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Thread: Australia - Our temporary farewell and arrival in New Zealand

  1. #1
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    Australia - Our temporary farewell and arrival in New Zealand

    18th - 21st December 2007

    Leaving Australia/Tasmania arriving in New Zealand.

    After the previous evenings preparations I was confident that our journey to return the car and arrival at the airport would be smooth. I filled the car up with fuel as we left Hobart as we thought the car rental company was less than 20km away. Somewhere along the lines though we'd forgotten our way back to the car rental companies premises , and to add further insult to my carefully laid plans, the cars fuel gauge was no longer showing full (and we had an agreement where we had to return it as such). I saw a petrol station in a fairly remote area, put something like £1 or £2 pounds worth of petrol in to fill it back up again, and inadvertently pushed in front of a huge queue of School-children to pay for it. Oops !

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    The rental car - If we had to put up with driving in it, you have to look at it !! In fact, it did a good job...for a car.

    Our time was running very low and we still weren't sure of where the Rental companies offices were, and started getting pretty stressed. Eventually Sylvia found a map in the car and lead us in the general direction of the rental company, not all the way though as the page we wanted in the map had been torn out !! When we finally return the car, the fuel gauge is again not showing full and so I explain the situation to the woman at reception. I thought she was going to raise an eyebrow and take a deep breath or something equally questioning, but instead she said. 'Not to worry, we've had quite a few of the Nissans doing that'. Arrgghhhh

    The rental company transferred us back to airport and we check in with a little time to spare. The flight back to Melbourne is quickly over and we are soon queuing up to check our baggage in to fly to New Zealand.

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    Our last views of Tasmania.

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    Having just got off one aircraft and being just about to board another we expected the process to be almost seamless but we failed our first fence at the Check-in as we didn't have an itinerary for our return flight from New Zealand, and you can't enter without an exit flight being booked. With all the hurrying we'd done recently, I didn't have the details immediately to hand which caused to check-in Lady some concern. I vaguely remembered the return date and so she went off to check to see if our names were on that flight list. The date I'd guessed was wrong by about 5 days but I realised soon after she'd left (as I'd written it in a note book) and so I went to let her know. She'd however simultaneously found our details and so that was ok now.

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    Seen at Melbourne Airport....just couldn't resist....not strictly true of course but I've seen a bit now.

    Our next failed hurdle was having two cigarette lighters in our check-on baggage. For flights to New Zealand you have to carry lighters on your person-they can not go in the hold. I explained that in Europe and America it was the other way round but she wouldn't have it. I couldn't believe it ! So, I had to go through both our HUGE bags on the conveyor belt to find them-it took about 10 mins. I was not happy as I'd honestly done what I'd believed to be the right thing based on normal flight requirements. I wouldn't have minded so much had she acknowledged that things were different here for what ever reason but she wouldn't have it, and her defiance that it was the same all over the world just exacerbated the situation. After finding them both I was about to push my point a bit further but Sylvia started to drag me away..... as we'd been wished Happy Christmas..... with our present being a $AU60 baggage excess waiver.

    Our third hurdle was me and my carry-on luggage being checked for explosives...seems funny after being allowed 2 lighters ! Anyway, that done we proceeded to Immigration on the Australia exit desk. Now begins our fourth hurdle. My passport was double checked as it had been through a washing machine in Honduras nearly 2 years ago. And even though 90% of the stamps had been made after that, the Immigration Officer was very concerned about it. (Please remember we are leaving the country). Eventually the Officer calls his Supervisor over who both have a look at it and shake their heads woefully. In the end I placate their concerns by telling them that I return to the UK after New Zealand/Australia and I can get it sorted out then.

    Next is Sylvia who'd used her middle initial on her Visa application as opposed to her full middle name. The initial was correct but this creates further consternation with the Officer who has to call his Supervisor over again. The net result was that they make a manual entry on their system so that Sylvia's Passport and Visa details match up perfectly. Whew, what a relief !!

    We thought we would have plenty of time between flights in Melbourne but in reality we only ended up with around 90 minutes in the end ! ..Can you spot where the time went ?

    Eventually we board our Air New Zealand flight which is on a pretty scruffy and out-of-date plane. Our flight is short at 3.5 hrs so our outlook is not so bad.

    We touched down in Christchurch at around mid-night and I was in quite a grotty mood as the day had been far more stressful than I'd expected. As we have a tent (washed by Sylvia the previous day) we had to declare it, which put us into an additional queue at any already busy airport..even at around 1 am in the morning. Finally we hand it in and it is returned to us within 5 mins after the Bio-Hazard team have ok'd it for entry.

    We call for the complimentary mini-bus service offered by our motel and get taken to a very nice motel room, make some tea and watch TV in bed to wind down.

