Category Archives: New Zealand 2015

Day 29: Christchurch to Cairns

After 28 days in our camper van, it was time to return it and move on to the next part of our trip. We spent most of the morning packing and cleaning! Fortunately the holiday park was well set up for people who had just collected or were about to return their campver vans, with plenty of cleaning and rubbish facilities, as well as a place to leave uneaten food for those who have just arrived in New Zealand.

The Apollo depot was just a short drive from our campsite and, having completed the necessary paperwork and paid petrol taxes for the 5,500 kilometres we travelled, we took a shuttle bus to the airport.

Our flight to Cairns went via Sydney and took around 6 hours in total, including a very long transfer between the international and domestic terminals in Sydney. We arrived in Cairns around midnight, collected our hire car, and drove to the Dreamtime Travellers Rest hostel where we’d booked a room for the night.

Day 28: Lindis Pass to Christchurch

Our final full day in New Zealand consisted mostly of driving, as we had to cover nearly 400 kilometres to get to Christchurch. We were treated to some of the best scenery New Zealand has to offer on the way, as we drove past Lake Pukaki, Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo. The lakes were particularly stunning, with the glacial water giving them a unique blue colour. We stopped frequently to take photos, finally reaching Christchurch by early evening.

We spent our last night in the camper van at the Amber Kiwi Holiday Park in West Christchurch.

Day 27: Wanaka to Lindis Pass

In the morning we jumped out of a plane at 12,000 feet above Lake Wanaka! Naturally we were both a little nervous about it, but it was definitely a highlight of our travels so far. On arrival at Wanaka Airport we filled in the necessary disclaimers, as well as music preferences for our souvenir DVD and then watched a brief video about the skydive. The waiting area had plenty of distractions including a pool table, table football, and a line of staff packing parachutes!

Once suited up, we met our tandem instructors and our camera flyers – there were a couple of options for getting photos and video, but we chose to have another skydiver jump with us to film everything. The propellor plane was tiny, with just enough room for 7 or 8 tandem pairs and the cameramen. As the plane climbed in a zigzag pattern above the airport, we had our first glimpse of the view we would have falling through the air at around 200 km/h. The view above Lake Wanaka is arguably one of the best in New Zealand, and the weather was perfect for the jump. After 10-15 minutes we reached 12,000 feet and just a few seconds later the door at the back of the plane was open, one of the cameramen had climbed onto the roof to get a good view, and Howard was hanging out of the side, firmly attached to one of the tandem instructors. Fortunately the instructor makes the decision to jump, so there isn’t much time to have second thoughts. Kate followed shortly afterwards, and before we knew it we were both flying through the air!

From 12,000 feet the freefall lasted for 45 seconds and, other than the initial (and very brief) falling sensation, was mostly windy and a little cold. Our parachutes opened at 5,000 feet and we glided safely back to the airport. We were both quite relieved to be back on the ground, but also enjoyed it enough to want to try it again one day!

We had lunch in Wanaka town centre, before wandering around the shops for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Wanaka also has a very nice cinema, Cinema Paradiso, known for its homemade ice cream, cookies and cakes. Having spent a second consecutive evening watching a film, this time Everest, we made a start on the long journey towards Christchurch. After an hour or so on the main roads, we followed a long and dark dirt track to find the free Lindis Pass Historic Hotel campsite, where we stayed for our penultimate night in New Zealand.

Day 26: Queenstown to Wanaka

Unsurprisingly we needed a slightly longer lie in before checking out of our Queenstown campsite and heading to Arrowtown, a small picturesque town just a short drive away. We had originally planned to do a bike ride, but with rain forecast for most of the day we decided to not stray too far from the sheltered campervan! Instead, we walked through the town and then through the nearby forest.

Although the rain persisted into the evening, Arrowtown is fortunately home to the Dorothy Browns Cinema, a unique cinema with sofas, beanbags, and cheese and wine during the interval. We watched The Martian and then got back on the road, driving through the mountains past Cardrona and arriving in Wanaka late at night. We stayed at the Luggate Cricket Club camping ground, just down the road from Wanaka airport, which is a clue to our next big activity!

Day 25: Queenstown

After all the driving from the previous day, we only had to drive a couple of kilometres to our next campsite (Q Box Motorhome Park), which was closer to the centre of Queenstown. We walked into town and spent some time looking around the shops before heading to the well known and very popular Fergburger for lunch. Despite this being a relatively quiet season, the queue extended down the street past neighbouring shops, but the burgers were worth the wait!

Following lunch we headed up the hill to the foot of the Queenstown Skyline, and took the gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak, This has great views over Queenstown and also a luge track, which was great fun. We also spent some time in the botanical gardens.

We had dinner at the Atlas Beer Cafe, a tiny pub well known for its good food (as well as its local craft beers). Then we stopped at Little Blackwood, for a cocktail and some live music. We also met Jo here, a friend of Kate’s who has been living and working in Queenstown for the last six months. She showed us a few more drinking establishments (World Bar and Surreal Bar), though we did have to do a 40 minute round trip back to the campervan to get our passports, which is apparently the only ID allowed in Queenstown (even if you are 35!)

Day 24: Mossburn to Queenstown (via Milford Sound)

Despite our long drive the previous day, we still had another two hours of driving to reach Milford Sound. The route, however, was particularly beautiful, even by New Zealand’s high standards! We also had our first glimpse of snow, along with a lot of rain as expected in fjord land.

The best way to see Milford Sound is by boat, so we booked a cruise with Mitre Peak Cruises. We were lucky to visit during the quiet season. The cruises tend to be criticised for being too touristy, but we had only a handful of people on our boat. No doubt the rain also put a lot of people off, though apparently this is one of the best times to visit. Not only does the rain bring all of the waterfalls to life, it also makes the mountains seem more majestic. As well as the breathtaking scenery, we also saw plenty of seals and, very briefly, a couple of penguins.

We then reversed the route we had driven in the morning, passing back through Mossman and arriving in Queenstown by the evening. We stayed overnight in the Frankton Rotary car park, a free campsite just outside the town.

Day 23: Franz Josef to Mossburn

The next place on our list was Milford Sound. Although it is less than 200km south of Franz Josef, there is a mountain in the way (Mount Aspiring). This more than doubles our journey, meaning the whole day was spent driving! We briefly stopped in Wanaka and then near Cadrona for lunch. This also took us past Bradrona, a very large and peculiar display of bras in support of the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.

We eventually stopped for the night at the Mossburn Country Park, just east of Te Anau, which is the gateway to Milford Sound.

Day 22: Hokitika to Franz Josef

We left the campervan park early and continued south into the glacier region, where there are two main glaciers in the area – Franz Josef and Fox. Both have receded significantly in recent times making access difficult without a helicopter.

We had booked the Ice Explorer tour with Franz Josef Glacier Guides, which included a helicopter transfer onto the glacier, followed by a two hour guided hike across the ice. Our group was fully kitted out with boots, crampons and waterproofs and then headed to the helipad for our flight where there was a constant stream of helicopters ferrying people to and from the ice.

Once we had landed we started our trek across the ice, which was an amazing experience. Our guide carefully checked the path each step of the way, redirecting streams and breaking away loose portions of ice. Even though the glacier has shrunk so much, it is still vast and contains a variety of interesting formations. Towards the end of our hike dark clouds started forming closely followed by rain that was set to continue for the next few days, so we were lucky to fit this in!

Back on unfrozen ground we had an opportunity to use the local hot pools, before finding a free campsite at Doherty Creek, just south of Franz Josef, to stay for the night.

Day 21: Arthur’s Pass to Hokitika

We started our day with a short walk in the national park, up to a waterfall known as the Devil’s Punchbowl. Then it was back on the road again heading west.

Our first stop on the west coast was at Punakaki, made famous by its ‘pancake rocks’. These are rock formations that have been deposited in very distinct layers which look like a stack of pancakes. There are also some blow holes and generally nice coastline.

In the afternoon we continued south to Hokitika, a small coastal town. We parked up at the STOP Campervan Park and then walked through the town and along the beach to Sunset Point just in time for sunset! After a lovely dinner at Fat Pipi’s Pizza (which had been recommended to us) we walked slightly out of town to a glow worm dell. We did manage to see a lot of glow worms, but didn’t stay too long due to the large congregation of people fumbling through the woods with their torches.

Day 20: Kaikoura to Arthur’s Pass

We were up early for our 8:30 checkin at Encounter Kaikoura, a company specialising in wildlife tours. As well as hopefully spotting some Dusky Dolphin we hoped to actually swim with them in the wild. Although an encounter can never be guaranteed our guides certainly seemed confident, and the group was kitted out with wetsuits, fins and snorkel in preparation. The introductory video explained how to encourage the dolphins to play – from making dolphin-like noises to diving down under the water.

After a short bus ride we boarded our boat and headed out into the South Pacific Ocean. Within five minutes we had spotted a pod of Hector Dolphin and spent some time watching them swim around the boat. Unfortunately we couldn’t swim with them though as they are less open to human interaction than the Dusky. Encounter Kaikoura certainly go to great lengths to locate the pods; well before our trip started there were spotters up in the surrounding mountains using binoculars to scan the vast ocean. News soon came through that, unusually, none had been seen so far. Whilst we searched one area by boat, a plane was sent up to search the wider area. In the meantime we saw plenty of other wildlife – mainly seal and albatross, and a fight between the two over some food! However, after over an hour of searching there was no sign of the Dusky Dolphin. An announcement was made that 80% of our ticket cost would be refunded, and we started heading back to shore.

It can’t have been more than a minute later when a large pod of Dusky Dolphin appeared from nowhere right next to the boat. Just another minute later we’d all donned our fins, masks and snorkels and were joining them in the water! There were dolphins everywhere, probably over 50 total, and we spent the next 20 minutes or so trying to keep them as interested in us as much as we were in them! After a while, when the majority had moved on, we were recalled to the boat to catch up with them and have a second swim. Overall it was an amazing and unique experience.

Having completed our main objective for the east coast we left Kaikoura for Arthur’s Pass – a scenic route across to the west coast. We camped overnight at the Klondyke Corner campsite within the Arthur’s Pass national park.

Day 19: Hamner Springs to Kaikoura

In the morning we drove from Hamner Springs to Kaikoura, which is north of Christchurch on the east coast. Our main reason for visiting the town was to hopefully see some dolphins, but first we spent the afternoon looking around the shops and walking along the bay with the snow-capped mountains stretching into the distance.

We checked in to the Alpine-Pacific Holiday Park for the night, which gave us the chance to try yet another hot pool (this time just 10 metres from our campervan!).

Day 18: Murchison to Hamner Springs

Murchison is a small and relatively quiet town next to the Buller River. Our main reason for stopping here was to experience the Buller Gorge jet boat – after a lot of research it seems to be the best value, longest and possibly most scenic jet boat rides in New Zealand. A long swing bridge over the gorge took us to the launch site where a group of four of us boarded the boat. Our guide/captain described the boat as more of an F1 car on the water, and he wasn’t wrong! Reaching speeds of over 80kph within a few seconds we jetted up and down the river, with a few sharp turns and spins thrown in for good measure. At top speed the boat is able to travel in just four inches of water, so we also glided over some shallow rocks and rapids.

As we drove on towards the east coast, we stopped for a more leisurely evening in Hamner Springs. After checking in at the Alpine Holiday Apartments & Campground and cooking dinner we headed into town to the Spa Pools complex, where we spent a relaxing two hours trying out the various hot pools.

Day 17: Takaka to Murchison (via Puponga)

We had planned to spend the day exploring Golden Bay, an area of coastline just north of the Abel Tasman national park, starting with a drive along the full length of the bay from Takaka to Puponga. We then took a number of short walks along the northern coastline – to Wharariki Beach, Cape Farewell, Pillar Point and the start of Farewell Spit, a narrow piece of wetland stretching out 35km into the Tasman Sea. The whole area offers amazing views in pretty much every direction!

Having reached the most northerly point of the south island, we started our long journey south, stopping briefly in Takaka to stock up on food. After around three hours of driving we reached Murchison and camped overnight in the Maruia Falls car park.

Day 16: Marahau to Takaka

We got up early this morning and drove the short distance to Kaiteri, where we had booked a boat trip with Abel Tasman Sea Shuttles into the national park. The park spans 51km of coastline and has a well marked walking route throughout though, other than at the start and end, the only access to the route is by boat. Unfortunately time would not allow us to walk the whole route but we chose one section of it starting at Medlands Beach, where the boat dropped us off after quite a rough ride!

