The Lonley Campers: Return to the North 

Following our Whale-saving endeavour we decided to treat ourselves and have dinner in a restaurant. We filled up on pizza before heading to bed for a super early night. I ensured we were parked on a flat surface to so we slept well and we didn’t spend the night rolling into each other! – this happened on many other occasions. 

The following day we headed to a local river which has the most crystal clear water. We had a lovely walk through a Forrest before reaching the beautiful clear water. 

We then jumped in the car to go to Canaan Downs. This area featured a lot in Lord Of The Rings but it was very difficult to spot the parts which were in the movies, even for Mr Photographic Memory. We decided that it’s basically lots of aerial shots and CGI – something a google search confirmed. After driving through a couple of puddles without engine failure we had made it to the campsite. We had some flaffels to eat so Amy and I decided to make some flat breads. It was a great process and super easy. We talked at dinner about flat bread orientated business ideas and brain stormed company names, which often had us giggling. 
The next morning was Valentine’s Day and we walked to Harwoods Hole, the deepest vertical shaft in New Zealand. It’s pretty amazing and attracts lots of experienced rock climbers. The walk also took us through the beautiful mossy Forrest. 

Next stop on our whirlwind tour was Nelson where we stopped for lunch at an awesome cafe. Nelson is trendy and cool and we were hoping to see some good art. We headed to The Sulter Gallery which was unfortunately a little disappointing.

Our last night with Amy and Tom was spent at a beautiful campsite near Picton. It was along side a massive lake with a backdrop of mountains and was so peaceful. The only downside was that our water had leaked everywhere so we had to hang everything over the car and hoped it would dry in time. 

As it was Valentine’s Day so we decided to stand on the edge of the water and watch the sunset. The sky was the pinkest I have ever seen, very fitting! 

After a dinner of Amy’s amazing soup and more flatbread we piled into the van to watch a documentary on sweatshops in Bangladesh. 

After a chilled ferry over to Wellington we were excited to meet Mabli and Martin and to sleep in a real bed! 

We were lucky to have a whole little cottage to ourselves and it was great to meet Mabli, Martin and their boys. 

After a great night sleep and a great meal, we moved the car to a free parking spot about 20 mins from their house and headed for a wander in the town. We ended up at the Cindy Sherman exhibition which was amazing! I used a lot of her work as a reference while I was at uni and it was amazing to see it with my own eyes. She critiques and comments on female social roles in society through photographs. 

We then walked along the harbour to the beach where Nathan went for a swim! That evening we offered to babysit. After making a list we had 5 games to get through. We started with sardines. I was first to hide, it took them a good while to find me! 

The next morning it was pouring so we grabbed a brolly and headed to the car, unfortunately our battery was flat! After a few swear words we headed to a local garage. Luckily the English owner felt sorry for us and hoped in his car and jumped started it. We had to keep it running so we drove to Mablis and filled up the car with all of our stuff and headed to Lake Taupo, hoping this would be the finally car hurdle on the trip! 

Arriving at our free campsite/bog we were worried we might get stuck in all the mud! We had to come to New Zealand on the wettest summer of course! After a quick dinner we got into the car, we both went to sleep dreaming of a real bed and was very much looking forward to staying with Megan again in Auckland. 

We headed to Huka Falls in the morning which was beautiful and blue. Next stop was the local hot spring, for a little bath. As we were drying off we decided to use our leftovers to make a quick curry in the car park. We got a few weird looks but who cares! 

Our last stop was Hobbiton. Arriving at the set was amazing! Although you are herded around like sheep it’s a beautiful set and they maintain it so well. It has real veggies growing and the flowers are so colourful. We learnt some great stories such as them making the hobbit holes different sizes to make different characters looks smaller/larger. Peter Jackson also decide the 376,000 fake leaves on the tree were the wrong colour a couple of days before filming, which meant a team of people had to individually paint all the leaves the right shade of green. 

I have to admit that I’m not much of a Hobbit or Lord of The Rings fan but the set is beautiful and you can’t help but get caught up in it. It’s also great that you get a free beer at the end in the local hobbit pub, The Green Dragon. 

We spent our last night in our crap box of a car looking over the rolling hills of Hobbiton and eating our last camp meal! 

We arrived in Auckland and Meg was already home from work. We had a chilled evening playing a great game and chatting away. Guy also made us fresh fish chips which was delicious! 

The next day Nathan and I got the car cleaned and sorted out all of our clothes. In the evening Meg and Guy took us to a harbour which over looked the city. The boys started fishing and we chilled and drank beer

It was a lovely evening and there was a lovely sunset! 

We spent our last day with Amy and Tom who were staying with Amy’s aunt. After lunch we headed for a walk along the beach bumping into some pretty cute dogs on the way. We ordered vegan pizza with extra cheese, which turned into a quiche and watched Hunt for the Wilderpeople. We spotted places we had visited in the movie which was a great way to end awesome time in New Zealand. 

In the morning Tom kindly gave us a lift to the airport. We arrived and we were ready for our million hour journey to Rio but our flight wasn’t on the board. After a moment of panic we found the Quantas desk. Our flight had been cancelled and they had moved us into a direct flight to Chile to ensure we made our connection to Rio. This made it a much simpler route but now we had about 10 hours to kill. We decided to give Tom a ring. The superstar that he is came back to get us and we had a great day doing yoga shopping for shoes and drinking lots of tea. 

Finally our journey began and it was smooth sailing all the way to Rio. 

Until next time…


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