🇳🇿 New Zealand
  • Flying back Home!

    August 9, 2020 in Singapore ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

    Cant believe today is the day we fly home! This year has flown by. Feeling sad to be leaving New Zealand after being here for nearly 8 months. It feels like our second home. We feel lucky we have been able to explore this beautiful country and we have met some lovely people along the way. We are looking forward to seeing our friends and family when we get home. It is a bit unclear whether we will have to self isolate or not.

    We got the skybus to Auckland Airport around 11am. When we arrived in Auckland airport we had to wear a mask. It really was feeling real now. It was strange to put a mask on. We didn't need to wear one at all in New Zealand. The airport was not busy at all. It was strange to not see a lot of people in an airport. There were only a couple of shops open. Before we went to the gate we had to have our temperature checked. We flew with Singapore Airlines. We left Auckland around 3pm. The first flight was a long 10 hours and 30 mins. We couldn't get any sleep on the plane. We had to keep our mask on the whole time apart from when we had meals.

    When we arrived in Singapore they attached a coloured wrist band on us. So they knew who was the transit passengers and the arrival passengers. We both got off separately. It was all very well organised. They directed us in to a lounge with the same passengers from New Zealand. Unfortunately we didn't get to see any of Singapore airport. Apparently its quite impressive. We were able to freshen up in the bathrooms here and put a new mask on ready for the second flight. We were asked to fill out a health from before we arrive in the UK and we had to agree to self isolating for 14 days and provide the address. I only just managed to fill this out then we were called to board the next plane to London Heathrow.

    We were sat next to passengers from the New Zealand flight in the same section of the plane. Passengers that came from Singapore were in a different section of the plane. There were curtains inbetween and we had separate bathrooms. We used anti bacterial wipes to wipe our seats and tables down before we sat down. This flight was over 13 hours! The longest flight we have ever done. I managed to get few hours sleep after taking some sleeping tablets. When we arrived in London Heathrow at 5.30am we were asked if we had completed the forms. The woman that asked us didn't even have a mask on! Half the staff had it down their chin. A bit pointless wearing one. If we were going to get covid it would of been at Heathrow. When we went through border control they didnt even ask for our forms even though it said online we would need to show them. Just our passports. We kept our distance while waiting for our bags.

    After a long wait we booked a coach to Bournemouth from the airport. We had to have our temperature checked at the coach station before getting on the bus. We had to wear our masks and it was window seats only to allow for social distancing. Luckily it was just us on the coach all the way to Southampton. Only a few people got on here to Bournemouth.
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  • Day210

    Brunch & Drinks out in Ponsonby

    August 7, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    This morning we met our friend Leanne for brunch near our hostel at IMA cuisine. It was a Middle Eastern cafe and restaurant. I had halloumi in a pitta with sun dried tomatoes and salad. It was delicious.

    In the evening we went out for drinks in Ponsonby with our friends Mike and Lucy. We went to a lovely cocktail bar. Tomorrow we are flying home!
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  • Day209

    Back to Auckland & Both had hair cuts

    August 6, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

    This morning we drove back to Auckland to take the campervan back. In the evening we went out for some drinks. We are staying in Auckland at Nomads where we stayed in January which is now called Fort Street Hostel. We are staying here for a couple of nights as we are meeting some friends tomorrow night for some drinks and we fly home on the 8th August! I cant believe how quickly it has come around. . The hostel is only $54.40 for 2 nights for the 2 of us. Which works out about £7 per night. The beds are a little hard. We are in a 4 bed dorm. The duvets were not clean either and the bathrooms looked like they haven't been cleaned in a while. Its definitely gone downhill since we last stayed here.Read more

  • Day208

    Motoriki Reserve/ Star gazing at Tuapiro

    August 5, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    This morning we checked out the campsite and had a wonder around town. We then went for a walk at Motoriki Reserve. It was a beautiful sunny day again today. We then went to the social for drinks. I loved how some of the chairs were made from cars. I sat in part of a mini and had a pina colada cocktail. Around 4pm we drove to 3 freedom camping spots all were full. We've never had a problem before finding a spot when we've wanted to freedom camp. Tuaranga is obviously very popular. We decided to drive 50 mins up the coast to a freedom camping stop at Taupiro Reserve. Luckily there were spaces when we got there. It was a lovely spot by the water. The moon was red and reflecting on the water. We also saw so many bright stars here. We enjoyed camping here overnight.Read more

  • Day207

    Sunrise Beach Walk, Winery & Hot pools

    August 4, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    This morning we got up at 6.30. We parked up by the beach and went for a short walk around the base of Mount Maunganui. It was dark but the sun was beginning to come up. We had a beautiful sunrise at sea we watched the waves crashing against the rocks as the sun came up. Great way to start the morning. We then went to New World Supermarket to get something for breakfast. We picked up some croissants and enjoyed them with a cup of tea by the beach watching the surfers.

    We next drove to a lookout point Minden Lookout we had great views of Tauranga city, Mount Maunganui, the harbour, islands and far beyond. We could even see White Island in the distance. It was a beautiful sunny day and 16 degrees which is pretty warm for the winter.