The walk itself (about 12km) was very varied – from steep climbs through the forest to slightly wetter sections across sand that can only be crossed close to low tide. We stopped for a packed lunch and then took a slight detour inland to Cleopatra’s Pool, a waterfall and rock pool with a natural water slide. The boat picked us up from Anchorage beach mid-afternoon and took us back to Kaiteri.

We drove a bit further north to Takaka and then stopped for dinner, camping overnight at the Waitapu River Bridge campsite.

Day 15: Nelson to Marahau

We decided to spend a day in Nelson, apparently one of the most ‘liveable’ cities in New Zealand. We started by walking along the river and then up a very steep hill to the central point of New Zealand, coincidently exactly halfway through our time here! On the way back down we walked past the site of the very first rugby game in New Zealand.

We had a nice lunch at Columbus Coffee in Morrison Square and spent some time looking around the market and local shops. We also visited Christ Church Cathedral before getting back on the road and heading northwest towards the Abel Tasman national park, where we plan to spend our next day. We camped overnight at the Abel Tasman Marahau Beach Camp just south of the national park.

Day 14: Himatangi Beach to Nelson

We started the day by finishing the drive to Wellington. We hadn’t planned to spend much time in the city but we did have enough time to visit Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum. We looked at a variety of exhibitions – from Maori history and culture to the slightly bizarre display of the largest squid ever caught.

The three hour InterIslander ferry journey was rough at times but we arrived in Picton early evening and took a windy road around the coast to Nelson where we stayed in the Nelson City New World car park, where overnight camping for self-contained vehicles is welcomed. This probably won’t be our most scenic stopover, but at least we didn’t have far to go to buy some food!

Day 13: Taupo to Himatangi Beach

In the morning we walked through Spa Park to find a natural hot pool underneath a small waterfall on the Otumuheke Stream. The water must have been about 40 degrees so it was a good way to warm up on another fairly cold morning in Taupo.

We then headed to Turangi, a town just south of Lake Taupo, where we had booked to go white water rafting. We were kitted out with thermals and wetsuits and then driven to the Tongariro River. Over the next two hours our boat of 6 (plus 2 instructors) tackled 60 rapids of varying difficulty, though most involved us getting quite wet! For those of us who wanted to get wetter there was also an opportunity to jump off a 5m high ledge into the freezing cold river (followed of course by the usual cup of hot chocolate!).

We had hoped to spend a bit longer in the Taupo area, and in particular had planned to tackle the 19km Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Unfortunately there were severe weather warnings in place for the next couple of days and so we were advised against it. We decided to cut our losses and start the journey towards Wellington where we’ll be taking the ferry to the south island. We did just over half of the journey and then stopped for the night at the Himatangi Beach Holiday Park.

Day 12: Taupo

There is a huge amount to do in Taupo but unfortunately the weather didn’t help us out on this occasion! We started the day in the tourist information office (iSite) looking at the list of things to do in the rain. In the end it brightened up enough for us to walk up to Huka Falls, a waterfall on the Waikoto River. We also visited ‘Craters of the Moon’ (an area full of steaming geothermal craters) and a local glassblowing factory and sculpture park.

We had an authentic New Zealand cinema experience in the evening before parking up for another night at the yacht club.

Day 11: Rotorura to Taupo (via Waitamo)

In the morning we drove west from Rotorura to Waitomo, which is famous for its underground cave systems. There are a large variety of tours available, from gentle boat rides through the caverns to full day caving expeditions. We chose a tour called the Black Abyss, run by The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company.

After being kitted out with wetsuits and harnesses our group took a short bus ride to the cave opening. We began the tour with a 30 metre abseil into the first cavern where, with all our torches switched off, we caught our first glimpse of the glow worms on the ceiling above us. We then ziplined through a pitch black tunnel which was again covered with glow worms, before making our way through a few more caves and stopping for a quick hot chocolate and biscuits to warm up.

We then started the water activities by jumping off a ledge into a black pool and tubing along the river while the guides told us about the caves and their history, particularly the glow worms that have made them so famous. We also slid down water slides, scaled waterfalls and climbed through small crevices and ‘the muddy pass’. After a few hours underground we emerged back at the surface and returned to the centre for further food supplies of hot soup and toasted bagels. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip so far (the caving – not the food!)

