The road trip is over! I'm posting this from the overnight bus to Wellington... 2 hours down, only 9 and a half to go! 😭 We dropped the van off this morning and found out that over the last 2 months I have driven 6511kms, which seems somewhat ridiculous! I went for a lovely walk around Cornwall Park with Catherine and then we drove into town, dropping Jake off at his hostel for the next few days and then on to the bus stop! Here's to the next chapter, I'm starting my new job as an Au Pair on a Sheep and Beef farm near Masterton on Tuesday... wish me luck! 😁 Also the only picture I managed to take today was of this idiot messing around with a coffee cup! Going to miss my travel buddy!
31 August 2017
Had a lovely lovely day revisiting Mt Manganui today as we're back in Te Puke with Janet and Roger for a couple of days on the way back to Auckland. 😊Popped up the Mount and then chilled out on the beach in the sunshine.. did some messing about on the beach, with driftwood rather than shells this time!
29 August 2017
The weather in Taupo was so rubbish that it wasn't worth taking any photos yesterday! We spent most of the day cowering from the rain and in the evening went to see Logan Lucky at the cinema. 😊 Luckily today was dry for Rotorua which was again lovely but smelly, I went for a good stomp up around a hill in the redwood forest which had some great views of the town and the thermal park and the forest... it's just a shame there was a factory in the middle of it! It's our very last night of camping tonight as we've got generous hosts for the next 4 nights, I can't believe how quickly it's gone!
27 August 2017
Beautiful beautiful Napier today, explored all along Marine Parade and perused the lovely vintagey shops in town! 👌
26 August 2017
Well after another great few days in Wellington we're hitting the road again! Had an awesome time celebrating Jake's birthday and spending time with George. As a bonus, my birthday package arrived yesterday so I got my sweet cards from Mum and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa and Shona and Malcolm.. thank you all! Also Mum sent me a beautiful pair of silver shell earrings inspired by my beach shell art. Feeling really thankful to have such a loving and thoughtful family, even while I'm gallivanting around the other side of the world!
24 August 2017
We're back in North Island! We got the early ferry over yesterday and had a bit of a recovery afternoon, then I went out for some drinks with George 😊 Today is Jake's Birthday and he got his tattoo so I had a lovely day exploring around the second hand bookshops of Wellington! Unfortunately I was so enthralled that I only managed to take one picture, of Pegasus Bookshop (the best one!)
20 August 2017
We've just arrived back in Westport for another quick family stop after a nice drive this morning from our beautiful campsite in the Lewis Pass! The washing machine is on, the sun is shining and my walking boots are drying out on the porch. I'm just going to finish my book in the sun with my main man Flapjack while I wait for my turn in the shower!!
19 August 2017
Yesterday I had an awesome day climbing Mt Isobel! It was a pretty stiff puff up but the views from the top were the most stunning of the trip so far! 😁 And yes I know it's silly to do it in trainers Dad but my walking boots are STILL wet from the glaciers rainy day.. things really do not dry well in a camper!
18 August 2017
We went for a drink last night in a hidden speakeasy bar called Red Light District, decorated in what they described as an 'opium den' theme, that you enter through a dry cleaners! Then we popped to New Regent Street to a really sweet wee bar called The Last Word where I had an amazing G&T with a gin from Golden Bay here on South Island, dual garnished with orange and cucumber.. delicious! We played a couple of games of Cluedo in the bar, which as it turns out I had totally forgotten the rules to, oops!
We're in Christchurch! Arrived yesterday for my second stint in the Jailhouse hostel and headed in town for an explore and an amaaazing Spiced Orange Rooibos tea at C One Espresso, which is in the old post office and serves you your curly fries through pneumatic tubes! Today I walked into town and had a look around the container mall and then sat in the Botanic Gardens and read my book in the sun for a few hours ☺️
16 August 2017
We had a lovely scenic drive up to Timaru yesterday, taking in the beach at St Clair, a drive through Port Chalmers and along the scenic coastal route and a quick stop off at the Moeraki Boulders!
15 August 2017
Another great long catch up this morning, this time with Jake number one, can't believe it's been 3 months since we were travelling South East Asia together! I'm now getting my National Trust withdrawal fix at Lanarch Castle out on the Otago Peninsula! It's New Zealand's only Castle so I'd better make the most of it! Beautiful restoration work and some very impressive views from the top of the tower!
14 August 2017
I started the day with a wonderful 2 hour catch up with Alice back in the UK, and then took myself up Mt Cargill.. more glorious views! I realise I'm a bit of a broken record with my hill walking, but they're all so beautiful! 😁
13 August 2017
Not too much to report today, just a bit of a mammoth drive from Invercargill to Dunedin! We took the Southern Scenic Route and got as close to slope point as the very bumpy road would allow on the way down, then a wee wander around town and a lovely lovely evening with our kind hosts the Duncans and their sweet dog Savvy!
