Just another road trip: Wanganui, New Plymouth, Hamilton, Auckland

I decided to return back to Wellington for one simple reason – the road trip around North Island with Martin, my friend from Germany. I came back to Wellington during Easter and was waiting for Martin till he finished some of his tasks. It was Monday, the 2nd of May, when we started travelling together and in next few articles I would like to summarize my all experience from that trip.

We started in Wellington. I checked out in YHA and went to New World car park because we decided to meet over there. Martin had to solve some urgent personal things and that was a reason why he was a little bit late. Our goal was quite simple. Traveling around North Island, every two nights to sleep in our car, one night in motel and everything keep doing till we are back to Wellington. We decided to buy some ingredients for our car cooking as well; therefore our first stop was Pack `n` save in Wellington. We bought some most important things like men magazines and beer, because seven bottles of beer is equal to a schnitzel in Germany, Martin said.

Martin used to work in a part of Wellington called Khandallah. He wanted to meet with some people, say goodbye and have a cappuccino. I was waiting for him in our car and when he returned we started our trip. The first stop was Porirura. Even though it was a suburb of Wellington, we had not expected anything before and therefore we were not disappointed. The lake there was a little bit polluted, so we prepared a quick snack and continued with our travelling. I was chatting to Tomo a couple weeks ago and she was talking about Wanganui. I had not had any priorities during the road trip, but I wanted to meet Tomo. Unfortunately I did not have her cell phone number. Despite that fact we just kept driving to Wanganui.

On our way there was a city called Palmerston North. For me that place is nothing special, you can hear some impolite nicknames, but according to Rough Guide you can also find an excellent museum, gallery and a stunning library. Maybe somebody would be interested in fact that Sonny Hopkins from YHA Mount Cook was born there. We were trying to find a way to Wanganui, but all the time we were returning back to Palmerston North (at least twice). The first time we drove through the crossroad and arrived in a place where nothing, but cows were. The second time we drove somewhere, but on signs there were names of smaller towns, not Wanganui. We stopped and tried to have a look on maps. It looked hopeless, but I got a better idea. I visited the nearest farm and asked a guy over there. He helped us and we could continue with our trip.

We were almost in Wanganui when we decided to take a break. We left the main road and tried to enjoy a country road, no clues that we were on a private property. Somebody visited us soon and we had to leave. We arrived in Wanganui during the evening. I needed toilets and because I had still some connection time for the Internet, we wanted to find an YHA. Not because of sleeping, but because I was sure there was a global gossip connectivity and I could continue with surfing. We found that YHA, parked outside, connected from the car and checked some things on the Internet. I wrote Tomo and asked her for her cell phone number.

We were quite hungry and we still needed toilets. We parked on Pizza Hut car park and checked the toilets inside. After that we returned back to our car. I started to prepare Salmon Bagel. We had very special circumstances, but we were successful and Joe from Mount Cook village would be probably proud of us, because we left almost no mess and the result was really tasty. Martin loved that he said and wanted me to prepare some extra portion and because he was really appreciated he went to Pack `n` save and bought some hand sanitizers over there. It is quite useful tool I have to say. It was the first night and we wanted to find a place for sleeping. We decided to go outside the city, but everywhere we went there was somebody. After quite long driving we found quite cool place in the middle of nowhere. We fell asleep quite soon, but sleeping in a car is not a thrilling experience, so I was happy I could sleep on the way to New Plymouth where we were driving in the next morning.

In New Plymouth we were quite soon. In our fantasies there was a plan to find a harbour. We were successful and we had a great eating place all around. I found some toilets, but after closer look they were closed and we wanted to go to the city centre. Martin proposed that I could try to drive, but it was going to be my first driving experience in New Zealand and I did not want to start driving in a city. Martin kept driving and in the city centre we parked close to the public toilets. Our next step was to go to Egmont National Park. We left the city New Plymouth and were driving directly to Mount Egmont. However, Martin looked really tired and we agreed I could start driving. We changed our seat and the party would begin.

The first steps were quite difficult. Even though I could learn all necessary things about control of the car quite quickly, I was a little bit scared about driving on the other side. I drove very slowly and kept the leftmost part of the road. That was not good. Road cover was not the best and we had a very bad weather. However, I made it and we parked close to the Mount Egmont information centre. The weather was really horrible and did not feel like go out. However, the mountains looked beautiful. We needed some petrol and we decided to go back to New Plymouth. Martin gave me a chance to improve my driving skills and I was driving to that city. I am sure it was better, in many ways the driving on the left side seems better than on the other one. I arrived in New Plymouth and kept driving to the nearest petrol station.

