I wasn’t planning on any overseas trips this year however, a good friend of mine asked me and how could one say no? New Zealand we’re coming for you!!!
Camper van seemed the best option as it was easy to get accommodation, everything is in the van all the time and getting from destination to destination seemed to be the most simple when you actually have a car to drive. We booked through Happy Campers (only seemed right), and for not much money we managed to hire a lovely Toyota van type thing with a bed and a few kitchen utensils. We were guaranteed a fridge however this didn’t work. Not ideal I know, so vegetarian for three weeks it was. We named him Larry, Happy Larry and away we went. A superb car, full auto (big mountains and manual didn’t sit right with me).
There are so many campers in New Zealand, many much bigger than this one but they’re so easy to set up for the night (literally pull out a table and two folding chairs) and using camp kitchens were great. The opportunity to meet so many other travellers and chat was awesome!
Larry was our home sweet home for the next three weeks and he was going to take us to some amazing places!
Auckland airport after a four hour plane flight we arrived at the Jet Park Airport Hotel. Just for one night before we picked up Larry. This was a lovely hotel, for cheap money as it was half under construction (which didn’t effect us at all). We needed food stat. back to the airport for a quick meal? Seemed like a legitimate idea. The free shuttle was great we hopped in and the driver asked where are you girls off to. We just needed food so being the beautiful New Zealander he was he offered to take us to a take away place, wait for us to get our meal and drive us back to the hotel for a comfortable place to eat it. How lovely is that! We didn’t even go to the airport. This was our first evening in New Zealand and judging by this, I knew we were going to get looked after and a smooth trip was ahead of us.
Collected Larry and achieved a good grocery shop including meat, thinking our fridge was all well and good. Our plan for today was to check out the city of Auckland and make our way to Waitomo, about a three hour drive. By the time we had left the grocery store it was going on for 1:30pm. Quick drive around Auckland and then to Waitomo. We picked Larry up on a public holiday so the roads were flooded with everyone going into the city, luckily we were driving out.
Waitomo is such the sweetest little place, with such a beautiful drive. We plugged Tom (our navigator in) and set him to ‘avoid motorways’. Tom took us down this beautiful stretch of road through the beautiful New Zealand countryside. First night was at the Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park. Unpowered tent sites were the go, literally placed us in the middle of a paddock, it didn’t feel like a holiday park at all.
We explored that evening and the lady at the caravan park suggested we do a short walk, voted one of New Zealand’s greatest, the ‘Ruakuri Walk’. We hit that up around 7:30pm after we actually found it. Went for a decent unplanned drive before hand and really captured the beauty we weren’t going to see as it was the wrong way. Never mind we found it and it was stunning! A lot of rainforest loving fresh from a shower or two, green and boardwalks. Stunning and only taking around half an hour we were back to Larry just before dark.
Our first night consisted of rain, working out our gas BBQ, umbrellas and wet sausages. Yep. We tried to cook sausages in the rain, ended up probably boiling them and then charcoaling them to a crisp. This was a learning experience and we took that on board. Tomorrow was a beautiful new day, and glow worms was on the cards.
Packed up and went straight to the ticket/information area to see these little creatures. We booked the Waitomo Glowworm Boat tour. It was magical firstly walking through the caves and then jumping on a little tin boat where we witnessed these beauties. Like stars in a night sky, thousands of these tiny things light up the ceilings and crevasses of the caves. They’re amazing and definitely worth checking out!
We allowed an hour for the whole tour then jumped in Larry and headed for Rotorua. There were some fun things in store for Rotorua. Stay tuned!