NZ road trip – Day 25+26 – Lumsden – Dunedin 

We left Lumsden early and the plan was to get a cheap brekky in Invercargill then head to a camp in Kuramea along the south coast. After unsuccessfully scouting for a cheap brekky in Invercargill we left visiting various points on the south coast. First stop was Waipapa Lighthouse where we met a massive seal and her kid. Strange creatures who are so elegant in the water but on land absolute slobs.

The best stop probably being Curio Bay at Waikawa where there was a spectacular look out over the bay and we had lunch there. Here you could see dolphins, seals and possibly penguins. The colour of the water was incredible too. 

From here we drove to our campsite which was near Owaka and it was a lovely drive through green hills and little villages. Once at the campsite which was situated by the sea the dusk and dawn photos were awesome. A great little campsite with a lounge, huge kitchen and great toilet/facilities. Still being the quiet season there was no one about. 

After getting up and smashing eggs and beans on toast in Owaka our plan was to head to Dunedin. One stop off was planned at Nugget Point. Here was bits of rock sticking out of the water looking like nuggets. The day was quite cloudy and not the best for photo taking. 

After stopping here for a bit we arrived in Dunedin at lunchtime and booked ourselves in to Manor House hostel for a night. Situated close to town this was a great location to park our cars and walk around the town. Dunedin was full of trendy cafes, bars, young people and a van which has lads in it doing laps around the city centre blasting out music. I felt like I was transported back to uni days but I liked the feel of the place. We ate out at a local restaurant and nipped to the casino again. 

NZ road trip – Day 23+24 – Queenstown – Ta Anau – Milford Sound – Lumsden 

We left Queenstown feeling that we absolutely loved our time there but also we couldn’t wait to go back. Next time with more money and time, we plan to do more activities and see more of the night life. It was another lovely day again as we planned to set off. After finding a cracking brekky for $12 we set off to get petrol and we aimed for Te Anau on our way to Milford Sound. 

As we set off, Scott’s car had a mishap and had to get it fixed meaning we carried on and waited for news if Scott would join us on the tour of Milford Sound in the morning. We cracked on and reached Te Anau and decided to stay at this little town by the lake. Scott got the good news and was going to join us for the Milford Sound in the morning. We decided to stay at the Lakeview Holiday park.

Next morning we set off for the 1.5 hour journey to Milford Sound. We were just hoping for good weather. It was cloudy until we reached the mountains where the sky cleared up. When we reached the destination we were relieved of the weather. We met Scott and grabbed a coffee. 

Milford Sound is part of the Fiord National Park and the surrounding areas are just breathtaking. Mountains and valleys everywhere you look. There really is an Instagram photo at every two minutes. Being situated in South West New Zealand it’s known for its unpredictable weather. An area covered in fiords, forest and sea it’s bound to be. 

At 10am we boarded our boat and set off on the two hour journey weaving around the fiord. It’s crazy to think that this area of water between the mountains was carved out by glaciers over thousands of years. We managed to get a lot of photos and too many to post on here but here is the best. 

After some lunch we set off to our base for the night which was in Lumsden. A free campsite in the middle of the town with facilities to cook and also toilets, this was a great place to stay. The day after we travel to Invercargill and the south coast.

NZ road trip – Day 21+22 – Wanaka – Queenstown 

Queenstown is a cool place and one of my favourite places in the world. The setting of this little town by a lake amongst mountains is purely magical all year round. As we arrive in to spring the days are warmer but there is still snow on the mountains, perfect I say. As we drove from Wanaka the weather was cloudy and mild. We decided to scout the town out and wait for the predicted good weather the day after. 

As predicted on Tuesday the weather was spectacular with clear blue skies. We had a fry up for $10 and then took the gondola to the hill, went luging, had lunch, walked up Queenstown Hill, smashed dinner and then nipped to the casino. What a day! So many photos were taken.

As a place this has everything you need but there is a reason we can’t stay and work here. That is, cost. Competition for jobs is high for a place riddled with backpackers and the rent is very expensive. There just wouldn’t be a chance to save money. So many activities to do such as hand gliding, luging, paragliding, speedboating, river cruises, drinking, skiing, snowboarding, parachuting, hiking, eating out, casino, cafes etc etc. This is a place great for a weekend blow out which we will come back and do at some point. 

