We started planning our trip in May last year. First we planned what countries we wanted to see and in which order. When we decided that New Zealand would be the starting point, we tried to figure out where to stay. Our goal was to be close to nature and everyday life, and not far from the sea. This counts for most villages of the south island. Now we tried to find our special place where we wanted to be, depending on the availability of affordable accommodation.

There’s so much to say about the drive from Wanaka to the west coast along the Mt Aspiring National park. Stunning. Amazing. Beautiful.It was definitely the nicest part of our 17 days around New Zealand. We were so lucky with the weather, so that we could enjoy the mountains, lakes and rivers in a beautiful sunshine. The road went right to Haast, where we continued towards Haast Beach to avoid the big Holiday Park and Top 10 campsites, which dominated the tiny little town.

The whole way down from Auckland towards Oamaru we were stunned by the nature. But we were still missing the wow-effect. I talked to some people on our way and noticed some rivality between the people form the north and south island. No matter where they lived, it was important to them where they came from. In almost every talk sooner or later the other said: “You know I’m from north/south island!

When we arrived at the South Island we first headed south along the coast.And stopped at a wonderful campsite at the beach. We used the day to relax and rest from the previous days. Linnéa loves the beach, so we could be there for quite a while and search special stones to extend her stone collection. No idea, how stones can be that important :) Niklas likes the sound of the sea as well.

We finished our stay on the North Island in Wellington and surroundings.First we were skeptical about the city. It just felt a bit hectic. Going with the campervan through a city where space is limited due to mountains and the sea can be quite challenging as well. But after walking around there, talking to people, eating in a nice place and seeing the harbour area and its surroundings, it felt like a nice place to be.

After leaving Hobbiton our next stop was Rotorua.After the first days of driving around New Zealand you get a grasp of the difference between distance on paper and actually driven. End the end I would like to see a statistic of my driving and if I actually drove more straight or turning left and right on the (kurvige) roads. No idea. But every drive takes longer than expected. We arrived at Rotorua in the evening and we stayed at a wonderful DoC campsite next to Lake Okareka.

To clarify one thing first: I’m not the biggest Lord of the Ring fan there is. By the time it was released, I didn’t like the buzz about it, and I simply ignored it.Later my friends pulled me into the 2nd and 3rd movie and I felt a bit “forced” to watch them, which didn’t make too much sense, as I hadn’t seen the first one by then. I watched the first movie a couple of weeks ago, to get a better understanding of what will be shown in Hobbiton.

Let’s simplify the world a bit today. Let’s assume that there are just two kind of people regarding to camping. The ones who get relaxed doing it and the ones who get stressed.In our relationship the roles are pretty well distributed. And I can relax completely camping. :) Your home is always with you. You stay (almost) everywhere you like it the most. No matter if it’s at the beach or deep in the mountains.

We landed Wednesday evening in Auckland and arrived at our hotel next to the airport at two in the night. We continued our good nights sleep, which got interrupted by the customs at the airport quite badly and after we had a little snack. The next day we got into the city with one of those airport buses. It was a quite convenient way into the city, even though a cab would have been almost the same price.

Daniel Wilms

living in tel aviv. parent of two kids. husband. explorer. enthusiastic about my family, bike-swim-run, photography, cooking, baking. traveller. idealist. optimist. passionate triathlete.

Tel Aviv