A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Louisejhcowan

Raglan to Auckland via Hamilton

North Island

We drove towards Hamilton and went for a look around the city. It’s quite nice but if you had to miss something out then I would miss this out.

From here we drove west to Raglan which is a surfers town and I have been here before and remembered loving it. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great but we still got a feel for the town, it has nice shops and cafes. We drove to the famous surf beach and watched the surfers for a bit then camped in the town.

We then drove to Auckland, we drove around the town and then we went to watch some cricket and then to Ponsonby (a nice part of the city) for a drink. We met our friend Emily once she had finished work and went out in the city for food and beers.

The next day she was setting up an under 20’s warriors rugby league game so we went to watch that. We then picked Luke our other friend up from the airport in the afternoon. He had been in oz visiting family and friends and came over for a few days. We stayed the night in Auckland as Chris had an interview the next morning so went out with Emily again for some food and few beers.

Again I forgot to take photos!! I think the north island so far has felt quite underwhelming compared to the north so nothing really stood out for me to take photos of and we haven’t camped in beatiful places, mainly car parks, so it’s not be worth taking photos out of the back of the van.

Posted by Louisejhcowan 13:47 Archived in New Zealand Tagged auckland beach surf warriors rugby cricket raglan hamilton vanlife ponsonby Comments (0)

Wellington to Mokau via Mt Taranaki

North Island

We arrived in Wellington very late so just found anywhere we could to park up for the night. We parked in the city centre which meant we could get up and wander into the city for coffee in the morning.

We walked around the gardens which were a bit underwhelming to be honest but the city had a nice feel to it, lots of cafes and restaurants. We walked near the wharf and had beer watching some rowing.

We then drove to a high point which had a great view over the city.

We went for dinner at Logan brown which is a restaurant that one of the chefs we watched at the Marlborough food festival owns. It was really good!

We then drove out of the city and camped near a bay about 40mins north west of the city.

We only had a few days to get to Auckland to meet our friend so the next few days were bigger drives but we tried to stop in places we wanted to see. We decided to drive via Mt Taranaki which is a big volcano.

On the way we stopped at lake but I can’t remember the name, it close to the main highway but a lovely place to hang out for a few hours.

Mt Taranaki was pretty impressive to see but the weather wasn’t great the so we decided not to do any of the walks. We camped on a cliff that night and had a beautiful sunset.

The next day we drove to Lake Rotokare based on a recommendation from a parking officer, she was going to give us a parking ticket but told us a good place to go instead! It’s a lake that is surrounded with a fence to keep all pests out. Volunteers run it and there are kiwis there but we didn’t see any. We walked all the way round the lake.

We continued up the west coast of the north island and stopped on the coast for the night at a rugby ground near the mouth of a river going into the sea. The sand was black and so fine, I’ve never seen sand like it but I forgot to take a photo!We fished in the river mouth but didn’t catch anything!

Posted by Louisejhcowan 12:33 Archived in New Zealand Tagged fishing volcano lake island sand north black wellington taranaki campervan logan brown kiwis vanlife mokau vypsies rotokare Comments (0)

Nelson to Farewell Spit via Abel Tasman then back to Picton

South Island

We headed in the direction of Abel Tasman and stopped at Motueka to speak to the DOC office about walking in Abel Tasman. It’s quite expensive to stay in the huts and campsites so we opted for a day walk instead and decided we would do it on our way back down.

We drove to Kaiteriteri for a swim in the sea. The beach here was beautiful and the sea created a lagoon to swim in. It was pretty busy by NZ standards though!

From here we headed north to Golden Bay and camped just before Pakawau at a park over property (it was a cafe very close to the beach) for 2 nights. During the 2nd day we explored even further north, making it to farewell spit and over to Wharariki beach which had baby seals learning to swim in the pools which the sea creates near the beach.

We then drove to a place called Pohara via Takaka. Takaka is a cute town with a hippie vibe, lots of organic shops and coffee shops and signs for yoga classes. We stayed in Pohara right on a marina where we fished. We caught a few snapper but they were too small to keep. There were also lots of massive string rays swimming around!

We stayed here for 2 nights and during 1 day we went to explore some of Abel Tasman National Park. There is a day loop walk you can do rather than a 5 day Great Walk, however some of it was shut due to fire risk so we just have to walk to a bay and back. The walk it’s self was quite boring as it’s just up and down in some trees but once we got to the bay/beach it was beautiful! There was no one around and the beach was pristine!

