Weekend getaway: Lake Te Anau

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Situated on the west coast, within Fiordland National Park, Lake Te Anau is a part of the travel itinerary of every wanderer here in New Zealand. This small town, with a population of only 2000, is a starting point for three New Zealand Great Walks (Milford Track, Kepler Track and Routeburn Track) and it is the last town on the route to one of the most famous sights – Milford Sound.

Town centre is nice but there’s nothing much to do and that’s why this is the place where travellers come to spend more time in nature, walking and exploring. For us, perfect weekend getaway.

As I already told you, weather conditions on the South Island this summer weren’t great for camping but we decided to give it a go and it was awesome! Finally we had the chance to sleep under the stars…

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Lake Te Anau is the largest lake on the South Island and second largest by surface area in New Zealand (Lake Taupo is the largest).

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One more place to check out while you are in town is Ivon Wilson Park, land planted with native trees with a beautiful small lake in the centre. Perfect picnic spot!

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Lake Henry in Ivon Wilson Park

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Quick stop at the Lake Mistletoe

This is one of the reasons why I love to live in New Zealand. You don’t have to go far away to find gorgeous spots. They are always just around the corner…

 

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Little heaven called Ambury Park

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Spring is finally here! Days are longer, temperatures are higher, grass is greener and people are somehow happier. I really love this time of the year here in New Zealand especially because the camping season is just around the corner and I can’t wait to find another perfect spot for my tent.

While we are waiting for those long weekends we decided to spend Sunday in one of the Aucklands regional parks. Ambury Park is just half hour drive from our house and I don’t know how I didn’t discover it sooner! Part of this park is a working farm where everyone is welcome and everyone can wander around and mingle with the animals, part is a heaven for the birdwatchers because here is identified more than 86 species of birds, part is a huge picnic area where we enjoyed our first days of spring and part is the camping area where my tent will also find its place, just down there near the sea.

This day made me so happy. And who wouldn’t be happy here, in this little heaven called Ambury…

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This was just the beginning!

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It’s been more than a year since we arrived on the other side of the magnificent globe! Now I can say that working holiday in New Zealand was the dream that came true. Even though we came to this island without any strict plans somehow I knew that we will love it here. A bit more than a year after we landed, on the land of the long white cloud, we manage to extend our stay for three more years. Can you believe that!? There’s so much more to do and now with no rush I can plan our next travel steps…

Really good first year is behind us and no one knows what will be in the near future. But, that’s what makes life even more exciting, isn’t it? Seems that decision to quit the job back home, to pack the bags and to come here was just the beginning of the one in a life time adventure that will last hmmm….who knows for how long! If someone told me two years ago that I will live in New Zealand I would probably say “yeah right”. But here I’m, enjoying every second with the great people in this beautiful country.

Here are the travel highlights from the first 365 days. Time is flying so fast, feels like we arrived a few days ago…

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First morning looked like this….

In New Zealand we dicovered house sitting and our first few months here definitely belong to the best furry friends ever that we took care of!

There’s no place in the Auckland City that we didn’t explore…

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Our steps now can be found on the beaches all around North Island.

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Sun woke us up so many times in the past year…

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Enjoying summer in December is really wierd but it is also very easy to get used to it!

 

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Wandering through the bush….

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…around the islands….

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…and across so many bridges…

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…with the great people by our side…

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…made our first year in New Zealand unforgettable!!

I can’t even describe you how excited I’m about what is yet to come….

Stay tuned!!

Just got back from Tauranga!

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Not so long ago our friends from Croatia also arrived on the Working Holiday in New Zealand. If someone told us a year ago that we will spend the summer on the other side of the globe together we wouldn’t believe it. But here we are and it’s good to have someone from back home around here!

As we already opened our camping season now we are trying to be in the nature as much as we can. This time as a destination for sleeping under the stars we chose Tauranga, town on the east coast in the region called Bay of Plenty. It is unbelievable how beautiful this country is. I’m still not used to that on every corner you can stop to check out some great spots. First stop on our way to the southeast were Hanua Falls.

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It is very easy to find the falls in New Zealand, they are all over the place! And I was just thinking, is there a better place to relax, make some coffee and just enjoy in the sound of the water? That is what I like the most about camping – you can stop wherever you want whenever you want, choose the small piece of the meadow and make it yours for a while. That was our next step, Owharoa Falls.

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If you are going to travel around this part of New Zealand a great place to spend the night is Mclaren Falls Park. Camping area is huge so you can come here with a tent or camper. Very nice thing about this park is that here you can find a few walking trails. If you will wander during the night around the Waterfall Track you can even spot the glow worms. Beautiful nature, all facilities that you might need for 10$ pp make this camp a perfect place to stay.