I had great memories of this place from four years ago but it was a different time. Then it was partying and not seeing Queenstown in the day, now it was appreciating it more. I wasn’t disappointed. I can’t wait to come back again but until then we continue to Milford Sound. 

NZ road trip – Day 19+20 – Hokitika – Franz Josef – Wanaka 

When we left the Woodstock Pub in Hokitika it was lashing it down and we could sense that Franz Josef would be a wash out. As we approached the town It certainly was so we parked up at the hot pools and got stuck in. We had the place to ourselves. There were 4 pools of varying degrees and with the airy rain it made a nice sensation of hot and cool. After several hours we got out and made lunch and researched where to stay. We decided the Glow Worm Hostel. For $18 we had access to all the facilities on offer, result.

As we set off the weather started to clear and we took the opportunity to stop off at many points on the way. We pinpointed the Blue Pools near Makarora as a stop off point. Along the way we stopped off at Bruce Bay. In New Zealand there are signs telling you of view points and points of interest. Therefore it’s very easy to plan your stops, we did this in abundance. 

The Blue Pools was an area of suspension bridges over pools of water near a fast paced river. With the mountains in the background it was a sight for the memory bank. People do jump in from the bridges but none of that today as the water would have been cold. 

As we set off again we were about 40km from Wanaka and the drive would take us along the Wanaka and Hawea lakes. Simply put the drive was spectacular. Weaving around the mountains alongside the lakes with a clear day was just perfect. As per usual we stopped off at any point which presented itself with a photo and we simply obliged.

The plan is to stay in Wanaka a night at the Luggate Cricket Club then either stay another night or get to Queenstown. With us now applying for jobs and the budget getting lower, places like Queenstown is quite expensive. We will weigh it all up and decide accordingly. 

NZ road trip – Day 18 – Nelson – Hokitika 

A long day ahead as we aimed for the Woodstock Hotel/Pub which was just outside Hokitika. At around 130 years old this pub had great reviews for food and drink. You could stay in their car park with access to toilets for $5, yes please. 

A miracle happened when my phone finally got unlocked by pure sweat and tears dealing with O2. Never using them again. After brekky, a coffee and bit of planning we set off on the 6 hour journey. We stopped off at Westport for lunch then saw the Pancake Rocks on our way to the pub. Apart from this it was a day of travelling and driving to our next destination to get nearer to Franz Josef.

In the evening we stuffed ourselves with some pub food, had a few drinks and played some pool. I got destroyed by Scott. The next coming days we plan to go to Franz Josef to see some glaciers, hot pools and be around this awesome area. The only mare is the weather coming up. Can’t control these things and all you can do is weigh it up.

NZ road trip – Day 17 – Abel Tasman National Park – Nelson 

After an early night due to the cold and the sand flies, we arose for some brekky, mine being eggs and beans on toast. We nearly got away with staying the campsite for free until a lady came inspecting the cars. She then tried to charge us double but we pulled a sob story and got away with the normal price. 

We then headed towards the Abel Tasman Track which is around 56km in length and would take 3-5 days from start to finish. We decided to do a walk in the morning then set off around late morning to Nelson. The first look out point was Skinner Point and the colours of the beach and water blew me away. What a view! 

We then proceeded to Goat Bay (named after a few people I know) and took a breather on the beach for 20mins. The trek there was very up and down and a nice work out. Again the water was stunning, nice and calm and perfect for a brave dip. The sand was perfect. This honestly was one of the best beaches I have seen.

We then headed off to a little town further up north names Collingwood, named after that useless AFL team in Melbourne. There we stopped off for a coffee, sandwich and free WiFi. A quaint little town and like Takaka it was very hippy and chilled out. We then headed off down to Nelson for a night before heading south the day after.

NZ road trip – Day 16 – Nelson – Abel Tasman National Park 

After doing some admin in Nelson, we set off early after breakfast to Takaka Hill. The plan was to park the campervan and do a little hike up to the top which would take about 90mins for a round trip. My word what a day we had picked for it. As we arrived the day was clear and the sun was shining. A few clouds in sight and very mild. Perfect weather for hiking. 

