• Travel Savvy Guide

Van'mad Diaries Southland of North Island.

It's all been go go go for Eddie and I.

This chapter of my Van'mad Diaries starts with Wanganui and their vintage weekend, boy do kiwi's know how to party, everyone in Wanganui was dressed up in their favourite year/style of music, an utterly awesome weekend.

Castle Point

After Eddie's and I's TLC day, which included me climbing on the van moving the kayak around, swifly followed by lots of profanities after realising how easy it is to climb up onto the van but not so easy getting down. Later I bumped into some Vanlifers that I had met in New Plymouth, which was lovely as they introduced me to there German friends who were an absolute ball as well. After a night of laughter we headed up to Vinegar Hill in convoy, where we played in the river with kia the kayak, had a BBQ and another night of laughter. The true #vanlife. We spent the next day messing around in the river as well, as it was simply too much of a scorcher to leave the water.

Tongariro Crossing!

Well well well, one of the best day hikes in the world. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is 19.4 km which hikes the saddle between two active volcanoes Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe. The tack has a lots of varied surface from, boardwalks, soil, rocks, loose scoria, devils stair case and to top it off the main track follows around the edge of old lava flows. An amazing walk, which without a doubt was hard, but well worth it, I completed the walk in 5 1/2 hours and I most definitely felt it the next day.

Wow, wasn't I treated by the magnificent Castle Point, what an unexpected wonderland, with the free camp right on the waterfront looking over both the sea and castle point. TREATED!

I watched the sun go down, with a cold beer in my hand watching the sun set behind the cliffs of Castle Point, the next morning was a scorcher, therefore in the sweltering heat I decided to do the cliff's walk, quite a hight and scramble, one which I did not foresee. Let's just say I struggled to take a video from the top as I was shaking so much. It's weird what a fear of the highest can do to you. After a very sweaty hike I cooled off with a much deserved swim in the sea!

Cape Palliser, another wonderful destination, I explored the 252 step light house, watched the pup's playing in the seal colonies and watched yet another glorious sunset.

Here, I noticed there were two parts to the free camp, one side with all people like me and estima's and the other half divided by a bush was lot's of RV's and nice looking camper vans. So I decided to slot in-between them, and by gosh what a good idea, this lovely older lady approached me whilst I was reading my book, I thought oh god I'm going to be asked to move to the other side. "Excuse me, I don't want to be rude but we have some left over dinner would you like it" oh gosh that's not rude at all, yes please! It was delicious, I washed my plate and took it back to her and she told me off for washing the plate! She then said "our freezer has broken would you like some ice cream" well, what can I say I felt like I was in heaven, she brought it out to me with big strawberry flakes on it and everything!

Let's just say I was a very very happy Lucy!

Turn's out I remind people of their children or grand children, and by parking by them I open myself up to lot's of goodies, conversations and tips from these local Kiwi's! Most definitely a Savvy Tip.

That night I was approached by all the other caravan members and felt truly part of the club ahaha, even if I am 50 years younger than them. They all congregated around my van in the evening quizzing me and again in the morning, with all the tips hot off the press.

Windy Welly. I can now see why Wellington has this name, by gosh a wind sweeping city, one which is truly awesome and I can see why a lot of people settle there, but definitely wind swept. I had a wonderful time in Wellington, I stayed at the Base backpackers, as you can pay $15 to use the hostel facilities and stay in my van in the car park, this is a great deal as parking alone in the city is extortionate, a bed in the hostel is $35+ and this way I've got my own room without big spending.

Savvy Tip- Check out hostels you can stay in there car parks, usually a third of the price, especially when campsites near the centres are $50+ and you won't have to panic about finding or paying for parking.

In Welly I met up with some girls I met up in the coromandels, which was lovely we went and watched a global warming documentary in the park with some locally brewed beers. Truly special evening, these kind of evenings are rare to come by, and totally unexpected, this is why it's so important to stay in contact with people you meet along the way.

Again I also met up with some other fellow #vanlife companions Jake and Sophie and explored welly together, lots of coffee and cake stops throughout the city but we wouldn't have had it any other way.

Van life in New Zealand

Jake and Sophie, I met up in the coromandels and we have crossed routes and met up all throughout NZ and I've absolutely loved it, I can't stress enough how important it is to stay in contact with people whilst you're travelling. I love listening to their stories and sharing mine too, I truly have a good laugh with them, most people you meet on the road is a fleeting conversation, where with friends like Jake and Sophie it's on going banter, conversations and stories and I know if I ever get myself into a pickle or need a friendly face they won't be too far away.

Our friendship started with me asking them if they wanted to play cards, and it blossomed from there. It's so hard to make friends with people living in van's as everyone get's set in there ways and doesn't really venture from the confinements of their van's. But in order to make friends you have to say F**K it to social rules and step outside of our comfort zones and create conversations or simply ask if they would like to play cards so easy but can feel very awkward at times, but well worth it in the end.

Stay tuned for more #Vanlife

For more follow me on my Instagram @travel_savvy_guide

New Zealand's tourist marketing campaign is to wish the world good morning everyday, 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 my locations, so stay tuned.

Next I am off to South Island, exploring the beautiful Abel Tasman.

Travel Savvy Guide

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