Week 4: New Zealand – North Island

Week 4: New Zealand



Monday 6th Feb – Sun 5th Feb

Queenstown, Christchurch, Blenheim, Picton, Wellington, Kapiti Coast

This week we said goodbye to the South Island and saw the start of our next adventure in the North Island. We have been keeping active with lots of new activities, and even made it to a gym this week! We have been trying to make healthy and balanced meals for dinner each night,  something that is not that easy when living the camper van life! Each day brings new experiences and I am still feeling unbelievably lucky to be living this adventure. I am seriously having the time of my life!



We spent one final day in wonderful Queenstown, and as it was a lovely sunny day, we hiked Ben Lomond in hopes oft getting the best views of this awesome town. This hike took longer than originally anticipated, so we didn’t quite make it to the top, we ran out of time! But we still made it just past  the 1326m high Saddle, which had incredible views!  The track starts and ends at the skyline, so you get the gondola up, and what better way to say finish our goodbyes to Queenstown than with some more luging! It just had to be done! That evening we drove to Lake Pukaiki and camped right on the lake in a freedom campsite there which was a pretty nice view to wake up to!


We drove back to Christchurch because it was time to say Goodbye to Ben, he is back home now in the UK after living here for almost three years! For our last evening with him, we went surfing in Sumner with a group of his friends. It was the first time that either Tom or I had surfed, and I wasn’t the best, but had an awesome time giving it a go! I was Noooowhere near standing up, but Tom aced it! I think he might have a new hobby and we have already planned some more surfing for Raglan when we get to the north Island!


We drove to the North of the South Island, in preparation for our ferry to Wellington a couple of days later. We had a couple of days around Blenheim, the best being our day of cycling around all of the wineries and vineyards! There are sooooooo many in this region its nuts! See my blog post on Bike2Wine for this! It was one of my favourite days so far!

Picton to Wellington

We were quite sad to leave the south Island, it had given us so many amazing experiences and so many incredible views that the North Island had a lot to live up to! Landing in Wellington was a good start – what an awesome city! We started with a walk around the botanical gardens, which we thought we were getting the cable car up to, but actually we had driven all the way up there – oops! We still got to see the cable car…

We had probably underestimated how nice Wellington was going to be and were so pleased walking around the centre – there was so much going on! There was an underground market, loads of awesome bars, crazy water sculptures, amazing water front, just loads! We found a bar on the waterfront with a great view and really relaxed vibe and spent the afternoon relaxing and drinking jugs of cider! Our evening finished with a stroll through the night market, which had a great selection of food stalls! An awesome start to the north Island!

Kapiti Coast

After leaving Wellington we drove up the West Coast, known as the Kapiti Coast, on our way to Whakaapa Village ready for the Tongariro Crossing. After stopping off in a few of the towns, we ended up in Koitiata, in a lovely little campsite, and spent the afternoon relaxing on the beach there – it was so quiet there was hardly anyone there!



Continuing the trend with porridge or the PBBB each morning – both a healthy nutritious start to the day! Even the camper van life can’t stop me having a good breakfast!


Rice cakes, rice cakes and more rice cakes! Traded in my avocados this week for marmite and peanut butter for toppings…not together!


Good news – apples are back, so stocked up on those! We have given in to the ridiculous prices of carrots (at home a big bag in Tescos is 45p – here they are £4!) and bought a massive bag to snack on!


This week we have been trying to make easy, cheap and balanced meals at the camper van. This is not as easy as you think – no fridge to keep things fresh, (so tins and packets it is!), washing up facilities are tricky and we only have two small hobs! Despite this, we have tried to include a good serving of protein and veg in each meal and as a result have ended up with some interesting meals…usually some sort of combination with tuna, baked beans, sweetcorn, eggs and peas….

Eating Out

Atlas Bar: (Queenstown) 

We were told this was the place to go for steak and it was seriously good – it was meant to come with chips but they swapped mine for a biiiiiig portion of salad which was great. I can’t remember what the sauce was on the steak but it was delicious. Good outdoor seating area and a cheap meal (for Queenstown!)

Skyline: (Queenstown)

There is a cafe at the top of the Skyline which has a huge selection of food. I was super pleased to find a sushi box and a fruit salad reasonably priced – together it came to $14 which wasn’t bad for a healthy option.

The Night market (Wellington)

there were loads of options at the night market – Thai noodles, Chinese crepes, fish and chips…but I fancied something quite light and found the ‘Chaiwalla Story’ stall, which had lots of lighter options – I opted for the chicken tikka stick which had amazing flavour! We also found ‘Bloom’, a stall specialising in ‘clean’ snacks and I had a truffle from there – it was super chocolatey and gooey inside!


We enjoyed playing the Jelly Belly bean game this week…can you guess the flavour!

Also bought a Power Bar from a cafe in Picton, thinking it was a really healthy choice, but uttered out to be covered in white chocolate…oops! Was tasty though!


Ben Lomond Hike: The walk on Ben lomand was a good workout, sadly we didn’t get to the top, but still walked o for hours, it was quite steep so we were really puffing on the way up!

Surfing: In Sumner this week we tried surfing for the first time, a couple of hours of trying to surf and you can feel your body has been working hard! Didn’t realise at the time though which is great!

Gym: Being based in Blenheim for a couple of days this week meant that we could go to a gym. We got a two day pass at City Fitness and paid $20 for the both of us, not bad for $5 a session! When we were there I made myself a 20 minute circuit for each each of the body – lower body, upper body and abs! Each circuit had a combination of exercises using free weights, body weight and HIIT. We both felt great after two days of going to the gym!

Bike2Wine: We hired bikes for our wine tour (see my blog post here), and cycled around all of the wineries, definitely a great way to get some exercise in whilst having fun!


Freedom camping: We have been using the ‘Camping NZ’ app (which you can use offline when you have no internet connection) to find our campsites each night. We have been trying to stay in as many freedom camps as we can, but because we are not a self contained camper can, we can’t always stay in them! We stayed at one which was a carpark in Renwick, near Blenheim, which had good facilities and was in a great location for visiting the wineries the next morning. We are opting for freedom camping when we can because some campsites are really seriously over priced. We found a lovely tiny campsite right on the beach front in Koitiata, which was only $5 each a night, for a powered site! That is crazy when we have paid up to $25 each a night before – for a non powered site!

By | 2017-07-18T01:17:20+00:00 February 8th, 2017|0 Comments

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