Thursday, June 6, 2013

Road trip at NZ ( part 1)

We were greeted with brilliant sunshine at Auckland after a 9.5 hours flight. The first place I dived into is the toilet after the long flight with Jet Star from Singapore to Auckland. At the airport, we dialed a toll free number provided by Wenderkreisen, the campervan rental company, to inform of our arrival so that they can send a van to pick us up at the airport. The toll free number is a small but very important detail, it make it easy for customer to quickly get in touch in a convenient and painless manners.

At the arrival hall we were greeted by a giant dwarf (is that an oxymoron?) from the Lord of the Rings movie which was shot on location in NZ

Waiting for our campervan rental agent to pick us up at the airport
The driver who showed up is a friendly Maori lady by the name of Sila, who also happened to be the customer service manager of that day. In fact Ms Sila was the only staff working that day. since it was a Sunday.

This will be our home and transport for the next 8 days in NZ
The campervan is a 6 berths type, the largest in the fleet, while I was pondering how am I going to handle the behemoth on the road, Ms Sila led on a crash course on how to operate the sanitary system, gas heater and the power supply system. I was reminded to be careful not to forget the caps for the fuel tank, water tank, black water holding tank, flushing water tank and grey water holding tank. All together there were 5 caps that I should look after!

The camper is based on a Mitsubishi Canter truck with a 3 litre turbo diesel engine, the unit assigned to us is about 5 years old but it is superbly maintained and the interior is spotless. The engine only revs to 3500rpm and it will never win any race, however the moment I drove it out of the depot, it becomes apparent that it is built to pull rather than rev. The first gear is a super low ratio for crawling, for normal driving you can take off in second gear and it will happily waft along in fifth gear all day.

A 9kg LPG tank to supply the stove, water heater and air heater. In cold weather, this fuel is absolutely critical. I was told that a full tank should almost a month. WRONG!

Electric hookup cable for powered site.

The toilet is the cassette type, with slide out black water holding tank and a flushing water tank. Guess who is assigned the duty of disposing the family sewage.

Clean water tank filling hole. This camper can hold 130litres. The grey water tanks has exactly the same capacity, so what goes into this tank will eventually ends up in the grey water tank. Which means when I fill up with clean water, I must also drain all the grey water out, otherwise there will be over flow in the cabin!
Waste water is contained in a holding tank, which need to be emptied when it is full.

The hot water heater air vent. It is powered by gas so that we can have hot shower anywhere!

Our first stop is at the super market located near the airport to stock up on our food and supplies.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your update, Mr Chang. Glad to hear you & your family has arrived NZ safely.

Unknown said...

Hi TJ,

Just came across your blog, have been keen on a camper for some time but have not own one yet.

Glad to find someone with the same interest and helping to promote it.

Will be going camping to Latar Berembun, Raub early July, want to join? Boon.

mark ruffin melaka said...

Have fun buddy, enjoy the real camping in N.Z! Dont ya wish Malaysia was that organized?
Melaka Mark.

Anonymous said...

Hi TJ, Thanks for your info.It's will be my reference for my 2nd visit to NZ.Last time I use to stay in hotel during my 2 weeks tour for both island. In future I look forward to rent a Campervan for my family tour to NZ. Keep us update. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Nice :-)

Anonymous said...

love this blog TJ. great. just completed my back packing tour in europe for 40 days (15 countries). and plan for motorhome tour with my family in NZ next year.
You should visit europe since caravan is very popular among travellers there.

TJ Chang said...

My next dream trip :) But mean while my kids are starting their college now and I will need to pay $$$! I guess the dream will have to be put on hold.