We’ve been a one-car family since we arrived in Auckland, but I had become a little fed up with having the time to do things like visit friends and family members, if only I didn’t have to pick Tristan up from work each evening. So we decided to shut our eyes to the terrible exchange rate and bring some cash over from the UK to buy me a car. It’s a zippy little 2.0L 2009 Ford Focus in a fetching dark green shade (‘kelp’, apparently).
Recently I’ve been unpacking our container and trying to make our vast number of belongings fit into a house with considerably less storage than the place that we left behind in England. It’s been every bit as tedious as you might imagine, so I was very happy to leave it all behind for a few days and take a road trip six hours’ drive south, to visit the family. I picked up the car last Tuesday and – stopping only to sling Tui and my bags in the back – embarked on a day-long maiden voyage. It was a really fun trip: the car is lovely to drive and the roads were virtually empty. We were travelling on State Highway One, the main road in the island, but we’d go for ten minutes at a time with nobody ahead of us or behind us in our lane.
And I do mean ‘lane’: NZ’s state highways are single carriageways for the most part, with occasional passing lanes. It’s pretty much the polar opposite of driving on a British motorway and more like cruising along, which is nice. And the state highways seldom bypass the towns, which makes for a slower, but more interesting, journey.
When I got to my hometown I spent most of my time hanging out with various family members, which was lovely. And I kidnapped Katie, my oldest niece, and took her with me to Wellington for a day, to run a couple of errands and catch up with a couple of my old and very dear friends. I do wish that everybody I like could just move to the same city, but I can’t really complain anymore, considering that I can just head down the country and visit a lot of them.
It’s great to have a car now, while I still have the time to catch up with people. I still have no real idea what my next career move might be, but it’s bound to prevent me from mooching off at a few days’ notice.
The weekend ended really nicely, too: Tristan decided, on a whim, to fly down on Saturday afternoon and drive back with me on Sunday. Road trips with Tristan are one of my favourite ways to spend time.