#VanLife on New Zealand’s South Island

We had rented a camper van through a website called Mighway, which is like Airbnb for camper vans; people use it to rent their personal campers when they are not using them. We could not pick up the camper van until 5pm, so after saying “goodbye” to Jess’s family, we went to a nearby coffee shop to do some planning. Since we only had five days, we wanted to give some thought to where we could go without spending the entire time driving. When we had a reasonable plan to go in a loop from Christchurch to the West Coast through Arthur’s Pass, past Franz Joseph Glacier, through Wanaka, and back to Christchurch, we left to meet Kim to pick up our camper.

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Thanksgiving on the South Island

We caught the 9:00am Interislander ferry from Wellington on New Zealand’s North Island to Picton on the South Island. We checked in before 8:00am as instructed and were sorted into an entry lane based on the height of our vehicle. We sat there for a while watching tractor trailers be loaded into the cargo deck before being allowed to drive on. We drove to the back of the parking deck and looped around so we would be facing the correct direction when it was time to disembark. Then we walked up to the 7th floor where we found a nice seating area with a view out the front of the boat. The ferry takes roughly three hours and passes through the Cook Strait, which with its long list of shipwrecks is one of most dangerous waters in the world. Peggy, Mike, Jess, and Angie played Tichu while the boys played Dota Underlords on their phones and Abby read her book and enjoyed the views from the top deck.

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An Epic Adventure Across New Zealand’s North Island

After a brief stop in Australia to practice our surfing (more on that later), we made our way to Auckland, New Zealand, to meet up with Jess’s family. Angie and Kevin, Jess’s sister and her boyfriend, were already waiting at the Airbnb having spent the prior week in Australia themselves. The rest of Jess’s family would be arriving the next day, and we would not be wasting any time getting the whirlwind tour started.

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Here We Go – Phase 3!

We are heading to Asia, Australia and New Zealand for Phase 3. As with Phase 1 we want to follow summer and ideally with the same rules about not backtracking. Unfortunately since so many of our desired destinations (Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia) require flying, this turns out to be more challenging. South East Asia also has monsoon and very hot seasons we want to avoid as much as possible.

When it came to actually booking flights, we knew we would be leaving the US on roughly August 15th, so we looked up “best places to visit in Asia in August”. Our search returned Bali and Singapore, so we made those our first destinations. Bali won the honor of being first because we were able to book flights there from Rochester, MN, using Delta points for only $14.20 per ticket. To go all the way to Asia!!

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