New Zealand Road Trip

posted by Amy

A month in New Zealand  was quite an adventure for our family.  It turns out that the adults had much more fun than the kids.  Riding in the back of a camper van through mountain roads apparently produces much motion sickness.  They were all troopers though and I for one would do it again in a heartbeat.  Of course, I would still be sitting in the front seat with my great views and my stable seating.

New Zealand is totally set up for travellers of our variety.  The roads are smooth, the visitor centers are well staffed and the people are all friendly and “Good as gold.”  Our route was courtesy of a great resource we found on the internet.  Ron Laughlin, a former Ohioan who has relocated permanently to New Zealand planned our whole itinerary for free.  Yes, I know nothing is free, and truly in New Zealand where the prices are sky high for everything, finding any kind of deal is, a big deal!  Ron gets a commission for referring his travelers to the campervan companies and in turn gives us a custom itinerary.  Here is his info. just in case any of you are planning a trip to NZ in the near future.

NZ highlights:

1.  Jumping off of things

2.  Hiking the Tongoriro Pass (a twelve mile hike that we, of course, did in the pouring rain)

3.  Going to a traditional Maori meal – hongi

4.  Seeing penguins and seals in the wild

5.  Learning (relearning)  how to knit.  Had to put all that sheep’s wool to some good use

6.  Eating a deliciously fresh fish dinner at Fleur’s restaurant.  We had never heard of her, but apparently she’s famous in the foodie world, and deservedly so.

7.  Climbing on a glacier

8.  Cruising in the Milford Sound – some of us even swam in the freezing waters

9.  Meeting lots of interesting fellow travellers while preparing meals in the many campgrounds where we stayed

10.  Spending one full month of uber family togetherness and living to tell the story, mostly unscathed.

Puzzling world. Wanaka, New Zealand

Seals near Kaikoura

This is gorgeous, right?

Rikki post Tongoriro Crossing.

Near the end of the Tongoriro Crossing. This is supposed to be "The most beautiful day hike in the world." We couldn't see much of anything because the weather was so bad, but still a great accomplishment for all of us.

Zorbing! This is an activity involving a human-sized hamster ball, water and rolling down a hill. So much fun!

Maori show and hongi - traditional Maori meal.

Fox Glacier explorers

Milford Sound was a bit windy.

Looking for precious stones at Gemstone Beach

The Catlins, on the Southern tip of New Zealand. The southerly winds are so strong, the trees grow sideways.

Christchurch, a little bit more than a year after the second major earthquake to strike the city in a short time. The city was still working on rebuilding. Here is a creative, and I think attractive use of shipping containers as temporary shops in the downtown area. Our hearts really went out to the people of Christchurch and all that they had been through.

Sunset in the bottom of the world!

Categories: New Zealand | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “New Zealand Road Trip

  1. Laurie

    Great stories and photos! You all look fantastic too! We’re having the most bizarre March here- it was sunny and close to 70 degrees today! It’s a good kind of March Madness! Thanks for sharing and you know this year of travel would make the most awesome book! 🙂 Take care! Happy Spring from the Freeman’s!

  2. Sari Bari Grossman

    Sounds great! Almost like a giant camping trip! Agree will be a piece of cake for you, Mai! Eat any corn out of a can…trippers stew? (: I didn’t think so…Miss the whole Goldman family lots and lots! Xo

  3. Hannah Katz

    Wow, this sounds so amazing. I just had one of those realization moments (which happen quite frequently) where I realize what you’re doing and how much I miss you. I can’t really put it into words. The experiences you are having will be something that you will have for a lifetime, and will cherish forever. I can’t wait for the minute-by-minute report when you get home. 😉 Love you lots! ❤ ❤ ❤

  4. Great pictures. I seem to have missed you completely – spent 4 days in Wellington and then Nelson -> Abel Tasman -> Punakaiki -> Fox Glacier heli-hike today 🙂
    Now in Wanaka (planning to skydive tomorrow), then 3 days in Queenstown, including a day at Doubtful Sound, and then home.

    Debi from Jerusalem (and Shanghai)

    • Wow, that is an extreme trip! Have you ever skydove before. Another Israeli I met in Israel told me, just living in Israel is an extreme sport. He didn’t want to add any more “excitement.” You will love it anyway. Sheer terror amid an outstanding view. Have fun!

      • Never skydove before, but then this has been a week of 1sts – 1st kayak, 1st glacier hike, 1st jet boat ride, 1st time driving 1300 kms in 5 days …. 🙂
        Where are you guys off to next?

  5. Marianne Bloomberg

    I am loving your posts – can’t wait to hear about your next adventure!! Glad you are all doing well.

  6. Karen Davis

    I can’t wait for your next post… You are all missed at Hebrew but you are so lucky to be on an adventure of a lifetime!!! I look forward to hearing all the exciting new places you are visiting. It’s so much fun reading your blog!!! Thanks for all the updates…Take care and just have fun!!!

  7. Judy G

    Wonderful story, beautifully illustrated. Thanks for sharing all these great tales from the road. Makes me feel like I was riding along with you—in the front seat, of course!

  8. nison and doreen

    Love your blog.
    Love the way U R sharing your experiences with the rest of us.
    Love t he pictures.
    Love U so much and am counting down to June when we’ll C U in person.
    Watch out for all those hugs and kisses.
    N & D

  9. nison and doreen

    From now on we will think of New Zealand as the jerwel of world beauty, or maybe it’s the people who are in the pictures.
    We love following you and we sure do miss you.

  10. Susan

    You look like you are having such a great time and having so many exciting adventures. Have fun! Miss you! Susan

  11. What a wonderful family that we had the pleasure of joining for dinner when they came through Picton.
    This is the way families should all be………………..thank you for stopping by…

    Ron & Paula

    • Hi Ron and Paula! Thanks for the note and so glad you checked out our blog. We really enjoyed meeting you and also appreciated your expert travel advice for New Zealand. It was invaluable. All the best, David, Amy, Maya, Eva and Rikki

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