12 August 2017
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MEEEEEE! 🎂
It's been a wonderful day, starting with a yummy brunch at the Zookeepers cafe in Invercargill, visiting a wee art exhibition, then a great walk around and up Bluff Hill and a dinner time treat at Oyster Cove looking out at Stewart Island.. feeling very full and happy and old! 👵🏻
11 August 2017
Invercargill today! I explored Queen's Park which was unexpectedly enormous and contained, among other things, a "stumpery".. basically a graveyard for tree stumps made into art! We also went to see Dunkirk, amazing film but so sad, have to admit I shed a tear (or many) at points!
10 August 2017
Today we set off from Wanaka and drove through the Crown Range Road to Queenstown where we went full tourist and had a Fergburger.. so delicious and the queue wasn't even that bad - another mark in favour of travelling in the winter! Then a chilled out afternoon browsing around the shops (strictly window shopping)!
9 August 2017
Today has been an interesting day! I spent the morning in a lovely cafe called Big Fig in Wanaka reading and writing and enjoying the AMAAAZING veggie food they do, very reminiscent of the Great Oak! Then I went for a beautiful walk around the lake, retracing our steps from 18 months ago! We had a spot of car trouble when we tried to set off to Jake's friend's house as I'd forgotten to turn the lights off (oops), but some VERY Good Samaritans helped give us a push start! We're also staying in a house today which is always a bonus! 😁
8 August 2017
Today was the beeeeeest walk ever! We headed into Wanaka and had a coffee, and then I took myself off to Glendhu Bay where I did the Rocky Mountain Track at the Diamond Lake Conservation Area and it was GLORIOUS, such amazing panoramic views of the Southern Alps and Queenstown! Then back into Wanaka for a drink with an old workmate of Jake's who's out here for the ski season... small world!
7 August 2017
Today has been the most beautiful day for scenery! We set off from our camp just south of Fox Glacier and headed down through Haast and into the Mount Aspiring National Park where we had a couple of good wee walks to the Fantail Falls and the Blue Pools. Then we decided to keep going past our intended camp and headed all the way down to Lake Hawea through the most breathtaking landscape in the world! 😁
6 August 2017
Hot Tip: if you want to have a glacier to yourself, go on the worst day imaginable! We did the hour's round trip walk in torrential rain to Franz Joseph Glacier, getting ourselves thoroughly soaked in the process.. and could barely see the glacier anyway! Still at least we got some exercise, and the photos are nothing if not atmospheric!
5 August 2017
Hokitika exploring today! We spent the morning in town looking around the town and browsing some Greenstone in preparation for certain birthdays later in the month... Then popped down to the Hokitika Gorge for a wee look at the gorgeous blue glacial water, and had a great evening visiting some more of the family 😁
4 August 2017
We went from Potters in Westport to Potters in Hokitika today! After a quick play with the puppies we set off, and took in some good wee sights on the way down, including the Truman Track and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, again with beautiful sunshine all the way down! Stopped off in Greymouth for a bite to eat and then arrived at Jean's at about 4:30 😊
3 August 2017
AWESOME day today walking the first part of the Heaphy Track in the most glorious weather.. what season is it again?!
1 August 2017
The last couple of days we've spent getting ourselves over to the west coast. We stayed in Murchison last night at a great wee campsite, even came with sky tv and a heater in the communal area! Today we continued on to Westport, with a slight detour to visit the Cape Foulwind Seal Colony, by whom we were thoroughly charmed for an afternoon 😊
30 July 2017
I've decided that standing at the top of a hill is the best feeling in the world! After a very frosty start we headed into Nelson along another road that made me very glad that I've grown up and learned to drive in an area with an abundance of windy country lanes, average safe speed along it being approximately 50km/h! 😅 We got into Nelson and I decided to stomp my way up the Grampians. A wee while was spent exploring Nelson's outer suburbs, as my orienteering skills weren't quite up to scratch (sorry dad!) I found the bottom of the walkway eventually and had a great steep climb up with some truly spectacular views, and the weather to go with it! Although it hadn't seemed possible this morning, I managed to overdress so was just a tiny bit sweaty by the time I reached the summit (but only in the most delicate and feminine way, of course) and feel like I've earned my dinner today!
29 July 2017
We had quite the action packed day! After Picton we continued along to Havelock, stopping off on the way to take a quick wee walk up to the Cullen Point Lookout, which had a great view down the sound. The next stop along the way was the Pelorous Bridge, which happens to be the location for the Dwarves-in-barrels scenes from The Hobbit! Then finally onto our free camp in the Rai Valley.
