Once Bitten...

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of New Zealand  , Auckland,
Thursday, March 17, 2011

On our first night with Mr T we decided to indulge in a spot of free(dom) camping. Yes, there are various campsites/holiday parks dotted around NZ. They charge between $10 and $18 per adult for privately-owned sites and between $7 and $10 for Department of Conservation ones (fondly referred to as D.O.C. Sites).

But being the rebels/cheapskates that we are, we were on the lookout until we saw it... a lovely strip of white sand on a cove called Langs Beach, just before Waipu Cove. There was already another van parked there and no sign stating “no overnight camping”.

Mario promptly prepared our first evening meal by whipping up some tuna smoor sandwiches. A great meal, and a great way to attract flying insects! Earlier Mario popped over to our neighbours, Jim and Jane, to borrow some brown sugar... well, actually it was a can-opener and he ended up chatting for a bit.

Meanwhile I started to unpack our remaining worldly possessions. Admittedly we struggled
at first to “live” in such a confined space. It seems the key to maintaining your sanity is for every item to have an agreed home somewhere in the van, and to routinely replace it there after use.

Unfortunately we learnt this the hard way, frantically hunting for stuff when darkness had already fallen. Big mistake! Especially fumbling for insect repellent while mozzies feasted merrily away.

In the the midst of rummaging through the entire contents of our bags spread across the bed, Jane popped by to invite us for a drink in their van. In my frenzy I looked up at her, blinding her with my snazzy new head-torch (compliments of the Royals ;-). Doh! Great first impression! *blush* Another lesson learnt.

We finally made it over to our American neighbours' purple and green van, but this wasn't just an ordinary van... It was a totally pimped up “Jucy” rental that includes (but is not limited to): a 4-seater table, 3 beds, a fridge, built-in stove and cupboards, a raised roof allowing you to stand, even a toilet and flat-screen TV... all mod-cons, and you guessed it... the kitchen sink! But of course this comes at a tidy price.

After some friendly chit-chatter and some Saffa boxed wine we retired to watch the next episode of the True Blood series on our netbook. Little did we know exactly how appropriate that would become...
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