23 days – A very long tour
Today is officially day one of a 23 day tour. However only for me, not the group I collect.
Today is collect the bus. Make sure its cleaned and fuelled up. Go through route agenda to make sure I understand everything from the route itself to hotels and activities. The route this time differs from the usual although covering most of the same places. I nice change for me as the driver guide.
Yesterday I left the far north of New Zealand where we are based. Rather than bring a vehicle down I opted to experience the trip on an Intercity bus. Two actually. A smaller 20 seat coach from Kaitaia to Kerikeri then a brand new 50 seat plus coach Kerikeri to Auckland.
The 20 seat coach I am sorry Intercity I do not give a pass. A great coach as I drive similar coaches but the seats were positioned I suspect for Asians who often are smaller more petite than the western build people. My legs spent the journey in the aisle which meant stops where people disembarked or boarded I needed breathe in so I could pull my legs behind the seat in front. Obviously being positioned that way to achieve maximum loading capacity.
The next seat just happened to be brand new and obviously dedicated to the run Auckland to the far north. I say that because of permanent signage on it. What a pleasure it was being that bus following the smaller one on the first leg of the trip. Spacious and very comfortable. Wi Fi available the whole trip and yes sometimes the speed wasn’t great but it allowed me to kill the trip working on the computer. So that 3.5 hour part of the trip was bliss on Intercity.
Would I do it again? Probably when I know I am going to be away so long. It saves me parking a vehicle up in Auckland which is not just cost but security concerns. I only get 3 days home in January so arranged a small rental on arrival back in Auckland. For 3 days cost is less than running my own vehicle. Then away again until late February. Then I need figure out how to get back from Auckland to the far north.
Moa Tours who I am doing the 23 day tour for have presented me with a brand new 20 seat Mitsubishi Fuso. Only 390km on the clock. Cant complain at that. The seating is great as very spacious so customers should have no complaints.
This tour sees clients from the USA, United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland. Only one of the group non English speaking but in her case the husband is fluent. So a good cross combination of nationalities.
Now its rest time ready for a 7am departure in the morning. The first 3 days its north ward bound to the Kauri museum and forest before crossing to the Bay of Islands. All in theory now-a-days my home province of Northland. Then its head south ending in Christchurch January 10. I can do that. The longest day a bit over 500km. Not an issue