Being able to drive again, I quickly remember how much I miss having a set of wheels. All of a sudden I’m no longer restricted to bus schedules and routes (though Auckland’s bus system has been good to me), I have the freedom to go wherever I want whenever. Not that I have grand plans right now, I’m still in Auckland until the 4th, after which I am going to head over to one of the nearby islands for a week of work. That’s right, I found work on a small farm on Waiheke Island! I’ll be joining a family of 3 and help them weed, trim, and various other farming like activities (pick rocks?).
I found another very inexpensive part of Kiwi life – car insurance. It’s interesting, unlike most (nearly all?) developed countries – car insurance isn’t required here. Still a sensible investment though, in the event you do decide to pile into someone. But with the numerous low cost imports on the road, most people only opt for 3rd party insurance. This means prices on it are incredibly low – It will cost me $128NZ (so barely $100CAD) for a full year of 3rd party collision insurance. Going up to full comprehensive still isn’t too bad – $800NZD/year for me, but not much sense given my car is only worth $2000NZD. I’ll just avoid getting into an accident in the meantime.
Which so far, hasn’t been too bad! I’m adjusting to driving on the left, signalling with my right hand instead of left (I’ve still operated the wipers, which is now on the left, erroneously a few times), and learning to beware of Kiwis general lack of ability to signal pretty well so far. There has just been one daunting task so far – the roundabouts.
Now, I’m not entirely unfamiliar with roundabouts. Sarnia had one afterall, though the amount of traffic on it is nearly non-existent. That didn’t stop me from going round and round on it once or twice for amusement. Here, roundabouts are fairly common, especially getting onto and off of the freeway. This means fast moving traffic. This means terror to someone learning to simply drive on the correct side of the road. Because of course, the roundabout operates in the opposite direction as in Canada. There aren’t any new or odd rules (that I’ve been able to figure out), but the quantity of cars and the speed they are moving entering and exiting mean that things are quite a bit more daunting. Here is a typical example (completely to scale by the way and 100% accurate).
I’ve only been stuck going round the merry-go-round once so far. For the next few days though, the car will likely remain parked as I finish up my time here in Auckland and try and get my leg healed up (ie I’m not going to be doing much the next few days – lounging around mostly!).