Our flight to Sydney was scheduled for the next day and it was high time to get back south to Auckland. On the way back from Ahipara we had our first stop at the Haruru Falls up the Waitangi River. It was a nice spot for a short break from driving:
We continued on to the nearby town of Paihia at the Bay of Islands:
Approaching lunch time we shared a portion of fish and chips before driving on:
We had about 100 kilometers left to drive, when it happened… Suddenly the steering wheel began to shake and the whole car started to rumble, as if the street were rippled. We immediately pulled Getzi over to the side of the road (Getzi was our nickname for our red rental car 🙂 ) and our suspicion proved true. We had a flat tire on the driver side:
After unloading all our luggage from the trunk to get to the spare tire and the toolkit, we jacked up the car and began to change the tire. The division of work was very clear: Andy changed the tire while Tini supported him with helpful advice 🙂
While changing the tire we were wondering, if we had driven over a spike or what exactly had punctured the tire. But after removing the tire we saw that the tire was completely worn down and metallic wires from the tire’s core were visible almost all around. Considering the tire had almost no profile left it was a surprise that it had lasted this long…
We checked the other three tires (which were OK) and learnt the lesson to always check the tires on a rental, especially if it is an old car!
After that unplanned intermezzo we continued on to Auckland. Driving with the spare wheel, the car’s speed was limited to 80 km/h, but that was not a problem as we lined up in a traffic jam shortly after 🙂
With only 100 kilometers to Auckland, it took us nearly three hours to finally get to our hotel near Auckland airport. We were relieved to have planned enough slack time and not have to reach our flight the same afternoon…
The next morning we drove to the airport and returned “our” damaged Getzi. In total we drove 2’224 kilometers on our route from Queenstown to Auckland in almost five weeks.
Waiting for our flight at the airport in Auckland we spotted this funny sign on a garbage can. We always thought Germany has too many ridiculous signs, but then again we never had to put up with garbage can spitters yet…
After more than five weeks our time in New Zealand had come to an end. We had seen so many amazing sights on both islands and were impressed by the wide range that New Zealand has to offer: from big cities and modern life to mountain regions, volcanoes, endless coasts, rain forests and from white sand-beaches to glaciers and geysers. We definitely can’t name the one highlight, because there are too many adventures we will never forget 🙂
The great hikes, the adrenaline rushes, our many first-times and all of this accompanied by the beautiful landscapes and of course all the little daily events we were able to experience together. See you again some time New Zealand!