After two weeks of traveling in a campervan on the south island of New Zealand and little to no internet most of the way (for me, Brian did get a phone plan that helped tremendously but the west coast really had little service). We are back in Christchurch for a couple nights and I spend a few hours catching up on uploading photos and figuring out just where the photos were taken along the journey. I think I am still processing just all the many places we saw in our 10 days on the road. I plan to put together a list of things to see on the South Island, but for now, I thought I would reflect on the journey a bit as I process everything.
Here is the journey we basically took:
First off, the south island of New Zealand is a beautiful place. The west coast mountains are spectacular. Then you get to the glaciers and you are like, wow. Oh and the waterfalls. Go to Milford Sound and you will see many many waterfalls. I lost count after we passed about 5. Also how do you count waterfalls, if one turns into 20 down the mountain?
I would say the challenges of the trip (besides the number of times I bumped my head on different parts of the campervan…) were the roads going up, down and all around. I get motion sick in cars with elevation and twisty curvy roads. The milford sound trip was bad for me but luckily we stopped in Te Anua, a small cute town I would love to spend a day in, and got some motion sickness meds. They helped for a short time for the twisy curvy roads, but elevation, not so much. Milford Sound is also basically boat tours and I get motion sick on boats too. We started with lunch and the food actually helped at first because I was so hungry and then I ate too much too fast and was kinda ehhh. It was rainy outside and towards the turn around part of the boat tour we hit rough waters. Luckily that was pretty short lived. I was distracted by talking to a French girl, her mother and another girl from China.
It wasn’t until a week into our 2 week trip that we went to Milford Sound and we did a bus trip so that we could have some social time with others traveling. Brian was also able to enjoy the ride (much more than me) and see all the waterfalls, etc.
After Milford Sound, we discovered that when I listen to podcasts, it really helps to distract my mind from the curves of the road. It was then that we downloaded some podcasts and started to listen to podcasts on our drives. It really helped to pass the time. Much of the west coast, you don’t get a phone signal or anything. You also only get radio stations for maybe 5 minutes as you pass through a town. Podcasts were a great solution and now we are learning some “hardcore history” as that is the title of the podcast. Every so often I tune it out and just glance out the window at the scenery. I’m not sure how much I am getting out of the history podcasts, but it’s better than nothing and there is no test like school.
We made our way up the west coast, stopping by lookouts and doing quick 15 minute walks through the forest area when possible. The great thing about New Zealand is there is nothing that can kill you in the forest so it is quite safe. So much of the west coast you can point out where the land was originally settled on and then where the land remains untouched. My photos certainly don’t do the mountains justice.
While driving through New Zealand, you will see a lot of sheep. There are approximately 10 sheep for every 1 human in New Zealand. Somehow the sheep haven’t figured out how to take over yet lol. The sheep have plenty of land so I guess they are happy. Then there are cows and some red deer that are farmed.
The weather while we are here has been strange according to New Zealanders. I mean it is supposed to be summer since they are opposite of the US. Usually summer means about 30 degrees C (86 degrees F), however, we have been lucky if it hits above 20 C (around 68 F). Jeans and a sweatshirt were my typical outfit or a rain jacket, because it also rained about every other morning off and on. Then the sun would come out at 5pm…it has been interesting. New Zealanders are not happy that their summer weather has been so awful. However I can’t complain too much because it is still warmer than home at the moment.
A bonus part of camping (for me) was just being able to see so many stars. One night towards the end of our journey, we stayed at a campsite off the road that overlooked some mountains and from our back window we could look up and see the stars. Due to the summer hours of daylight, it has been light from around 6:30am to 9pm and sometimes I don’t make it long enough for it to be dark enough to see the stars, but WOW is all I can say. That’s the city girl in me because I certainly don’t see that many stars at home. Brian however grew up in upper NY and could see a lot of stars and still laughs at how amazed I get at seeing stars.
New Zealand also has so many clear waters. They apparently have enough fresh water to last at least another 150 years. Most of the water from a tap (unless otherwise stated) is safe to drink. It is so comforting to know that and New Zealand is so fortunate. At the same time, they are also quite water conscious especially at campsites.
Most campsites we had a shower available, some you had to pay and we would skip a night, but otherwise not too bad. I did wash my hair with only conditioner for a week because that’s all I had. My hair actually got less frizzy and the curls really started to show. Definitely not terrible. This trip has definitely shown us how we can live with less stuff and I hope I continue to keep that in mind not only when traveling but also when I return home.
I think I will end my little ramble there and start to work on some sites to visit as I know you are planning your campervan trip to New Zealand now right?!
Do you like to camp?
Have you ever been to New Zealand?
Sharing is Caring: