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Inspiration 1 - New Zealand

Travelling the islands, and contact with RVing.

Boy were we lucky. A 7-month tour of Asia, a year before the pandemic hit. Our travels led us from Buenos Aires towards Asia, via New Zealand. A place we always heard was beautiful and wanted to visit.

North Island

On our way, we visited the gorgeous North Island of New Zealand, and planned to do the South Island on the way back.


Kia ora is how they say hello there, it means "have life" or "be well/healthy" in Māori.

Although everyone speaks English there is also a strong Māori presence, both in the language/names of places and in the population… a race of people built big, stocky and dark like some of the All Blacks! It's nice to see that traditions are maintained and everyone lives together peacefully.

Beauty and order

Auckland has clean streets, stately old buildings, shiny modern skyscrapers, shops and small parks in a hilly landscape. We explored different neighbourhoods near the harbour for a few hours, and then decided we were off into nature.

The weather was even crazier than London's. It was mainly sunny and warm but suddenly a bank of grey cloud would sweep in and the sky went dark and then it was raining cats and dogs for a while, becoming cold and windy... and then the sky cleared and the sun was out again! This cycle repeated several times a day! Spring was arriving, there were lots of beautiful bushes with flowers around the town and in people's tidy gardens.

Meet your RV

The plan was to hire a van with a mini kitchen in it and drive around exploring the Northern Island for a week or two, it seemed to be a very common practice there, with different kinds of campsites available and public toilets all over the country!

We met a young German couple in the hostel who had recently finished school and they were going to buy an old van and spend eight months driving around and then resell it. Lots of similar stories with young people especially.

Once we got it, we headed to a nearby peninsula where Captain Cook the famous explorer first landed.

Our rented Hiace for the fortnight

It was very green and there were a lot of farms and many small coastal towns. New Zealanders seem to be very conscious of protecting the environment, there are strict laws on what you can and can't do with vehicles, campsites, waste disposal, electricity saving etc. and you get fined if you break them. In one place we camped for the night it even suggested saving water by showering once every two days instead of every day!

Arriving late at this campsite, we let ourselves in by putting some money in a box outside the beautifully lit, albeit closed office. Trust is inspiring.
The islands aren't that large, and it is amazing how the scenery changes with just a few kilometers drive.

Retreat centers

We stumbled across a Tibetan Buddhist retreat centre where they welcomed us to stay the night. It was a very clear night with lots of stars and a big crescent moon shining above the hills and trees.

Buddhist retreat center in Coromandel

We liked it so much that we then searched other retreat centers to visit.

Tiny detail in the gardens of Te Moata

The care with which the centers were kept was exceptional.

Inspiring in many ways, especially for us since we had a similar project back home.

Another gorgeous spot on the north island


The North Island got us thinking...


We were off to Asia for a few months, but were so happy to know that the return path was leading us back to New Zealand, and a few months later we visited...

South Island

Our main activity in South Island on our way back home was a few days volunteering in two different places, interspersed with some travelling.

The view from our first home was spectacular

This time, instead of spending so much renting a van, we decided to actually buy a car. Yep, to own a car for less than a month! Coming from a country where buying a car could take months of paperwork alone, this seemed impossible, but in New Zealand we could buy or sell a car in a matter of hours. And so we got our own wheels...

The Odissey (1999)

Two young Italians had travelled in it for 6 months and were ready to go home. We crossed paths on this small planet, and snatched a 1999 Honda Odissey from them for a few printed papers with faces on them. And then proceeded to spending many hours of elbow grease in a car wash to get it nice and clean!

Ok, so the other RV's are bigger, but we were so happy and free to roam the island! It came with a tent for 3 and cooking equipment as well!
What amazing spots the South Island has. This is probably the southernmost tip.

One of the volunteering jobs was in Te Anau, near Milford Sound. The proprietors and managers were terrific and not only took us out sailing but also got a boat trip on the Sound for us. Which was mind-blowing! Or should I say hair-raising?

Off to visit Milford Sound
An incredible world famous spot for its fjords
Just breathtaking scenery all along. Some years later I recognised this view in the movie Willow.
Kayaks included!

We continued on our way and visited other amazing sites. Parts of Lord of the Rings were also shot in this area.

Can you guess where we are here?

. . .

It was in the middle of a walk along one of the many beautiful forests.

A tree caught my attention, and I asked the ladies to close their eyes and follow my lead into a secret place...

And then... open their eyes...

An incredible experience, being inside a tree!

Now and again we just needed to latin things up a bit...

End of day. Returning home on our faithful ship.
Bottom line: you will find the most beautiful and varied countryside in New Zealand.

See you on our next adventure: Indonesia.

Just some nice little pics to intrigue you...