Touching down in the Singapore Airlines A380 at Auckland Airport, seemed like we’d never been away. Yet here we were, arriving in New Zealand once again, along with the exciting realisation that we were back in this fabulous part of the world.
There is something so familiar and down to earth about New Zealand. Somehow the moment we arrive, feels as if we’re back in a comfy pair of slippers!
Unusually, even the formalities of airport rituals are so much more welcoming here. Officials great us with warm words and informal small talk. Almost as if we’re buying something from a shop, rather than customs and immigration proceedings .
Stopping to declare our camping and hiking gear, the bags were swiftly opened for an inspection of our equipment. Next came a scrape of the walking boots for signs of disease-carrying soils.
New Zealand has strict bio and environmental rules about what you can bring into the country. We learnt from past visits that it was easier to scrub our gear before packing. Anything to help with all the rigorous cleansing on arrival!
The authorities don’t want any unnecessary threats to nature. So these checks hopefully prevent the spread of disease from other countries. Understanding the importance behind the rules is helpful in ensuring our gear is ready to hopefully pass the mark!
Our tent becomes the subject of a thorough check and disappears into the de-contamination area for inspection. Before long, we’re handed a receipt and told to collect it from the arrivals hall.
Knocking on the small hatch of the customs office, a friendly Kiwi official appears at the door.
“Is this the one” he asks? I think our faces said it all! Hooray – it had passed! Re-united with our luggage in a jiffy!
We were still rather eager to know, what the customs department do with any offending equipment, so we ask the question! Then came a typical Kiwi reply! “Just clean em up with some disinfectant mate, it’ll take about 15 minutes, before they’re good to go”!
That sounded good enough to us and just about what we’d come to expect from this easy-going nation. Now we really knew that we were back in New Zealand and with that, we were ready for our next flight down to Wellington.
Heading out of the terminal building was like walking into a warm room. Lovely sunny weather shone down, as we made the long walk in the open air, to the domestic departure terminal.
With the clock ticking, we found just about enough time to check in our bags, for our Jetstar flight down to the capital. Boarding on the dot and taxiing down the runway a short while later, we were on our way on this final leg of the journey.
The flight through clear skies gave us a perfect view of the snow-covered peak of Taranaki below us. This volcano-shaped mountain on the West coast of the North Island, reminded us of what we love about this country. The remote, dramatic landscapes such as this are just so incredibly beautiful, yet accessible too.
An hour later and there we were, with winds blowing, Wellington known for its blowy conditions, lived up to its reputation.
It was 6pm, we were ready for refreshments and a good hot shower. With our luggage swiftly retrieved from the carousel, we settled into a taxi to take us into the centre.
This was the moment we’d been waiting for, as we unloaded the bags from the boot, there he was, our fabulous eldest Son waving from the doorway. The exciting moment of seeing our first born again was just magical.
As the reunion continued for some time, it felt so good to be back together. For us, our first night was to be spent sleeping on the floor of our Son’s tiny studio flat!
I know what you’re thinking, where’s the van? Well, rewind to the week before and our LDV campervan became a little poorly.
As our Son drove back from a weekend away, the van lost power. It had to be towed away on the back of a tow truck, to the nearest LDV garage over at Palmerston North, a 2 hour drive from Wellington.
Thankfully, as it’s not yet a year old, the warranty covered the recovery truck and the repair. This turned out to be nothing more than a pipe which had come loose.
Our first task the next morning, was to collect a hire car. This had been arranged and included in the warranty, for the drive up to Palmerston North to collect the van.
Arriving at the LDV garage at lunchtime, we were handed the keys and re-united with our cosy camper conversion. After dropping the car hire off at the local airport, we were soon ready to make our way back to Wellington.
Relieved and excited to be back with our camper, we were now ready to hit the road again and start exploring. Somehow, there was nothing quite like having our own camper back, it felt good to be sat in our cosy little home on wheels!
Arriving in New Zealand once again, we were now feeling just about ready for those next adventures.
By the way, there’s no name for our van, maybe we should think of one, but somehow, it all just feels a bit cringeworthy.
So, our van, is just that- our van in name and real life. Maybe if we could think of a nickname that would suit, it would have to be something grand, like “Endeavour”. After all, it was Captain Cook’s mode of transport as he sailed this land, so it could be our’s too!
For now, as our tyres began to tread firmly back in New Zealand’s capital city, we were ready to park our “Endeavour” up for the night outside our Son’s home.
Not exactly a glamorous location, but we weren’t here for the glossy instagram pics just yet. No doubt, those will come as we head off across the country, but for now, it was time to lock up and snuggle in for our first night back on board.
Here’s to another world of adventures awaiting us, so let the travels begin with earnest!
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