Retire in New ZealandSo eventually the time came and I was heading back to Taupo to pick up “The Fredrock Café” with my sister and her husband. It was a very exciting trip and when we arrived we were greeted by a very sad couple as they were parting with a dear friend. It was a great morning going over things and making sure I had all the bits and pieces written down.

Now it was time to head back with my new home. My brother-in-law was riding with me and my sister was driving my car back, following us in case anything went wrong. It was a frightening start as it was only the third time I had driven a vehicle of this size. The second was when I did my driving test to gain my Class 2 license.

It was good to have my brother-in-law with me, he is a very experienced driver and mechanic so he was able to ensure that my driving techniques were good. Once I started to relax and enjoy the drive, I realized that “Yup this was for me!”

So now I had three months of work left, and after talking to the big boss, I was allowed to stay on site in my bus for the days I was at work. The other days I was going to be out and about with my sister and her husband exploring the local area and ensuring that the bus was set up and working properly and that I had everything I needed.

Retire in New ZealandThere were a number of things that I wanted to do while I was on the road. I wanted to be able to catch fish for my dinner, and being able to get out on the water to catch them was important. So a kayak was a very important part of my gear. I am also a semi-keen mountain biker, not fast and furious but more the sightseeing, have a go type. So my mountain bike goes on the back. Also I wanted to walk and tramp a number of New Zealand’s famous walks and bike all the New Zealand Cycle Trails I could find. So tent, sleeping bag, cooker, pack, hydration systems etc all went on board the bus.

I started exploring the eastern Waikato and Bay of Plenty areas of the north island of this wonderful country making the most of my long weekends of 4 days. Visiting some awesome little spots most within a couple of hours of home base. We made use of Department of Conservation campsites, free self-contained parking spots and council reserves. There are a multitude of these scattered around the country and the average price is $6 per person per night.

New Zealand has a history of being clean, green and wonderful. I have to say that this is pretty true. The Lord of The Rings movie trilogy set New Zealand on the scenery map and it is a remarkable country. My ambition is to see as much of it as I can.
Once people knew that I was buying a motorhome and going to travel, without exception the response was “When are you going to the South Island?”

Retire in New ZealandFor those of you who have not been to New Zealand, it is made up of three main islands. Te Ika-a-Maui (the fish of Maui), or the North Island. Te Waipounamu (the waters of greenstone) or the South Island and Stuart Island, a small island at the bottom of the South Island. The topography of the main islands are completely different and those living in the north think that the scenery in the south is better and vice versa.

My response to the comments about heading south are “I haven’t seen all the north yet, and I haven’t fully explored my own backyard yet”. As we explored the Waikato and Bay of Plenty on our long weekends, it really hit home for me how much of the country you don’t see because you are travelling from point A to point B and seldom stop on the way. What we are missing out on are some wonderful spots with creeks, rivers, beaches, bush, mountains and landscapes.

New Zealand has a huge variety of landscapes, from alpine mountains, wetlands, beech forest, kauri forest, u shaped glacial valleys, coastal sand dunes, rugged vertical coastal cliff faces, clearest cleanest rivers and lakes, tidal mangrove flats, steep bush clad mountain ranges, deserts and rolling pasture. The weather ranges from hot and dry to cold and wet! We have a little bit of everything.

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