we checked out of the motel at 7:15 am. we went to tullamarine town, refueled the car before returning it to avis. we had to return it by 8:00 am. on our way back to the airport, there was a road sign pointing to a custom lane to those returning their rented vehicles which i think was awesome. the car travelled closed to 850 km in 3 days. an avis guy checked the fuel gauge and inspected the car body for scratches and dents. he gave us a nod and we replied thanks and pulled our baggages towards the airport terminal. again we had breakfast at villa & hut and later went to the departure hall and checked in our stuffs at the air new zealand counter. i had to fill in all the six australian embarkation cards until my fingers were numb. our etd was 12:45 pm.
our flight, nz124 from melbourne to auckland was a three hour flight that left us in awe, since we were used to using cheap flights from air asia, the service provided was truly wonderful. we were also impressed by the hardworking cabin crews that were employed by their qualifications and not by their looks and age.
the plane landed in auckland at 5:30 pm but it was already dark, it was 5°c and windy. zack bought some take-away dinner from mcdonalds and we dined on the airport seats. we subsequently took a free ride using skypark to our rental car depot, about 3 km from the airport, picked up our car key and were surprised by an old junk (compared to a brand new hyundai imax), a 90’s toyota estima with dirty cushions, old child seats and broken buttons and levers. no wonder it was really cheap, even the rental name was bargain car rentals 2000. after figuring all the buttons, steering gear, etc. i managed to drive my second companion without any mishaps and luckily succeeding in getting into state highway 1 (sh1) southbound from the auckland international airport just by following road signs and some minor intuitions.
the highway was similar to our federal trunk road in malaysia. while driving in the dark, aina claimed that she could see the milky way through the sun roof which i was highly skeptical at the time. i drove more than 125 km southbound until i pulled into the driveway of no. 3, carrington ave., hillcrest, hamilton. that’s where my brother diman, his wife kak maz and their 3 sons, aslam, islah and elias live. kak maz is currently doing her post graduate at waikato university. she served us nasi briyani with oxtail soup, chicken, sausages and unlimited supply of keri juice. diman was all smiles as his supplies of tobacco from malaysia had finally arrived and that night we slept in two of their rooms, a bit chilly but happy nonetheless. there’s another good news, our hosts would be joining us on our trip the next morning! with all the travelling done that day, i forgot to snap any pictures, saved by a single one in front of ciloms airport lodge motel that cold dawn at tullamarine, while heating up the car and waiting for the others to join.
▼ only pic of day 3
next» soul searching road trip oznz – day 4 (09/06/2010)