Did somebody say Griswald’s Summer Vacation ?!

What a great start to the trip. Flights went well. Our luggage actually arrived, almost first off the carousel (!) and we haven’t yet appeared on an episode of Border Control New Zealand because of our contraband Dairy Milk chocolate and ‘just in case’ amoxicillin for Rosie’s chesty cough. And no Sir, promise we haven’t used these shoes for walking in woodlands, potentially bringing English tick fly Lyme’s Disease or British dog poo into your lovely country. Honest.

And when we left the airport building and turned left outside, there was our Apex Car Rentals courier bus to pick us up and take us to the car rental place. Things really couldn’t get any better. We have been awake for about 30 hours, but we are on New Zealand soil and we are alive and well.

Oh crap.

IMG_4500 Happy feeling gone.

We did actually joke about renting New Zealand’s oldest car.  But yes, we are currently in possession of it. After the swiftest ever registration process, “Don’t worry about the scratches, we don’t and we won’t be checking it over when you return it…” We got the luggage in (big boot), got the kids strapped in (not the best seats, but they’ll be OK- there are rear seat belts – a nice touch), I got in, Aaron got in. We were hoping for velour seats. Nice. We then discovered it was an automatic.



Neither of us have ever driven an automatic.

Look at Ruben all happy in the back. Aaron is out of shot reading the instruction manual ‘How to drive an automatic car’.


Considering our situation, I felt it was best that Aaron admit to the lady in the car place that we shouldn’t really be risking the whole trip on a new experience of this kind and everything that could possibly go wrong with this. We’re not talking about bungee jumping here. However, after laughing in Aaron’s face, the car rental lady explained kindly that they don’t do any manual cars in our price range, so we needed to either pay more, or learn how to drive with an automatic gearbox.

So, after a few minutes thought, a quick spin around in the car park, and a quick check of the documents we’d been handed by the rental company (and yes, if you can’t read very well, it does say ‘damage all over’ with drawings over the car diagram to match), we’ve gone with the automatic gearbox beauty that is a genuine NZ Nissan Sunny EX Saloon.  We think ‘EX’ stands for ‘Extra crap’, but we may be wrong.


Watch out Kiwis ! The Brooks’ are on their way !



3 thoughts on “Did somebody say Griswald’s Summer Vacation ?!”

  1. April,
    This is so reminiscent of mine Brod’s NZ trip 15 years ago! (Yes 15 years!). We rented a rust bucket camper, took it to the nearest petrol station where it all ran out of the tank as fast as we were filling her up! I’m sure your nissan will serve you well?!
    Loving your blog! I read it avidly everyday!

  2. Your blog is SO entertaining, hilarious and fun! It’s as if we are right there with you all!
    Sending you lots of love and looking forward to further updates…
    Love, K, S & H xxx

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