Thursday, 11-09-2014: Day 22.
Cold Showers and Kiwi Dreams.
Our plan today was to pack up and leave Sandspit, then head south of Auckland to get to Camp Kiwi, another motor camp that was adjacent to the Kiwi House, one of the places that offered a chance to see kiwis. Jackie had really wanted to go to Rainbow Springs to see a kiwi, but that was more on the eastern side of the island. Everything else we had planned, like seeing the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and visiting the Tongariro National Forest, were on the western side. She really wanted to see a Kiwi, though, and the Kiwi House seemed like a good spot to do that. She eventually came around, although she's not letting anyone forget that Camp Kiwi didn't have a bird show like Rainbow Springs offers.
It had been a few days since our last shower, so we all marched off to the (free!) showers to freshen up. The girls didn't have much luck with hot water, though, so it was a quick, chilly experience. Jackie said it was the coldest shower she'd ever taken. Dad, on the other hand, enjoyed five whole minutes of hot water.
After we'd arrived the day before, a few other camper vans showed up in a few of the sites around us. I was a bit concerned about just how we were going to maneuver out of our campsite. Fortunately, as we ate breakfast, everyone else left before us, so extricating the vehicle from the campsite turned out to be no problem.
We stopped off in Matakana, a small tourist-friendly town about a 15-minute drive from Sandspit. Finding a place to park the camper became an interesting exercise. We ended up parking along the road a little ways from the center of town. We took up two spaces.
We visited The Village Bookshop, a small bookstore with a great selection where Jackie selected a book she wanted to read. We ate lunch at the Matakana Market Kitchen, picked up a few groceries at the local market, then got back into the van and started the drive down to Otorohanga.
This required us to go across the Harbor Bridge in Auckland, which is pretty narrow and easily the most harrowing bit of road we'd had to traverse with the Behemoth yet. This wasn't because of the road, really, but all the other cars that were around us. There was no margin of error.
After that, though, driving down Highway 1 was relatively smooth and after a few hours, we arrived at Camp Kiwi Holiday Park. The camp host, Thomas, was a welcoming gent who kept a clean camp. All the sites were wide open, so we picked a site and I backed into it on first try. Maybe I was starting to get the hang of driving this thing.
We took a look at the budget and decided we could afford dinner out that night (no one felt like cooking anyway), so, after a short walk over to check out the Kiwi House, we walked into Otorohanga and ate at The Thirsty Weta, then headed back to camp and turned in to dream of Kiwis.
- Kilometers driven: 260
- Toll roads traversed: 1
- Cold showers taken: 3