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New Zealand

New Zealand

Curious what backpackers do in New Zealand? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day1

    I got my IPad back today! I feel overjoyed! I have a lot of catching up to do...
    Dad went out to do something today and while he was gone TWO packages arrived for him!
    We are yet to put the avocados that we picked a while back, out for sale, but I'm sure we'll do it soon.
    Other than that, not much has happened today.
    Till the next blog entry.
    -Aaron

  • Day103

    We found ourselves a free walking tour around the centre of Auckland so headed out to the meeting point after breakfast (another splendid spread from Paul). We even managed to wangle a free ride on the bus as we only had a $50 note and the driver didn't have any change. He didn't seem very happy about it but he let us on anyway.

    The tour was really good and enabled us to see the highlights of city centre. It reminded me a little bit of Bath and there are some really cool shops and coffee spots around. We also learnt a little bit about the Maori culture and stopped off at the Art gallery to see some amazing portraits of famous male and female Maori's, painted by Goldie.

    After the tour we met up with Valerie and Luig who were getting tattoos (crazy kids), before heading to a Belgian pub for some Belgian beers. The pub was called The Occidental and as we learnt on our tour, the second pub that opened in Auckland. It was opened as the lawyers and other important folk in the city didn't want to drink in the same place as the criminals and other low life's. They didn't however want to change the location so it is literally next door to the original pub. Very funny!
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  • Day104

    We woke up to a cooked breakfast of hash browns, scrambled egg, beans on toast tomatoes, courtesy of Matt, which was a real treat! Paul didn't join us though, I think he may have had a little bit of a sore head from the wine he drank the night before.

    After breakfast, we set off to pick up the campervan. We decided to get an uber there as for an extra $5 it saved us an hour and five minutes travelling time and 3 buses. Once we had completed all of the relevant paperwork and the lady had shown us around the van we were on our way. It's a ford transit with a toilet, shower, fridge, microwave and a 2 hob gas stove. We were very excited to get going but had to go back to Mount Eden first to pick up our bags.

    After collecting our bags and saying farewell to Matt (still no sign of Paul) we set off in search of a Pak n Save. Pak n Save is the cheapest supermarket in New Zealand so the perfect place to stock up on supplies. We did however manage to spend $150 but it is the first shop so had to buy everything. Let's hope future shops will be considerably cheaper!

    With the van stocked, I made a quick sandwich for the road and we were off. The perks of driving your home around with you means that Simon can be easily fed at all times which will make for a more pleasant road trip!

    From Auckland we took route 1 up North with a little stop in Orewa for a cup of tea in the van and a stroll along the beach. By this point it was around 3:30pm so we decided to get a wiggle on to Whangarei as we are staying on a couples property and they were going out for dinner so asked us to arrive before 6pm. We made it there with 1 minute to spare and were greeted by Eric and his wife (I'm calling her that as I can't remember her name). It's a paid site but for only $15 it was a bargain and we even get power. As it was our first night in the camper we thought we should break ourselves in gently. Our first meal in the van was a chilli con carne courtesy of Mr Thatcher.
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  • Day105

    It was a chilly first night in the van so we didn't get the best nights sleep. We will need to be more prepared tonight with hot water bottles and blankets. Despite the cold we slept in till nearly 8am. For breakfast we had porridge and honey. We did have to warm up the honey before we could use it as it was solid due to the cold. Eric also popped in with some oranges which was very sweet.

    The Lonely Planet mentioned that there were some good walks around Whangarei as well as some free caves were you could see glow worms. We therefore set off to the tourist information centre to pick up some guides. The lovely lady gave us a variety of trail maps around the area as well as some information on the caves. She did say though that when there has been a lot of rain (and there has been a ridiculous amount of rain) that the caves are flooded and will be waist deep so prepared to get wet. Now I'm not afraid of a bit of water but waist deep seems a little excessive so we decided against seeing the glow worms! Instead we opted for the Hatea River Walk to Whangarei Falls.

    We parked up in the town centre and made ourselves a packed lunch before heading off. The walk took us along a short boardwalk through some mangroves and then into Parihaka Forest. It was a really beautiful walk through the forest alongside the river. We also passed through AH Reed Memorial Park which is a remnant of the original kauri forests. The kauri trees are absolutely enormous and some are 500 years old. You walk through the park on a canopy walkway to protect the kauri trees as many of them are getting sick. To help prevent the spread of bacteria which they pick up in their shallow roots, you also have to clean and spray your boots on entering and exiting any forest areas.

    After the forest we continued on along the river until we reached the waterfall which looked beautiful in the sunshine. The weather today has been amazing. The sun has shone all day and we were very comfortable in just a t shirt and jeans.

