Just as it is a worthy bucket list item to tour Europe via train, road tripping through the land of the long white cloud is an #NZmustdo.
Distances can be vast from one grand landmark to the other - but there's so much magic that lies in-between that it's just not an issue. I have found that campervan travel is one of the best ways to really soak it up and totally immerse myself in the country.
For me, it’s got to do with control as well as a sense of comfort in the unknown.
With the ability to go, stop and stay at a whim, I’m free to roam and be guided solely by what speaks to me in the moment. The anchors of ‘but there’s nowhere to stay there’ or ‘we need to head back before it’s dark’ no longer weigh me down. Everything we need, all day, is with us and moves with us - and this is especially handy for those early mornings to capture the sunrise; there's no stress of forgetting something crucial like my tripod because it's all in the campervan. The only restriction is possibly where we can park the van...but even then, between campgrounds, holiday parks and New Zealand's Freedom Camping culture, we're actually quite spoiled for choice.
And driving acts as a link between a new place and what’s familiar to me. It helps me feel as though I’m not just another tourist passing through but someone who has slotted seamlessly into the way of life there. I love cruising down the scenic highways and snaking along the back streets of a town, dreaming about what it's like to live there. I like to imagine where I'd get my groceries, buy my morning coffee and the route I would take for the best evening stroll. Without being able to drive through a place, I would miss out on this reconnaissance and on these fantasies...there's only so much ground I can cover on foot in a short amount of time.
From Nelson, with our CamperCo Estima van, we headed straight to Marahau, the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, then onwards to Golden Bay, before heading back to Nelson. This Nelson Tasman region took our breath away - honestly. Landscapes here are so wildly stunning, sometimes even otherworldly.
And as I said earlier, the in-betweens are just as special....Along the way, we pulled over whenever the view was beautiful (which was often) and into laid-back towns with charming cafes*** serving quality, local fare.
It was a 3.5 day whirlwind, made possible only because we could be comfortably and consistently on the move. Thank you CamperCo for making it so hassle-free and for the little touches like a solar-powered lantern and an array of car chargers!
*** not quite a café but The Mussel Inn in Golden Bay is a MUST. It is rustic with so much charm in its structure and décor and the food and beer here was just so hearty and flavoursome. There's also often live music here. We very nearly pulled the pin on driving onwards to Puponga because we wanted to spend the night here, listening to good tunes, eating chowder and mussels and knocking back in-house brews...
For more on the Nelson Tasman region, click here to read what we got up to over 3.5 days xxx