    We had lunch and then drove to Mills Reef winnery. We tried about 8 bottles of wine. They were all very nice. Our favourite was the Falconhead 2020 Sauvignon Blanc. It was on special we only had to pay $12 for a bottle. There was a $5 each tasting fee but the woman didn't charge us for it. Normally I'll spend loads at a Winnery. Nice to only spend $12 for a change.

    After this we went to the Mount Hot Pools, natural salt pools at the bottom of Mount Maunganui. Some pools were very hot at 40 regress. It was very relaxing though. We got back about 7pm. Spent the evening relaxing in the campervan. Very tired after a busy day today.
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  • Day206

    Drive to Tauranga

    August 3, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 11 °C

    This morning we did some washing and then checked out the campsite by 12. We drove to Tauranga. When we got there we went to Tuaranga Misson cemetery. The cemetery contains a number of memorials, graves and plaques commemorating men who died on active service in the Tauranga district during the New Zealand Wars. This memorial marks the burial site of 14 men of Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Te Whakatōhea, Tainui and Te Arawa who died of wounds received while defending their position at Te Ranga on 21 June 1864.

    We then had a look around Robbins Park.They had a giant cactus tree and flowers blooming. The garden overlooked Tuaranga harbour. We also went to the Monmouth Redoubt. Women and children took shelter here during the war.

    In the evening we had a walk around Tauranga Town and went out for a burger at the Irish bar. I had bbq beef with cheese and onion rings. It was so good. We stayed at a near by car park to freedom camp near a sports club. We have to leave by 7am so it's going to be an early start. However it should be nice weather tomorrow so hoping for a beautiful sunrise.
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  • Day205

    Happy Birthday Ashleigh

    August 2, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    This morning we drive to Karangahake to do another walk. We walked up the Karangahake mountain track. It's a 5 hour hike. We didn't fancy doing the whole hike. We walked through fern forests across rivers and saw small waterfalls. There was a working mine but we couldn't go in. After this we had lunch and enjoyed cake for ashleighs birthday. I got him candles that kept relighting. He couldn't blow them out! It was very funny. We then drove to Waihi. We checked in to the campsite Waihi camp and cabins. It was a lovely campsite. The woman that owned it had sheep, a pig and a lama. The pig called piggy Roo kept escaping out the pen.

    We went out for curry in town in the evening for ashleighs birthday.
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  • Day204

    Karangahake Windows Walk

    August 1, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    This morning we drove back to Thames. It was a bit wet and grey so we thought it would be a good day to visit the gold mine. We had a tour through an old gold mine and we watched the 19th century stamper battery in action. This stamper battery crushed the quartz from Golden Lead.

    After this we drove to Paeroa where the famous L&P drink started. They love this lemon fizzy drink in New Zealand. We then went to Karangahake Gorge to do a short walk. We walked through the forest over bridges and then along a old railway line and in to some long old gold mining tunnels. It was fascinating! The tunnels were so long. We needed a torch to see. There were viewing points overlooking the gorge along the way (see first picture)

    We stayed in Paeroa and freedom camped in the town. We paid $5 at the petrol station for power and water.
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  • Day203

    Whangamata Beach/ Photos inside Camper

    July 31, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    The weather was a bit grey and raining today so we had more of a chilled day. It was nice to relax after the long hike yesterday. We had a wonder down to Whangamata Beach and went for a short walk. We walked in to town and went for a coffee in a cafe. We also chilled in the campervan aswell. We then drove down the road from the beach and camped in a freedom camping spot by the sea. It was very windy last night the campervan was shaking so we didn't get much sleep.Read more

  • Day202

    The Pinnacles. What a hike!

    July 30, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

    Stated the day with a pain au raison for breakfast in the campervan. We got ready for the Pinacles hike. Its a 6-7hr 30 min hike on the Webb Creek Track so a full on day. We packed lunch the night before and I got my bag ready.  The walk is in the stunning Kauaeranga Valley.

    We started the track walking through the fern forest. There were also some impressive giant redwoods. It was flat to start with. We walked to Billy Goat waterfall first and then along the river. We crossed over a few high suspension bridges. Some were so narrow only 1 person allowed on at a time. It then started to get steep we walked up a rocky path and lots of steps. It kept going on and on but the views were amazing as we got higher.

    We stopped at the Pinnacles hut for lunch and then carried on walking to the summit. There were lots of steep steps going up. It was beginning to get tough but we carried on. It was getting very slippery going up climbing the rocks. There were also some ladders. We were getting pretty high up now and we could start to see the summit. It was a relief when we reached the top and well worth the climb. What a view! You couldn't go right to the end at the top due to risk of falling rocks. We did however manage to climb a bit further up the top. (See 2nd, 5th and 6th picture. The Pinnacles summit is 759 m high. We could see views of the bush, mountains and coastline of the eastern Coromandel.

    Coming down was very slippery. Spent most the time on my bum sliding down. It felt long coming down and our feet were beginning to hurt.

    After 6 and a half hours we completed the hike! I was covered in mud. We drove to Whangamata Motor camp. Had a well needed shower when we got there and then we enjoyed a cold beer. Its $20 to stay here for the night. There was a kitchen and electric plug in. We had to pay $1 for a 6 minute shower. I never know why showers aren't included in your stay at campsites in New Zealand.
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