Did Finn the Intern make it from Auckland to Wellington on one tank of gas?

Publish Date
Thursday, 18 June 2020, 9:55AM

Two women, who were confirmed to have Covid-19, claimed they travelled from Auckland to Wellington on one tank of gas after they were given an exemption to leave managed quarantine on compassionate grounds.

But with many holes in their story, Radio Hauraki's intern Finn was put to the test to see whether it was possible to drive the route on just one tank of gas.

Finn left Auckland at 4pm on Wednesday, doing the 650km drive down the line in a Hauraki Nissan Navara Ute.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield originally claimed the pair of tourists only stopped on the side of the road for a toilet break before driving the whole way to Wellington.

So in the spirit of the Hauraki Drive Covid 500 and finding out the truth, Finn was given a set strict of rules to try to emulate the women's conditions:

• Doing the drive on one tank of diesel.
• No stopping.
• No contact.
• Bush wees and other ablutions only.

So, is it possible to drive from Auckland to Wellington on one tank of gas?

"I bloody made it," Finn told the Herald.

"I made it quite comfortably in the end. We got to the Beehive with a quarter of a tank left.

"We realised halfway through the trip the means of travel wasn't quite the same to the one the ladies used, but it was interesting to see how hard or easy it was."

At 7.15pm, Finn said he was sitting on three-quarters of a tank when 97km north of Taupō. He said he was back on State Highway 1 and that the roads were very quiet.

At 8.30pm, Finn said he was passing through Taupō with well over a half of a tank left.

Finn finally made it to Wellington at about 1.30am with no food left and his bottle of water empty.

All round the trip took him nine-and-a-half hours, with the Hauraki newbie revealing it was a gruelling trip without any proper stops and the lack of hearty food proved difficult.

He also said some may have struggled with limited toilet breaks.

"Food was by far the hardest thing. I was told I wasn't allowed to come in human contact and I can only perform public urination so I don't come across anyone else.

"Luckily, being a male, going toilet on the side of rural State Highway 1 wasn't an issue.

"After a few stops due to health and safety, food was the biggest issue during the 10-hour trip.

"My popcorn was gone about one-and-a-half hours in. I had plenty of water.

"I had no number two troubles. I did pack some toilet paper just in case. It wasn't the nature of the event but anyone travelling that distance who isn't able to stop off at public toilets would have to come prepared.

"Lucky I'm not a three-a-day number two goer. Others might not be so lucky."

While he remains suspicious of the women's story, he says it would have been possible to do.

"They had the motivation of getting to a funeral, but it's quite the effort to go that distance without saying hi to anyone, which they said was the case a couple of days ago."

In a previous article, the AA estimated you can go up to 700km on a full tank in a sensibly driven, well-maintained car.

In contrast, you might get half as far in the same car if it was poorly maintained and driven erratically and at high speed.

To get 700km from a tank, the AA scenario involves a standard vehicle with a 50-litre tank running at optimum economy and using 6-8 litres of fuel per 100km. That's 700km for $120, based on $2.40 a litre.

The same vehicle, poorly maintained, might use 14-15 litres per 100km.

Despite Bloomfield initially saying they had not contacted anyone on their road-trip, it was revealed yesterday that they came into contact with at least two friends who helped them after they became lost on the Auckland motorway.

An Auckland gym member is believed to be one of the friends who "kissed and hugged" the women after helping them.

According to a Facebook post by Felicia Alkin, the owner of Lioness Gym, the unnamed member was in contact with the two women on Saturday and did not know they were positive until Tuesday afternoon.

National MP Michael Woodhouse earlier revealed that the pair, who travelled from London to New Zealand and arrived on June 10, borrowed a car but had to meet friends for help with directions after getting lost.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission