North Island Road Trip in Photos

Te Pake Sand Dunes!

June 26, 2017

A very memorable day back on Feb ’16.  At this point I had a week to myself which was a first. I was with Brit and Emma most of the trip but this time I was by myself waiting for Andy to come visit for my birthday the following week. I was having a fun day but missed having company so when I stumbled upon my friend Jazzy running around too by herself we teamed up and had a great time at the sand dunes. She is a wedding photographer so had me running around the dunes as she snapped away. It was a really, really fun day! We still keep in contact even though we only spent an afternoon together. I think one day I’ll see her again.. and until then, there’s always good old Facebook! 

 

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Bay of Islands & Goat Island

June 21, 2017

This part of my trip (over a year ago haha) was the first time I was by myself on this 4 month road trip. I had about 10 days to myself to explore the Northland. I went to Goat Island and Bay of Islands shown below. Goat Island had snorkling while the Bay of Islands is an extremely peaceful and dreamy beach town. 

Auckland in Photos

June 2, 2017

Making my way through my North Island photos from summer 2016. Auckland is always one of my favorite spots bc I have such good friends who live there.  Pride there was a blast. Summer is great bc there are so many city beaches. The traffic is some of the worst I have ever experienced and it didn’t help that Google Maps used to not work properly when driving! haha It was all part of the experience. I have some of my fondest memories in NZ here in Auckland.. manly thanks to my #mates who live there. 

Piha was a quick drive away and had one of the most memorable sunsets I saw during my time in NZ. Hope you all enjoy!

Taupo and Matamata!

May 2, 2017

Alrighty! Continuing onwards during that ~4 month road trip around New Zealand’s North Island.. This portion was around January 2016 I believe.. I didn’t take too many photos at these two stops so I combined the towns together. My bad.

The first place was Taupo.. Taupo is in the North Island and located quite central. I am pretty sure I went through Taupo about 6 times throughout my near 2 years in New Zealand. It seems to be a place you are always passing through  On my 30th birthday, Andy flew in from the South Island to celebrate it with me and we went bungy jumping. It is the adrenaline capital of the north (while Queenstown is considered the one of the south). So yea, too bad I didn’t take many photos! haha I did make sure to take photos of Taupo’s famous “Reid’s Farm” which is a place where you can freedom camp (aka camp for free) for up to 7 days. Reid’s Farm is slightly out of town but nicely situated on the river. At peak season, I saw upwards of 100+ cars, vans, busses and tents at once. The place had a really cool atmosphere and vibe. Not to mention the constant sound of the river along the camping area. I stayed at Reid’s Farm almost every time I came to Taupo. It was a centrally located safe haven if you will. If I needed to wait out a week, wait for friends to catch up on the road, save money or any other random reason to pass time.. I would come to Taupo and stay at Reid’s Farm. It was the perfect place to do nothing and chill. In the mornings, we would roll out of bed and go swimming. The water was so clean and clear, it was the best way to start your morning! haha I miss it. Oh and yes, it was a chilly as most water in NZ. 

After Taupo we headed to Matamata. You know, “a place so nice they had to name it twice.” haha It is a quaint little town. It is where they filmed Lord of the Rings, a tourist attraction now called “Hobbiton.” It’s basically “The Shire.” Matamata had the greenest of green rolling hills. I love this area of New Zealand so much. It was one of my favorites. The tour was nearly $100 and at this point in the trip, we couldn’t justify the expense with what we already had planned. Therefore, we left Matamata after one night. When I left, I told myself I’d return before I left. Then over a year later, I returned and visited Hobbiton during my last trip out of New Zealand.

 

