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Dedicated to those who lost their lives in
Christchurch 22/2/11
and Japan 11/3/11
may you rest in peace.

Day 1 - Auckland To Paihia: Motorhomes, Mountains And Beautiful Toilets
Our trip started on the Southern Motorway on the 1st of January 2011.

We picked up our motorhome the day before at the United Campervans depot in Mangere, near the Auckland Airport.

Molly introduced us to our new home, a Mercedes Benz Sprinter. Molly’s originally from Peru and she said she’s been in New Zealand for 18 years.
She gave us a tour of the vehicle, explained how to use everything and told us there was an 0800 number we could call if we had any problems.

And with us over the phone we can tell you what to do, OK, and instead of just going on like that throughout your holiday. So just give us a call, we’re here to help you.
Molly Urdanivia
United Campervans
United Campervans is a New Zealand company that was started 20 years ago. We talked to the managing director and she told us it was a family business.
My husband’s retired now, but my two children are both involved. My daughter is on maternity leave at the moment, but she is the fellow director, the person who works in the office here at United with me. And my son runs the manufacturing part of the business. 
Kay Howe
United Campervans
Kay said they hire people with language skills because most of the customers are from non-English-speaking countries.

It is important that they have the comfort of being able to speak in their own language at pick up, drop off, or if they have an accident or something like that.
Our first mission on day 1 was to climb a mountain to see the first sunrise of the new year.
This is Remuwera, or Mt Hobson.
After conquering one mountain, we decided to drive up Mt Eden for another look at the city. On the way, we found a shop open so we decided to stop and buy some strawberries for breakfast. Maungawhau is the highest mountain in Auckland.
Mount Eden / Maungawhau
Before leaving Tāmaki Makaurau we stopped by grandmother’s place to say happy new year and show off our fancy motorhome.
Then we finally left the city and headed north.
I hadn’t been north of Auckland for more than ten years and I was surprised to find that you have to pay to drive on a part of the road. A bill for four dollars twenty arrived in the post a few days after we got back.
We travelled with this personal tour guide called Tourism Radio. We met the managing director of Tourism Radio in Auckland and he explained how it works.

There’s a GPS built into it and an mp3 player and there’s also an FM transmitter so that’s all combined to basically fit onto your windscreen like a sat nav or GPS device and then transmits from the unit, through your car into your FM radio. So, it plays through your radio like a crystal-clear quality FM radio station, tunes into an open FM frequency, and then as you’re driving along it just talks to you as you’re moving along.
Hayden Braddock
Tourism Radio
Thanks for choosing to use Tourism Radio as your tour guide as you travel safely around New Zealand. 
We left the main highway for a bit to check out a place called Waipu. They had an event on and the town was packed.
1957 Waipu Fire Station
We stopped in Whangarei for lunch. Whangarei’s the northernmost city of New Zealand. We checked out the information centre first and then headed into town to see what was open on New Year’s Day. We decided that sushi would be a nice way to celebrate the first day of the new year and the first day of our trip.
Squawk! Squawk. Squawk!
North of Whangarei we visited Carmen and Adrian who run Native Parks which is an introduction system for people travelling in New Zealand by motorhome. You pay a membership fee and get a guide book and then you can stay at host properties for free. Adrian said they got the idea from their own travel experience.
We found it was a great way to meet local people. When we were travelling overseas, we used a similar program in France. And then for the rest of our travels, ah, we, we missed it. And came back to New Zealand and saw there was a lot of people travelling in motorhomes. And also a lot of people doing really interesting things on properties throughout New Zealand. So, it was just a gelling of those ideas. 
Adrian Tonks
Native Parks
We stopped in a town called Kawakawa to check out some famous public toilets.
You are now approaching the Hundertwasser famed toilets. These aren’t just any old toilets, they were built by a man Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who always meditated on the loo. These certainly are the most impressive public toilets in the world. Hundertwasser decorated his toilets with different coloured tiles, bottles and intricate pillars. There are even paintings on the shower room floor. The famed bathrooms have attracted television documentary crews from numerous foreign countries. Thousands of people visit these toilets every year to take pictures and experience the building’s original artwork first hand. 
Across the road we saw something called Amaze Space. I thought it was very cool and well worth the $2 entry fee. We got chatting with the artist … turned out he’d been to Japan to do karate training. We asked him to tell us about his work.
It’s a project I’ve had in mind for a while. It’s based upon conceptual art environments that lead one into the other and take you through experiences, allowing the individual to lose themselves for a moment.
Matthew Nisbet
Amaze Space
And it does need a little bit of tidying up right now because I’m in the middle of a project that’s going to last for years. It goes up the hill. You get the perfect view of the Hundertwasser toilet when we get that in. And possibly over a kilometer of walkway.
I bought a postcard next door and then we headed to our final destination for the day: Paihia.
In Paihia, I bought a stamp and posted the postcard.
We had a kebab for dinner and went to the information centre to ask where we could stay. They said most of the camping grounds were booked out, but there was still space in an orchard up the road.
starting track
artist: Eric Elvendahl
track 1
artist: KesakoO
track: Hanita Belagoo
album: Abrissar
from: Gap, France
track 2
artist: Kevin MacLeod
track: Acid Jazz
track 3
artist: I Am Not Lefthanded
track: The Place That Won’t Take Me Back
album: Time To Leave (Instrumental)
licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
from: London, United Kingdom
track 4
artist: Kevin MacLeod
track: Bass Vibes
track 5
artist: KesakoO
track: Boud(t)abou
album: Abrissar
from: Gap, France
track 6
artist: micro dj
track: thanks to you live
album: the last sunset
from: san giovanni ilarione , Italy
typewriter - Scott Bennett
camera - Richard Frohlich
SH1 - XLerate

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