New Zealand: a country where the people share a name with a bird and a fruit and every bend in the road leads to a one lane bridge and spectacular landscapes. This first post on our journey through New Zealand comes at an interesting time. As I write this, New Zealand is in the news. Those memorable landscapes we drove through are now forever changed by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that took place three days ago. It resulted in a lift of the seabed by almost two metres and a mind-boggling 100,000 landslides.
Landslide covering a highway that we once drove. Image source: NZ Defence Force
Seabed that has lifted. Image source: National Business Review (photo via Mark Enlin)
As I read the stories and see the images coming through the Internet, I think of driving on the roads and the highways that are now torn apart or covered up. As I read that the famous seal breeding ground at Ohau Point has been destroyed by the the earthquake, I think of visiting the baby seals there. It is one of our fondest memories from New Zealand. More than ever, I am grateful that we had an opportunity to travel through this incredible country. And now I get to share it with you.
Our journey began in this sweet ride…
So we upgraded from the campervan in Australia to this swanky camper for our New Zealand escapades. It was so comfortable that we briefly contemplated selling our belongings and living in it for good.
We set out from Christchurch with an ambitious itinerary for the next three weeks. The plan was to head south from Christchurch, make a stop in Dunedin to see a friend and then cut across to Queenstown and Wanaka before going back up north through the West Coast then over and around to Kaikoura. We would then take the ferry over to Wellington and move through the North Island stopping in Rotorua, Matamata, and finally ending in Auckland. Not only did we manage to do all this but we ended up adding a couple of days in the Coromandel. Ready to hear all about it?
Well, here’s Christchurch and day one of our Kiwi journey.
View outside our camper on the first morning. Travelling by camper allowed us to wake up to scenes like this one.
And this one
Typical New Zealand scene: bird, water and mountain
One of many murals found throughout the city of Christchurch
Many buildings that were damaged in the 2011 earthquake still stand unrepaired.
While in the city we managed to fit in a game of chess…
climb a tree at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens…
and smell a very large flower.