As we made our way south from Doubtless bay we discovered a chocolate factory and gelateria in Kerikeri. After sampling some chocolate and ice cream, we realized it was the sister factory of the one we visited in Marlborough in the South Island.

We camped in Paihia and woke up to views over the water.

Paihia is the place where it all began…with Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
This place was amazing, experienced another cultural show, had a free guided tour around the grounds and the museum was really well laid out which made it easy to understand.

The museum offers a free guided tour around the treaty grounds, made the most of that.

Giant ceremonial canoe which we were told Lady Diana had a ride in even though women are not supposed to go in the war boats.

The stump of one of the three Kauri trees. Photo doesn’t really show how huge this tree was. Two of me could have laid across it, I wanted to try, but this is sacred ground and tomfoolery of that sort is disrespectful.

The flagstaff with the three flags associated with New Zealand, the Union Jack, the Maori flag and the flag we know and love today.
Onward south with a stop off to the Hunderwasser toilets. 


Road trip

Car all packed up and ready to set off to explore the rest of New Zealand.

First stop was lake Tekapo.

The pictures don’t do it justice, it was spectacular.

The next stop was lake Pukaki.

The water was crystal clear. The sun shone off it like diamonds. It was a ‘yoga by the lake’ kind of moment!

I probably could have sat here all day, however we had more touring to do.
Our first camping site was in Twizel, a tiny village which seemed built for the sole purpose of providing land for campers to stay on. 

Our brand new (cheap as) tent pitched and ready, we went to find out what Twizel had to offer. A playground.

We stopped acting like kids long enough to go to the supermarket and stock up on budget food. Couscous, tuna and salad! Yum! 

I have discovered the wonders of New Zealand chocolate. After months in Asia where chocolate sucks, Whittaker’s is a god send, although not to good on the wallet or waist…

We were in our sleeping bags by 8pm, probably didn’t get to sleep until well after that, as we did do a bit of planning for the next few stages of the trip and that always gets me excited! 


From Twizel we are heading to Oamaru, home of penguins and Steampunk.
On our drive there we stopped to see some Maori cave drawings.

The rocks were more interesting than the drawings, plus they’ve removed the ‘best’ ones to put in a museum!
Onward to Oamaru as the rain set in, we found a charity shop, where our original intention was to buy some tapes, yes, tapes of music. The radio in the car is very intermittent and Laura and I enjoy a sing song. We got a bit carried away and ended up buying loads! It was so cheap though! We could have packed out our car from this charity shop!
We didn’t come all this way just for a bargain, there’s steampunk sights to be seen!

And yellow eyed penguins to find.

We found a teeny tiny caterpillar, seals, cormorants and two yellow eyed penguins.

We got to our tent just before the rain started! 

Hanmer Springs

We were greeted with a cooked breakfast this morning, prepared lovingly by our host, Nick.
Set off for Hanmer Springs, it’s about a 2 hour drive away from Christchurch with some beautiful scenery along the way.

It was a hard day sitting in 38-40 degree hot spring pools. We did a few laps in the pool, but had more fun joining the kids on the lazy river!
Eventually dragging ourselves from the warmth of the springs we enjoyed a late lunch of fish and chips (fush and chups in kiwi) with the mountains as our backdrop.

Returning home to a roast chicken dinner (Nick looks after us!) we settled in for the evening and pretended to do some planning. 

New Zealand

Been offline for a bit, which has been nice. We are staying with Laura’s family friend, who is also letting us use his car for our travels too! 
After sleeping off the jet lag we were initiated into Kiwi life with drinks with some locals.

Even with our headaches in the morning we still got up and went for a walk to clear the cobwebs and get our bearings of the area.
We are planning on road tripping around the country which is the cheapest way to go, so camping supplies are needed!

Tried out our new wheels and it didn’t take long to fill the back full of camping crap, and discover the Kiwis like chocolate more than I do!

Sun is shining and we needed some sea air, Taylor’s Mistake was recommended to us.

Pomeroy’s bar for a few and met up with Alex who I know from back home! 

Yet another night drinking, New Zealand is a bad influence!