We woke up to a frosty but beautifully sunny morning at our campsite, which it turns out is a wee harbour Bay for quite a few yachts that we hadn't noticed in the dark! Once we, and the van, had thawed out a bit we headed down the Queen Charlotte Track into Picton, taking in some of the crazy views of the sounds on the way. I utilised the local library to do some job applications in preparation for September and then we headed to the Edwin Fox Maritime museum, home to the oldest surviving industrial ship in the world, and the 8th oldest all together (all the others being naval vessels)! The museum was fascinating, with the ship having gone through several carnations, from a troop ship in the Crimean war, to carrying convicts across to Australia, meat, tea, coal and most things in between!
28 July 2017
We're in South Island! Got the Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferry from Wellington at lunchtime yesterday, and after a few delays and a slow crossing due to big swell we arrived in Picton at around 7pm. Although the water conditions didn't make for the most fun journey for a lot of people, I'm very lucky to have strong sea legs and actually quite enjoyed it! There was a beautiful sunset and the sounds we're looking glorious. We didn't feel like going too far in the dark so just popped along to a lovely DOC site at Mamorangi Bay with some of the most spectacular stars of the trip so far!
27 July 2017
As my Granny says, museums are for rainy days.. and today definitely qualified! I met George at Te Papa and we went to view the stunning Galipolli exhibit that's running there. The huge scale of the figures was breathtaking and the sensitive exhibit eloquently expressed the sorrow and tragedy of the bloody attempt by Anzac soldiers to fight their way up a mountain. Didn't feel much like taking pictures, but here's the link to the exhibition's website http://gallipoli.tepapa.govt.nz/
26 July 2017
We've had all the luck so far in Wellington, the weather has been amazing again today! Took ourselves on quite a trek, first into town for a yummy coffee at a really cool cafe called Memphis Belle in the CBD. Then we puffed up the hill to the Botanic Gardens which were glorious in the sunshine and then looped down and back around into town again for a wee wander and browse down Cuba Street before plodding back to the hostel. If my phone's step counter can be believed, we were just shy of 20 000 steps today which isn't too shabby at all, especially in the city!
25 July 2017
We're in Wellington! 😁Our camp last night was only 20 minutes out of the city so we zoomed in quite early and got a park at the hostel and then headed into town to meet George for some food and a good catch up! It was so so good to see him again and the two of us went for a fun sightseeing tour around town taking in some great views of the city! Here's to no driving for the next 3 days 😅
24 July 2017
I had a great walking day yesterday! Headed down to Levin and zoomed up the Kohitere Trig walk which was a great sharp puff up through some beautiful forest and then along the top of the ridge, only very slightly marred by a spot of rain on the way back down and my utter failure to find the "panoramic views" that were described in the leaflet.. there were too many trees in the way! Then in the afternoon we continued down to Paraparaumu and went for a great long beach walk with a beautiful sunset thrown in! All in all my legs were feeling nicely stretched by the time we reached our camp at Porirua ☺️
23 July 2017
Yesterday we had a low key day exploring Whanganui and treating ourselves to a cinema trip to see Baby Driver (awesome film) and an early night to catch up on some sleep. Today we headed on to Palmerston North which managed to exceed our, admittedly low, expectations! Unfortunately our plans for a good walk of the Manawatu Gorge track were scuppered as the only access road is currently closed. Instead we contented ourselves with a good explore of the Ashhurst Domain, very reminiscent of Cardiff's Bute park with its expansive sports pitches and secluded groves, which is also our camp for the night!
21 July 2017
Yesterday was a bit of a mammoth driving day from Otorohanga down to Patea Beach passing through the Waitomo Caves Museum and having a wee look around New Plymouth on the way down! We then stayed at a great wee campsite where we were plied with beer by the owner and had a great evening with 2 French girls who were the only other people staying at the camp!
20 July 2017
We popped down to the Hamilton Gardens in the afternoon and had a look around the beautiful themed gardens including Maori, Japanese, Tudor, Chinese and Italian Renaissance! A lemon even fell off a tree in front of me, so we used it to garnish dinner 🍋
This morning we set off from our camp and headed straight for the Te Waihou Walkway, which was a great 9km out-and-back track along the Blue Spring, where a lot of New Zealand's bottled water comes from. The water has been underground for 100 years before coming to the surface and the colour was very striking! There was also a great array of wildlife to keep us entertained along the way, including numerous Pukekos, Takahes, Cormorants and even some colourful wee parrots!
19 July 2017
Yesterday was a great day, we were in full tourist mode and fulfilled a childhood dream of visiting Hobbiton! Although one of our pricier exploits, it was so worth it to see all the wee hobbit holes and have a beer at the Green Dragon! Then we drove down from Matamata to our campsite at the Okoroire Hotel campsite, which came complete with hot pools!
