Monday, March 24, 2008

North to Northland

The Nippon Clipon
Photo by:

If you're heading north from Auckland by auto or RVing, plan your trip to avoid commuter traffic. The motorway cuts through downtown Auckland, then jams all the traffic across a narrow bridge into Northcote. Like most metropolitan areas, road construction often adds to the confusion. The Nippon Clipon, Auckland's bridge, was once four lanes-- now it's eight. The extra four were built in Japan, towed to Auckland and clipped to the existing bridge. From the Auckland Harbor Bridge, you'll have a beautiful view of the Westhaven Marina, WaitemataHarbour and Fishermans Wharf with all the sailboats bouncing in the bay or anchored along the shoreline-- which you'll probably never see if it's your first time driving on the left side of the road in a strange vehicle while you're trying to keep your fenders along for the trip.

The kiwis are polite and friendly-- until they get in a small vehicle. Then watch out! It helps to have a 3500 kg RV with a roo bar. Truck drivers and other movaners stay on their fair share of the road, but watch out for those snappy little sports cars and SUVs. It helps to remind yourself as you're clutching the steering wheel afraid to change lanes and trying to keep yourself lined up in the lane you belong in that New Zealand has no-fault insurance. And, you'll make it across the Northcote and Birkenhead sooner or later, I promise. And when you do, there's a very nice Holiday Park on Northcote Road just over the bridge if you're driving or RVing.

We always like to spend at least a month north of Auckland. Pick up the Jasons Twin Coast Discovery Highway map (free) some where along the line. Northland is rich in history, there's plenty to do, and it's warmer-- remember the sun's in the north. The South Island is beautiful and we usually spend at least a month there, too but our home is in the Cascade Mountains and the South Island is much like home.

You've made it across that bridge. So pull into a motel or campground then find a pub or snap open a brew of your own and toast that Nippon Clipon you conquered and your next adventure in the Northland.

We'll be taking a tiki tour counter clockwise through the Northland. Any questions?

Lyn Harris

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Anonymous said...

Do I need extra liability insurance if I rent a car?

Lyn said...

New Zealand has no-fault vehicle insurance. See January archives for medical/vehicle insurance info.