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|Touring New Zealand 1998|
We, once again, escaped from the English Winter and spent the first three months of the year in New Zealand where we had an excellent time. We had an initial few lazy days in Auckland over the New Year gathering together our kit before flying to Christchurch for a long period in the South before returning to the North.
This year we spent much more time camping. We had a simple and very economic camper van from Rental Car Village which we used as a giant suitcase and used our tent most of the time - it has much better insect protection which is essential to avoid sandflies in the South! The "Thrifty" campervans are mostly Nissan C20 vans converted to have a bed, cupboard/table and cooker bolted in. Although they were far from new they proved very reliable and were actually cheaper than a mainstream hire car. They are also, unlike most hire cars, insured for the New Zealand gravel roads which is essential to reach most of the good scenery and camp sites. We will certainly use them again and full details including pictures of the "Thrifty" are on their web site at http://www.hire-vehicles.co.nz
The highlights of the holiday, for Peter anyway, were the periods sailing. This time we had a 8 days in the Hauraki Gulf on the Carpenter 29 "Kimberley II" that we chartered last year and a Hunter 336 "Amphion" in the Bay of Islands for a an extra 3 days as part of Pete's 50th Birthday celebration.
Last year Pauline took 22 films in New Zealand and we selected the most spectacular 53 pictures for a North Island Picture Gallery and a South Island Picture Gallery after they had been converted to CD ROM. This year Pauline was much more restrained with only 9 films and we have selected 32 of them to form the Illustrated Highlights of 1998 - Mostly South Island with some Sailing, Bay of Islands and the Coromandel.