Friday, 22 August 2008

Back in the bosom

As soon as we had packed the car up in the container David decided it was time for a bit of sightseeing so off we went to view the Glass House Mountains and other local areas. We also managed to see Kathy and Dave, friends from Queenstown. They are working in Brisbane and were pretty keen to pop up to Bribie Island for a bit of a cycle around and lunch. We managed something like a 5 minute cycle ride in between eating and talking.

We were still not finished with exporting the car formally and as soon as various documents came through we jumped on the train to Brisbane to pay a visit to the Customs house for our final exit stamp in the Carnet. The whole process took just a couple of minutes and a couple more because the Customs officer was quite perturbed that we had omitted to sign the front of the carnet- she was the first to notice our error. With everything done we had just one more day in Australia so we borrowed David and Helen’s bikes again and explored a bit more of Bribie Island.

David very kindly drove us to the airport and we had hoped that we might be able to catch a glimpse of the container ship transporting our car from the plane but we were in the middle row of seats, so we could not even see New Zealand as we came in to land.

Normally it can take quite a while to get through the quarantine section of arrivals at Auckland and because we had taken George the Giraffe (a carved wooden giraffe), one of our few African souvenirs with us, we had anticipated that we would be quite a while and had suggested to Gavin’s parents that they didn’t rush to be at the airport for the arrival time. So of course the plane was early and we were through Immigration, Customs and Quarantine in 10 minutes flat and out into the arrivals hall just about the time the plane was due to arrive waiting to be welcomed back. Pete and Trish were not far behind though and soon we were on our way again. After popping in to see Gavin’s sister and her boyfriend, Kathryn and Alan, who live in Auckland we carried on back to Warkworth.

The following day we drove out to the Wenzlick farm at Matakana where Gavin’s uncle and aunt, Bryan and Bev, have been looking after the trusty Suzuki in one of their sheds. When we parked it up, nearly 18 months ago, we forgot to disconnect the battery and after a few tows around by tractor (it is a rather hilly and very, very, very wet farm at the moment) the little beast refused to start so off went Gavin to buy a new battery while Bev and I studied the waterlogged garden, it has been raining here for weeks. The new battery did the trick and it started first time- what a beauty. It may not be the most luxurious or modern little beast but it even made it through a Warrant of Fitness without any problems, after washing all the bird poo off.

Over the next few days we caught up with many more members of Gavin’s family and friends. We have made a couple of trips down to Auckland to get into progress importing the car and in all honesty, not be down on Australia, but it does seem to be a lot more straight forward than our last country.

So now we have been back for a week. Yesterday we unpacked the car from the container and our hard work and David’s hard work seems to have paid off. The car passed its quarantine (MAF) inspection with flying colours, apart from a quick hovering up of a little dust and sand that had shaken down during shipping no further cleaning or fumigation was required. A process which had taken 11 hours in Fremantle took only a couple of hours in Auckland. In the afternoon the car was transported to a vehicle compliance testing station where inspectors are going through it with a fine tooth comb to ensure that it meets all the Kiwi safety regulations. Gavin has been worrying about this inspection ever since we departed the UK so we just hope that it goes OK. Fingers crossed.