Today’s is throwback/blast from the past kinda post. We are in the process of planning our 2016 travels for when we leave England in April next year and are getting seriously excited! So far have booked a Croatia Sailing Trip with Medsailors in May and yesterday we booked a camper van in Portugal with Soul Campers to explore the stunning Portuguese Coast in April for a week. Booking the Camper Van brought back excitement & memories from my first overseas trip, a camper van trip around New Zealand with my family back in 2003!
I was lucky enough to have parents that took us on holidays every year and we explored a lot of the East Coast of Australia when we were growing up. I am glad Mum & Dad waited to take us abroad until we were an age that we would remember and appreciate it.
(In terms of the photography… this was before we had a digital camera & are from the classic old cameras where you had rolls of film developed at the end of each holiday! I think the photos turned out surprisingly good considering their age and that they are scans of photographs!)
We flew into Christchurch and picked up our camper van, and spent the next two weeks exploring all the South Island had to offer us! We explored the beautiful city of Christchurch and then drove down through Canterbury to Dunedin. I remember the most stunning landscape with green farmers fields either side of us and one side touching the coast and the other, snowy mountains. Having grown up on the East Coast of Australia this was one of our first sightings of snow and to say we were all excited was an understatement!
From there we headed to Queenstown, which to this date is still one of my favourite places in the world. I remember spending our days exploring the town & taking day trips such as a Lord of the Rings tour, Horse Riding (in a blizzard brrrr) and other trips in our camper van around Queenstown. Queenstown is such a great destination for families, couples, friends… everyone really! There is something for everyone and I’ve never heard anyone who didn’t like it!
We then drove to Te Anu, a gorgeous lakeside town and went on a night tour to see the Glo Worm Caves and take a day trip out on Milford Sound. Te Anu was stunning (and very cold) but I don’t ever remember being cold in our camper. We had plenty of blankets and sleeping bags and mum and dad always kept it heated and cosy for us kids!
Milford Sound was one of the most untouched, beautiful places I’ve seen in my travels, and it has made me truly excited to visit the Fjords in Norway one day! On our way home from Milford Sound we drove out of a tunnel and it was snowing so heavily! The bus driver stopped so all “the Aussies” could get off and play in the snow which we all happily did. We often all talk about this day and even the boys remember it despite being really young.
As we drove back to Christchurch we drove through Mount Cook National Park and were in awe by the breathtaking mountains and lakes. Lake Tekapo & Lake Pukaki are glacier fed lakes which explains their stunning blue colour! They are some of the most incredible lakes I have ever seen and the only ones from my travels that compare are the vibrantly coloured Lagunas in Bolivia on the Salar De Uyuni & in the Atacama Desert.
We all fell in love with New Zealand and have visited as a family a number of other times since. I have the fondest memories of this family trip and love the close time we spent together as a family. Whilst there was enough room for everyone to be comfortable, camper vans aren’t huge and we loved the time we spent together in our home on wheels!
A camper van holiday is the perfect way to explore & spend time together as a family. Mum & Dad said it was a great country to drive around and all the campsites we stayed at were really clean and safe! New Zealanders are a really friendly bunch! I think it was almost pre-internet days or at least we certainly only had very slow dial up and wouldn’t have used it for travel planning as we do today. So mum & dad relied on good old fashioned maps, the help of friendly locals and brochures from the travel agency!
We have definitely discussed that when we have a family of our own we want to take our kids on a similar holiday!