August 25th - After a restless night sleep in our dorm as a man was snoring very loudly (not Neil!) we got up at 6am to catch our 8am ferry to Picton. The ferry was on time and took 3.5 hours and luckily Emma wasn't sea sick, hopefully last time was a one off! We then waited to catch our 1pm bus to Christchurch. The weather was terrible on the way to Christchurch and there was flooding along the route and land slides. Due to the landslides the trains were cancelled so we had all the train passengers on our bus. We got to Christchurch about 6.30pm and went to a hostel nearby as it was raining and stayed in and watched a film.
Emma also skyped her mam and dad and saw her grandma which was good.
August 26th - This morning we got up to check out at 10am and then caught a shuttle bus to go and collect our campervan near the airport, The campervan is brilliant! Really big with a toilet and shower and the back of the van converts into a double bed. The cooker is on one side and the fridge and sink the other. The lady showed us how to use the chains in case we needed them (which we probably will) and then we were on our way! Neil drove but Emma was pleased that she could also drive if she wanted to. We made our way south to Omaru which took about 4hrs. We decided to park up at a holiday park the first night to get settled! It also meant that we could hook up to electricity and have a heater which was good as it is winter and cold in New Zealand! There are rare yellow eyed penguins to see in Omaru but when we went to go and see them it was too expensive so we just went and chilled out in our campervan this night.
August 27th - We both slept well in our first night in the van. Very cosy!! We got up about 10am and made our way to Dunedin which is a university town and meant to be Scottish but we didn't see any evidence of this! On the way we stopped off at Moeraki which has some famous boulders on the beach. We saw them but the tide was in so they didn't seem that impressive, there was a chocolate labrador there though which befriended us. He nearly went in our campervan for us to steal but unfortunately he didn't! Also on the way to Dunedin we drove into a cheese factory. Emma went to see how much it was while Neil waited.
..and waited in the car. She then came out having tried about 12 cheeses saying the man just offered them to her and told her not to go and get her boyfriend, obviously Emma couldn't refuse so ate the cheese then bought some before they finished driving to Dunedin. We arrived and had a look around before driving to a layby on the motorway about 10 minutes out of town. We arrived a bit early though at 6pm so didn't really know what to do with no electricity and one light until we went to bed!
August 28th - We woke up quite early as the cars were quite noisy on the motorway and went straight to a swimming baths. We thought this was a good idea to be able to shower and to get some exercise! After our swim we went into the town centre to park up before going to Cadbury World. It was a joint deal with Speights brewery so we thought it was perfect.
.chocolate and beer! Cadbury's World was at 1pm and really good. A tour guide took you round the factory and was really informative about how chocolate was made and the different bars etc. The tour guide kept asking questions to get a prize of a chocolate bar...Neil won 2! We also got given lots of chocolate on the way round. We thought we'd need to go swimming every day now! After the tour which took 75 mins we drove to the Otago Peninsular for a walk which is not far from Dunedin. The walk started on the top of some sand dunes which took you onto a long beach. Running down the sand dunes was fab! At the end of the beach there was meant to be penguins but we couldn't see any but we did see some wild sea lions which were sunning themselves on the shore. You could get so close them but we didn't get too close as we saw them running after some people which looked quite scary! After walking along the beach we had the hike up the sand dunes which was a mission! Its so hard to walk uphill in sand.
After the tiring walk back to the van we drove back to Dunedin to park up for the night on a quiet road away from the centre of town. We then headed straight out for our Speights brewery tour at 7pm. The tour lasted about 75 mins and was really good. The guide was very enthusiastic about his beer! He told us that he gets free beer after work in the bar everynight all night. Neil thought he should work there! After he showed us round the brewery and told us how they made their beer we were taken into a tasting room and given the 7 pumps and 30 minutes to help ourselves to all the different beers that they do. It was brilliant. Neil was very happy and tried to drink as much as he could!! After they told us that our time was up we went for a couple of drinks in town before heading back to our new home for beans on toast and cadbury's chocolate!
August 29th - We got up about 9.
