We are sadly back from our fantastic holiday in New Zealand, the beautiful land of the long white cloud. An amazing nine days! We drove all around the south island (Te Waipounamu), did some hiking, ate loads and made the most of the spectacular and biodiverse scenery for which New Zealand is famous: snow peaked mountains, glaciers, farmlands, wine districts and lakes. It is hard not to be impressed. And we managed not to kill each other, sharing a two person camper.
We hired a self-contained “freedom” campervan, complete with bed, shower, toilet, kitchen and heater. I was unsure how we would go with the camper, but it seemed a good time as any to try it out. I also downloaded the Rankers NZ camping app, which has reviews and a handy offline map and GPS, for easy location of approved camper-friendly sites which was perfect (and avoided driving around in the middle of the night looking for somewhere to camp).
The camper was a success! We loved it. Perhaps we are destined to be grey nomads. In any event, it is great being able to arrange your transport and accommodation in one hit, and not have to worry about returning to your hotel if you are exploring or change your plans (which frequently happens to us). Plus, it has the additional advantages of being able to cook en route, and camp close by to some amazing natural scenery. We had a couple of mornings where we arrived late at night, and woke up in the morning to sights such as this…
We definitely made the most of the camper’s unlimited kilometres during our trip, covering a good two thirds of the island. We flew into Christchurch and drove up the East Coast, via Kaikoura where we met this guy along the side of the road:
… before heading up to Blenheim to sample some local wines, then across into Nelson National Park. We cut back to Hanmer Springs, and then across through the beautiful Lewis Pass to the West Coast. After visiting the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers, we continued down to the stunningly beautiful Haast Pass into Otago, where we explored for a couple of days: Queenstown, Glenorchy, the Remarkables, Jack’s Point, Coronet Peak and part of the Routeburn Track. We finished by scooting up past Lake Tekapo for some hot springs and then back into Christchurch. We were fortunate that it was off season in the South Island (other than at the ski slopes) so we pretty much had the place to ourselves at times – which is great, if you don’t mind a bit of cold.
Apologies for so many photos, but everything was just so beautiful!
While we were travelling, I managed to get a nasty cold, which I am putting down to a combination of change in climate, the cold weather, and not eating as many fruit and vegetables as usual. For the past year or two, almost every day I make a green smoothie with our muesli for breakfast. I make the smoothie from whatever combination of fruits are in season, but it usually involves banana and kale. During summer, berries and mangoes (oh, mangoes, its almost time again!), and during autumn and winter, kiwifruit. Kiwifruit is high in vitamin C, so what better way to ward off a winter cold, combined with some strawberries, ginger and mint. Although this fruit is not native to New Zealand (it is native to China), it has become associated with the country so I thought it was appropriate to include in today’s NZ themed post! Pity we didn’t see any kiwi birds. The kiwi green smoothie is very quick and easy to make, and serves 2.
- 1-2 kiwifruits (we leave the skin on for extra vitamins)
- 1 banana (use a frozen banana in summer for an icy cold smoothie)
- 5-6 strawberries
- 1-2 leaves of kale
- 1 tablespoon linseed (flax seeds)
- 1 sprig of mint
- A small piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- 1-1.5 cups of water
- Wash the fruit and add it to a high speed blender (I use an Omniblend). De-stalk the kale, and add its leaves, the mint, ginger and the linseeds to the fruit in the blender. Add 1 to 1.5 cups of water (depending on how thick you like your smoothie) and blitz for 30-60 seconds on high until it is smooth and frothy.