Living off the kindness of others, Auckland, Car Auctions, Ron Burgundy, Whangarei, Wading through caves and Diving the Poor Knights
16.01.2012 - 23.02.2012
New Zealand has got off to a nice relaxing start by staying with friends. We arrived at Auckland Airport to be met by Amy and Dan who drove us back to their house in Glen Eden to spend a few days with them, Daisy the Dog and George the Parrott. The majority of our time there was spent looking for cars. James took the safe option and rented for two months, whereas Nathan and I decided to head to Turners Auction and take a risk on buying one.
After spending hours traipsing through cars, ruling out the too expensive, too leaky, non-starters, cars with no WOFs and the massively juddery when test driven, we were left with relatively few options. Not looking promising. Anyway we had a list of a couple we would consider bidding on. When it came round to the first on my list, a Hyundai Sonata, I thought I would do one bet, then someone else would outbid me and I would give up (seeing as I couldn’t really remember the car overly well, I just knew I had put a tick by it on my list). So I bid $1,100 and waited for someone else to pipe up. Nothing. SOLD. Frig I just bought a car. OK calm down and frantically try to remember if all its lights turned on, if its radio worked, was it leaking, if it even started. Oh well too late I’ve bought it now. Luckily on second inspection it seemed golden, and after coming up with his name, Ron Burgundy (because he is burgundy and I had recently watched Anchorman), I started to love him. Nathan bid on a Subaru Legacy, which rattled all the way home (not good). However he got lucky and a mechanic fixed the rattle the next day for free (he hit it with a metal pipe then it was fine). We were ready to go.
Next stop was visiting Alex and Heather, Family friends living in Whangarei. There was no way to get lost as seemingly there is only one road in New Zealand (Highway 1) so Ron got me there no problems. My time here has been spent gathering camping supplies (borrowing a tent and going to Warehouse (the shop which has everything) for the rest), eating ice cream in the town basin, swimming at Matapouri Bay, researching climbing areas (and planning my route), and going to Waipu caves with Ollie and Helen (Ollie is Alex and Heathers son who last I saw when he was a small 10 year old, and now he is a giant with a New Zealand accent) which involved wading through muddy water in the dark up to our thighs and checking out the awesome sight of loads of glow worms. My final day here was spent diving at Poor Knights Island.
The diving day involved driving to Tutukaka, where I got the dive boat out at 8.30am and spent an hour getting to Poor Knights Island. The dives were both located in a sheltered bay at Brady’s Corner and Trevor’s Rock. The visibility was awesome and the diving involved swimming through forests of Kelp and checking out the underwater caves and the massive Sting Rays. I also saw Goatfish, Nudibranch, Damoiselle, Crimson Cleanerfish, Leatherjackets, massive shoals of Koheru and a few Kingfish (well that’s what people identified for me and I wrote in my log book anyway). When we weren’t diving the skipper took us around the islands to look at the biggest sea cave in the world, to drive through some impressive archways and to splash us in the face with excessive amounts of sea spray on the way back. All in all a good day, though the sea temperature was a bit lower than I was used to and I got a bit tired of people pointing out I had gone blue. Luckily for the second dive I got given extra wetsuit layer, though on the down side it did mean I could barely move/breath I was so squished in three layers of wetsuit. And I still went blue. I am not made for even slightly cold water.
After a few days staying in the comfort in a house, I am now setting out with a tent in the back and travel starts in earnest! Looking forward to exploring New Zealand