GoSee hit the road for 11 days with fuel prices at NZ$1.749 cents a litre and rising in one of the smallest cheapest cars available to Kiwis and did just that.
To stay on track GoSee used the Uniden GNS 8430 in car Navigation Unit from Australia with the A$169.95 512mb Card featuring the latest New Zealand mapping information for assistance. It performed faultlessly.
The Daihatsu Sirion is a different approach for GoSee. Bred on big vehicles we are a long way from the big six-cylinder sedan hire cars and diesel motorhomes which are our usual choice for long-run touring in the North and South Islands.
GoSee staff spent 11 days in New Zealand North Island in February and March this year on one of our regular GoSee tours.
Sirion takes five beside a maize plantation near Matamata
We hired a clean little Daihatsu Sirion from Avis Car Rentals first registered in August 2007, now with nearly 14,000 kms on the clock.
The 1.3 litre, 5 - speed manual was smooth but had some transmission whine in all gears.
The car is actually made by Toyota according to the vehicle manual and service book provided.
For around NZ$16,000 on the road, this is one of the smallest cars available. Being a hatch, it easily accommodated GoSees luggage after the rear seats were folded flat for New Zealand touring.
The car is pictured near a maize plantation close to Te Aku Racing Stables at Matamata.
Touring for 11 days in the North Island, using GoSeeNZ's fuel calculator module, the car's fuel consumption was 6.67 litres per 100 kms or 42 mpg.
Given unleaded fuel price was a consistent NZ$1.749 cents per litre, fuel costs were 11 cents per kilometer. You won't get much better than that using the air conditioner every day, but you do get what you pay for with annoying little dash rattles and harsh road noise. Today, petrol is now $2.009 cents. Ouch, it costs more than NZ$100 to fill up a Commodore.
GoSee used the Uniden GNS 8430 in car navigation unit from Australia with the $169.95 512mb card featuring the latest New Zealand mapping information for assistance.
It just slots into the reader replacing the Australian card while away. All unit personalized settings remain. One problem we found with this though, was the need to be able to spell New Zealand town names correctly before the unit knew where you wanted to go. It performed faultlessly as it does with Australian information, although with any of these types of navigational aids, the user is also required to use common sense.
From Mt Eden - Auckland looking towards Rangitoto Island
Auckland provided some interesting walks around Cornwall Gardens, Mt Eden volcanic area and a drive along Tamaki Drive, popular beach areas overlooking Rangitoto Island.
The CBD also provided attractive shopping opportunities. GoSees timing coincided with Auckland Cup racing carnival celebrations, so the city was attractively decorated.
A short two hour trip down State Highway One saw the GoSee team arriving at Hamilton, the home of the Caravan Motor Home Expo for the next few days.
www.GoSeeNewZealand.co.nz website was launched at the 2007 Expo and for April 2008, served in excess of 537,000 pages of information to site visitors.
Thats almost 18,000 pages per day. Hamilton is located on the banks of the Waikato River and provides beautiful walking and bike tracks along the river through well landscaped and maintained garden areas. Even when raining, with umbrella visitors can discover more areas along the river, one of these areas being Memorial Park.
This park is set out user friendly with a wading pool for the little people, aviaries with lots of different birds, playground as well as undercover seating for the grown ups.
Many hours can be spent walking the wonderful Hamilton Gardens with exotic themed gardens such as The Kitchen garden full of vegetables, herb garden, sustainable garden with worm farm, chickens as well as companion planting.
They also had a grass turf area. All gardens are maintained by horticulture students.
Taupo Events Centre and AC baths
The GoSee team traveled further south to Lake Taupo for a few days incorporating visits to the popular AC Baths complex, a day spa and a walk along the beach of Whakiapo Bay, Lake Taupo.
This visit to Lake Taupo area followed the 24th Bonita Ironman New Zealand Championships http://www.ironman.co.nz/
In his Ironman report Ian Hepenstall said - Records crashed at Bonita Ironman New Zealand. Kiwi's Cameron Brown and Joanna Lawn won in a day that was ideal for the 3.8km swim but turned to rain and wind for the bike and run legs in Taupo.
Brown's seventh victory at Ironman New Zealand was one of his easiest, he won by 6 minutes 46 seconds over Belgian Frederik Van Lierde.
The European Long Distance Champion was competing in his first Ironman and was delighted with his runner up performance. The expected challenge from Kieran Doe didnt last beyond the halfway point of the marathon when Brown went past his fellow Kiwi. A typically brave and front running Doe held on for third.
We were also lucky with the timing of our visit coinciding with the grand opening of Barrons Recreational Vehicles new development on the three-acre site. The dealership on Manuka Street, New Zealand's largest, boasts a spacious indoor showroom and a recently relocated service and workshop facility, housing specialist technicians trained by experts from both the UK and New Zealand.
Whakiapo Bay Lake Taupo
Lake Taupo is also an ideal place for the ladies to spoil themselves, so off to a day spa for some time out. Commencing with a soak in a private spa for half an hour and then a full body wrap.
This was a new experience for GoSee staff but must say it was relaxing and resulted in lovely soft skin after the treatment.
Moving on to Rotorua, GoSee visited Lake Rotorua and Kirau Park, a thermally active area of the city that constantly changes with the overnight appearance of new thermal vents not uncommon.
Both the Lake area and Kirau Park are free to visit, and the council has done a wonderful job of making this area tourist friendly with playgrounds, walking tracks and gardens amongst the hot thermal springs.
Another area worth a visit is the Government gardens and Sulphur Point, there are some beautiful walks through these areas especially in the summer when the rose gardens are in bloom.
All these areas are free of charge and great for those on a budget.
Editor's Note: Also see -
Kirua Park, Rotorua, thermal pool
Rotorua. The 20m Waka Taua named Te Arawa. Waka Taua means canoe to carry a war party.
Lake and gardens Rotorua
Queen St Auckland CBD
The Strand Arcade Auckland
Walking Track Waikato River Hamilton
Mt Eden Crater
Mt Eden memorial Auckland