    After the falls we headed back to the van via the same route and popped on the kettle for a cup of tea. I love taking our home with us wherever we go as it means I can make a cup of tea whenever I like (and after 3 months in South America with no tea, it's a lot!)

    We decided to head back to stay at the same spot as we did last night. It's cheap for a powered site and the owners are lovely. We arrived back to Eric washing his boat after a day of fishing and he was keen to show us the snappers he had caught. Later on he even knocked on the van and invited us over for some brandy. I'm not really a brandy drinker but I had a small glass to be polite whilst Eric told us all about his fishing escapades. He is very sweet but boy can he talk, bless him. After we'd made our escape, we cooked up a campervan classic of bangers, beans and mash!
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  • Day107

    We woke up at the farm, had a quick shower and an even quicker breakfast before making a hasty getaway. On today's itinerary we had the Bay of Islands.

    We made our way towards Russell but it was only after getting there we realised Russell doesn't face the bay but rather all the boat trips around the islands leave from there. Unfortunately we missed the morning trips and were much too early for the afternoon so decided to pop a couple minutes up the road to do a walk to Tapeka Point, a perfect spot to look out on the islands. We parked up and made our way round to the start of the walk. It wasn't long before I slipped and realised I hadn't changed into my hiking shoes. Being too lazy to walk back to the van and sure the track wouldn't get much worse I decided to go on. BIG MISTAKE! I did make it there and back but not without almost covering myself in mud many times! The views from the top were incredible!

    Back in the van we headed to the car ferry which offered a nice shortcut on our drive to the next overnight spot. Once on the other side Blake remembered a stop mentioned in the Lonely Planet that was only a very short detour in Kawakawa. It was a famous toilet (I know I thought the same...) designed by an Austrian artist called Friedensreich Hundertwasser who's work can also be found in Vienna and Osaka. We pulled up and the place instantly didn't feel good. We were told that some areas can be a bit gangland eske up North and this felt very 'Sons of Anarchy' all of a sudden. Blake was polite and made use of the toilet, took a quick snap of the outside and we were on our way out again!

    The afternoon didn't get much more exciting after that as we visited a supermarket and a dump station to empty the van and refill the water tank. We then headed to Tokerau Beach, a free spot to sleep over night. We pulled into the camp just as the sun was setting and the views over the beach were awesome. We quickly parked up, put the kettle on and opened the sliding door for a cuppa with a view!
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  • Day109

    We woke up to the wind rocking the van from side to side but the views when we opened the curtains were pretty incredible. Again we were only a stones throw from the water.

    Unfortunately the sink still hadn't drained away overnight so breakfast was a ham sandwich rather than our usual porridge, coffee and yogurt. We parked on a bit of an angle so decided to pack up the bed, wash the dishes from the night before in a bucket and head back to the dump station we visited last night to try and get the sink fixed. After no success and the rental company recommending household unblocker we decided to shower and get changed in the van on the side of the road before heading out in search of a supermarket.

    En route to the super market we drove through Waipoua Forrest. We had planned to go for a nice long walk to see some Kauri trees but the weather wasn't the best today and we were still in crisis mode with the sink! Instead we opted for a two minute walk to see THE biggest and also thought to be the oldest Kauri tree Tane Mahuta. Said to be over 2000 years old it was literally the biggest tree we had ever seen!

    The Kauri trees in New Zealand have unfortunately contracted a disease meaning they're all slowly dying. This is thought to have been spread by dirt on people's shoes and the shallow roots the trees have picking up a bacteria so we had to scrub our shoes on the way in and out of the Forest including a squirt with disinfectant. The track is also a platform which is a foot or two off the ground.

    We popped to the information centre and coffee shop to see if there were any other short walks we could do but a Devonshire cream team and latte got the vote. Blake was mortified to discover that the 'Devon tea' as it was advertised didn't come with clotted cream but instead squirty cream!

    We then headed to our next overnight spot taking a quick pit stop at a Countdown to buy some sink and plughole unblocker. 15 minutes later whilst we ate lunch in the car park (I love driving our house around) and half a bottle of the unblocker showed little sign of fixing our problem so I headed back in to see if they had a plunger. About 10 minutes of funny noises, poisonous liquid squirting towards my face and maybe some effing and jeffing the sink finally decided to empty. We ran some more liquid and water through just to be sure and headed to the nearest dump station to empty it all out.

    Luckily our campsite was just around the corner so we pulled up and wrote all the blogs (including this one) as our fans have been complaining of little activity including the odd question of 'are you still alive?'

    We also spotted a McDonalds around the corner so we're off to upload all our our posts and a cheeky Big Mac :)
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  • Day106

    We bid our farewells to Eric and his wife and continued on our route up North. Not far from where we were staying was Tutukaka Harbour where Eric had mentioned there was a short walk that you could do to a lighthouse which was nice. You could only reach the lighthouse at low tide though but when we drove past, the signs looked good so we pulled up. It was another lovely sunny day and we strolled across the green grass and you could hear the birds. I am slightly concerned that Simon is becoming a twitcher as he has started taking hundreds of pictures of literally ever bird he sees! I have also recently learnt that when he was little he owned his very own pair of little binoculars and selection of bird books! To get to the lighthouse you have to walk across the causeway (hence the reason for low tide). If the tide was going out we would definitely be fine but if it was coming in then we would probably have gotten stuck and / or very wet. After much deliberation and then checking the tide times we decided not to risk it. I think that was the right decision as whilst we had been pondering whether to cross, the tide had already come up quite a bit.

    After our failed attempt to see the lighthouse we continued on our way up along the Tutukaka Coast to Matapouri and stopped by Whale Bay. Here there was a fairly short walk from Whale Bay to Matapouri Bay and back again which we did to build up an appetite for lunch. For lunch we cooked up some scrambled eggs on toast and ate them along with a cup of tea on a picnic bench overlooking the sea. Such an amazing view!

    Our stop for the evening was a place called The Farm, near Whangaruru which is a working dairy farm and sounded pretty cool. After lunch we made our way up there with a brief stop at a coffee shop for some delicious cake. The owners also had 2 enormous New Foundlands which were super cute! One even tried to get in our van when we were leaving and I would have quite happily stolen him but he was a little smelly!

    When we arrived at The Farm it was not as cool as we had originally hoped. As I mentioned, it is a working dairy farm so they employ a few woofers (volunteers who work on the farm in return for food and board) and the woofers were really weird! One chap was from New Zealand and when I bumped into him in the kitchen and he found out I was from the UK, he repeatedly made comments about how I had come over here to ruin his beautiful country. He then proceeded to tell me about all of these beautiful spots in the North island that we could visit but he wasn't going to tell me where they were as they didn't want tourists there! Needless to say after that, me and Si stayed in the van as much as we could and made very quick strategic visits to the bathroom so as to avoid speaking to anyone!
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  • Day108

    We woke to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach and to the most incredible view over the sea. This place is amazing! After breakfast we had a walk along the beach before making our way to Cape Reinga, the most northerly point on New Zealand. Simon was also going to let me drive the van today so I was extra excited.

    Cape Reinga is a particularly special place for Māori people ad they consider this the place that their soul comes when they die before it departs to the spirit world. When we arrived we parked up and walked down to the Lighthouse which sits on the end of the peninsula. Here the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Sea and you can see the wave crash together which is pretty cool. To the right of the lighthouse we could see an 800 year old pohutukawa tree of which the Māori people believe the souls slide down its roots. It was an amazing place and great to see out over the 'end of the world'. As Cape Reinga is a sacred site you are not allowed to eat or drink there so we started heading back South and stopped off at Tapotupoto by the beach for lunch.

    We then continued the long journey back down South. You get such amazing views when you are driving around New Zealand that you really don't mind the long drives. To break the journey up we were spending the night near Opononi in a very cheap campsite. Due to a rather long stop at Mc Donalds to steal their wifi so we could update the blog (as we hadn't updated anything since Fiji) we arrived at the camping spot in the dark. We were however greeted by a very friendly (and possibly drunk) Ozzie called Nash. He helped us park the van as people had been getting stuck and then gave us some fish (I have no idea what kind) that he caught that day which was very sweet. Simon was extremely pleased as it added some meat to what would have otherwise been a veggie dinner of pasta and pesto.

    When clearing up from dinner disaster struck when we discovered that the sink wasn't draining! After an hour of moving the van and taking everything apart we gave up and went to sleep, deciding to call the rental company in the morning.
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  • Day1

    Took the chance to go and see the War Exhibition at Te Papa. Very moving creations and stories. The sculptures are incredibly lifelike.

