Auckland & homeward

I don’t have even a single photo to brighten up this post. We were glad again of the flexibility we enjoyed when we skipped a stay in Opotiki on Wednesday. Had we stuck to plan we would have been in Awakeri last night with a four hour drive this morning. Instead we had a leisurely hour and a bit from Miranda.

Since there was no rush this morning we slept a little later. It had rained last night. We hadn’t heard it but when we rose a bit after 7:00 am this morning there was still damp outside and a light shower but there were patches of blue sky.

Breakfast polished off most of what we had in our depleted larder – muesli, yoghurt, and sandwiches of ham and cheese using the last of the bread Majella bought in Gisborne. She had bought the last loaf in the shop and perhaps those that had gone were better but she would not advise going there for the style of bread we had. It may have been made to a US recipe or perhaps it was gluten free. It had been billed as whole meal but it was crumby in every sense of the word.

After breakfast we packed up our gear in our bags and cleared the van. On the way out of the campsite we dumped our grey water and then headed toward Auckland airport.

As we approached Auckland we deviated to a Bunnings store where I exchanged the LPG cylinder. There was a little drama with that process when the young woman assisting with the exchange could not get the key to unlock the cage but with the second set of keys on the third cage she succeeded.

It was morning coffee time and we were in no rush so we deviated to the nearby Songbird Cafe. It is a new building in a new residential area with a large children’s playground adjacent. It was buzzing with a crowd and is clearly set to be the local social hub. Our advice would be to soften some hard surfaces to reduce the ambient noise from lively conversation but otherwise it was a good venue with good coffee.

We filled up with diesel on the way back to the highway and headed for the Britz depot near the airport. A stop just short of the depot gave us a moment to finalise clearing the van, including bailing out (with the dustpan and bucket) the shower that had not drained fully after Majella used it this morning.

Van return at Britz was a pleasant surprise. We had driven just over 2000 km which landed us a $140 road user charge (applied to diesel vans). We reported that we had left our fan heater in the van and were asked how much we had paid for it. The $27 was credited to us. We also reported that the TomTom GPS had not functioned correctly and were credited for that. When the woman who checked the van found that I had swapped the LPG cylinder but had actually prepaid for that (I’d forgotten since March and could not find that in the documentation) we were credited for that too. Our $140 was reduced to $46. For all the minor annoyances of Britz trying to upsell and the lack of documentation for some things they got the return right.

We waited a few minutes for the Yellow Bus and then were on our way to the airport. I had already checked in online using the Qantas app but we needed to drop bags. We did that, walked up to the departures area, moved swiftly and easily through immigration and security, and on to the duty free area. Majella picked up some Manuka honey before we headed to the Qantas Club where we are relaxing while we wait for boarding.

We had planned to be home tonight but will stay in Brisbane to visit Majella’s mother and then head home tomorrow.