As promised, here is part three of my backpacking adventures!
After spending those seven or so months in Australia, finishing our educational semester abroad, we decided that since there was still two months before school starts in Canada and England, let’s go on a new adventure-fly next door to New Zealand!
TIP: Cease every opportunity you can! Especially since you’re all the way on the other end of the world, you may as well make the most of it!
So, we started looking up tours, locations, activities, etc and came to the conclusion that the only way we could accomplish everything we wanted to would be to take charge of this trip entirely. When I say take charge, I mean we rented a campervan, and started the adventure where we wanted and ended where we wanted, we spent however many days we felt like spending in each location, we parked where we wanted, slept where we wanted and ate where we wanted. The four of us put forward all that we wanted to accomplish and the rest was just a go with the flow process.
Before the trip:
We made sure us four would be compatible to travel together; four friends with different interests and different personalities. We spoke and realized that we couldn’t ask for a better group to travel with. None of us wanted to do any form of luxurious travelling and we agreed to aid in accomplishing everyone’s goals. For example, although I didn’t want to do any lavish travelling I did want to go sky diving. The other three didn’t want to, but they did everything they could to help me find the perfect location and encouraged me all the way. I couldn’t have asked for three better travel companions to the Kiwi Land.
Next, we looked up what New Zealand was known for, because it wasn’t a dream destination for us. It wasn’t somewhere we had always envisioned ourselves travelling to, so we didn’t have a wish list. However, a wish list was quick to form once we realized how many amazing opportunities New Zealand had to offer.
TIP: Get a Lonely Planet if you can. Be sure to get a map of the location (ie: New Zealand) too.
First, we compared prices of flights, campervans and insurances. We made sure we were legally able to DRIVE there, and luckily two of us were!Â Second, we made a list of things we wanted to do in New Zealand. Third, we booked the flight, rented the campervan and went off on our own individual trips before meeting in New Zealand two weeks later.
We arrived in Auckland, booked a hostel, stayed a night, walked with all of our luggage in the scorching heat for 45 minutes to the campervan company and got the van. We rented our van from Juicy and got a wicked green and purple van that turned into our home at night.
We jumped in the van, followed the map, did some grocery shopping, and headed off on our journey. Since only two of us could drive, how much we could accomplish each day was really based off of how well rested we were to drive. Most journeys (minus the food, toilet, and gas refilling stops) lasted anywhere from three to six hours. At the beginning of our trip we somewhat mapped out the places we wanted to hit, the best routes, and what there would be to do in each of these places, therefore allowing us to figure out how much time we should spend in each.
In New Zealand there is a lot of greenery and outdoor adventures.
TIP: The best piece of advice I can provide to someone wanting to travel throughout New Zealand is to give yourself plenty of time and to stop whenever your eye catches something interesting. That’s how we found the diamonds in the rough (ie: special hot springs, unique hiking locations, lakes, caves, etc).