Road Tripping around New Zealand
After months of planning we set off on the 14th December 2013 for a four week campervan tour of New Zealand starting and ending back in Auckland on the 9th January 2014. This is the travel journal of a fantastic journey through an amazing land…leaving the winter snow of Munich behind we took an 11 hour flight into Hong Kong and after a four hour stop-over we set off again for a shorter 10 hour flight to Auckland. Landing in sunny New Zealand in 29 degrees, a temperature swing of 32 degrees warmer than Munich !
I photographed our journey during our first week crossing the central part of the North Island, visiting the Thermal wonders of Rotorua, the massive Lake Taupo and the climb up to the plateau of the Tongariro National Park, up the Mt. Ruapehu volcano in the campervan before heading down to Wellington to catch the ferry across to the South Island.
After starting with a visit to the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park we headed down the remote west coastal highway stopping at Franz Joseph and Fox Glacier before driving up through the Haast Pass and over Mt. Aspiring National Park highway to Wanaka and the lively Queenstown for Christmas.
No visit to New Zealand is complete without a visit to the stunning Milford Sound in the Fiordland National Park, from our base in Te Anau we travelled on to Slope Point the southernmost point of New Zealand and on through the Catlins Forest on the south coast.
The second part of our journey was to travel back up north to our starting point in Auckland, up the eastern coastline via the towns of Dunedin, Oamaru and Timaru, heading back inland on a long loop to see the colourful Lakes of Pukaki and Tekapo. We spent New Year’s Eve on Woodend beach north of Christchurch looking up at the thousands of stars in the night sky, the first days of the 2014 we spent on a boat Sperm Whale watching off the coast in Kaikoura. A windy ferry crossing from Picton back to the North Island took us to Wellington followed by a second stop at the beautiful Waikanae beach opposite Kapiti Island.
Heading north we passed through the towns of Woodville and Dannevirke towards Napier on Hawke’s Bay, visiting the rebuilt town center with its Arts Deco architecture, before crossing the hills back to Lake Taupo and watching the powerful flow of the Waikato River over Haka Falls. The last days crisscrossing the Island to the glowworm caves in Waitomo then over to the Coromandel Peninsula and the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga, Hot Water Beach, Whangamata and Hahei before climbing over the Peninsula and finishing on the Firth of Thames in the waters of a hot spring in Miranda. Just a short morning drive to the airport, wishing we could carry on north beyond Auckland for just another week…..New Zealand is stunning for its natural beauty and variety, can’t wait to go back !