We then drove all the way back to Picton which was a long drive but we needed to get there to try and get a new windscreen fitted before heading to the North Island. We went for a wander around Picton, not much there really but a couple of nice cafes/restaurants and stayed overnight in the centre.

The next day we went to get a new windscreen but we’re advised to wait so we managed to get on the evening ferry to the Wellington. We killed time in a lovely bay near Picton doing jobs on the van.

This marks the end of our travels around the South Island!!

Posted by Louisejhcowan 23:55 Archived in New Zealand Tagged beaches walking swimming s tasman seals rays abel takaka sting vanlife vypsies Comments (0)

Blenheim to Nelson via Marlborough Sounds

South Island

On Sunday we had a lazy morning and went for coffee in Blenheim. It seemed like a cute town with lovely gardens and lots of cafes.

From here we drove to Picton. This is where you get the ferry to the North Island and also is the gateway to the Marlborough Sounds.
The weather since we have been in Marlborough has been beautiful, sunshine everyday and not a cloud in the sky.
We drove through Picton as we will visit it on our way back down and started our drive into the sounds along the windy Queen Charlotte road.

We decided went just past Double Bay to a place called Ohingaroa Bay and camped on the side of the sound. It was beautiful. There were only 4 campers allowed and we got one of the spots. We sunbathed and chilled out all afternoon as it was so peaceful. In the evening we went for a walk on the beach and there were clams everywhere so we collected some, we noticed a few rogue mussels too and when we got to the end of the beach we found loads on some rocks which we also foraged!
We cleaned them and prepped them ready for tea the next day.

The Marlborough Sounds is pretty big with lots of no exit winding roads to get to places so we decided to just pick 1 place to get to rather than exploring it all. We drove up to somewhere called Mistletoe Bay which is part of the Queen Charlotte walking track - this is something I would like to do one day as this part of the world is so nice.

We went swimming in the bay - it was gorgeous! And again found more mussels which we picked and prepped for the next days tea - think we might get sick of mussels!

From here we set off towards Nelson, driving through a place called Havelock which is apparently the green lipped mussel capital of the world.

We stopped at Pelorus Bridge which is where the barrel scene in the hobbit was filmed. The river here is perfect for swimming in and as it was such a hot day we went and jumped off the rocks and swam here.

We then continued our drive to Nelson, there wasn’t much to stop for on the way. We stocked up in Nelson and went to Tahunanui Beach for the evening. It’s a shame we couldn’t freedome camp here so had to move to somewhere else for the night. We cooked moules marinere and it was lovely.

The next day we spent it doing some van jobs and exploring Nelson as this could be a potential place for us to live. There is a nice vibe to the city and it’s great to be so close to a lovely beach. We went for cocktails and beer in the evening, the main square was busy for a week night and again it felt like a nice place to be. We camped in the city centre this night.

Posted by Louisejhcowan 22:40 Archived in New Zealand Tagged beach bridge bay swimming nelson campervan marlborough barrels sounds blenheim clams hobbit foraging mussels vanlife mistletoe vypsies tahunanui pelorus Comments (0)

Kaikoura to Blenheim for Marlborough Wine & Food Festival

South Island

We arrived in Kaikoura on 6th for our whale watch boat tour but it was cancelled due to the weather.
We wandered round Kaikoura and bought rummikub from the charity shop and played it in the van.

Chris got a call from a recruitment company asking if he could get to Christchurch on Thursday for a chat with a potential company. As we were only about 2 hours away we decided to go.
We drove to Christchurch and stayed in New Brighton near the beach.
We did jobs and stocked up in Christchurch in the morning and after Chris’ interview headed back up the coast towards Kaikoura. We camped about 45mins south of it.

In the morning we drove back to Kaikoura as we had booked a flight instead of a boat tour to see the whales. It was a beautiful day and as we were driving around the peninsular we spotted some orca off the coast!

The flight was amazing, it was only 40mins but we saw a sperm whale, orca and dolphins. The place is tiny, there was only 4 of us and the pilot flys down to 150m above the ocean so you get a great birds eye view! Would definitely recommend this rather than a boat trip.

After the flight we continued driving north towards Blenheim. We camped out in a field near the malborough wine and food festival, there was a bbq and we had an early night ready for a day of drinking and eating on Saturday.

The festival was great, another beautiful day. Lots of wine and good food and music too, our favourite band was the Vanuatan string band. It finished at 6.30pm and we spent the evening chilling out in the van.

Posted by Louisejhcowan 22:19 Archived in New Zealand Tagged food whales festival wine flights kaikoura campervan malborough Comments (0)

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