No Rest For the Wicked
Upon arrival around noon, I learned that our travels were to commence immediately. Despite having landed on a 13 hour flight from San Francisco to Auckland, immediately boarding an half hour long bus and then a hour long ferry, followed by a hitch hiking adventure across a never before seen island to a remote hippie beach refuge, I was now helping my fellow travelers pack up and prepare the vehicle for the next leg of our journey.
The Backwoods Kiwi Shack
With the van packed, we left the beach for a back woods jungle shack to drop off some of her things and pick up her six year old daughter. The shack was built upon itself as if each new morning the builder awoke with a new direction to take the building. There was a collage of strange things hanging from tree branches and adorning the ground; children’s toys, plastic bags, pots for plants and rusty tools.
After an exchange of things and meek goodbyes, we drove away taking the six year old girl from her father. She cried as we drove through the winding green hills and picturesque wineries. We drove through Oneroa and Surfdale to the car ferry at Kennedy point.
By the time we drove onto the car ferry, the daughter had stopped crying and become distracted with the excitement of boarding the boat. Before we knew it, we were driving into Auckland with no-where to stay.
An Introduction to Camper Van Lifestyle
We drove back into Auckland and stopped for the New Zealand national dish, fish and chips. We took the newspaper wrapped brick of deep fried potatoes and fish to a park near the AucklandZoo. We watched the sun set there while the daughter played at the playground and we ate. We could hear the roar of the gorillas and the lions beyond the fence, but it was too high to sneak a peak. As night was falling, we would need to find a place to rest.
This was to be my first experience with sleeping in a camper van as a means of accommodation. Tough I didn’t know it then, this experience would be repeated many times in the year to come.
Sleeping in a camper-van in a big city like Auckland is at first very intimidating. We felt a premonition that we would awake to the sound of a tapping police flashlight on the window of the van. Because of this nervousness, we drove around for about an hour looking for a place that was sufficiently off the beaten track.
At some point, we parked between an old aviation museum and a jungled area. We put the seats down and laid the double bed out. After brushing my teeth, I fell asleep to the sounds of the roaring New Zealand jungle.