Believe it or not – but the North Island kept us so busy that we are now already sitting at the airport in Auckland waiting for our departure to Fiji without having been able to post another blog post about our time in New Zealand. So let’s try to quickly sum things a little bit up 🙂
From a variety of national parks (which you can find in every corner of New Zealand), Lake Taupo, Wellington, breathtaking volcanoes and it’s geothermal wonderlands, Rotorua, a visit in a Maori village, the World Forgotten Highway to finally a visit at the world famous “Hobbiton” movie set of “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”. The North Island has such a variety – it is almost cheesy.
The only thing where Melanie and I were a little bit unlucky this time, was the weather. While we NEVER had any problems with it during our journey so far, we unfortunately had to cancel some stops like the Tongariro National Park because of it. Which was quite hard for us – especially for Melanie who usually always wants to see and explore as much as possible. From rain, thunderstorms to gusting winds – we basically experienced everything within the last two weeks. Which can be even more challenging in a small camper van as you can imagine. Once we even had to change the campground at 4 in the morning because the weather was so bad that the water level was about to rise 😅
One of our highlights on the North Island was for sure Mount Taranaki. The vulcano stands in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nothing and his shape is just breathtaking. Melanie and I were really excited when we first were able to catch a glimpse of it. Especially as we had to wait over three days until the weather was finally good enough and all clouds and the fog were gone. But it was definitely worth it!
Another highlight, especially for me was our visit at the Hobbiton movie set and the Weta Caves in Wellington. As someone with a movie and similar work related background, it was simply amazing to see how the elite of the elite are creating their magic for the big screen. Peter Jackson and his team did a really great job and created a unique experience for us.
Thinking back of our time in New Zealand, it’s still hard for us to either decide on the South or the North Island. Both islands are quite different and unique in it’s beauty. From huge mountains, glaciers, rain forests to beautiful beaches – you can find everything. So each island is really unique and beautiful in it’s own way.
The only thing we are really not sure about is, if you should visit New Zealand in summer or winter. Being here in winter, we sometimes really had a rough time in our camper van when it was f****** cold and freezing outside. On one side we think a road trip like this might be more fun in the summer where you can sit outside, have BBQ and not everything is freezing immediately. But on the other side, in winter everything is cheaper, the landscapes are probably more breathtaking and there are less tourists to almost enjoy New Zealand for yourself. Speaking about that, it’s really hard to choose and might not even matter. I am pretty sure New Zealand can be awesome in every season!
So all in all, we had an amazing time and won’t forget our crazy but lovely road trip with our small little camper van from Travellers Autobarn. Without intention, we were even able to start a small collaboration with them at the very end of our trip. As they really loved the photos we shared of our road trip with their van, they offered us some extra free days with it in exchange for some further photos. Not a bad deal if you ask us!
Looking back, having our first camper van experience EVER was definitely not always easy for us. Still, we would 100% recommend it to everybody who is thinking about road tripping through New Zealand. The country is super camper-friendly and every moment you wake up in the van next to a beautiful landscape in the middle of nowhere is just priceless. So after 5 weeks, we will now definitely miss our “travel buddy” a bit. And even if it was our first camper road trip, it will for sure not be the last!
On the other side, we are now super excited and happy to fly to a warmer and “summer” country again and are really looking forward to Fiji. The next week we will do nothing except swimming, eating, drinking and enjoying the sun.
So hopp hopp Melanie … it is time to keep going!
Fijiiiiii we are coming!
Philipp & Melanie