The final part of our road trip took us to Milford Sound, the drive alone is packed with some absolutely stunning & captivating scenery, I’ve never been so in awe of my surroundings. It’s truly magical! We also made it to Bluff, Invercargill & Slope Point; the southernmost point of mainland New Zealand, before hopping on a ferry over to Stewart Island for the night. Next we hit the East Coast driving through the Catlins, Dunedin, Christchurch & Kaikoura where I had the most amazing experience Whale Watching. I not only saw three sperm whales but an entire pod of Orca! It was such a privilege, a moment of pure joy & one I will never forget!
I finally got around to sorting out my photos from the South Island leg of our road trip! These are from months ago during the autumn months but contain some of my trip highlights so far. After a 7 week stop in a town called Motueka (so Johnny could experience life as a fruit picker) we finally got on the road again. The following are from the Abel Tasman, Golden Bay, Takaka, The Labyrinth Rocks, Wharariki Beach, Fairwell Spit, Lake Rotoiti, the West Coast drive, Franz Joseph Glacier & Lake Hawea.
Our adventure of the North Island continued with visits to the Coromandel, The Bay of Plenty, Taranaki & my favourite NZ city, Wellington! In total we have covered over 3000km in the North Island moving every couple of days. We spent most nights camping at DOC campsites, which are always in great locations, other times we freedom camped or stayed with friends. It’s been awesome!!
I’m three months into my road trip now & can safely say I’m loving the simple life. Living in a tent isn’t so bad either, although the weather has just started to turn & the nights are getting colder, its all about layers 🙂
We successfully completed our trip of the North Island. Here are some of snaps from the first few weeks:
I ended my long stay at Trek with an amazing Christmas with the gang. Here we are tucking into a feast of a dinner with all the trimmings (including Yorkshire puddings)! It was an epic day & just lovely to spend it with this great bunch of people. On boxing day I picked up my new wheels & spent the afternoon cruising around the stunning bays of Wellington with two of my favourite people; Johnny & Christoph.
For New Years I drove to Gisborne on the East coast for the Rhythm & Vines festival. I was accompanied by Rebecca; a couchsurfer from New York who I met that morning & Katie; a German backpacker I’d met at Trek months ago. The festival is located on the beautiful Waiohika Estate where you actually camp amongst the vineyards, its so cool! Headline acts included Bastille & Chase & Status. There were also lots of other activities going on during that day, one of which was a giant skinny dip in the sea with over 300 people on New Years eve. Naturally I got involved in that 🙂
I’ve spent the last 4 months back in Wellington where I returned to Trek Global Backpackers! I love this hostel & the amazing international Trek family that comes with it! It was great to reunite with some old faces & of course meet even more wonderful people who suddenly become part of your day to day life. We’ve had some awesome times together & created memories that I will treasure forever! Here are some of my favourite people, I’m going to miss these faces:
You will have noticed a severe lack of blog posts the last few months. Its seems the downside of working online means that I’m somewhat unmotivated to spend more time staring at my laptop. I’ve also been a little distracted the last few months by hostel life in Wellington & a new beau! So I’ve decided going forward to focus more on a photo blog with snippets of info to keep you all in the loop on my New Zealand adventure!
But first, last July/August one of my best friends from the UK; Sara came to visit me with her two girls; Chloe & Abby. I’ve know Sara my entire life & couldn’t wait to show her & the girls all that NZ has to offer. We decided a camper van was the way to go so I planned an epic three week road trip from Auckland to Queenstown with lots in between. Here’s what we got up to……..
First stop Hobbiton! Peter Jackson picked out Alexander farm, a 1250 acre sheep & beef farm just outside the town of Matamata to be The Shire, home of the Hobbits. Its much bigger than I expected with over 40 hobbit holes scattered all over the hillside. It’s a great tour of the famous movie set as you get plenty of time to look around & take photos, plus they tell you a few little secrets about the set too (you’ll have to go to find out).
Rotorua – We spent a morning at Wai-O-Tapu, the Thermal Wonderland I visited earlier in the year followed by lunch at The Redwoods. That evening we went to the Mitai Maori Village. Located in a beautiful natural bush setting the warriors paddle down the Wai-o-whiro stream on a canoe called a waka, in traditional dress before formally welcoming you into their village. They then put on a captivating cultural performance which featured the mesmerizing Haka before we ate traditional Maori Hāngi which is a method of cooking food underground using heated stones for several hours, it was delicious.
Taupo – DeBretts Hot Pools. We enjoyed a couple of very relaxed days here bofore heading West to spot glow worms at the Waitomo Caves & then spending the weekend with friends in New Plymouth.
Wellington – We spent a day exploring the capital. Here we are riding the Cable Car which takes you right up to the beautiful Botanical gardens.
We made it to the South Island where we had a quick stop in Nelson.
Abel Tazman – Just stunning! We camped here in Marahau for 2 nights. Its possibly now my favourite area in NZ. We did a 12km hike out to Watering Cove followed by an 8km kayak trip back across the sea, simply amazing!
We then hit the West Coast where we were surrounded by mountains. Here we got the check out both the Franz Joseph Glacier & the Fox Glacier.
Further south we drove past stunning Lake Hāwea; check out the reflection of the mountains in the lake. I couldn’t get over it! We finally arrived in Wanaka to witness the most beautiful sunset (this picture does not do it justice). The following day we all went skiing for the first time up Cardrona. Much like mountain biking, it would seem skiing is not my forte either, four year olds were whizzing past me.
We ended our trip in Queenstown. Despite the dismal weather we still packed in a heap of activities. Here we are riding the Gondola. At the top we did the Luge which was a lot of fun. On the final day I took the girls on the exhilarating Shotover Jet which is a must do, I couldn’t stop laughing & screaming.
All in all it was a pretty epic road trip & just wonderful to spend it with some of my people from home 🙂