New Zealand  2018


We left Townsville the 24th of April to enable us to stay overnight in Brisbane where we met up with Linda Lewellyn as we usually do when we are that way. We got an early flight to Auckland and have plenty of time to get the motorhome and settled for the night. It did not really work out this way because Auckland is a very large city with too much traffic for me.  A bit of commotion we we arrived in Auckland and I discovered my wallet missing just after we went to the border patrol. They were very well organised and ten minutes later they found it. I had slipped out of my back pocket.  In Auckland we went for a walk to the city and took a ferry ride to an old tourist town just on the other side of the bay. When we came back to the motorhome it did not start. I left the light on. It took a while to get organised. But because of this we ended up in peak hour traffic. Finally found an overnight camp. Next day I was glad to get out of Auckland. Big cities are not my thing. Drove up the east coast to the bay of Islands. We had a lot of wind and rain that day. Had a good look around and when I turned up with my wallet in hand to book a boat trip they told us that no boats were leaving. No time to hang around and we headed towards Cape Reinga. Last time we were here we did not have the time to head to the furthest northern tip of the north island. Before we got there we visited 90 Mile beach. Here they have massive sand hills where normally a lot of people go to do sand surfing. But because of the wet and chilly weather only a few people here. It was still impressive. Next stop Cape Reinga. So far and as happened throughout we had a lot of rain but every time we wanted to see something it stopped. A nice walk to the tip.  Next we drove the west coast. This is timber country and the the Kauri tree is what drive tourism this way. The Kauri has a very thick straight trunk without branches and the branches  are sticking out the top. The timber can be buried for thousand of years and still in perfect condition.  In the first week we were here we saw the leaves of the trees go from green to yellow.

                     90 Mile beach                                                Lighthouse at Cape Reinga                                  Lunch time          

After we did the Kauri coast we headed towards Rotorua. This is where all the bubbly stuff comes out of the ground. Did the tour which kept us busy for the day. Next day there was another theme park where they claim to show us the beginning of the world. The weather was not the best so we gave it a miss. Next stop lake Taupo which is the largest lake on the north island.


Rotorua and lake Taupo are very close to the east coast so time to head west again. A very winding road to New Plymouth. Some area's here are used for skiing. When we hit the coast there was a nice spot called White Cliffs. There was a walking track to it but I should have read the signs a bit better because after one and a half hour walk here was no sign of the cliffs. When I got back there was a sign that it was a four hour hike. In the meantime I had parked the motorhome at a bit of an angle with a big drop at the end. I thought that Susan would have a nap and read a book but she was too scared to go in to the bus. At least all the passerby's kept her entertained because there was no space to turn the car around. We had see some snow and had to head towards Mount Taranaki. Camping beside the information centre and next day for a hike up the mountain. I did not want to go to the top but heard from people who attempted it that there was too much ice close to the top and made it very challenging. The sun came out and had happy hour overlooking the top of the mountain. Just following the coast Wanganui, Palmerston to Wellington. We drove around the city and visited the Te Papa museum.  From here the ferry goes to the South Island. The boat was suppose to leave early which made for a 6AM rising. But when we got there hey told us at leas an hour later.

                       Mount Taranaki                                                   This is as far as I got                     Susan smelling the roses in Wellington
A rainy and windy day for the boat trip to he south Island. The scenery is different. The rivers are very wide but normally do not carry a lot of water as the bridges are very low. Also there are a lot of one way bridges. First impression is that fuel is 25ct more than the north island. Past Nelson to Westport and Cape Foulwind. At Cape Foulwind is a seal colony. We did see a few seals. We camped overnight in the car park of a pub as it was mothers day and we went out for dinner.  Following the rugged north west coast next stop pancake rocks. This is a very interesting area. There is a blowhole and when you follow the labyrinth of path you get to an area where it looks like thin layers of rocks stacked on top of each other. From our campsite near Greymouth we could see the ski area. While walking through Greymouth we bumped in to a boat transformed in to a coffee stand and they sold stroopwafels. Offcourse owned by a Dutch couple.
                  Interesting road                                           Pancake rocks                                     First view of snow topped mountains

