Smooth arrival in Auckland, except for trying to figure out the SIM card situation on my AT&T phone (will leave it for another post…). We went straight to the hotel as it was close to 10pm local time. Thanks to our friend Courtney for the jet lag pills she gave us, we had a great night of sleep and no issues adapting to the local time. It does feel strange to know that everyone is a day behind from us…Went to get our campervan at Wenderkreisen. It’s very comfortable for 4 people but…you need to know how to drive on the left side of the road AND drive a manual transmission, meaning you change gears with your left hand!! Well, I still need a few days to absorb this and gain confidence to drive. For now, Chris is doing all the driving.
We stocked up the van at the local grocery store and off we went to our first destination – Piha Beach, a quiet beach town. Reminded of Stinson Beach, near San Francisco, including the winding road to get there. Beautiful shore, the Lion Rock that the kids and I climbed to the top. The campground was closed for renovations so we just parked by the beach and spent the night there. Made a yummy spaghetti with pesto dinner.
From Piha we drove to the Northwestern side of the North Island, about 3hrs from Piha. Stopped at Dargaville to use the public library and get a couple of hours of free internet. Our next destination was Trounson Kiwi & Kauri Reserve. We camped at the Kauri Coast Top 10 park, probably the best campground I have been to. Bonus: trampoline and ping pong table for the kids. So nice that we decided to stay a 2nd night to just relax, explore the hiking trails and catch up on kids studies and next destinations. Extra bonus: there is internet throughout the entire park!