We bought some petrol and wanted to go in the direction of Hamilton. I was driving and started enjoying New Zealand roads much more because I had quite wide ones. There is a big difference between roads in New Zealand and Europe. The highway in New Zealand looks like a road outside the city in the Czech Republic, but better quality of surface included. We had a quick stop on our way and found that the left front tyre was almost flat. We decided to visit the nearest mechanic and check the situation. I decided to share the expenses for the fixing even though I was not sure if my money will suffice. But I wanted to enjoy the trip even though there was the risk of earlier return to the Czech Republic. There were some small towns along the road till we finally found a small one called Piopio where the mechanic was. We checked the situation and he told us there was necessary to change the both front tyres. Fortunately, the price was very good and we were really happy. However, the mechanic needed to finish something and made an appointment at 2 pm. We had some time to prepare a small picnic in the town centre. We ate our traditional food and tried to relax. When the time came we returned back to service and were waiting for the repair. The process was quite fast and we could continue with our trip quite soon.

On radio there was some news about Usama death. He was probably responsible for killing many people, but it was quite decadent the way how many people in some parts of the world celebrated he is dead.

A couple kilometres before Hamilton the weather was rapidly changed and we had a very heavy raining. We were wondering about visiting some caves with glow worms, but the both of us had already seen some and it was not necessary to go there. We heard about Tornado in Albany. I thought they were talking about state New York in the USA where Albany is its capital, but tornado in New Zealand was a really big surprise. When we arrived in Hamilton, the weather was a little bit better. We parked our car in the city centre and tried to find an internet café place. I wanted to apply for tax refund, so we connected and began with filling forms, but I did not know my IRD number, so I returned back to car and again to that internet café place. Unfortunately I forgot my bank account number in car and I had to return back again. However, I was successful and finished filling the document after that. When we left that place, we returned back to car and wanted to do some shopping. The nearest place was Pack `n` save. We parked there and bought some things and after that we drove close to another big supermarket and had our dinner.

Because of getting dark, another task was to find a place for stay. Close to that supermarket was an industry zone. We went there and found a field where we parked. It looked perfect and we decided to stay our night over there. We almost fell asleep when we heard some noise. The both of us were wondering about the source; it must be a harvester I said. During the night Martin asked. Believe or not it was a train and because we did not stay on rails we continued with sleeping. In the morning we kept driving to Auckland. I was quite excited because I had spent there 1 month before and had some mates over there. We arrived in the city quite early. We parked close to the highway and found an accommodation in our guide. However, my knowledge of Auckland was limited and I could recognize only places around downtown and Newmarket. Our motel was on the way back to Hamilton. We found it after a while and accommodated there. Like a present we got a milk carton.

We dropped all our things in our room. We took a shower, Martin had a nap, I washed all my clothes and we relaxed at all. I had a phone call with Tomo. She told me she was in Bay of Plenty, what was great, because it was on the way. Our motel was really nice. Before midday we drove to downtown to Countdown supermarket and bought some things. After that we were walking through the streets and enjoyed the atmosphere in the city. For me it was very nice, because I remembered some experience from beginning of my stay. We drank some coffee and decided to go to cinema in that evening. That day was quite special. We met a lot of people everywhere. They tried to propagate anything, but they seemed a little bit drunk, probably fresh graduates. We returned back to our motel. Martin got an idea he could try to go to fitness centre, I did not have problem to walk around downtown and try to enjoy a couple hours in a big city. When we returned back to Auckland, we parked in a public car park close to the Public Library.

Martin went to the fitness centre and I kept walking through the streets. We agreed with Martin we could meet at 6pm that day. When the time almost came, I was walking around a bar where one of my mates works. I greeted him and it was very nice to see him again. I got a beer and met with Martin. We went to an internet café and connected for a while. I talked to my close friends from the Czech Republic and it seemed they still remember me. When we left that place, we were in a rush a little bit, because the movie, Thor, was almost on. However, we were on time. We enjoyed that movie and after we wanted to go back to our motel. Unfortunately there were a lot of complications on the road. They tried to fix the highway during the night and it was hardly possible to use standard exits. We had a really long drive, but we found our place what was great. In our motel we had no problem to fall asleep.

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