17 July 2017
City day today for a change, we hit the Auckland Art Gallery first, which was in a beautiful building and had a nice mix of modern and traditional artworks, mostly from New Zealand artists. I then took a walk down memory lane, heading down the waterfront to Wynyard Quarter and the silos, near to the Marina where we stayed on Maunie 18 months ago!
14 July 2017
We've just arrived back in Auckland after a great week up in Northland! Yesterday we continued down the Kauri Coast with some fun windy driving and an interesting moment when Mrs Google Maps suddenly announced "get on ferry"!? This turned out to be the Hokianga ferry which made a nice wee break from driving for me, and allowed me to eat my lunch on the go! Post ferry we continued down to (and through) the Waipoua Forest. We stopped off to view the ancient Kauri tree Tane Mahuta "Lord of the Forest" - magnificent despite the abysmal weather! Then on to our camp for the night in Glinks Gully, south of Dargville. This was a beautifully secluded windswept spot where we had the whole site to ourselves, even if you did have to avoid the Utes zooming along the sand on the beach! Now for a couple of days of washing and real beds in Auckland before leg 2 of the roadtrip begins! ☺️
13 July 2017
Back in the Far North I-Site after going and staring off the edge of the world for a while! We drove up to Cape Reinga and went for a walk out to the lighthouse that marks the northernmost point in New Zealand! It was beautifully windswept and desolate. We then popped just back down the road to the Taputupotu Campsite, the most northerly campsite in New Zealand.. ticking off all the "furthest north"s we could! Quite a windy night in the camper but such a sweet spot we didn't mind. After a very bracing (even brain freeze inducing) cold shower and walk on the beach we headed off southwards again.
Today we are on our way up to Cape Reinga and the Northernmost campsite in New Zealand! We've just stopped at the aptly named Far North I-Site for a coffee before we head off into the wilderness... watch this space!
12 July 2017
Yesterday was a bit of an exploration day, we drove into Kerikeri and had a wee look around (taking advantage of the free library wifi of course). We popped for a quick walk around the Rainbow Falls, which lived up to their names with not just one but TWO rainbows! From there we drove up to Doubtless Bay and stayed in a campsite in an Olive Grove, Poppawhiwhi Olives which was stunning 😁
11 July 2017
Today we visited the Waitangi Treaty Grounds (thank you for the recommendation Auntie Di!). This was an amazing experience, really widening my knowledge of the history of the relationship between the Maori and the British settlers. We explored the museum and then had a guided tour of the sight including the world's biggest War Canoe, Ngatokimatawhaorua. We then had a cultural presentation at the Carved Meeting House. In the afternoon we drove into Paihia for a coffee and then zoomed up the Opua Forest Lookout Track for some spectacular pre sunset views of the Bay of Islands!
10 July 2017
After a morning walk on the beach we worked our way up through Whangarei, stopping off for a wee explore, and then on for a walk around the Whangarei Falls. We've just arrived at the Bay of Islands Holiday Park for the night. ☺️
9 July 2017
And we're away... We set off from the Piggins' and after a few wrong turns trying to get out of Auckland we drove up the east coast, stopping off at Orewa for a coffee and a wee beach walk. We then continued up to the Uretiti Campground and (once the rain stopped) found the time for another wee spot of shell art! All in all a great first day of the roadtrip. ☺️
6 July 2017
When in Rome... or Auckland after New Zealand have won the Americas Cup! Despite the weather the parade was pretty spectacular with everything from cheerleaders to a samba band, and team New Zealand of course! We managed to get a great view of the Auld Cup, and the man himself Peter Burling looking pretty ecstatic to have finally won it back for the Kiwis.
5 July 2017
First yummy pretentious coffee of the trip! Shaky Isles in Britomart was beautiful and delicious, and we booked the campervan that's going to be our home for the next 59 days! 🏕
4 July 2017
Yesterday Jake number 2 arrived in New Zealand after a 27 hour trip from the UK. After a much needed shower I marched him up One Tree Hill in Cornwall Park and we watched the sun go down. 😊
28 June 2017
Great afternoon! Popped up the Mount and then took a coffee and my book to the beach where I got much too carried away playing with shells to do much reading!
26 June 2017
Today I climbed up to the summit of the Otanewainuku and saw THE BEST views of most of the Bay of Plenty. You could even see all the way to Mount Ruapehu, although I couldn't work out which one it was! Quite a puff up to the top through the trees but the tower at the top made a great sunny reading spot 😊
22 June 2017
Today I drove myself down to Rotorua and went for a great walk in the Redwood forests. I decided to do the Quarry viewpoint walk and lugged both my book and a flask full of delicious Thai Pumpkin soup up with me. The redwoods were glorious and ethereal. I had the added entertainment of dodging a rugby team running the same track as me!
15 June 2017
Wonderfully windswept after a bracing afternoon sail out to see the Maori Carvings on Lake Taupo ⛵️🇳🇿