Coromandel Peninsula Recap

April 30, 2017

The Coromandel Penninsula is a unique place in New Zealand’s North Island. There is a map below but it is a peninsula situated just East of Auckland. Over a year ago, Brit, Emma and I did the drive to the Coromandel in hopes of finding some farm work. We were getting low on funds and needed to refill the bank account. We did the drive and upon arrival realized that there isn’t really much farming work up here.. in reality, there isn’t much of anything up here! This is one of the attractions and beauties of New Zealand – untouched and barely scathed landscapes. When we arrived in the Coromandel we were greeted by a huge rainstorm that lasted a couple days. It was a hard part in the trip to be honest. We were in dire need of work, there ended up not being any work around annnnd it wouldn’t stop raining and we were staying in non-waterproof tents (long story). SO – we held strong and sat and did nothing for a couple days – then on the third/fourth day we were greeted with beautiful blue skies. This is the day that these photos were taken as we did a long drive around the peninsula before realizing that the rain would be back the following day to greet us. At this point, we counted our losses and left the Coromandel. This is the only time I made it up there during my trip – I could complain about only one day of sun but I will never forget this day. Every turn was was a stark contrast of the blue water and skies with the greenest of green hills. After our one day of sun out, we turned back around and headed back to Napier. Napier is where we worked before on the apple and kiwi farm so we knew there was work awaiting! This time when we arrived in Napier, I worked on a wine vineyard! Some of the most demanding and hands on jobs I have ever experienced (also ones which I’ll never forget!)

Rotorua Recap

April 24, 2017

AHH I loved Rotorua! It has a bad rep because the town smells like Sulfur.. I mean big time. New Zealand is so unique for a variety of reasons, this one in particular is the “thermal activity” seen throughout this area in the North Island. Throughout the town centre one can see steam rising along the horizons where there are these little mud pools (fenced off) with 100C+ temperatures produce a sulfur gas which is released making the town smell like someone has constantly just lit off a ginormous firecracker!

We spend about 10 days here. We camped in our tents most of the time. When Emma and I first arrived, it was forecasted to thunderstorm for about 48-72 hours so we splurged and got ourselves a hostel. This was nice bc we returned here the remaining days whenever we needed to take a shower! Haha we just snuck in and used the facilities. When you are camping for 3+ months, you learn to do what you gotta do.. and I have been quoted saying showering is “one of my favorite things in the world” so I can’t go too long without one! haha.

Also in Rotorua we visited some lakes as you can see below. We did an overnight hike to this one place called “Hot Water Beach” bc there was a stream of boiling water from below the ground that empties into this massive lake. Therefore, there are warm pockets where people wade in near where the hot river meets the lake. We fond it rather uncomfortable bc it was either kinda hot or WAY TOO HOT to even stand. I got burnt more than I relaxed.. As mentioned, it was an overnight hike which was my first time doing so! I loved it.. also, the next day when we hiked back to the car after camping, a HUGE wind and rain storm came through. One at first would think that hiking through this would suck.. but after you get soaking wet it stops really mattering. What was cool was being alone on this trail in the middle of the forest and seeing this storm unfold! Branches were falling and leaves were getting blown sideways across the trail. It was so cool to see nature unfold in an area so remote and in such an intimate setting.

Lastly, in our near two weeks in Rotorua, we visited a “Thermal Wonderland” which is shown beneath too. It is a tourist place to show all the thermal activity in the region. VERY cool stuff and worth every penny in my opinion! There are photos of this incredible place below as well!

Ahh, OK so the longer I am in the States the more and more I am missing New Zealand. It is such an incredible place with such an easy life. If only it wasn’t so damn secluded from everything else in the world! The reason I fell in love with NZ was the reason I ended up wanting to leave. Funny how what is attractive changes over time.

All in all.. New Zealand is the bomb. 

Thanks for reading – This makes me want to get back into writing more again. I miss it.

Napier

May 14, 2016

Alright – This dates back to mid December 2015 – Brittany had just left bck to Canada for Christmas and Emma met up with me in Wellington. The origional plan was to set up base in Wellingon and find a job and apartment, etc. However, upon arriving in Wellington it seemed to be quite expensive to get on your feet there and in the short time we had before the NYE music festival.. Therefore, one morning over coffee, we decided to leave Wellington that day and go to Napier and find some farm work. So just like that we went to the car and left Wellington, not before doing some much needed laudnry, of course.

We took two days to get from Wellington to Napier. One the night between we were camping and it was really windy outside. I was sitting in the car on the phone to Andy and Emma was in the tent alone. Then, suddenly a huge gust of wind came and it nearly blew over the tent. It inverted the poles and the tend was completely flapping in the wind. All I could see was Emma’s two hands extended towards my direction and the tent getting blown against her. It was quite a funny sight to say the least! That night was a noisy night in the tent as the tent flapped consistently throughout in the wind. It was quite wet as well and just not the best night by any means. That comes with camping for nearly four months straight though. Some nights just suck to be in a tent. Especially when its a shitty Warehouse brand tent too! Don’t get me wrong, most nights were great and I enjoyed and prefered to sleep in the tent. I had my blow up mattress (after a month I purchased one for $20 and it was the best decision I made all trip).

