Roadtripping Around New Zealand – Day 1

Oh heyyy! Remember me? No offence taken if you don’t, I have been the slackest of the slack keeping up with my blogging. Though in my defence, I have had no exciting stamps on my passport or stories to tell of late, hence the silence.

But all has changed.

Real life got a little too boring for this gal so (after a bit of convincing from yours truly) my three bestest buds and I booked a ticket to Queenstown, New Zealand for a twelve day road trip around the South Island. It was one of those spontaneous decisions we made late one night, but really – aren’t they the best ones?

After much research (ha!) we booked a camper van through Motorhome Republic. Our chosen van was a Double Up Mighty camper van – more on her later. I’m not big on dissing things, buuuut if you plan to book a camper van I recommend booking directly through their websites. Comparison sites such as Motorhome Republic might look like the cheaper option but they sting you with extra hidden fees and things once you make the booking and they are damn near impossible to back out of it!

Exhibit A - Flying out of the Gold Coast
Exhibit A – Flying out of the Gold Coast

We flew into Queenstown early on Thursday morning and the view for most of the flight was a thick white blanket of cloud. It wasn’t until we started to descend that the mountains surrounding Queenstown started to appear. Our lack of sleep paired with utmost excitement meant that we were clawing at the window to get a glimpse of the snow capped mountains and the dark emerald lakes. What a welcome to Queenstown!

Exhibit B - Flying into Queenstown. Bit of a difference
Exhibit B – Flying into Queenstown. Bit of a difference

Customs was a breeze and before we could rub the rest of the sleep out of our eyes, we were standing in the Mighty Campers office to pick up our new home for the next twelve days. After a few issues (our main driver forgetting her license!) we loaded the van up and jumped in to begin the adventure. K, our designated driver got familiar with the van and we drove all of 500 metres down the road to the shopping centre in Frankton. Our mission was to quickly grab some supplies to last us for the couple of days we were spending down near Milford Sound. As four girls do, we failed our mission and spent far too long shopping that by the time we were done, the sun was starting to melt into the mountains.

Using the trusty road atlas from my parents that we’d bought over, we found the right road to head towards our first night’s destination, Te Anu. Because of the drizzly rain and fog, the mountains were hidden but the views as we drove along were still beautiful. Lake Wakatipu, NZ’s largest lake, followed us as we navigated through the windy roads. Number one lesson for driving in New Zealand, don’t judge length of trips by kilometres – the windy roads add extra time to your journey, no matter how much of Speedy Gonzales you are.

We made a pit stop at Athol at Lazybones Cafe for a hot chocolate and stretch of the legs before continuing on to Te Anu. Our initial plans were to keep driving out of Te Anu and free camp for the night, but tiredness from our early start and the darkening sky convinced us to take the easy option and stay at Te Anu Top 10 Holiday Park for the night. Setting up was a breeze (especially with power!) and we settled into our warm van – which we had nicknamed Mimi – with bulk wine and cheese. We pulled out the map and made a rough itinerary for the trip and some plans for the next couple of days. We booked a cruise at Milford Sound with Southern Discoveries for noon the next day, giving us the morning to get to Milford. Testing out the cooking facilities, we made soup with crusty bread and by 10pm we were snoring our heads off, content with  life.

K and Mimi parked up and perky at Te Anu Top 10 Holiday Park.
K and Mimi parked up and perky at Te Anu Top 10 Holiday Park.

The next morning we woke up early and K, S and myself went for a short walk around Te Anu. It wasn’t until we looked at the time that we realised it was 8am and we were way behind our schedule. It was so dark, we had just assumed our phones were still two hours behind on Aussie time making it 6am, boy we were wrong! Hightailing it back to the van, we packed up quickly and departed Te Anu, coffee in hand and Taylor Swift blaring ready for Milford Sound.

Our “early morning” walk … at 8am.

Stay tuned for our adventure to Milford Sound where we were snowed under by excitement! :p

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