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1554km and 6 Days of Adventure

Our Relocation Roadtrip

Our route covered 1554km.
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Well we drove straight through the North Island the first day. 8 hours of driving through beautiful countryside, past snow-capped mountains, Mordor, and Tongariro National Park brought us to our first night in the campervan.
Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park

Driving past Mt Doom in Mordor!

Driving past Mt Doom in Mordor!


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We didn't have time to explore the North Island really at all since we had a 8am ferry to catch our second day. We drove around desperately trying to find a freedom camping spot, we'd looked up several in the general area but couldn't find any. Eventually (10pm) we gave up and turned to the GPS to find the nearest campground. It was a nice one and actually the cheapest one we stayed at.

The next morning we were up before 6am, not knowing how the rush hour traffic would be between us and the ferry. Not all the ferries are functioning at the moment so there wasn't a choice for us what ferry to take or whether we could reschedule it.

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It's a 3 hour ferry ride between the North Island and the South Island and the ship was huge, 10 decks with lots of windows and a sundeck on the roof. We started out here and I returned at the end for some gorgeous views (saw some dolphins and a seal watch us go past).

Picture from ferry

Picture from ferry

We explored the town of Picton on arrival and then headed to the information center to see if we could get some information/direction. We had 5 days to get to Christchurch (really only a 4 hour drive from Picton) and were looking for suggestions on where to explore. This particular information center was the most unhelpful one we went to! We said we had 5 days, unlimited kilometers, and a self-contained campervan...where should we go?!

Picton

Picton

The response was basically pointing at the map where the roads were and saying well there's lots of options, you've got time so you can go on any of these roads, there's lots to see on all of them. Nothing more than that! No specific suggestions. After the customer service emphasis at St Regis Canoe Outfitters, I was speechless.

We headed west along the northern coast of the Southern Island, taking a scenic drive along Queen Charlotte Drive.

Queen Charlotte Drive

Queen Charlotte Drive

Our second night was in the town of Nelson, Tahuna Campground had the best showers we've had this whole trip! It's amazing how important good showers become when you travel and are limited to cheap hostel showers.

From there we continued west, stopping in Montuka and stopped at another information center. This one was awesome, they were very helpful and took it as a challenge to suggest different sights along different ways and plan out the best way to see a lot of it. They suggested Wharariki Beach, the most northwest corner of the South Island that has a cool beach and a nice campground. Sounded really cool so we headed there for the night...
Wharariki Beach

Wharariki Beach


This was our favorite spot, we were surrounded by a sheep farm that had trails through it to the beach. Very cool. And there were fur seals at the beach! Pups playing in the tidal pools, we kept missing low tide which would have been the best time to see them, but there were still some playing when we were there.
Walking through a sheep farm to the beach

Walking through a sheep farm to the beach

IMG_0007.jpgJust walking to the beach through a sheep farm

Just walking to the beach through a sheep farm

Sheep don't climb stairs

Sheep don't climb stairs

Fur Seal on Wharariki Beach

Fur Seal on Wharariki Beach

Wharariki Beach Cave, this appears at low tide but is underwater at high tide

Wharariki Beach Cave, this appears at low tide but is underwater at high tide

Wandering Peacock

Wandering Peacock

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From there we headed to St Arnaud for the night. A gorgeous lake in the mountains, making us feel very at home. Except there were terrible sand flies there. So terrible..

We made some friends there, had dinner together, then played cards and talked late into the night which was a lot of fun. One was from the North Island and one from California, they were doing a hiking trail that covers all of the South Island.

PC040107.jpgLake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes

Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes

IMG_0149.jpgLake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes

Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes

We set out for Hanmer Springs the next day. Though touristy, natural fed hot springs sounded awesome. This one was a little bit of a let down, too touristy and just not what we were looking for. We did however find a nice campground just outside of town that wasn't busy so we had a site and surrounding area to ourselves which was cool.

PC050144.jpgSpringtime in New Zealand

Springtime in New Zealand

PC050158.jpgSpringtime in December!

Springtime in December!

The next day we brought the campervan successfully into Christchurch and returned it, slightly dusty but having survived the trip.

This is how new our vehicle was!

This is how new our vehicle was!

PC010036.jpgInside the campervan

Inside the campervan

IMG_0156.jpgInside the campervan

Inside the campervan

Posted by smr1188 17:08 Archived in New Zealand Tagged map new_zealand campervan roadtrip relocation

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Comments

What an amazing trip, and thanks so much for the blog. It adds more information and shows the poignant points of the voyage. I had no idea that the distance between the north and south islands was a 3 hour ferry ride! Thanks so much for allowing us to ride along with you and be the armchair travelers that we are!

by karin strong

Thoroughly enjoying your comments and beautiful pictures. Such a great adventure you are having.

by Grandma Corbett

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