📓 Entry #14 — Driving across the country of New Zealand

New Zealand has been full of surprises.

Maeghan Smulders
Mar 7, 2018 · 9 min read
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1st: Wicked 2: Jucy 3: Apollo 4: Converted Nissan van

Troubles at the airport

It was time to leave Australia and when we got to the airport in Brisbane, and tried to check into our one way flight to New Zealand…. we couldn’t. We learned that you can’t enter the country without a VISA, and the VISA requires that you have purchased your arrival and departure tickets from NZ…

Did you have to sleep in the car?

Almost. We have managed to not yet have to sleep in the car, but a few days we were very close. Like when we got to Wellington, we looked on Hotels.com, Airbnb, Expedia, Booking.com, Hostelworld and HotelsTonight and were sadly given the popup saying they were completely sold out.. and the only option we had was to stay in a penthouse for $2,000 a night (which we didn’t do..). So we had to start planning our trip a few days in advance to ensure we had a place to sleep and not always staying in the most convenient spot which was ok since we had a car.

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Our tiny tin can room, that backed on to the lake with a kick ass view.

Driving on the left is fun.

I’ve finally adjusted to being a passenger on the left hand side of the car, while driving on the left hand side of the road. But my back seat driving monologue has gotten significantly worse (I know, poor Oli🤭) we are doing this entire 4 week trip by car driving 2–4 hours a day. I’d say we are almost pro at it now and won’t be able to drive on the right.

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This cute little bugger peaking over the grass hills.

What it’s like traveling this way

A lot of fun, but maybe the camper van would have been more economical doubling as a place to sleep. Its crazy expensive here for food (hardly any produce grows here), gas ($2.30 a litre), and accommodations (hostels can be $130+ that is.. if you can book one).

Enough logistics, what did you love?

SO MANY THINGS!!! Mainly… every 5 min you are out side and walk in any direction you just say “its beautiful”. Essentially New Zealand has a little bit of everything — beaches, mountains, forests, jungle, glaciers etc… all crammed between two tiny islands. So if you are looking to disconnect, be outdoors and in awe of beautiful scenery — this is the place.

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Sorry, last thoughts:

Here are some one liner thoughts or highlights from the trip.

  • We fought over the drone like children… because we were both so excited to fly it.
  • We crashed the drone…. 6 days later.
  • We’ve felt like we’ve been wearing green vivid goggles or something, it is SO green here!
  • We both loved the Hobbit-ness of this place… even though one of us initially wasn’t as stoked about the LOTRs as the other.
  • The bathroom doors are weird.. and the water does flush the other way.
  • There are about 30 million sheep here…. and the human population is only 4 million… 🐑
  • We saw Black Panther on opening night and felt relevant for the first time in ages when it comes to new hit releases.
  • We saw so many waterfalls and when I say a thousand of them… I am not exaggerating.
  • Milford Sound is probably the most incredible nature thing I’ve seen in my entire life… ever. Pictures do it no justice and the only word fitting to describe is is incredible.
  • We have become better hikers… 20km in 6.5 hours was pretty good.
  • England initially imported a bunch of possums, hawks and Canadian geese to hunt in New Zealand, now a few generations later there are a lot of them!
  • Between the itinerary online and my friend Andrea’s advice on what to see and where to go — we had the best trip. 😊

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See more on our website www.alittledetour.ca🌏✈️👫

A Little Detour

Hi there!

Maeghan Smulders

Written by

Hi! 🙋 I'm a tall, homeschooled, well traveled, terrible speller, who loves ice cream, building things and can be hilarious at times 👉 www.maeghansmulders.com

A Little Detour

Hi there! Maeghan & Oli here - we're taking a break to travel the world and hope you'll join us for the ride. 🌏✈️ 👫 www.alittledetour.ca

Maeghan Smulders

Written by

Hi! 🙋 I'm a tall, homeschooled, well traveled, terrible speller, who loves ice cream, building things and can be hilarious at times 👉 www.maeghansmulders.com

A Little Detour

Hi there! Maeghan & Oli here - we're taking a break to travel the world and hope you'll join us for the ride. 🌏✈️ 👫 www.alittledetour.ca

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