We love it here.
It’s been a beautiful place to spend half of a year. If you’re at all inclined towards road trips, outdoor living, hiking, biking, skiing, bungee jumping, boating, SCUBA diving, beach days, winery tours, hunting, fishing, sailing, walking, kayaking, helicopters, gliding, sky diving, or just about any other sport you can think of, you are going to adore New Zealand.
The climate is fantastic, even in winter.
I have to say that we were a bit concerned about being in a camper through the coldest part of the winter, but it has not been a problem at all. There have been a few chilly nights, but they were good excuses to put on flannel PJs and an extra blanket. Something we were NOT doing in Southeast Asia! For anyone who’s used to a real northern winter, “winter” in NZ is lightweight. Don’t be afraid.
We’ve spent our last few days on Buckland’s Beach in the company of some old-new friends. Talon and Tigger of 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure, are a couple of guys that we’ve been virtual friends with for several years. We were so excited when we realized our paths would cross in Auckland for a few days before we head in opposite directions. Talon, generously, offered to do the pool portion of our younger boys’ SCUBA certification, which made them very happy, indeed. Ezra has been asking every day for a month how many days until we meet up with Tigger; they are almost the same age and cut from similar cloth! It’s been three days of boy fun: beach walks, tree climbs, mud between toes, Minecraft fests, hide-and-seek-a-thons, and lots and lots of eating. I’ve said it before: the people we meet are the very best part of our journey. These guys are the cherry on top.
And so, it comes to an end…
We checked into a hotel last night, The Airport Travel Air Motel, which we booked for $65 a night per room through Agoda and I was sure was going to be a dive. We pulled up and the exterior reinforced my belief. The good news is… it’s actually quite great! The kids have a room that sleeps four with a full kitchen (no oven) and a nice dining room table. We have a room a few doors down. They’re both completely remodeled, clean, and tastefully decorated, and no, they’re not paying us to say that, or giving us a free room, it’s just HARD to find good, cheap accommodation in New Zealand, especially in Auckland and near the airport, so I thought I’d share our find!
It seems funny to say that we’re downsizing from 156 sq. feet, but we are. Mucking out the camper, sorting and packing our lives back into our backpacks went far better than expected. I had an extra cup of tea in the morning and had a bottle of wine at the ready for when the job was done, but emergency measures were not needed. In fact, I’m happy to report that we are on the “light” side of full bags, which is always a good thing.
It is the morning of our last day. We’re going to spend it with friends and return the camper.