New Zealand in a Nutshell!

 What a BLAST! If you are wanting to start your travelling adventures, this is a great place to do so, especially in a campervan! Not only are the Kiwis really lovely people, the set up for new travellers is awesome! With Freedom campsites (where you can camp for free at some really amazing places), plenty of job opportunities, and fabulous scenery wherever you look! Not only that, but coming from England where the roads a dismal with potholes everywhere, here the roads are in fantastic condition, with huge hard shoulders too! And pretty much every bridge now matter how big or small is named, which we thought was really cute! The music playing in the bars and cafes is always really good too!

A few hints and tips from us:

Buying and Selling a Campervan

If you are planning on buying a campervan when you get to New Zealand, the best places are Auckland or Christchurch. We flew into Auckland so that place made sense for us.

Make sure you take enough cash roughly for the campervan budget you have, as otherwise trying to take money out for a quick buy can be a real hassle with bank fees, and ATM limits!

If you are wanting to buy within a short period then check out all the facebook groups first before you come, then when you get to Auckland go to the car fairs, they are normally free for buyers and offer a wide array of camper vans all right in front of you so really easy to compare. Not only that, there are often travellers there who will be wanting a quick sell as they are leaving the country so you can normally get a good bargain! We rushed into buying our Toyota Estima Lucida 1997 from a garage called Camperworld, who promised we could sell the van back to them in we got stuck but then when we did get stuck they said they weren’t buying vehicles at the time! So although they were good because we could buy mechanical warranty and breakdown with the camper, we definitely paid a much higher price for the van that we should have!

It’s worth buying a Campervan that is slightly unique (i.e. not a Toyota Estima unless you want to buy cheap and sell cheap) so that when it comes to selling you can get the same if not more money for your camper. If you buy in winter it is cheaper, and then sell in summer you will be able to charge more!

These are all things we learnt the hard way, and we lost quite a bit of money from our camper, but its all part of the experience as they say!!

Must See’s and Do’s (in no particular order)

Coromandel Beach
Yes it was an hours walk there and back, and yes we took 2 coolboxes full of beer and food, but it was totally worth it! The beach was picturesque! Busy, but when you were there it didn’t feel busy!

White water rafting Okere Falls
If you love adrenaline, you have to experience this! With their 7 metre high waterfall, it is a thrilling experience! Stacey was petrified to begin with but after going down the 3 metre and the 2 metre waterfalls she was loving it! Plus we both fell out of the dingy on the 7 metre waterall which was a laugh in itself, and makes you realise that its not that scary at all!

Mail boat cruise around the Charlotte Sounds
This was just a magical way of experiencing the stunning Charlotte sounds! Delivering the mail to all the people who live out in the sounds and are only accessible by boat! Plus we got to see dolphins!!! If you want to read more then check out our blog post: Our Mail Boat Run Blog Post

Festivals in Oamaru
If you are on the West coast of the South Island around mid November or in May then you have to go to one of their annual festivals. We went to the one in November which was a Victorian Heritage festival where everyone dresses up in Victorian era clothing and there are all sorts of activities and events surrounding that era! We were told the one in May is a Steampunk festival and is much the same but attracting a younger crowd and a slightly different attire! Check out our blog post on all the fun we had there: Oh, Oamaru Blog Post

Hot pools
Mostly on the North Island three are plenty of hot pools, some you pay for and some you don’t! Most are with sulphur so smell of rotten eggs but there are others like on the outskirts of Rotorua that are without sulphur. They are a must and you can do them whether you are flush with money or have no money, if you want the free ones, the best ones we enjoyed were in a park in Taupo.

The Forgotten Highway
If you have got your own transport then definitely do the Forgotten Highway between Taupo and Stratford. Its a long and winding road (insert Beatles song here!), but you can stop halfway in Whangamomona which is considered a state of its own and you can get your passport stamped! Plus there is a hotel and restaurant and a campsite around the corner. Make sure you allow plenty of time for the drive, and there are some lay-bys along the way to stop and take some fantastic pictures!

Green Lipped Mussels in Havelock
If you like seafood you have to eat at the capital for Green Lipped mussels. They are divine and you can sit right by the harbour and enjoy lovely views, and maybe a cheeky glass of wine too!

Wine tour anywhere!
You're in NZ, fame for many wines, so it would be rude not to! We did one with Bubbly Tours in Blenheim, the Marlborough region on the South Island.. cannot recommend highly enough! Check out our blog post for that: Bubbly Wine Tour Blog Post

See a HAKA
Whether you are into rugby or not, everyone knows of the All Blacks rugby team and their Haka. If you get the chance, its a must! All Blacks v Tonga Blog Post

Red Rock Seals
Head to the Red Rocks near Wellington to see the Fur Seals for free! Just a half hour walk from the car park and they are all just chilling out on the rocks!

Kayaking in the Abel Tasman
If you're not one for trekking for days but still want to experience the Abel Tasman on a budget, then kayaking is fantastic for that. Plus you get to discover your own private beaches, see some Fur Seals and maybe some Penguins! Abel Tasman Blog Post

Forging your own knives of steel!

This was a memorable experience, not only that but you get to have a souvenir for life that actually has a function too! An awesome time had with Simon near Nelson!

I’m sure we haven’t covered everything, but these were just tasters of some of the things you can do. There are plenty of walks everywhere, and if you love mountain biking then head to Rotorua!

New Zealand slang and words

Coming from England we understood the Kiwis in general, but there were certain words they use differently to us:

Jandals - Flip flops
Gum boots - Wellies
Jug - Kettle but also just a jug as we know it
Trundlers - shopping trolleys
Op shop - charity shop
Capsicums - Peppers
EFTPOS - card
Paywave - contactless

And our favourite:
Hokey pokey - Honeycomb

The other things we found humorous were that we didn’t see many sheep even though New Zealand is renowned for its lamb, it was mostly cows in the fields. And the other thing was that when Kiwis speak of an old building, to us British folk its only 100 years old, which is nothing on the buildings in the UK!

Typical phrases:
Sweet as - alright/cool
Kia Ora - Hello and be safe
Haere Mai - Welcome

Check out some of the local museums, we liked the one in Nelson, and learn about the Maori heritage and the New Zealand greenstone Jade. The other good museum which was free is in Dunedin, the Otago Settlers Museum, and that explains a lot about Maori and also about the Scottish settlers in Dunedin. You can read our blog post about Dunedin

And lastly, just some of our favourite pictures of New Zealand as there are just too many to put on here!


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