    The following morning Dave from GETROUTED, our shipping agent, collects us from our Motel. We discover that we can not get any bike insurance today as Dave's preferred (and reasonable) Broker has a day off, and ebike who insured me in Australia, won’t cover me with an NZ policy as the bike is not registered in NZ.(They have offices in UK,OZ & NZ).

    We get to the warehouse where the bike was unloaded/being stored and the bike was as we'd left it in Melbourne-immaculate. After reconnecting the battery, rack & top box, I try to start it up but it is running very badly (on one cylinder predominately) and I can’t establish why. I have a good look around but nothing stands out so Dave takes me to buy plug spanner (so I can check for spark etc) and look for replacement tank bag at the same time. In the end, Dave sells me his own Tank Bag as all the ones we can see in a Budget motorcycle shop are too expensive for a now limited use. Dave’s actually turns out to be the same as the one that Sylvia & I had bought in Sydney, which was perfect as its footprint was fairly small but the storage capacity quite high. We manage to get a plug spanner and I buy 2 new plugs just in case.

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    Bugger !

    After checking and changing the plugs, the bike is not running any better so we retire back to Motel with the plan to get our insurance tomorrow and ride to BMW dealer for a check-up following day. The return to our Motel is a shortish trip but costs $60 in a taxi.

    After a tea we set about trying to find some accommodation for Christmas. Our first attempts produced nothing and we were generally given a tone of doom from anybody we spoke to....Oh, Christmas, you should've booked earlier-Your unlikely to find anything now. A further hour or so on and Sylvia finds an advert in an AA travelling NZ guide. I look them up on their web site and they look ok so I e-mail them with an enquiry about availability.

    In the evening we meet up with Phil (and is wife, Sharlane) from 'Dirt Action Services', the bike shop we'd got our plugs & spanner from, to discuss RTW’ing as they plan to go in 2010. We pay for Dave & Maggies dinner as thanks for all their running around of us, both in Melbourne and here. Phil’s friend, Howard (and wife Annette) who will be travelling on the RTW with Phil, kindly give us a lift home.

    The following day we get the bikes insurance confirmed but we can’t pay for it as they want to be paid using an Electronic transfer system. In the end Dave says he’ll cover it and we can re-pay him out of our Bond Deposit when the bike is returned to Australia. Dave collects us from our Motel in the morning again and we go back to the warehouse. Unsurprisingly enough, my bike still won't run properly and so I limp it to the nearest BMW dealer on 1.25cylinders. After a few minutes they find that one of the throttle cables had jumped out of holder and was effectively trying to hold one of the fuel injectors fully open, hence the running problem. That resolved we leave, and leave a contribution to their Christmas beer fund.

    On our return run to the Motel we go shopping for food, road/travel books and a few other knick-knacks.

    When we do return to our Motel, the Motel room we were looking at in Fairlie for Christmas is confirmed as vacant and held for us. In the evening we cook dinner, Sylvie rings her Mum and we spend quite a long time looking at Maps and the Internet working out where we want to go. Finally I watch a bit of TV in bed to wind down before falling asleep.

    The following morning we pack up the bike and leave for Phil’s to find some dirt tracks we can ride. We get a little lost on the way and so stop at a scooter shop to ask for directions. As a result we end up with 2 new (second-hand) free waterproof suits, some coffees, a few Christmas chocolates plus some routes and contact numbers for riding. Incredible, an amazing introduction to New Zealand hospitality. Cheers ! After that we decide to head for Akaroa on the East coast. We get a great ride, albeit that their is tension between rider and passenger as to what is more important, the corners ? of the photographs ? - we find a compromise.(Photographs at a higher shutter speed ! ..... Just kidding.) Akaroa turns out to be a great spot and we pitch our tent within a great view of the Harbour area.

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    One of our first views of Akaroa on the way down.

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    Views around the harbour area.

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    As all the decent restaurants closed early (as in Australia) we have an average 'Award winning' Fish 'n chips, and a very expensive beer and wine, and return to the TV room on our campsite to watch the last half of Notting Hill.

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    The symbol outside the 'Award winning' fish & chip shop......please note the position of the seagull.

    This was our first night back camping and on the bike.

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    Our camping place...not a bad little spot.

    We were in New Zealand and on the penultimate leg of my RTW and our time in Australasia.

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    We were now officially in New Zealand !!

    Mike

  2. #2
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    Great pics and write up

    But !! Being a TOSSER I'd have thought you would have been familiar with the Cable jumping out, as it's posted on here at least once a week !!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proff View Post
    Great pics and write up

    But !! Being a TOSSER I'd have thought you would have been familiar with the Cable jumping out, as it's posted on here at least once a week !!
    Cheers for that Proff but I'd been using a Dakar mainly before so I wasn't aware of it being a 'normal' problem.

    Regards,

    Mike

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