Saturday, 12 May 2012

The Great Kiwi Road Trip, Part I

One would think that given the difficulty of traveling with a partner (if you have no idea what I'm talking about, see THIS POST), Vincent and I would make every effort to ease the strain on our relationship by giving ourselves a little room to breath while on the road.

But one would be wrong.

We are in New Zealand, the first non-South American country we've visited and the second of four continents on our itinerary. It is beautiful. I'll tell you the what in a second, but first, let me tell you the how.

Everyone told us that the big draw in New Zealand is its unique and stunning natural beauty, so in order to really get off the beaten path and see it, we decided to rent a little camper van and tour the country on our own. While the two of us looked hilarious in our pint-size home on wheels, it was the best possible way to experience this incredible country.

New Zealand is made up of two main islands, the North Island and the South Island. Our first camper adventure was in the North Island. After spending two days in Auckland, NZ's biggest and most cosmopolitan city, we picked up our van for a week-long rental.

Now, for those who are imagining the two of us in a big, roomy mobile home, here's what our living space for the week looked like:

The floor plan was a little cramped, but you really can't beat that view.

When we weren't stepping on and bumping in to one another (and when poor Vincent wasn't bashing his head against the ceiling), we were camping next to the beach, having picnic lunches with a view and spending rainy afternoons in the coziness of our little (and I do mean little) camper.

It was a blast. We drove from Auckland up the east coast of the North Island, stopping whenever we saw something interesting. We had a map, plenty of Werther's Originals and absolutely no plan whatsoever, which is exactly how a road trip should be. Since we didn't have a destination, we decided how far and in which direction to drive each day depending on how we felt and whether or not we could find a campsite on a beach. We stopped for little hikes and walks every few hours, or when we passed through an adorable village worth strolling around in. Our days were spent driving through beautiful countrysides, walking in the woods or along a beach, and stopping for sun-drenched picnics, while nights were spent reading, cooking and drinking wine in our camper.

The trip was so relaxing that the days just kind of run together in my mind in snapshots of sunsets over the ocean and curving country roads (as witnessed above), but the highlight was seeing the insane, ever-changing landscape of a relatively small country. Just in the miniscule area we covered, we saw the lush, green rolling hills of Switzerland, the white sand beaches and aquamarine waters of Bermuda, the dramatic volcanic coastline of Easter Island and the overgrown, fern-covered forests of the Amazon- all within a few miles of each other.

The most impressive of the natural wonders we saw during our road trip were the ancient Kauri trees, which used to cover the North Island before their population was decimated by logging. We walked to several of New Zealand's biggest specimens- some of which were up to 45 feet (14 m) around and nearly 2000 years old! It was awe-inspiring to be next to something that essentially made a mockery of both the size and lifespan of humans and yet was so fragile.

The North Island road trip was such a success that we have decided to visit the South Island the same way, only this time, we will tour around for two weeks instead of one.

And this time, we're getting a bigger camper.


  1. Thanks again... over and over... for sharing this. All of this, including yourselves... with us. David

  2. Awesome pictures! Thanks for sharing.