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 3: Meg’s Hut – Arrowtown – Glenorchy 

One thing that we always hoped to do before visiting New Zealand was to walk to one of the huts and stay a night. Once our bags were packed with food supplies and warm clothes we started the 3 hour walk to Meg’s Hut.


The walk was challenging at times but I think that’s because our legs were still aching from Roy’s Peak two days earlier. Finally in the distance the little hut appeared and our pace picked up speed as we got closer.


We opened the door to find that we were the only ones there for the night, it was exciting. Unfortunately however we had forgotten to pack matches to light a fire and realised that we were in for a cold one.


Then suddenly whilst lay in the bunk beds getting used to our new surroundings we both heard a few crackles. We rushed to the fire place and saw that there were embers still glowing from the previous night. Edd managed to get the fire roaring and we frantically spent the last hour of daylight collecting wood to keep us warm as darkness descended.


It was quite an eerie but amazing experience being totally alone in the middle of the wilderness. I can’t say it was the best nights sleep but it was definitely an experience I am glad that we did together.


We couldn’t wait to get to Arrowtown to see the autumn colours and for a shower, Edd said we stunk after a night in the Hut, not being able to smell sometimes has its advantages. It was so lovely to walk around the little town with the colourful leaves crunching beneath our feet.


We passed through Queenstown quickly it was so busy and trying to find a parking space to explore was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

 The road to Glenorchy was windy and had amazing views, we were in Lord of the Rings country now. The drive is quiet, punctuated only by the odd near death experience as apparent maniacs fly by on the other side of the road.


We camped for two nights along Lake Wakatipu waking to fresh snow on the top of the mountains, quite a sight and a reminder that winter was on the way.


Excited by the fresh powder we went for a three hour walk amongst the mountains to a day hut to take a closer look at the snowy peaks.


It had been an amazing week and one which fulfilled some of our pre-travel wanderlust.

NZ Week 2: Arthur’s Pass – Hokitika – Wanaka 

It was so nice to wake up the first morning in the van and have our own space. It was initially foggy but soon it burnt off and we had clear skies. 


We had porridge for breakfast before heading out for an explore of Castle Hill. It consists of some really odd shaped limestone mounds scattered across the landscape. 


We continued along Arthur’s Pass which was unbelievably tight, steep and winding, with hairpin bends thrown in for good measure. The surrounding scenery was pretty mind blowing too.


Our next stop was Hokitika, a small seaside town. That evening we headed to a cave which was dripping in glow worms, it was magical to see.


The  next day we headed to Hokitika Gorge, it was breathtaking. Once we’d crossed a swing bridge we were surrounded by the bluest glacial water that we have ever seen.

Later that day we had our first glimpse of Franz Josef Glacier, which was unreal. It was amazing to walk towards the face of the glacier and look at this mass of ice. 


That evening feeling pretty blown away by the days events we headed to Gillespies Beach to camp. We finally saw the magnificent Mount Cook looming over the skyline, a sight that we won’t forget anytime soon.


Our final drive of the week was to Lake Wanaka, a place we had read so much about. It was a super chilled out town surrounded by mountains and the famous Roy’s Peak. 


We started out on the hike up to Roys peak early the next morning before dawn. It was quite a climb taking us 6 hours return. The views of the lake were just breathtaking in the early morning orange light, but I was getting alarmed at how much my fingers were starting to swell with every step we climbed.

We were so satisfied to reach the top, but I was also really happy to get back down,take my walking boots off and watch my fingers return to their normal size. 


As a reward that evening we watched the sunset by the famous Wanaka tree whilst eating calzone. Walking the next day was a bit of a struggle.