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.

Advertisements

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 5: Nelson Lakes and Skydiving 

We’d spent several weeks down South and it was a welcome change of scenery to arrive into Nelson Lakes National Park.


It was a long drive up but well worth it, with the landscape being considerably more lush. The first thing we did was to head up to a mountain to get a perspective of the landscape. We chose Roberts Peak, which was great fun and an awesome climb. 

The next few days were fairly strange as I had booked myself up for a skydive. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. 


It has now been several weeks since I’ve done the skydive, and I still don’t know how to describe it or put it into words. It was one of the best experiences of my life.


I’ll never forget the feeling of the plane door sliding open at 13,000ft, my first thought being ‘this isn’t normal’. Before I had time to process it, I was out the plane and accelerating towards the ground. Was it fear, was it excitement that I experienced? I’m still not sure, but after the first 10 seconds or so of screaming I relaxed and the feeling was like no other. 


Someone asked me in Australia what was one thing you have done that you would recommend everybody else to do. My answer now would be a skydive! 

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.