So, let’s see: You pay your 700 pounds or 1000 Euros and take the 22 hour flight to New Zealand. On the way you stop in Asian megacities (KL, Bombay, Hongkong, Seoul), hell (Los Angeles International Airport and its crimeinfested surroundings. If Homeland Security lets you out) and probably think that this is just a small price to pay before you arrive in peaceful Kiwiana. Or, if you’re lucky, you were clever enough to fly via Singapore and have a proper break in a city that, while autocratically ruled, is pretty safe and peaceful. Nevertheless, statistically you’re most likely to land in Auckland, and that’s where the trouble begins, as your choices are all equally shite:
- a) you’re doing the classic middle-class thing and rent a white, diesel-guzzling campervan for 100 euros a day ‘because you want to be free’ , drive down Highway 1 from one tourist trap to the other while leaving the rest of New Zealand to the 96% of the natives who live as far away from State Highway 1 as possible to avoid the tourists, share communal showers with the other 500 people travelling in those big white vans on campsites and enjoy the thought that you’re going to meet them all again tomorrow night on the next campsite. Most of them are probably from your home town.
- b) you hire a rental car and drive down aforementioned State Highway 1 just to stand in one traffic jam after the other behind large white campervans, driven by Europeans who think they still are behind the wheel of their Seat and stay in Motels with varying comfort levels.
- c) you decide to hitch-hike and fear for your safety.
- d) you try to do the honorable thing and take public transport, just to find out there is none, just a dozen of 20 year old black smoke spewing diesel buses.
- e) you end up in a hostel in Manukau and get robbed of all your traveller checks by the first bunch of gang-colour toting thirteen year olds you meet.
- …and finally: if you’re a German, you obviously brought your bike and cycle from Auckland to Invercargill, just to get laughed at by the other road users.
On the way you will be passing one paddock full of cows after the other, plenty of irrigation infrastructure and will never meet anybody else than waiters from Europe, jobbing in one bistro after the other, boutique owners from Auckland and the German campervan drivers who arrived with you on the same flight and will do exactly the same route that you planned.