Day 06: Hi, New Zealand!

After hours and hours of wait and some self-entertainment overnight in the not-so-awesome Melbourne Airport, we were ready to venture into the second part of our adventure!

I was pretty excited about our Emirates flight from Melbourne to Auckland, New Zealand, because it was an A380! Our first time onboard the legendary airbus - the world's largest passenger airliner. Did you know that Emirates also owns the most number of A380? They have made an order of 140 A380 from Airbus, followed by Singapore Airlines being in the second with 24 A380 and Qantas having 20. Nope that wasn't a typo, Emirates owns 140 of the giant aircraft! On top of that, we were told that all Emirates A380 are fitted with WiFi on board! How cool is that!  But they say nothing is free and indeed this very cool feature actually comes with a cost..

Sleepy faces for our morning flight at 7.00AM. 
I love their inflight entertainment system!
Spot my USB cable right there. Yes, I was charging my phone on 30,000 feet up in the sky! #awesome
Charges for the Emirates on board WiFi plans.
One thing about non-budget airline is definitely their FOOD! Yummilicious. 
As much as I love everything about my Emirates A380 flight. The cabin crews are really terrible in terms of their service.. Oh well. I guess sometimes we just can't have the best of everything. 

That's the giant airliner with a passenger capacity of 525 passengers. 

It was a 4 hours flight between Melbourne and Auckland, New Zealand. We reached Auckland in the afternoon at about 12:45PM local time. The country is 4 hours ahead of Singapore.

A little about New Zealand comprises of two big islands, known as the North Island and the South Island. Auckland, the largest and most populous urban area in New Zealand, located in the North Island of the country. Exchange rate between Singapore and New Zealand (as of 11 December) is SGD1 = NZD0.9669

Singaporean Passports doesn't require to apply for a VISA if you are going in to New Zealand for less than 3 months. Prior to the trip, I was told that New Zealand customs clearance in terms of whatever you are bringing into the country is really strict to protect the community, environment and economy of the country.

While you are still on your plane entering New Zealand, you will probably watch an inflight video 'Declare or Dispose' explaining the importance of filling out the New Zealand Passenger Arrival Card and biosecurity entry requirements for entering the country. Thanks to the invention of the world wide web, you can watch the video here and the sample of declaration form is available here.

After witnessing the hectic customs clearance, we were ready to adventure the award winning New Zealand!

Anyhow, something that I'd recommend to everybody to get a prepaid plans if you are going on a road trip in New Zealand. I must say the data plan came in really handy during our entire trip. Telecom and Vodafone are two large telecommunications companies in New Zealand. The prepaid plans for the two companies are pretty competitive. In the end, we got ours from Telecom for NZD25 for 500MB data, unlimited local text, 100 mins local calls

(Taken from Google) The two major New Zealand telecommunications companies available conveniently at Auckland Airport International Terminal Ground Floor.
Complimentary shuttle transfers from airport to rental depot to pick up our vehicle.
The registration of the campervan was a little long.. From the entering of the particulars, explaining the types of insurance available, payment for the rental, waiting for the vehicle, exploring and understanding how to operate etc.. Have to take note of if you are gonna be planning a long and packed itinerary after the collection of the campervan. 

Examining our little home for the week. Photos of the interior of our campervan here.
Sadly, the rain seem to have tailgated us all the way from Melbourne to Auckland. Dedicated our first meal in New Zealand for Carl's Junior

Spot the gloomy sky and wet floor. 
(Left) Not-enough-sleep kind of face // (Right) No chilli sauce kind of face
NZD19.90 for our late lunch. 
Hungry stomach no more and we headed opposite of Carl's Junior to Pak'nSave to do our first round of groceries shopping! Pak'nSave is one of the three major supermarkets in New Zealand (the other two are Countdown and New World). My personal favourite among the three.

Snippets of my favourite supermarket! 
By the time, we finished our shopping the sky has already turned dark. Driving at night can be a little challenging for not so experienced drivers. After an hour or so of driving from the supermarket, thanks to our very trust worthy GPS - TomTom GO LIVE 1005 World, our first night was spent exploring our little home for the week at Rosa Birch Park.

Overview of the route for our first day in Auckland, New Zealand. 
Information you might be interested in:
Customs Declaration for Arrival to New Zealand

New Zealand Passenger Arrival Card

What to declare when you are entering New Zealand

Award Winning New Zealand

Auckland Rental Depot
36 Richard Pearse Drive
Mangere, Auckland 2022, New Zealand

Carl's Junior Mangere

94-96 Bader Dr
Mangere, Auckland 2022, New Zealand

Pak'nSave Mangere
Corner of Bader Drive and Orly Avenue
Mangere, Auckland

Rosa Birch Park
Beresford St
Pukekohe 2120, New Zealand

Overview of our route in New Zealand

Say Hi to Our United 2+1 Premier Motorhome!

Basic specifications of United 2+1 Premier Motorhome
Different recreational vehicles companies classified vehicles differently. For United Campervans, they classified their campervans based on the number of capacity (people).  We opted for the 2+1 (i.e. 2 adults and 1 child) for the extra space for our very huge luggages and I must say we had definitely made the right choice! Our United 2+1 Premier Motorhome is modified from a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

(Taken by iPhone 4S) A better idea of how huge it is, here's a comparison! 
Now let me bring you a little visual tour around our campervan. Get ready to be amazed by its awesomeness!