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You can never tell what will be the weather around here so it can be hard to plan outdoors activities if you are going to rely on the weather forecast. We had a bit of everything. Rainy morning, hot sunny day, chilly windy evening, and you know what? It was perfect!

 

Under the stars and near the sea: Camping in the Far North

Are you for a bit of wandering around the Far North? Let me take you on a trip! Last weekend was the perfect opportunity to open the camping season. We had a few days off, tent was ready, weather forecast wasn’t so good but, of course, it didn’t stop us.

Our first stop was Whangarei, nice town hundred and something kilometers from Auckland. Here we spent our first night under the stars, it just reminded me how much I love camping! There’s a few free camping spots but even if you need to pay for it, it is really cheap, under 10$. To make your traveling a bit easier you can find all the information about the camping spots via the free travel app called CamperMate.

It was pretty obvious that while visiting New Zealand spending time outdoors, surrounded with the magnificent nature, will be our favorite thing to do, so it was during this short trip too. While walking through the woods, over the bridge all the way to the Whangarei Falls the only thing we could hear was the song from the birds, sound of the water and rustle of the leaves under the feet. It was the best music ever…

Our second day on the road was the day when the rain didn’t stop for a minute. We are almost five months in NZ and it never rained that much 🙂 After a few hours of driving we arrived to our next stop for the night. Camping area just under the Cape Reinga is one of the most beautiful camping spots I’ve ever seen. Sun rays and the rhythm of the ocean woke us up in the morning. We couldn’t ask for more…

Tapotupotu Campsite, Tapotupotu Bay

Cape Reinga is the place from where the big number of adventurers start their Te Araroa venture, 3000 km long walking trail that goes from here all the way to the Bluff in the South. At this point the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean and you can really see the swirl of currents. It was a great feeling to stay there, at the end, where the only thing you see is the huge blue vastness. This cape is not quite the northernmost point of New Zealand, Northern Cape has that title but it is not open for the public so we couldn’t go there.

Sand-boarding on the Te Paki Sand Dunes was something that we really wanted to try and this was the perfect chance to do it because those giant piles of sand are close to the Cape Reinga! You can’t even imagine how huge those dunes are, it was like in the middle of Sahara. You can bring you own board or you can rent it for 10$/hour. Ohhh we enjoyed it so much! It is a bit hard to climb up to the top of the dunes but when you slide down you just have to climb up and do it again!

Last stop before heading back home was the Ninety Mile Beach. Beaches in New Zealand are really something special and I’m telling you, this one looks like it doesn’t have the end! It is actually “just” 55 miles long and it is officially a highway but it is suitable only for 4W vehicles. One day I’ll definitely take a ride but this time happy jump on it is more than enough…

Road trippin’ North Island (part II)

After first three days on the road and all the beautiful nature around us we wanted more! We didn’t really have planned what we want to do and where we want to go because it is definitely more exciting to plan while you are on the move. After Coromandel, Rotorua and Taupo I took the map to see where to next! It is easy to travel like that when you have a car and our campervan was a perfect choice for the trip like this one. We rented it in one of the chepaest rentals here and it completely met our expectations!

When you have the equipment like this one in you trunk you can go to the end of the world!

So, our next stop was Cape Kidnappers, the home of the largest gannet colony in the world and I have to say: that huge sandstone looks really fascinating! You can’t get to the cape by car but of course there are other ways. You can take a helicopter, ride the tractor along the beach or you can walk from Clifton. It is eight kilometers long walk and it is possible to complete it only if you start at the right time. Before you go check the low tide times and make sure to have enough time to do the return walk. And what about the name of this cape? As captain Cook’s journal says in 1769. Maori wanted to kidnap Tiata, servant of a member of captains’ Cook’s crew. He was in the water when a Maori dragged him on their fishing boat but Cook’s sailors opened the fire and Tiata manage to escape. There it is, that is why today we have the place called Cape Kidnappers!

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On the next day we continued our ride to Wellington. On the way to the south we stop in Manawatu Gorge and went for a walk. It is really nice place where you can enjoy in the native bush and in the views of the river, reserve or windfarms. This track is situated east of the Palmerston North, it is on the SH 3, you can’t miss it!

In the end we arrived to Wellington, colorful small coastal city and we loved it! Finally we know why it is called “the coolest little capital in the world” and we totally agree with that nickname!

Food market is definitely great place to eat something delicious. Here you can find the food from all over the world.

While we were there we didn’t want to miss the chance to visit the seal colony at the Owhiro Bay. At the end of the 40 minutes long walk, to the Red Rocks, colony of around 150 seals are waiting for you. This rocks are formed by undersea volcanic eruptions and obviously make a perfect home for this cute creatures. Oh, what a perfect way to finish a road trip, isn’t it?