At the very top of the hill is an antenna which was the aim. As we made our way up the views all around us were stunning. We knew there would be a great 360 degree viewing over Abel Tasman Park. When we reached the top we weren’t disappointed. After catching my breath as I’m horrendously unfit I started snapping away. I must admit it felt good.

After stopping off in Takaka town for a spot of lunch we then headed to our campsite in Abel Tasman Park called Totaranui Camp Ground. Along the way we stopped off at Pohara beach to grab a photo. It was a great beach. The sun was starting to settle so the reflection on the water was much to my liking.

We arrived to the camp via a dirt track which was windy for about 13km and was a relief to get there. As we had about an hour before the sun went we nipped to the beach by the campsite and it was pure bliss. Golden sand, perfect coloured water and no one there. The only mare was the sandflies. As we started cooking food for dinner we had a great sunset in the sky followed by a clear night to star gaze. 

NZ road trip – Day 15 – Wellington – Picton – Nelson

We drove on to the ferry at Wellington around 0730 and it set sail at around 0800 and the journey took 3 hours to Picton. Once we arrived we parked up and waited for my friend Scott to arrive who was driving up from Christchurch. We were planning to travel the South Island for about 2.5 weeks and the plan was to see as much as we can for as little money we can. The last time I had seen Scott was in Edinburgh in January and previously I had travelled to India with him and met him on the road in South America and Australia. 

he views on the ferry were spectacular as we arrived in to Picton. The landscape around the town is grand and awesome to look at. Once we smashed some lunch we headed west to Nelson to park up for the night and to catch up more. The drive would take around 2 hours. Must admit the petrol prices are an unwelcome turn for the worst as it’s about 10/20c more per litre, annoying. We planned to stay in a car park in the centre town which has shower and toilet facilities. Result! Plan tomorrow is to head to Abel Tasman National Park, one of the best in NZ.

NZ road trip – Days 12-14 – Wellington 

Having been stationed in Wellington for a sizeable amount of time, we decided to check out some local areas for when we return in a few weeks. The idea was to get an idea of an area to live in and how close it would be to possible jobs. My overview is that any area is close to the CBD. Wellington with how it is built has everything you need in walking distance. It is built on a bit of flat land in between steep hills which has been redesigned by earthquakes over time. It really has everything you need and at a convenience.

The airport is 10 minutes away from the centre on bus and the sight of planes landing is a spectacular one. Beaches are at both ends of Wellington which is great for those early morning walks or dare I say runs. Cafes and restaurants are in abundance and we won’t get bored exploring these. Each hill side has a look out point for the city with unbelievable views on offer.

Rent prices are surprisingly cheap for a capital city and you pay more for the views which is fine by me as hiking these steep hills daily could get annoying. Public transport is easy to navigate and at a reasonable cost. The Sunday market has a plethora of choices for fruit and veg and this will be a weekly ritual. Our hosts for our Air Bnb stays in Wellington have been welcoming and helpful with useful tips of things to see and do. They really have endeared us to the local population.

Entertainment such as rugby, gigs, comedy, cricket, cinema etc will keep us occupied. Whereas the plan is to see NZ on a weekend, it is reassuring to know that there is enough here to keep us entertained and busy otherwise. With the South Island at our fingertips the options are endless. Whether it is the North Island, Wellington, the South Island or a cheeky trip to Australia, there really is a lot of choice.

Finally, the job market seems varied and plentiful. The process of applying for jobs has begun and hopefully we can land them pretty quickly with money disappearing fast. The lifestyle here attracts me more than any other place in NZ. If only the wind could lay off a bit though. 

NZ road trip – Day 11 – Wellington 

We had a nice lay in and brekky at our Air Bnb flat in Hataitai which is a suburb near Mount Victoria in Wellington. We decided to head to the Te Papa Museum which is the national museum of New Zealand. Here we gained lots of knowledge on Gallipoli in WWI, the Maori culture, rugby legends and NZ’s environment. 

Afterwards we had a trendy coffee at Kaffee Eis on Cuba Street and we were preparing our CVs for potential jobs. More walking was done around the CBD to acclimitise ourselves with the city. Essentially it was a day of admin which when travelling is needed sometimes.