New Year is usually a time for resolutions and making huge life-changing decisions. It’s a time of reflection, a time to summarise the old year and plan for the new. Although we made some of those life-changing decisions back in March, we’re no different from anyone else and have been looking back on the past few months with interest.
We had no idea how this little JWalking trip would turn out when we both shouted ‘Let’s do it!” all those months ago. So many things could have gone wrong and we could have thrown so many excuses in our path to stop us leaving. We didn’t and so far everything has worked out exactly as we’d hoped, better in fact.
The South Island Road Trip
Our journey around the south island of New Zealand is almost over, it has taken almost four weeks and we have done around 3000 kilometres in our little Nissan Notey. I’m not sure that you can truly explore the island unless you drive so hiring the car has been so worthwhile. The scenery and the incredible mountain roads have been breathtaking and we have seen so many incredible places. If you weren’t concentrating earlier then this was our rough itinerary:
- Christchurch (Airbnb with Laurance and Sharon)
- Christchurch to Hanmer Springs (Jack in the Green Backpackers accommodation)
- Hanmer Springs to Westport (Westport Motel)
- Westport to Hokitika (Bella Vista Motel)
- Hokitika to Franz Joseph Glacier (Airbnb with Holly and Karl)
- Franz Joseph to Wanaka (Airbnb with Gill)
- Wanaka to Queenstown (Airbnb with Sheena and Malc)
- Queenstown to Te Anau (Fjordland Hotel)
- Te Anau to Milford Sound (Milford Mariner boat)
- Milford to Te Anau (The Village Inn)
- Te Anau to Cromwell (Airbnb with Margaret and Ken)
- Cromwell to Twizel (Airbnb with Jeanette and Bruce)
- Twizel to Burke’s Pass (Burke’s Pass Motel)
- Burke’s Pass to Christchurch (Airbnb with Pam and Peter)
- Christchurch to Kaikoura (Airbnb with Ruth and Brian)
- Kaikoura to Nelson (Airbnb with Thomas)
Looking at that list now is terrifying. How on earth did we plan and book and organise all of that? It sort of just happened and actually after speaking to lots of local people seems to have been an almost perfect route. Who would have guessed?
Burke’s Pass and Christchurch
Our last couple of days were travelling north from Twizel to Christchurch, where we had a New Years Eve dinner invitation. We broke the trip with a night in a lovely little motel in Burke’s Pass run by the artist otherwise known as Julie (actually always known as Julie). In the middle of McKenzie country it was a welcome break before the last leg of the year back to Christchurch.
It felt a bit strange returning to the start of our trip, even though we were staying in a different place. We’d booked another Airbnb room up on the mountain overlooking the city and had been invited to celebrate New Years Eve with Pam and Peter our new hosts. A fabulous meal was followed by a few drinks, then a few more as we saw in the New Year New Zealand style. The weird thing was that as we all wished each other ‘Happy New Year for 2016’ it was actually only 11am back in England in 2015. Still haven’t got our heads around that.
A fabulous start to the new year with a day on Sumner Beach and we were off the following day to Kaikoura.
Kaikoura and a little bit of Luxury
Sometimes when we arrive at a location and meet our new hosts we immediately just click and get along like a house on fire, meeting Ruth and Brian in Kaikoura was exactly like that. So friendly and welcoming and a great home for a couple of days. Unfortunately the weather deteriorated so the amazing views from our bedroom were nowhere to be seen but that didn’t stop us getting out and about. Lovely town with loads of beautiful walks and some very up close and personal contact with a load of seals.
However, the highlight was when Ruth invited us to use their hot-tub. It was just so good to be sitting in the hot tub as the rain fell around us, drinking wine and beer, and completely chilling out.
Posh or what?
Last Stop Nelson
So on we go, the final stop on our epic tour would be Nelson in the north of the island. That’s where we’d lose our little car Notey and spend a final week in Thomas’s Airbnb before getting the ferry to the North Island. Tell you all about that next time.
Staying in Airbnb’s
Loads of people ask us if it’s strange staying in other peoples houses. We never know what our hosts will be like and only have a few photos to judge what the accommodation will actually be like. The few moments as we walk up a drive and knock on a strange door can give you butterflies but they are instantly gone as the door opens and you meet your new hosts. We love the fact that we have stayed in so many wonderful places with so many wonderful people, it really has been what our trip has been all about.
New Years Resolutions
Like everyone else we made a few resolutions, who knows if we’ll keep any of them. Both of us vowed to get back to our morning exercises after letting them lapse a bit. I need to get serious about the juggling. Jo says she wants to do more crafty stuff (?). And we both need to get back organised with our emails and keeping in touch with family and friends back home, Christmas messed us up a bit. No excuses though.
A massive thank you to everyone that has supported us and kept in regular contact whilst we’ve been away. I know it was our selfish decision to clear off to the other side of the world but it has made it so much easier with all of your amazing support. The blog comments especially are fabulous, nothing brightens our day more than a message from friends and family back home.
30.12.2015 – 3.1.2016