We got straight back on the road and headed for Taupo, our next stop. The local yacht club, which is right on the edge of Lake Taupo, allows free overnight camping for self-contained vehicles so we found a space and pitched up for the night.

Day 10: Rotorura

We had a relaxing start today, taking a short walk from the campsite to Lake Rotorura, and then looking through the many leaflets of things to do in the area.

We decided to spend the afternoon and evening at Te Puia – a combined Maori cultural and thermal centre. We started by walking through the vast grounds, which are still home to a Maori tribe. There are many thermal features here, including large boiling mud pools and the Pohutu geyser which is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, erupting up to 30 metres twice an hour. It was also an opportunity to see our first kiwi bird – even if it was on the cctv feed from it’s nest! Even so, this will probably be our only encounter with one, as they are highly endangered and also nocturnal.

The evening began with an official tour around the centre. Te Puia is home to carving and weaving schools for Maori students from across New Zealand, so it was a good opportunity to see the ancient traditions in action. After that, we were formally welcomed by one of the tribe’s leaders, before watching a cultural performance of music and dance. Our buffet dinner had been cooked in traditional hangi style (in an earth oven), and was finished off with some hot chocolate sitting on the naturally heated rocks by the geyser.

We decided to stay at the same campsite tonight so had a second chance to enjoy the hot pools!

Day 9: Hahei to Rotorua (via Matamata)

We started the day with a walk along the coastal path that we had followed in the kayaks the previous day, stopping at Gemstone Bay and Stingray Bay. Then we were back on the road heading south towards Matamata, the home of the Hobbiton set used in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

The tour bus drove us through the Alexander Farm, which was spotted by Peter Jackson when he was looking for a suitable location for filming, and to the entrance of the Hobbiton set. We spent around two hours walking through the Hobbiton village past many hobbit holes and gardens. An amazing amount of detail went into constructing the set, some of which never even made it into the films. The original set was taken away after Lord of the Rings but then reconstructed for The Hobbit, and left in place as a tourist attraction. We finished the tour in The Green Dragon – a themed pub with open fires and nice beer!

In the evening we drove from Matamata to our next stop, Rotorua, which is famous for its geothermal activity (and inevitably the smell of sulphur in the air). We stayed in the Cosy Cottage Thermal Holiday Park, and had enough time to try out the onsite geothermal pools which were 38°c!

Day 8: Warkworth to Hahei

We had a lot of driving to do in the morning, all the way back through Auckland and then east on State Highways 2 and 25 towards the Coromandel region.

Just after lunch we visited Hot Water Beach where a geothermal spring deposits hot water just under the surface of the sand. By digging down a little it’s possible to create small pools of steaming water right next to the sea. The phenomenon attracts a lot of tourists to a small section of the beach at the same time (during low tide) so it was extremely crowded when we arrived and we decided not to stay for too long.

Next we drove up to Hahei beach, just 5 minutes away, for some sea kayaking. This took us along the coast via Gemstone Bay, Stingray Bay, and finished at the very picturesque Cathedral Cove. We warmed up with some hot drinks on the beach before starting the journey back, which took us further out to sea with plenty of waves and a strong wind. This was another highlight of our trip so far.

We camped overnight for free in the Cathedral Cove Recreation Reserve, which is essentially a car park with a great view.


Day 7: Paihia to Warkworth

After another early start we had a slightly longer boat ride this morning (just over an hour) out to the wreck of the Rainbow Warrior, a Green Peace vessel sunk in 1985. Having been underwater longer than the Canterbury, the Rainbow Warrior is covered with various plant life. Kate did her first dive of the day in Seal Bay, and once again saw plenty of seals.

The afternoon dive was in Lion Bay. Kate had now completed all of her skills training, so we were able to dive together as a group. This was a really good dive with plenty of fish and some eels. Having completed the required training, Kate is now a certified PADI Open Water diver!

Soon after returning to the shore we were on the road again, heading South East towards Cathedral Cove. We decided to stop for the night at the same campsite as our first night, in Warkworth.

Day 6: Paihia

We had an early start as we had to be at the Paihia Dive shop by 8am for our first day of SCUBA diving. After collecting our equipment we headed down to the wharf and joined the rest of the group on the boat out into the bay.