Day Layout. Spot the TV! 
(Left) Overview of the kitchen area. Microwave oven on top, griller and stoves right above the fridge. 
(Right) Interior of the mini fridge. Good enough for two. Also given that it was in winter when we were there, there are some food like chocolates can skip the fridge. 
(Left) Storage for food or whatever you want to put inside.
(Right) Pots and pans in different sizes. 
Full set of kitchen equipment. Spoons, forks, knives, plates, bowls, whisk, kettle and etc.. You name it we have it!
(Top Right) Mugs, glasses and even wine glasses. 
(Left) What's behind the mirror is the toilet!
(Right) Switches for water pump, heater, water heater, lights.. 
(Left) Power socket which can only be used when the car is connected to a ground power source.
(Top Right) Overhead storage space which we used it for our clothes and other stuff.
(Bottom Right) There is even a safe deposit box inside the campervan.
And so, if you are wondering how do we sleep at night.. VIOLA!

Night Layout. 
I was really really amazed and impressed by how well equipped it is. From kitchen (fridge, microwave oven, griller, pots in different sizes, full sets of cutleries, dish towel etc) to the toilet to the bed (pillows, bolster, pillowcases, sheets, duvets etc). The things that you probably have to bring will be your personal toiletries (shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, lip balm etc). If in any case, it doesn't come with whatever you need, my advice is just buy them from any of their huge supermarket.

Yeap, that's about it! I will be doing another post on the FAQ of life on campervan. How do we bathe, where do we park at night and etc.. Be back to read on my upcoming posts to find out more about our road trip and life on the campervan in New Zealand. Till then! :)

Information that you might be interested:

United Campervans New Zealand

Rent A Campervan

Difference between Campervan & Caravan

This is one of the posts that I've been anticipating to share since the day we started this blog. I've forgotten how exactly the idea of driving and/or staying on a campervan stroked us but I'm really glad that we did it! :)

A lot of us thought that both caravan and campervan are the same. So did I! They are actually different. When I started doing our research for our road trip, the different names and terms used to describe the different types of vehicles available for hire are really confusing. Apart from the term caravan (commonly heard and used), there are words such as campervan, camper, motorhome and RV (recreational vehicle).

The one that we have gotten was a campervan. So yes, here's the question. What is a campervan? What is a caravan? What exactly are the differences between them? 

Recreational Vehicle
Commonly known as RV. It's an umbrella term being used in North America to describe motorised vehicles used as a means of travel and as a temporary home. The term can be used to refer to both motorhomes and campervans.


Another generic term for a motorised vehicle. Same definition of RV above.

Motorhomes are larger berth vehicles, generally built on a long-wheel base. Motorhomes usually include kitchen and bathroom facilities, as well as other features typically found in home (e.g. television, DVD player, air conditioning).

It is generally an unpowered vehicle, pulled/ towed by a powered vehicle. Basically you tow a mobile home or trailer, fully equipped with household accessories and towed behind a vehicle. It is designed to be occupied as a house would and depending on its size contains sleeping quarters, ablution facilities and cooking facilities. I personally find caravan is a rather more dangerous comparing to the rest of the available options especially when you are an inexperience tow vehicle driver driving on a foreign country. Manoeuvring a caravan is definitely not easy for us Singaporeans.

A van equipped as a self-contained travelling home, they are normally small than a motorhome. There is generally no divide between the cab and living quarters. Comes with basic facilities for cooking, washing and sleeping. The term campervan usually refers to a smaller 2 to 3 berth vehicle. They are usually more compact than either caravan or motorhome but definitely easier to drive compared to the other two.

Different types and sizes of campervans 
Information that you might be interested: 

To find out which is the right type for you 

Rent A Campervan New Zealand 

Day 05: The End of Part 1

Moving on to the fifth day of our 31 Days Adventure which also marked the end of the first part of the trip and we checked out the hotel for real this time round. Good bye, Cosmopolitan Hotel! 

Family photo in our tiny-weeny room. 
The Petite Room of Cosmopolitan Hotel was located on the two-and-a-half storey of the hotel. 
Another family photo in the car.
Back at Dendy Street Beach Brighton (about 15mins drive from our hotel) first thing in the morning to take a closer look at the 82 colorful Brighton Bathing Boxes that we missed out the previous day.  This tourist and cultural icon of Melbourne was on my must-go list! Thankful for the nice weather and we can bring Duffy out for a walk on the beach! :) 

Entrance to the beach
Loving the vibrant colours of the boxes! 
Before we leave the beach.. guess what we saw! Infringement notices (in Singlish SUMMON) sticking on the two cars next to ours.. 

So be sure you pay and display your parking ticket! Otherwise, the penalty is AUD70!!!
The rest of the afternoon was spent SHOPPING in one of Melbourne's outlet mall - DFO South Wharf! The name says it all, Direct Factory Outlet. The mall offers a wide range of the Australian and international brands under one roof.

Kate Hiew at Kate Hill hehe // Miniature looking ATM 
Check out my new kicks! 
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the most expensive and scariest parking charges I've ever seen in my life. AUD30 (SGD36.90) for that few hours of shopping in the DFO!! Thankfully, a 50% parking discount will be given to the mall's customers. Just remember to grab a discount ticket from any of the store cashier. 

On the way to Melbourne CBD for another round of shopping. Hi babyboy! 
Chanced upon the existence of this Sweet & Nut Shop (located in a corner of the CBD) while researching on places to buy macadamia nuts and nougats for souvenirs in Melbourne. Bought a bar of their homemade cranberry nougat (original nougat with a hint of sourness from the dried cranberries) and a packet of honey macadamia nuts for AUD19

Dropped off our car at the car rental depot and the night was spent at Melbourne Airport because we had an early flight at 7:10AM (local time) to catch to the second part of the adventure - New Zealand!!! 

Information you might be interested in: 

Brighton Bathing Box
Dendy Street Beach
Brighton VIC 3186, Australia

DFO South Wharf
20 Convention Centre Place
South Wharf VIC 3006, Australia
Opening Hours: 10AM-6PM

Sweet & Nut Shop
250 Russell Street
Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia