The ship docked in downtown Auckland and we caught a taxi to the camper rental company across town near the airport. We stored one suitcase there, received a thorough orientation on the camper and drove back through the city to go north.
The camper is a 2015 Fiat Ducato iXeo diesel and is 6.8 meters long. It had just arrived new from Europe 3 weeks ago and is therefore in perfect condition.
The bed drops down from the ceiling and during the day we have this living space with a big table that moves in any direction and can be lowered.
The kitchen doesn’t have a microwave but has plenty of storage and working space. All the systems are so different from our American RV that it was like learning everything about a camper from the beginning.
After a grocery store stop our destination was north of Auckland to Uretiti Department of Conservation Campground (DOC) on the ocean for one night. We used our time there to unpack and get organized. The largest city north of Auckland is Whangarei which is at the base of the mountains on the water on the left side of the photo. Uretiti CG, where we stayed the night, is about half way between the road here and Whangarei.
The campground was just this side of the sand dunes. There is room for 300 campers with no hookups. Sites are not marked and everyone drives on the grass and parks where they want to.
The next day we drove the scenic route to Russell by the Bay of Islands. The only way to get to Russell is on this several hour long and slow road, however beautiful, or take a ferry.
This Top 10 Holiday Park is like a botanical garden and is the nicest campground we have ever stayed in. Top Ten is a chain of campgrounds that also have cabins and motel-like units. We bought a membership to give us a 10% discount on this and future stays. The discount also applies to many tourist attraction entrance fees, some restaurants, and bus and boat tours.
The motel units
The residents in the campground are pretty friendly or is it because I am cooking that they come to the door?
The male does most of the jabbering which I have translated to “please feed us”.
The little ducklings sure like Steve. Yesterday they were crawling all over a sunbather who must have been asleep because she didn’t move. It makes you wonder what is drawing such young ducks to us big people.