You might also know this place by the following names:

New Zealand, Neuseeland, Seulandia Barô, Nieu-Seeland, Ziland Foforo, ኒው ዚላንድ, Nueva Zelanda, Nīwe Sǣland, نيوزيلاندا, ܢܝܘ ܙܝܠܢܕ, নিউজিলেণ্ড, Yeni Zelandiya, Яңы Зеландия, Neiseeland, Новая Зеландыя, Нова Зеландия, न्यूजीलैंड, Niusilan, Zelandi Koura, নিউজিল্যাণ্ড, ནིའུ་ཛི་ལན྄ཌ།, নিউজিল্যান্ড, Zeland-Nevez, Novi Zeland, Шэнэ Зеланд, Nova Zelanda, Sĭng-să̤-làng, Керла Зеланди, نیوزیلاند, Nova Zilanda, Yañı Zelandiya, Nový Zéland, Nowô Zelandzkô, Çĕнĕ Зеланди, Seland Newydd, Ny Zeeland, Zelandaya Newiye, 10.1073/pnas.0801507105, Nowoseelandska, ނިއުޒިލޭންޑު, ནིའུ་ཛི་ལེནཌ, New Zealand nutome, Νέα Ζηλανδία, Nov-Zelando, Uus Meremaa, Zeelanda Berria, زیلاند جدید, Nuwel Selannda, Uusi-Seelanti, Nýsæland, Nouvelle-Zélande, Novèla-Zèlande, Nei-Sialun, Nij-Seelân, An Nua-Shéalainn, Eni Zelandiya, Sealainn Nuadh, Nova Celandia, न्यूझीलंड, 𐌽𐌹𐌿𐌾𐌹𐍃 𐍃𐌰𐌹𐍅𐌰𐌻𐌰𐌽𐌳, ન્યુઝીલેન્ડ, Yn Teelynn Noa, Nuzilan, Néu Sî-làn, ניו זילנד, न्यूज़ीलैंड, Nouvèl Zelann, Új-Zéland, Նոր Զելանդիա, Nove Zelanda, Selandia Baru, Nov-Zeland, Baro a Selanda, Nova-Zelando, Nýja-Sjáland, Nuova Zelanda, ニュージーランド, zis. poi cnino, Selandia Anyar, ახალი ზელანდია, Jana Zelandiya, Ziland Tamaynut, ЩIэ Зилэнд, Nyuzilandi, Жаңа Зеландия, Nutaaq Zeeland, នូវែលហ្សេឡង់, ನ್ಯೂಜಿಲೆಂಡ್, 뉴질랜드, Джангы Зеландия, Выль Зеландия, Mordir Nowydh, Жаңы Зеландия, Nova Zelandia, Mueva Zelanda, Neiséiland, ЦӀийи Зеландия, Niyuziirandi, Nui-Zieland, Neuva Selanda, Növa Zelanda, Zelandɛ ya sika, ປະເທດນູແວນເຊລັງ, Naujoji Zelandija, Zelanda wa mumu, Jaunzēlande, 紐西蘭, Aotearoa, Нов Зеланд, ന്യൂസിലാന്‍റ്, Шинэ Зеланд, У Зеланди, နယူးဇီလန်, نیوزلند, Niu Djiran, Yancuīc Zetlālpan, Sin Jia̍t-lân-jia, Nòva Zëlanna, Niegseeland, न्युजिल्याण्ड, न्यु जिल्यान्द, Nieuw-Zeeland, Novi Selande, Nouvelle Zélande, Nòva Zelanda, ନ୍ୟୁଜିଲାଣ୍ଡ, Ног Зеланди, ਨਿਊਜ਼ੀਲੈਂਡ, Novèle-Zilinde, Nyuu Ziilan, Nowa Zelandia, Neuva Zelanda, نیوزی لینڈ, نیوزیلنډ, Nova Zelândia, Musuq Silanda, Nuvelizelandi, Noua Zeelandă, Новая Зеландия, Новый Зеланд, Nuveli Zelande, न्यूजिलैण्ड्, Саҥа Зеландия, Noa Zelanda, Nova Zilanna, Ođđa-Selánda, Finî Zelânde, Naujuojė Zelandėjė, නවසීලන්තය, Nova Zelandija, Niu Sila, Neyuusilaand, Zelanda e Re, Нови Зеланд, Nya Zeeland, Nowo Zylandyjo, நியூசிலாந்து, న్యుజిలేండ్, Зеландияи Нав, นิวซีแลนด์, Täze Zelandiýa, Nuʻusila, Niu Silan, Yeni Zelanda, Яңа Зеландия, يېڭى زېلاندىيە, Нова Зеландія, نیوزی ینڈ, Yangi Zelandiya, Nova Zełanda, Uz Zelandii, Nieuw-Zêeland, Nula-Seleäns, Nouve Zelande, Bag-o nga Zelanda, Seland-Gu-Bees, 新西兰, Шинзелендин Орн, ניו זילאנד, Orílẹ́ède ṣilandi Titun, Saen Saelanz, Nieuw-Zeêland, i-New Zealand

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