August 21st 2016 – New Zealand Day 1

Today I woke up at 6:30am so that I could pickup my camper van. I was supposed to walk to the International Terminal at Auckland Airport to catch the “yellow bus” to the Britz campervan pickup location, but the “yellow bus” happened to be parked right outside my hotel picking up passengers to take to the airport. I hopped on the bus and arrived about 40 minutes early at Britz. I had a coffee while I waited and picked up some brochures.
When the time was ready I signed all the paperwork and picked up my campervan; a new model 2014 Mercedes Sprinter LWB (Long Wheel Base). The camper only had 30,000km on the clock, and looked immaculate inside. I drove back to my hotel that I stayed at the night before so that I could pickup my bags, and go to the grocery store across the street. I picked up $120 worth of groceries, and got myself a bottle of wine and a case of beer.
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It was time to hit the road! My goal over the next few days is to do the Northwest loop and visit Cape Reinga. I put in my first destination; Davenport. Davenport played a role during World War 2 and was used as an outpost to spot enemy ships.
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The next stop was Orewa Beach, where I walked along the beach and also picked up some more groceries because I forgot some. I forgot coffee, which is the most important thing!
The next stop was Waiwera Thermal Resort, which was quite relaxing. I relaxed in the thermal pools, and went down the waterslides a few times. When I was in the hot pools a small girl (about age 4-5) jumped into the pool from a kids play area, and couldn’t swim and started drowning. The mother was nowhere to be seen, and the lifeguard was too busy reading a book to even notice. I grabbed the girl and started looking around to see if I could find the mother. The girl was crying, breathing, and appeared to be okay since it was only about 5 seconds of panic before I saved her. The mother came up to me and grabbed the girl out of my arms and didn’t even say thank you, and stormed off. I feel so sorry for that girl. I went up to the lifeguard and explained what just happened and she didn’t even seem to care. This really disappointed me because she’s getting paid to watch over people and save lives. Apparently her book is more important. I left the thermal pools at around 2:00pm.
I had a two hour drive ahead of me towards Whangarei. I was getting tired along the way so I pulled over and made myself a cup of coffee. Good thing I purchased that coffee! I was almost in Whangarei, when I saw a sign that distracted me; Waipu Caves. I decided to detour to Waipu, and I’m glad that I did. They were glow worm caves, and best of all they were all natural and free! I took a ton of photos trying to get the right balance of light and finally got a few that I was satisfied with. I also hiked along a small 1.5 hour hike to a beautiful lookout.
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It was getting dark now so I had to find a place to stay. I drove into Whangarei, and found a spot on a small nature reserve near the aquatic centre. I parked next to two other campers, and cooked myself some dinner. Dinner was pasta with home made meat sauce.
I worked on my blog for a bit, and had a beer, before going to bed. Tomorrow I’ll be visiting Whangarei falls before heading up to Cape Reinga.

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