Since our departure from Minerva Reef the temperatures have been dropping day by day... a sign that New Zealand is not far away.
19 October 2019-OPUA
It is under a beautiful spring sun that Northland Island appears in the distance. We notify the authorities at the VHF of our upcoming arrival at the port of entry of Opua.
Immigration and agriculture services are waiting for us at the quarantine wharf. Health rules are strict in New Zealand : no right to import fruit, vegetables, Meat, Eggs, seeds etc... we had anticipated and eaten everything we had left in the fridge. Too bad for cherry tomatoes, cacti and herbs left in Polynesia!
Once the entry formalities and inspection of the vessel have been completed, we will warm up with a cappuccino. The water temperature is 15° grr... we hope that in summer ( December) it will be warmer!
Waiting for better days, we go to Haruru Falls 6kms from Paihia.
We leave Tao facing Paihia beach on the dead body of our friends Vaughan and Leslie who stayed in Polynesia.
The Haruru Falls site is part of the DOC (Department of Conservation). It is very well maintained, no need to have a machete like in Polynesia to make your way!
The vegetation is dense and lush it consists of a unique variety of ferns such as the silver fern became the National emblem of the All Black.
A little away from the path wooden crates are scattered in the forest. These are traps for possums and ermines (Stoats) that disrupt the New Zealand eco-system. These extensive eradication programmes that have been in place in recent years seem to be quite effective..
After following part of the Waitangi River we arrive at Haruru Falls.
The road back seems long, we have no water or something to nibble on and we can't wait to arrive in Paihia to "shark" us.
Nothing like a huge hamburger to regain our energy except that it will remain on our stomach all afternoon.
Beautiful sunny days without too much wind are announced. We go by bus to Auckland with the objective of buying a camper van and shopping!
After 2 days of visit to camper van dealers in Auckland and its surroundings, we are not so "seduced" by the principle of buying a van already equipped.!
Finally our choice is a used Toyota Estima hybrid in perfect condition that just arrived from Japan. All that remains is to transform it into a "self contained" van( New Zealand waste storage and disposal standards).
As soon as we return to Paihia we get to work.
Once the wooden panels are cut out, Assembled, fixed and varnished,
the kitchinette is mounted with the required standards. There is only the "aesthetic" part left to finalize (king size bed of course...) and have the facilities certified.
You are super gifted !
How long did it take you to fit out this Toyota Hybrid ? By having to comply with fairly rigid standards, In addition !
Once the plans are made and the wood purchased, it's very fast… two days to dismantle the seats and the structural work. It's a bit like in a boat where nothing is horizontal or perpendicular. Then you have to varnish, make the cushions, curtains, plumbing.