Next stop glacier country. There are two glaciers. the Franz Josef and Fox glacier. The Franz Josef is a long hike and you have to go through water. The Fox Glacier is the easiest to reach. After a 45 minute walk we got to the lookout. What a disappointment. We were here 12 years ago and you could get close and there was a lot of ice. This time hardly any ice showing. This time we spend the night in the backyard of a member of the motorhome club. We also became a member of the NZ motorhome club which gave us a very big discount on the ferry. Social afternoons are very scares because by 4o clock it get's to cold to sit outside. Next via Haast to Wanaka. But before we got there we stayed in a large car park and lookout. It was raining at the time and while we waited for the rain to go, it turned in to snow. We decided to spend the night here. Lucky the diesel heater worked well but we turn it of when we go to bed and both of us had a cold night. Next morning a glorious sunrise.  When I Googled what to do it in Wanaka it turned out that a tree growing in the lake is the top attraction. A stroll along the the lake was also very pleasant despite the weather.

              Remnants of Fox glacier                                           Top of Haast pass                                           The Wanaka tree

Next stop Queenstown. Last time we were here we could not get out of the place quick enough. The rain was pelting down and very strong wind. This time cold but otherwise good. Took the chair lift for a good view of the surrounds. Up there you could go hiking, bungy jumping, parasailing and luge. We did not do anything like that apart from a cup of coffee. Queenstown is the furthest south we travelled on the south island. On the way to Lake Tekapo we drove past the first bungy jump site. This is an expensive past time. $200 for one jump. Next stop Lake Tekapo via Omarama and Twizel. First thing in Lake Tekapo was the observatory. Very good view over the surrounds and nice and warm in the cafe. The place itself is fairly small but is famous because of it's church situated beside the lake. See banner.  Heading for the coast again and Timaru. Here in the museum had a very interesting guided tour about  Māori culture. We spend the night here. Susan talked to a German backpacker who nearly froze to death. He had all the clothe he had on and still could not get warm. There is a trans alp train going from Christchurch to Greymouth but it would have cost us $500 to do this. We decided to drive the way. There is one road which follows the railway line and one via Reefton and Lewis Pass back to Christchurch. The first section from Timaru to Mount Hutt was a bit dull but the mountains started to appear and the views. In one section they build an enormous bridge and where the lookout was a very docile Kea hopped around looking for a feed. We did not see the train that day and lucky we did not do the ride because the weather was no good. We arrived in Greymouth on a Sunday and hoped to buy some more stroopwafels but the boat had disappeared. We spend the night here and next morning we could buy a packet.

            Queenstown                                                          Hacket bungy jump Queenstown                                 Kea

It took us two days to reach Christchurch. They had two earthquakes, one in 2011 and a smaller one in 2016. The first one killed 185 people and a lot of buildings destroyed. While travelling through the south island we could see a lot of buildings which had been reinforced with massive steel structures to make them earthquake proof. Because of the massive destruction in Christchurch a lot had not been cleaned up. The most prominent church on the edge of a large plaza was severely damaged. The bit on the foreground of the photo used to be a large tower. Other buildings reinforced. The large white multi story building on the right is condemned and waiting demolition.
We visited the botanical garden, museum and walked around the centre of town. With two days to spare we went to the peninsula south east of Christchurch. The area is very mountainous which gives you spectacular views. Akaroa is a French settlement situated on the edge of a large sea inlet. Next morning a very mountainous road back to Christchurch. Spend the last night in a car park of a golf club. They had organised a trivia night and told us they expected 60 to 70 people. Only 12 turned up. But we had a very nice meal there and a couple of glasses of cold beer.  Next morning cleaning the motorhome and returning it. No problems here. They brought us to the airport and as usual waiting flying waiting flying. Lucky not as far as Europe. Back home at 11 PM on 25th of May.

Susan with a packet of stroopwafels                                Earthquake devastation in Christchurch
Statistics:   Flights, insurance and accommodation:  $ 2752                                 Total distance travelled  5389 KM
                 Motorhome hire 31 days                         $ 3018
                 Food, petrol and sightseeing                   $ 2977

                 Total                                                    $ 8747