The holiday has come to an end and we’re now sitting in the Novotel Airport Hotel in Auckland for the second time this trip and loving it. In our room was a lovely cheese and fruit platter to greet us – what a way to finish our holiday. Thanks Novotel!
There was no blog update yesterday as we were in Waihi enjoying the weather and beach views from our prime position. We decided to spend our last night there again as it’s a great spot and close to Auckland Airport. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky when we arrived so we took advantage of this and went to the pool for a swim. I spent the afternoon finishing my book off about lost gold in the Karamea area on the South Island. As I suspected, the lost gold is still lost and my guess is that seismic activity has caused the reef to move from its original location. The area suffers from regular activity.
We spent the next morning packing up our clothes and cleaning the van in preparation for returning it in the afternoon and then left Waihi at about 10am in the hunt for lunch. Julie did some research and found a lovely place half way down the Karangahake Gorge called Falls Retreat. It reminded us of the places you’d find at Mt Tamborine – rustic and surrounded by bush. All they needed was a few sheep in the paddock out the back and it would have been the quintessential NZ food experience. Read the Trip Advisor review here and you’ll see why it gets the ratings it does.
We arrived back at Auckland Airport around 2pm and dropped the van back at Apollo. They should be happy as we returned the van in a better condition than we got it. Overall, we’re going to rate Apollo Campervans 6 out of 10. We’ve done 4 campervan trips in NZ and have had a range of vans in fairly new condition with low kilometres, all from United Campervans which have now merged with one of the larger companies. The Apollo experience was slightly better than average but probably the lesser of all the trips we’ve done. The van was quite old (just on 3 years) and even though the condition inside was OK, you could tell it was dated. The riser bed in the back was great as putting your bed into the roof saves a lot of space (and remaking your bed each day), but at the expense of cupboard space. We could barely fit enough clothes for the 3 of us in the remaining cupboards so I’d hate to think how you’d fit clothes for 4.
The experience at their office was quite average – no “warm and fuzzies” when you arrive and the same when we got back. They are a large company that churn out the campervans (they had 30 to go out the day we got ours) so you can’t expect much other than average service. To be honest, if you’re looking for a great NZ campervan experience, you could do better than Apollo. Do your research, be prepared to pay a little more, and pick the time of year for your holiday. The price difference between the high season (summer) and the low (winter) is nearly half.
Thanks for following our journey, we hope it is has been fun and informative. Stayed tuned for more adventures once the holiday kitty has been replenished!