When we arrived in Napier it was quite late and we couldn’t find a hostel bc they were all closed. Therefore, we drove 45 minutes north to this free camp site. When we woke up, we were surrounded by neraly a hundred sheep as they were migrating from one place to the other with the help of a farmer and his dogs.

That day we went to Napier and found one hostel to stay at. We had stopped at another hostel called “Kiwi Keiths” whch was full. The guy behind the counter turned out to be our best help in terms of landing employment while in the North Island. He owns a working hostel there and most people live there long term and work on surrounding farms. Keith, the owner, finds the jobs for you himself. Upon arriving, he didn’t have any room for us and said he typcally finds jobs only for current tennants at his hostel. He took our name and number and called back an hour later saying he had work for both Emma and I on an apple farm!
What a legend! He also moved some people around and so we could move into the hostel the following day.

We ended up staying in our tents for the couple weeks we were in Napier the first time (we ended up coming back a month or so later when we needed work but more on that later). It was $80/week and it had free wifi, laundry, cable TV, hot tub, bike rentals and most imporatanly, it was right on the ocean! I could hear the ocean from my tent as I went to sleep each night. I had my tent set up really nice too! It has a shag blanket as the carpet, my blow up mattress with extra padding and blankets, I had all my bag unpacked and my clothes in nice piles, I had a designated place for my lap top. It was set up! My own personal little space which is nice when living at a hostel. This way, I didn’t have to share a room with anyone. 🙂

The apple farm was a bust. We worked there for three days and the manager was dicking us around with details of payment, etc. He was obciously taking advantage of us and the fellow workers whose second language was English didn’t know what he was communicating to us. I could see so I ended up having a go at him and we called him out and all 8 of us quit! Keith, like the legend he is, told us not to go back and found us all jobs starting the following day.

Next Emma and I worked on a Kiwi orchard. It is a HUGE orchard and I really enjoyed this job. The pros were that it was outside, not too difficult work (well, gurdling was hard, thinning was easy), good convo w the other travellers. The con was that it was a hour drive each morning to work and the guy who drove drove really wrecklessly and it was dodgy as. We ended up surviving but sometimes I thought that it wasn’t worth it by the close calls we encountered. The guy was nuts.

We spent Christmas at the hostel. It was one such a great Christmas. Emma and I started the day by sunbathing at Ocean Beach and drinking some beers. The entire hostel made a huge communial pot luck where each person cooked a dish from their home country! It was so good – one of the best meals of 2015!! Emma and I ended up getting too buzzed to cook plus the kitchen was jammed packed and it was apparent that there was way too much food already as there is… sooo we didnt cook anything! It’s a shame but thats what beer and sun will do to you.

After spending a couple weeks in Napier, we saved up a chunk of cash and with that and Christmas money were able to head onward to Rhythem and Vines Festival over NYE. It was a three day festival which ended up being lame in hindsight. There was a no alcohol rule at the camp site and they enforced it like crazy and patrolled the campsites and checked all bags before going to the tent site area every time. Felt way to strict and also it was tons of Drum and Bass and Dubstep – which are my least two favorite generes. Bring on the house and sometimes trance and I am happy – However, there was very little of that at all at the festival – Angus and Julia Stone were there and they played a great set – I saw them warm up randomly that same morning as I went to get some food. They were warming up and I caught a nice little 45 minute practive and secret set! Sticky Fingers were good there too as well as some random house DJs. I had a great time while there dont get me wrong! But I wouldn’t probably return either haha

After the festival we headed to Rotorua where Brittany reuinted with me and we began to travel as three. More on that later though!

 

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Napier main road!

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Skate Park on the main strip

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Main road in Napier – I love these little houses!

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Mini Golf park in Napier!

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These painted bikes are all around Napier!

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This is a new pier in Napier!

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Little stadium here in Napier.

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Love this little candid photo!

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I love the Art Deco style here and the font that is all over Napier!

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Art Deco style!

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Photos after a devastating earthquake in Napier.

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I love this park here in Napier.. These palms are so tall!

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Quaint is the word I use to describe Napier!

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The “CBD”

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Close.. but Andy’s last name is “Millar!”

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Napier CBD 🙂

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Christmas in Summer here in NZ!

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Christmas Vibes!