30am and Neil started driving to Te Anau
. Emma hasn't done any driving yet but hoping Neil will let her soon! The scenery on the way was amazing. We've found the scenery in New Zealand stunning everywhere we go. Snow capped mountains, forests and lots and lots and lots of sheep!! On the way to Te Anau we stopped off at Gore
for Neil to have break from driving and as a present to himself he bought some 4 pound shoes! Bargain. Gore was a small town with ardly any people there. We've found that everywhere in New Zealand has hardly any people. The towns that we pass seem to be desserted - or maybe they just see our campervan coming! From Gore we drove another couple of hours to arrive in Te Anau which is a quiet lakeside town.
We went into a site to hook upto the electricity and charge our battery and then just watched a film in the communual area, met an Irish lad who was in a camper on his own and then went to bed.
August 30th - This morning we got up early to drive to Milford Sound which is 3 hours away. The road is quite dangerous as you normally have to wear chains because of the snow but luckily it was clear when we drove. The drive was lovely with snow around us but it was really sunny. The road took us in a really steep tunnel through a mountain which was quite eary as it was so dark. When we got to Milford we took a cruise around the sound. It was amazing to see - neither of knew what a sound was until we got there.
The cruise was a bit choppy but fun smashing into the waves. We also saw some seal pups on the rocks. The cruise took 2 hours and then we started heading back. On the way we did a short walk which was recommended which took about 45 mins around a lake and some forests. There are not many roads in New Zealand so it was quite annoying that we had to drive south again to Te Anau to go back up north towards Queenstown
. We were going to stop in Te Anau but decided to keep driving towards Queenstown to find a layby to sleep in. Unfortunately we couldn't find any so we kept driving and driving until the first stop was Queenstown! We then again couldn't find anywhere to stop for free so we decided to stay in the carpark of a holiday park and leave early in the morning before they opened so we didn't need to pay!
August 31st - We left about 7.
30am and managed to get away with it! We then drove somewhere to sleep more then back to the holiday park to check in for a night. We parked up and then had a shower before going out to explore Queenstown. We loved it straight away. It is a resort town and full of people that are on holiday skiing. There is such a buzz about the place and it is also beautiful as it is on a lake with the ski fields surrounding us. After looking round the town we went back to our camper and cooked our tea. We have been cooking everynight as its much cheaper and also Emma loves cooking in the van! We then went out for a few drinks with damien who we met in Te Anau. The bars were all really good and it was good fun.
September 1st - We woke up to our alarm to check out by 10am, we were a bit hungover from last night.
We then drove to a big supermarket a bit out of town to do a 'big shop' for our dinners and teas for the next week. We then drove back to Queenstown and slept for a few hours! When we woke up we went for a walk around the town and the lake before cooking our tea and going to bed again.
September 2nd - This morning we were woken at 8.30am by Dave at the council demading us to move as we could not free camp within 10km of the towm or we would need to pay NZ$400. We quickly drove off so we didn't need to pay! No more parking up on roads in Queenstown. We drove straight to the swimming baths for a swim and a shower. We then walked around the lake and then sat and chilled out in the sun reading our books for an hour. Around us there were people playing golf frisby which is a game where there is a course and you need to throw your frisby at different markers.
It looks fun and we might buy a frisby tomorrow. We then went back to the van to have our tea before heading out for a couple of drinks to celebrate Jo's birthday and to skype her to wish her happy birthday. Tonight we are driving 10 minutes out of town to a free camping spot so dave doesn't catch us!
September 3rd - Last night did not go as planned. We could not find the caravan park anywhere and instead nearly got stuck on a muddy track and ran over some cows! In the end we were a bit annoyed so drove to the holiday park car park to try and get away with not paying again. It worked as we left at 7.30am to drive to Arrowtown which is a historic village about 30 minutes away.
When we got there Neil slept for a while and then we went for some breakfast and an hours walk around the village. The village itself was very quaint with lots of old traditional buildings and it was good to wander around the shops. We left there at about midday and drove back to Queenstown to check into the holiday park for the night. When we got there we just chilled out infront of the heater with all the lights on to make the most of having electricity! Tonight we are going to watch a film in the communual area.