• Travel Savvy Guide

Van'mad Diaries Northland West

Updated: Dec 20, 2019

So as you may or may not know, were in the land down under. And i’m sure some of you out there have been frequently checking in to see if there’s a New Zealand update. Well my friends wait no longer, we are safe and sound and well and truly living the van life, but the thing is, what comes with the van life is no wifi and a place to charge one’s laptop, so this digital nomad is going part time vanmad. Therefore I will try my hardest to do a weekly update with all the #vanlife drama*.

*vanlife drama consists of where to stay and what to cook so not alot of drama really.

The van life blogs and updates will be separate to my usual Travel Savvy tips and tricks so stay tuned.

So it all started in Minila airport, 12.5 hours in the Minila airport like prison is enough to make any sane body loose the plot let alone us! No shops, no food, lots of foreigners and one room, say no more. Don’t be a cheap scape like us, get the good lay over.

Auckland- what can I say, questionable.

Sorry New Zealand not a fan, and i’m especially not a fan of the bus system, can you re number them please my OCD is going wild.

Day 2 of Auckland we purchased our lovely van Eddie, and what can I say were getting married soon. Joking, Eddie is a fully kitted out Nissan Vanette, 2000 with only 185,000 KM on the clock! So pretty goodnikk.

Port Albert. Adios Auckland, northland here we come! Our first free camp, absolutely lovely ‘Port Albert’ what can i say a good way to start the trip!

Lake Taharoa. We attempted to stay in a free camp, but it was most certainly questionable and whoever wrote a review saying ‘you must swim in the river it’s gorgeous’ can jog right on, if we were to get in that river we’d die of some disgusting bacteria and be gone in seconds. N.O.P.E. So Eddie took us on up to a gorgeous lake called Lake Taharoa! Devine! Say no more! Truly hit the mother load!

Okaihau. Rain for us in the morning sadly, but that’s nature for you and we're living the van life so, onwards we went. We walked around the biggest Kauri tree in the Waipoua forest. After driving hella miles and very windy roads we decided to scout out a town for some sort of materials to pad our viciously uncomfortable bed and then stayed in another lovely free camp where we were joined by chickens for dinner and breakfast. Don’t read that wrong we had beef for dinner but had some lovely chicken guests for company.

Kaitaia. A well earned hot shower for us! Thankfully provided by Kaitaia town for free! Thanks very much smell loads better now! Then we went onwards to abuse both McDonalds and warehouse wifi.

Tokerau beach. Up to the very top of NZ, to Cape Reinga, then back down via Te Paki sand dunes for some sand dune sledding! For those of you who know me, of course I wouldn’t be a fan, but I do understand that its fun. Next stop was 90 mile beach incredible windy some would say it blew me away.

Interestingly though its not 90 miles its actually 60 miles, the name presumably come from an error made eons ago. Its actually 96km.

After some tretourous driving along miles and miles of gravel, pot hole infested roads (sorry Eddie) we then made our way to the most gorgeous free camp Tokerau beach. Where we met the nicest New Zealand couple who really have retirement down to a T! I also witnessed some of the laziest finishing in my life, they send out a torpedo with a line of 25 hooks and sit on the beach in their car with their tea and biscuits and waving at us out there enduring the storm that was passing over.

The lovely couple were catching 5 massive snappers a day, filleting them, freezing them and smoking the remains which they let us try.

We stayed here 2 nights as it was so lovely.

Paihia. Drove down to Kerikeri, love this town, could definitely live here. Then down to Paihia to camp and watch the rugby for the night. Well done England, well played.

Oakura.We explored the Waitangi treaty grounds, and observed a Maori cultural performance, very enriching. Then once again- I swear Lily does this every-time its my turn to drive! Through those tretorous roads again, and down to a lovely spot right on the beach where we listened to a lovely Maori family sit and sing their hearts out all night around a fire on the beach- truly special.

Stay tuned for more #Vanlife nonsense

For more follow us on my Instagram @travel_savvy_guide

New Zealand's tourist marketing campaign is to wish the world good morning everyday, from different Kiwi's in all parts of New Zealand. As it's to be said that New Zealand is the first to see the sun rise everyday so only right to wish the world a good morning and a good day.

So of course I thought hell YEAH, I want to join in. So I've been wishing the world good morning every morning from each of our locations, so stay tuned.

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