Auckland to Matamata

Today we drive South.  Our 24-hour layover in Auckland consisted of catching the Skybus to the CBD in the nadir of darkness before dawn, sleeping through the morning (timezone 6 hours ahead of Perth), walking through the CBD to find breakfast/lunch, before an afternoon nap and waking to find food again: sleep, eat, sleep, eat, sleep.  At 09:00 we checked out of our AirBnB, a penthouse owned by a friend of a friend, and we dragged our carry-ons along the short hills of Auckland’s CBD.  It’s humid.  It’s overcast.  I packed for dry and cold, not humid and warm.  When we arrived at the Europcar pickup centre we were both sweaty and uncomfortable but slightly less snippy, as we’d eaten breakfast on the way.  Then the add-ons began.

During Med School, when I worked Friday evenings in retail, I learned about add-ons: small additional purchases made at Point Of Sale, to increase the value of each sale.  We had towels, pointless cheap accessories, gimmick items.  At the car rental we had booked a Basic Rental of NZ$70.72 per day.  We left with:

* 2 x NZ$70.72 – Basic Rental.

* 2 x NZ$10.00 – Upgrade (satellite navigation – but there is already one in the glove box).

* 2 x NZ$50.00 – Upgrade (I saw sporty Mini Cooper S in the driveway and couldn’t resist taking one).

* 2 x NZ$37/00 – GoZen (I think this is an insurance premium to ensure we pay no excess).

* 2 x NZ$6.00 – Road Assist Cover (we can just call a number with our mobile phones that have no roaming and don’t work in New Zealand).

* 1 x NZ$76.24 – Full tank option (a full tank of petrol costs this much!?)

* 2 x NZ$10/95 – Navigation system (I thought that was the other upgrade, wonder what the other $10 is for).

* 2 x NZ$3.13 – Additional driver fee (damn, I’ll have to offer to drive now.


So far we’ve made it out of the CBD, the first few hundred metres with the windscreen wipers and blinkers on (the controls are inverted to our Mazda and we couldn’t find the slight adjustment that disabled either). The cruise control, unlike our Mazda, does not automatically slow down. Dan discovered this as we headed right into the back of a 4WD at 80 km/hr. The sky is cloudy, the view obscured by rain, and it’s uncomfortably humid.  The sat nav is stuck to the entertainment control screen, facing the ceiling because it’s direction mechanism is loose.  We’ve listened to Ramalla three times because it was on repeat.  We passed one dead possum.


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