Up the Coast...
A quick heads up, this is Seth writing this post so if you’re here for Ashley’s witty, stream-of-consciousness commentary on our trip, then leave ASAP.
Since Ashley last posted we’ve been working our way up the East coast of New Zealand’s North Island. After staying two nights at our first campground, we have been moving along to a different campsite each night. To the right you can see the map where we’ve marked each spot that we’ve stayed so far.
We’ve been staying in a variety of campsites for the past week. Our van is certified as Self-Contained which essentially means that we have a toilet, trash can, and dirty water retainer. This allows us to camp in some place that non-Self Contained people are unable to (the idea is that we won’t leave behind any nasties), and as a result we’ve been able to camp in free sites for most of the past week which has been really nice (send money plz). We’ve also been exploring some Freedom Camping (https://www.govt.nz/browse/recreation-and-the-environment/freedom-camping/) which so far has involved exploring lots of really curvy/hilly gravel roads in search of random government owned land that we’re allowed to camp on. Yesterday it was pretty successful and we wound up at a little Scenic Reserve area with a beautiful view and the area all to ourselves. Today was less successful due to the fact that we’re in a pretty highly populated area and there isn’t much free space for camping, so we settled for a paid campsite. I’m currently sitting in a little lounge area using the campsite wifi and am basking in the glow of my first hot shower in several days. Woohoo! Tomorrow we’re hoping to find somewhere with good wifi so that I can watch the Crew playoff game, but we’ll see how that goes! Either way, go Crew!
It’s been really fun travelling the country in a campervan so far, it feels like we’re pretty flexible and able to hop around to see various points of interest and then move on if we don’t feel like staying somewhere. We were able to go to Waipu Caves a few days ago where we could see glow worms after hiking into the cave a little ways. That was a really cool experience, it was so totally dark except a bunch of slightly blue spots of light covering the cave ceiling. It felt like stars but a little different.
Most of our recent campsites have been near the ocean, so we’ve been able to enjoy some beautiful sunsets and sunrises from a perch on a beach. So far we jumped in the ocean once (we were desperate for a shower, and this was the next best thing) and it was pretty freezing, so I think we’ll wait for the sun to do a little work on the water before we try again. It’s also been really fun seeing a wide variety of birds that look really different from what we would see in Ohio and trying to identify them and their calls.
We’re going to go walk around Paihia (the small town we’re staying in tonight) and see the sights, so I’ll sign off until next time!
UPDATE: this did not get posted yesterday and it is today now. We’re sitting at a Middle Eastern cafe waiting for our food to arrive and for the Crew game to start!
Here are a few pictures from our last week or so (mostly from Ashley’s phone, a few from my camera at the end):