was to go and find our campervan company and pick up our vehicle which would be our home for the next 10 days. After a bit of confusion due to building works at the airport and the relocation of the rental shuttles, we got to the company and very helpful staff checked us in and showed us how everything in the campervan works. 
Needless to say, we nodded attentively and managed to retain a fraction of the information we were told! Luckily there are How To videos available on the company's app and laminated helpsheets in the vehicle! So we were good to go. 
After a quick late lunch stop at a Taco Bell, we hit the open road - back on the left side of the road which took a moment or two to get my head back around, having driven on the right for so many weeks. 
Our first destination was the Coromandel Peninsula, which has the most stunning coastline. Sadly the weather wasn't allowing it to be shown off to its best, but even so, it was dramatic, stunning and breathtaking. 
Telephone box in Coromandel
People say NZ is a lot like England and on first impressions I would agree. So much seems familiar, but there is an undercurrent of different which makes it interesting. Certainly the landscape is dramatically different with mountains that rise steeply from the ground.
We followed the twists and turns of the coastal road until we came to the town of Coromandel, the location our first campsite.

After parking up and hooking up (the electricity!), we walked into town to find some supplied (toilet paper, water, milk - all the exciting things of life) and some food. 
We found a hotel still serving food and we were both delighted since Sunday roasts were on the menu. We haven't had a Sunday roast since leaving the UK and so it was a no-brainer as to what we wanted. The roasts came with a lovely tomato soup as a starter and the mains themselves, while not in the running for any awards, were tasty, filling and came with a couple of interesting vegetables that we couldn't place. However, they were delicious.
Back to our van for the night and the challenge of setting up the bed for the night. As you can see from the picture, the van isn't huge but is more than adequate. However, with two men, two large suitcases, two big backpacks plus other stuff - room soon runs out! It was a logistical puzzle as to how to maneuver everything to make up the bed (don't even ask about trying to tuck the sheets in!) but we managed it.
The bed is surprisingly comfortable although a bit short. Both of us would like a little more leg room so that we could fully lie out in the bed. Nevertheless, we both slept well.

WE'RE HALFWAY THROUGH! Yes, this post represents the halfway stage of our epic adventure. It's incredible to think that with all that we have done so far, that that is only half of the journey! We still have so much more to see and do. Can't wait!


  1. Safe travels guys, take a rest now for a wee bit rest those bones. Aint none of us getting younger..

    1. Ah but the spirit of adventure keep us young at heart!

  2. Wow lovely. One thing I noticed is not many restaurants like UK when I was there. Let me know if thats what you find?
    I take it you guys doing Hobbiton?

    1. We've not done a NZ restaurant yet since we're trying to be a bit self-sufficient in our campervan. There is definitely a strong preference for more of the takeaway style eateries, but we did spot a few nice places (one you might even say was fine dining) today in Taupo.

    2. And yes, doing Hobbiton - see Day #75! Also doing the Weta Workshop in Wellington.


Post a Comment