After almost exactly four months after we moved into our flat in april and returned our rental car, we are finally the owners of a white 1993 Honda Civic hatchback! We bought it at an auction on thursday evening. Unlike most used cars here, it was originally sold new here in New Zealand (instead of Japan), has had only one owner, and came with complete service records. There are some minor problems like the idle speed seems set too fast, but we're still really happy with it.
Today we took the car for a bit of a spin to see how well it does on a road trip. We drove up to Hanmer Springs, had some lunch, did one of the local forest walks, drove out toward Kaikoura, stopped at Mt. Lyford Lodge to check it out as a possible wedding venue, arrived in Kaikoura, drove around to try to find a place to eat (not much was open on sunday evening), had some wedges and a steak sandwich, found we needed to fill up the car, but found the local service station closed already.
Heading back toward Christchurch along highway 1, we got further and further into the middle of nowhere without a gas station, or even a town, in sight. It was only about 6pm, but we were running out the scenarios in our heads about what we would do if we did run out of gas. Finally we made it to Cheviot where the only gas station in town was already closed, but we managed to locate the owner who kindly opened it up just so we could fill up! It's easy to take for granted the ability to pull into any gas station on any highway at any time and still be able to fill up. So, lessons learned: (1) Our car goes not much more than about 400 km on a tank of gas. (2) Fill up when you can. (3) Fill up before 5pm.
I think we mostly got out today just because we could. While the bus service here is quite good and we'll continue to use it, getting around anywhere outside of town really requires a car. We think we got a good deal on a good car and we just wanted to see some more of the country. It was overcast the whole day so we didn't get to see the tops of the mountains, but the bits of scenery we did see were very good.