Introducing Harold

Trip Start May 20, 2010
Trip End Sep 05, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Friday, November 19, 2010


Day :
Temperature : 23 degrees
Weather : Sunny mornings, cloudy afternoons

We'd like to introduce you to Harold. Our campervan, and our home for the next month. We’d been told that Harold would be between 9-10 years old, but we reckon that he’s really closer to 15. Not that this bothers us at all, we feel that he has a certain charm about him.  He’s certainly one of the oldest campervan we’ve seen on the road, and he puffs and chugs away going uphill. Inside, he’s fairly comfortable. We have a small kitchen, fridge, radio, microwave (that only works when plugged into the mains) toilet and shower, and at the rear there is a sofa and table which turns into the bed at night.

We had to take out extra insurance, however. Apparently, it’s not compulsory for the Kiwis to have motor insurance, and so, if an uninsured driver bashes into you, even if it is their fault, it is then up to you personally to take them to court. Without the extra insurance we would have been responsible for paying the first $5,000 dollars of any damage. By paying $500 extra, this excess was reduced to $250.

So, keys in hand we took Harold off to get some fuel. Harold drinks diesel. The price of diesel in New Zealand is $1.24, approximately 62 pence per litre. Great huh?! We then stopped at the supermarket to get some groceries…something that we are not used to doing. We felt like children in a sweet shop….there was sooo much to choose from. After stocking up, we then left Christchurch heading north. We had a beautiful drive up the coast and the weather was perfect. A couple of hours later we arrived in Kaikoura. We found somewhere to park Harold for the night. We clambered into the back and started preparing dinner. It was at this point that we discovered that the tap wouldn’t work in the sink. No water. We checked the shower. Nope, nothing. We’d put the pump on as advised. But still nothing. We fiddled with every switch, checked in every cupboard and drawer for some random devise that we’d not been told about. But nope. No water for us. No shower. No flushing toilet. Great. Were we being stupid? We decided to go online and see if we could find some info from the company website. We plugged our laptop into the socket on the wall…only no power. Hmm. We checked the lights. They were working.  But the microwave wasn’t. More switches were fiddled with in an attempt to rectify the problem. Nope. No luck. We were feeling extremely stupid. We phoned the "24 hour help desk", only to be put through to an answering machine. We phoned the main office. No reply. We phoned the help desk again, and left a message. It was going to be sandwiches for dinner then.  It was about 4 hours later, that it suddenly struck us that perhaps the water tank was empty. We’d been told it was full, but maybe it wasn’t?? Only there wasn’t any way that you could tell if the tank was full or not.  We were convinced that this must be the answer. But why would the electrical sockets not work? Our laptop battery suddenly died and there was nothing else that could be done than turn in for the night. And that was what we did. We took one last look outside the window, at the snow capped mountains, the beach and the sea, and then we drew the curtains. New Zealand was going to be great….if we could just get Harold sorted first.
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Dee on

Hi there, we've been enjoying your blog, great job!

We're planning to spend some time in NZ too and wondered how you managed to get Harold fixed?


nomadic-brands on

Hi Dee!
Thanks for your kind comments on our blog. You will surely love New Zealand, I wish we could go round again! Harold was actually fine,it's just that we weren't told that the microwave and the power sockets wouldn't work unless we were connected to the mains. And we'd been told the water tank was full, but actually it was completely empty, so all we needed to do was full up. we'd also been told that we had two full cannisters of gas, but actually one was empty. So I guess it's best to check everything thoroughly before you leave the depot. It just took us a while to suss things out. Doh! :-) Enjoy your trip. Dominique and Kevin

Dee on

Excellent, thanks for your response and again for your blog! ;-)

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