Howie’s first dive was onto the wreck of the HMNZS Canterbury, which lies at a depth of 30m. It was a really interesting dive, with the large ship sitting upright and almost completely intact on the seabed. We then moved on to a nearby shallower site so that Kate could do her first ever dive in the sea, and the first of the four dives required for the PADI Open Water certification.

After lunch on the dive boat we moved on to Lighthouse Bay for a dive around the rocks there. We still had to dive separately so that Kate could focus on her training with Tayna (her instructor) but the highlight for both of us was seeing seals playing under the water.

We had dinner back at the campsite and got an early night ready for another day of diving.

Day 5: Paihia

We started our first day in Paihia with a 5km walk through the forest to the Haruru Falls. We had booked a dolphin spotting boat trip around the bay for the afternoon, and hadn’t quite left enough time to finish the walk and get back to the town centre, so we had to improvise a little! Kate managed to flag down a car and we hitchhiked the last 3km with a local councillor.

The boat ride around some of the 140 islands in the bay became more of an Orka watching trip, as a large number of the killer whales were passing through the area, which is apparently quite rare. Unfortunately that meant we couldn’t see any bottlenose dolphin, but there should be plenty more opportunities as we head towards the South Island. The relatively famous ‘hole in the rock’ was quite impressive, not least because of the boat captain’s skill in sailing through it.

We don’t plan to eat out much while we’re here, but we decided to treat ourselves to an Indian at Green’s, and had plenty of food leftover for the next night!

Day 4: Kapowairua (Spirits Bay) to Paihia (Bay of Islands)

Having arrived late at night, we weren’t able to appreciate the amazing scenery at Spirits Bay until the morning. Although this was the most basic campsite so far, it was certainly the best location. After a short walk along the beach, we drove west for just under an hour to Cape Reinga, considered to be the most northern tip of the North Island. The Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean also meet at this point, which is very significant for the Mauri people.

Just south of Cape Reinga are the Giant Te Paki Sand Dunes, which are not only impressive to look at, but also great fun for sand boarding on! We hired two body boards and spent over an hour going up and down the dunes. We stopped for lunch on part of the continuous ninety mile beach that spans the west coast, and then started heading east along State Highway 10 towards the Bay of Islands and the town of Paihia, our next stopping point. For the next couple of nights we’ll be staying in The Bay of Islands Campervan Park, just 15 minutes walk from the centre of Paihia.

Day 3: Kauri to Kapowairua (Spirits Bay)

We started the day with a short drive through the Waipoua Kauri Forest, stopping a couple of times for some short walks. The first was to see the Four Sisters (a group of four Kauri trees very close together) and Te Matua Ngahere (the second largest Kauri tree). A little further down the road is the very impressive Tāne Mahuta, the largest Kauri tree in New Zealand, which is thought to be around 2,000 years old. Scientists are currently working hard to fight Kauri Dieback disease, which has already killed thousands of trees across New Zealand.

Our target for today was to reach the north coast of the North Island. After many hours of driving (including 16km on a very bumpy gravel road) we reached the Kapowairua DOC (Department of Conservation) campsite in Spirits Bay.

Day 2: Warkworth to Kauri

We woke up to a very rainy morning in Warkworth. After a quick breakfast in the local cafe and look round the shop we were back on State Highway 1 heading north. After a short stop to stock up with food we turned onto State Highway 12 heading west. We then had our first problem with the campervan – an engine warning light on the dashboard – which led to an unscheduled stop at The Kauri Museum, which tells the story of the legacy of the famous New Zealand Kauri forests. Although we didn’t have enough time to look around, we did spend some time in the shop and a nearby cafe where Howie made good friends with the local cat. Meanwhile Apollo decided that there was no need to have the engine fault looked at straightaway so we pressed on, and Kate had her stint behind the wheel. We briefly visited the very picturesque lakes in Omamari before heading towards our next overnight stop, the Kauri Coast Holiday Park.

Distance travelled: 146km

Day 1: Auckland to Warkworth

We landed in Auckland just after lunchtime and were collected from the airport by Apollo campervans to collect our home for the next 4 weeks! We left Auckland straightaway and drove north along State Highway 1. We hadn’t been driving long before it got dark so we started looking for somewhere to stay for the night. In the end we found the Sheepworld Caravan and Camping Park in Warkworth, and a very friendly welcome from Ian (the owner), so we parked up for our first night in New Zealand.

Distance travelled: 81km