So we continued on the journey to find somewhere to stay near Wellington. The drive was so scenic and there were loads more snow capped mountains, so I filled up the camera trying to get a good photo of them, but just kept shooting trees and passing road signs haha. We stopped off in Palmerston North for some food and came out with a tin of cheesy beans, scrumpy’s 8% cider and a box of red wine. Oh Christ.
We arrived at the free campsite, half way between Taupo and Wellington, and parked up. It was a national park, so the setting was beautiful, with a lovely fresh water stream that you can swim in etc. There was a shelter in the middle of the camping site which had a bbq area, but that was overtaken by about 10 Kiwi men getting absolutely wasted and high as it was ‘Friday and the only chance to escape the missus’ so we stayed away from them and let them party on long into the night.
Whilst Matt was cooking our slap up feast for the night (cheesy beans on warm bread that had been set on fire a few times and tasted like actual fire), we met two guys, Craig and Tom, that were camping in the next pitch. They were from the UK too – Wales and Stratford – and we ended up sitting with them all night, drinking and chatting. They had hired their campervan for just $500 for the month…good for future reference, and may have been a better idea than buying one…hey ho we love Timmy anyway. It was a really fun night – however I accidently ended up getting hammered and don’t remember much of the end of the night… turns out strong cheap cider and a lot of cheap red wine don’t mix.
The next morning Matt and I were both hanging…we had almost run out of water and had to squeeze the last drop out of the huge water tank in the middle of the night.
We couldn’t really function, and just ended up being stupidly hyper and ridiculous all day. We stopped at the first café from the camping ground and sat and drained their Wi-Fi for getting on 3 hours haha…the man full on hated us and kept staring as if to tell us to buy something else or leave.
After a few too many evils from the man in the café, we headed on to Wellington. It was a nice drive and we sat and planned out the next few stages of our travels…we have decided we are going to do a farm stay for a few weeks where you work 4 hours a day and you get free accommodation and free food. We signed up to the NZ company ‘FHINZ’ and now have a list of all the farms in New Zealand that do this offer. Some look really cool, and can have use of their quad bikes, boats and can look after the animals and children too. A lot also mention hunting, which is great for Matt as that’s been his hobby for years.
We arrived in Wellington and it actually looked so cool. We had heard really mixed reviews about it, but we actually really liked it. It seems quite a lot like Melbourne, or Brighton, because it has quite a trendy art culture. We didn’t stay very long, as we were both knackered and wanted to find a campsite. We found another free one on the South-East of the city centre, right on the beach. It was a stunning spot, and at the beginning of the Marine Drive Tour that you can do.
The next morning, we got up and decided to do the Marine Drive Tour and see all the seaside towns, and Matt wanted to check out the surfing too.
It was a beautiful day so we decided to go and get breakfast and chill in the sun for a while! We were just chilling out, minding our own business and eating our pinini’s in peace, when I was approached by an absolute crack head with a massive bogie, and a bright yellow fleece on. He stuck his hand in my face, reveiling his long, dirty nails and asked me for some gold coins. I didn’t know what he was saying and stared at Matt for help haha…Matt said no so he started shouting at us and saying he had to go and smack his neighbour now and it was all our fault…haha very odd, so we decided it was a good time to move on from the café (After I sneaked a photo of him ha).
We headed back into Wellington city centre to have a mosey, and see what was going on. It really is such a nice town! We decided we would happily live here…its got the surfing, beach, shops, nightlife and friendly people! So who knows, we may end up back here. The boys from the campsite said they were going to head back there once they had travelled the North Island too.
We decided to try and be educational and have a look in the City Art Gallery…we lasted literally 5 minutes. I think we are just not the right clientele for a modern art gallery and we clearly had no appreciation for a mirrored box in an empty room…or a swirly neon light that portrayed, falling stars, scientists and feeling lonely…something like that anyway?
There was an arty farty French man walking around, and I’m not even joking, he actually had a curly moustache… proper stereotype, I bet he’s employed by the museum to just walk around all day and look like a posh ponse.
So we left and went to the Te Papa National Museum of New Zealand…this was amazing!!! It was a lot like the natural history museum in London, and focussed on Art, History, Maori Culture, Nature and Geography. I let my inner geography geek go wild, and we spent about 2 ½ hours in there.
It was a huge museum, apparently equivalent amount of space as 3 football fields, and one of the worlds largest. It is the only museum in the world to hold a ‘colossal squid’, which literally was a massssive octopus with eyes the size of footballs apaz (although it only had one eye).
After the museum we raced back to Timmy so we didn’t get a ticket, and then went to watch some surfers at Lyall Bay. We had an earlyish night as we were getting the ferry the next day and had to be up at 6am!!
6am the alarm went off and it was time to say goodbye to the North Island! We caught the ferry from the city centre, to arrive at Picton 3 ½ hours later. The ferry was expensive because we had the van, it worked out to be $220, so we made sure we didn’t miss it!
The views were incredible! On the journey we spotted jellyfish, penguins and seals!
As we neared the South Island, the sun was shining and it looked so tropical! There were loads of little islands just off the mainland, and they each looked like the ‘Lost’ island!
We watched a film about bees (ha!) and something else with David Hasslehoff, and ate some kiwis – there are only 4cents each here!! I couldn’t believe it…that’s like 2p each! So we have now stocked up.
We were so excited to reach the South Island, as everyone says such great things about it. It is known for adventure sports using the mountains, glaciers, lakes, rivers and fiords, as well as having the golden sand beaches, waterways and vineyards, so it really sounds like it has it all! When we started driving here, we could definitely see how diverse and crazy the terrain is! There are areas which look like dry desert lands with really red soils, which follow onto really green hills and fields with rivers running through and covered with sheep, alpacas, and deer. Then the sea is crystal clear and the colour looks like a tropical island. In the background of all of this, there are huge snow-capped mountains, running up through the clouds and creating an immense skyline. It is so beautiful…and we have only been driving 2 hours!
We are currently heading to Christchurch to find a cheap paid campsite with a shower as I haven’t been able to wash my hair for almost a week…NOT a good look…it is scraped back with a hat on now, and Matt says his beard is getting wild and rugged…even though I like it!
Half way to Christchurch, we stopped at Kaikoura Marine Reserve, because we could see literally hundreds of seals!! We pulled over onto the beach and walked over to the rocks, and there were more seals than you could count, it was amazing!! They were so cute! We took loads of photos and films and tried to get as close as possible, until the big daddy one started to widen its mouth at us haha. We have never seen anything like it, and seals are now my new favourite animal!! These are apparently fur seals.
Kaikoura seems like a nice town with quite a lot going on. The name means ‘meal of crayfish’ and it is known for its fresh seafood restaurants, which is celebrated annually with the Kaikoura Seafest.
We headed to Christchurch and found a nice campsite with all the amenities!!