Reflecting – Australia, New Zealand and Bali 

Since getting back home to the UK after our travels we’ve found it to be a strange mix of emotions.

To see family and friends again has been amazing, but one of the hardest things about being away for such a long time has been the adjustment back to ‘normal’ life, reverse culture shock if you will.

The time back home has given us time to reflect on what we learnt and who we’ve become. Overall we are full of such gratitude that we were able to have such an incredible time together. It truly was the best experience of our lives.


We thank our friends, family, those that we met and gave us somewhere to stay, the locals for such amazing insight into where they live and everyone that made us laugh along the way. Our outlook and values have changed in ways we didn’t think possible before we left.


Life is full of simple pleasures and people from all different cultures and places make it amazing. As one legendary hippy we met put it we’re all citizens of planet earth’.


While travelling we found life was unfiltered and experiences raw, the freedom and simply beauty was quite astonishing. We approach life now in an altered state, the lessons we learnt while away resonate with us on a daily basis.

If there’s one bit of advise we could give to anyone thinking of going away, it would be to just go. You will discover things about yourself that will surprise you in ways you never imagined.

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NZ Week 9 – 10: A family adventure and leaving NZ

Our final two weeks in New Zealand were spent with my family. It was quite surreal for us all to meet up after not seeing one another for six months, especially down under. 


The stories shared from each other’s adventures were amazing, and we spent many a late night talking. Some of the mishaps Mike and Beth had encountered were hilarious, particularly their experiences with massages in India. 


My Mum and Dad had also had a fantastic time exploring the South Island in NZ, it is certainly something they will never forget. 


I was super grateful to be with everyone for my birthday – it was the big 30 – one I will always remember, thank you to all of them.


We spent the two weeks in two locations – Hihi in Northland and Pukehina in the Bay of Plenty. 


For all of us it was the first time we had stopped and settled in the same location for a while. Days were spent walking, fishing and kayaking, as my dad said ‘it was magic’. 


This chapter of our travels also marked the end of New Zealand for us. The time here has been unforgettable. The landscape has offered the true impact, the vast scale of what has been before our eyes providing a real perspective on life. 


Much of our time was spent in amazement at the sometimes surreal and often breathtaking sights. We leave with a changed state of mind. 

NZ Week 8: The Coromandel 

Our final week together in Byron the van so we wanted to make it one to remember and headed to the Coromandel. 


It was a week filled with walking on white sandy beaches and collecting the most amazing seashells.


New Zealand felt so cold in comparison to Australia, so when I heard about Hot Water Beach with natural 65 degree springs it became a must do location. We headed down just before sunrise and at low tide in order to find the springs, you could see where they are because of the steam rising from the sand. 


We borrowed a spade from one of the locals and Edd dug away whilst I eagerly waited to get in and warm up. The water was so hot that we actually had to let the sea water in so that the pools were bearable. It was super amazing sat in the sand watching the sunrise through the steam, it was definitely worth getting up early for.


Cathedral Cove was another highlight, walking 45 minutes to a small beach and seeing the rugged archway that has formed in the cliff. Edd was in photography heaven, which was wonderful to see.


Staying in a campervan has been amazing, parking up in secluded spots by the beach and hearing the waves crash at night is something we will always remember. 

The van has been our home, shelter, bed, kitchen, security, transport, kitchen and most importantly dependable friend. I hope that this is the start of more campervan adventures to come.

NZ Week 7: Volcanoes, Snow and Surf

Our first true impression back in the north island – after a quick visit to Wellington – was the snow capped volcanoes! 


Driving towards these beasts was like nothing else we’ve experienced, quite bizarre knowing that one could go off at any moment too. 


There had been a fresh dump of snow the night before we arrived. Walking out into it was pretty strange in May, knowing that back home it was summertime and everyone was probably out barbequeing. 


After a crazy drive on the ‘Forgetten Highway’, with our fuel running eye-wateringly low, we arrived into Taranaki. 


This volcano was the most striking for us as the surrounding landscape is so low lying. Sleeping on the side of it felt truly weird. 


The next day it was time for a walk and we climbed up one of the surrounding mountains for a closer view of the volcano, it was awesome and huge! 


Next on our route was Raglan, a place I have wanted to visit ever since watching the Endless Summer. It turned out to be one of our favourite places in NZ, reminding us very much of Byron Bay, proper chilled. 


One of the crazy things about this area of the country is the black sand, it certainly gives the beaches a different feel. 


It was a super fulfilling week back on the North Island that’s for sure. 

NZ Week 1: Auckland – Mount Maunganui – Christchurch

It was quite a shock for both of us landing into Auckland, the 36 degree days had been replaced with 16 degree days! Once we landed and found our hostel we headed for an explore of Auckland for the night.


The next day we took a four hour bus journey to visit some friends who live in Mount Maunganui. This was our first real insight into the landscape, which is extremely reminiscent of Wales, quite freaky at first. 

Mount Maunganui was great fun, strolling on the beach and soaking in the hot pools, whilst catching up with friends. The next day we headed to a Gorge for a walk. But the weather had a different idea deciding that it was time we experienced a cyclone. We had a quick walk around the Gorge but our clothes were soaked through to our skin. 


The next day we sat and patiently waited for the cyclone to hit, it was very wet and windy. We took a look at the beach and the waves were huge and messy and to our surprise there were people out surfing!

On our final morning the sun was out and we headed for a stroll up the ‘Mount’ before getting the bus back to Auckland, ready for our flight to Christchurch.


It was interesting walking around Christchurch, in places it was so evident that the devastating 2011 earthquake had taken place, there were buildings just empty and lots of brand new ones that were appearing in their place. 


We used the couple of days here to get things in place ready for picking up our campervan. Trying to think of where to head first, where to stay and easy meals that could be cooked on a camping stove.


It was so exciting to finally pick up ‘Byron’ the campervan, as we have affectionately named him. After all it was one of our favourite places in Australia, so any reminder is a good one. 

It finally felt like we could now explore and start our road trip!