I promised to tell you about our trip to New Zealand, so here goes...
As you will remember, I was a bit nervous about traveling with a motorhome since we had never done it before, New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road, and we are 60+. All the more so because I was not quite sure how my husband would react.
We arrived in Auckland and contacted the Kea office in Christchurch. They were very friendly and told us that they would pick us up from the motel that we booked for the evening before taking the motorhome.
We were indeed picked up promptly and brought to the office where a lovely young girl named Sara carefully explained how to maintain the motorhome, where everything was stored, gave us maps and guide to the campsites and in general was very patient and also was very confident that we would manage very well.
This procedure took quite a while and even though we arrived at the office at ~9 AM we didn't get underway till about 13:00. Our first campsite was Greymouth and that evening we had our first and only crisis. My husband, Harry, took one look at the campsite which reminded him of the days that we went tenting in the USA and decided that this was a big mistake. Why didn't we go to motels? Why didn't we just rent a car? The children will be noisy, etc etc.
After settling in, it now being about 7P.M., and walking around the grounds we noticed that the children all seemed very well-behaved (and by 20:00 were not seen or heard), the grounds and bathrooms and showers - very clean and everything very orderly. Then we became actively acquainted with the motorhome. Supper was a delight. I had the possibility of using a gas cooker or microwave. The faucet from sink was hot from the first moment it was turned on. No problem storing food in the ample refrigerator. The motorhome came equipped with all utensils and each item had its alotted space so that after the meal the place looked shipshape.
The first night it took us a bit of time to set up the bed. We quickly got the knack of it, and the next night we set everything up in a jiffy. The sheets, pillows, comforters, blankets, towels all were plentiful and again all had a storage compartment and everything was tidy in short time in the morning. Taking care of the wastes (which my husband was dreading) also turned out to be very simple and not time consuming.
By the very next morning, I could see that Harry was beginning to change his mind and that he could see that there were great advantages to this mode of travel:
• No need to start looking for a motel early in the afternoon. Each campsite happily reserved a site for you for your next destination if you so wished.
• We had our meals at exquisite sites and just had to open our backdoor to sit in comfort, relax and enjoy the view.
• In need of rest, we just pulled over and could rest comfortably on the two sofas provided.
• Need a restroom and none in sight - the motorhome is beautifully equipped for that also.
• The motorhome was a pleasure to drive - we found it easier to drive than a sedan. I think the reason is that one sits high and the view out the front window is awesome, and somehow it is easier to stay in lane.
• The car and the equipment were all in very good condition.
• The price of a site in the campground was about 20NZ dollars.
• The motorhome runs on diesel gas which is half the price of regular gas.
• Even though it was peak season, the roads were not at all crowded.
All in all, we were sorry that our two weeks ended so quickly. We did have quite a bit of rain and this did not spoil the trip one iota.
With all this abundance of equipment, there was still plenty of room for our personal belongings. I was pleased that we had packed our goods in soft luggage. All the things we brought found storage area and had we brought something too large , Sara told us that we could have left things in the office until we returned.
By third day, Harry was totally won over and if given the opportunity, we wouldn't hesitate to do it again.
So, thank you, Shirly, for arranging a very unforgettably beautiful adventure.
Irene and Harry Dym