After the long, exhausting trip in Alice Springs, we planned to fly to Sydney for one night stop over on the way to our next country. We have had such a wonderful time in Australia, seen some spectacular sights and met some great people. But the time had come for us to venture on and New Zealand was next on the Reeve’s itinerary.
As Stef and I were waiting at the airport café in Alice Springs, having our brekkie, Jen, one of the girls we met on the trip, quickly ran up to our table, grabbed our carry on luggage and pretended to run off with it. I thought it was funny as neither of us saw her coming. However, Stef told me later that she had flashbacks of being robbed in Vietnam. Hilarious.
The flight to New Zealand was one of the best I had been on. Each seat had USB and plug sockets and an on-demand service that held more films and TV shows than you could shake a stick at. To top it off, they even had Wi-Fi!
A few hours later, we were in New Zealand and had collected our bags. The weather in Christchurch was a bit different to what we had been used to. It was cold but still sunny. I was wearing a T-Shirt and didn’t moan once – which is an achievement in itself!
For this neck of the journey, we had hired another campervan. This one was slightly different from the last. You could probably fit the OZ one in the back of the new one. It was massive. It has it’s own bathroom with it’s own toilet and shower! It’s a very small bathroom at that but at least it’s there in case of an emergency. To be honest, I’ll pee anywhere I stop, or even in empty water bottles, so it’s mainly for Stef. As you’ll see by the size, you can have a poo, brush your teeth AND have a shower at the same time. Challenge accepted. Watch this space for a photo!
When we picked up our van in OZ, they showed us through everything and couldn’t be more helpful. This time however, we picked it up from a company called Mighty. It turned out to be a branded camper van from a company called Britz. I guess they all work together. Mighty made us wait ages and to top it all off, they wanted to charge £2000 to the credit card for a deposit. It’s a good job we had it. Oh, and they did not show us anything about the van. It was literally “here are the keys, now sod off”. We won’t be using them again. We were now the temporary owners of the Trailblazer!
Sat Nav all set up we headed to our first site, Amber Park. This camper van is self-contained and you could stop anywhere for the night. However, we found caravan sites so nice and convenient that we decided to carry on using them in New Zealand. They did have one thing that we didn’t have in the van, a laundry room. After the trip to the desert in OZ, we had a bag full!
The next morning, we headed to Twizel. Seeing as Stef had planned the whole of Asia and Australia, it was my turn to take the lead in New Zealand. Stef had done so well, there was a lot of pressure on me for this to run smoothly.
Driving around New Zealand made us think of the UK a lot. The weather is more or less the same, the streets and cars looked similar and the leaves on the trees were changing to orange – something that we’d never seen in any of the other countries we’d been to.
After a few hours of driving, we started to approach Lake Tekapo. The scenery was breath taking. It beat anything we’d seen in OZ by miles. On one side, there were huge mountains with weird clouds formations. On the other side there were snow capped ones. The water here is so clear and blue. Whether it’s in a lake or flowing in a river, it’s all the same. After taking some amazing landscape photos, we made it to Twizel Holiday Park.
There wasn’t much for us to do in Twizel apart from head to the local pub, the Top Hut Bar & Bistro, for a taste of a New Zealand beer. Speight is the favourite and tasted quite nice. On the way back to the van, we could see the sun setting over the snow-capped mountains that surrounded us. Definitely a great end to the first full day in New Zealand. That night, the weather changed. It was cold enough during the day but at night…..wow. It was absolutely freezing. I lost count how many layers we had on. My head was the coldest though and having no hair just made it worse!