Today is day ten of Love Live Simples 30 Day Blogging Challenge, with The Best Trip of my Life.
Hands down I would have to say it was my most recent trip, just a few months ago over my New Years holiday.
Zombie and I hadn’t been out of town for a while and we were both desperate to get away. In November Zombie suggested that we hire a camper van and just drive. So that’s exactly what we did.
On the Monday morning we collected the camper as early as possible. It was the most basic one we could get, non powered, basically a mattress in the back of a van, but that’s all we wanted. We wanted to spend as little as possible on accommodation so that we could spend more on activities.
Quickly we took the van home, loaded it up with everything we had packed the night before and set off on our way. The plan? There was no plan. We knew we were going to the West Coast, but that was it.
The drive to the West Coast is approximately three hours, but it took us all day. We stopped often. We were in no hurry and wanted to see and do as much as possible. We stopped for anything that caught our eye, including stopping in Springfield to climb into the donut.
We spent the first night in Hokitika. There had been talk of getting to the West Coast and flipping a coin to decide if we went left or right but it was one of those rare occasions where we both knew what we wanted to do (we’re usually very indecisive) so we turned left.
The next day it rained. A lot. The West Coast is known for unpredictable weather, so we didn’t let this stop us. We drove around looking at all the attractions and driving through some amazing looking forests. We went for a walk to the Hokitika Gorge which is ridiculously beautiful. All of the photos on this post are no filter, including this one.
Later that day the rain cleared so we decided to do a treetop walk. Hokitika has a walkway that has been built 20 meters high, literally in the treetops. Zombie is scared of heights but he got through the whole track and even stopped to check out the breathtaking view. I was very proud.
The next two days were spent in Greymouth. We were both impressed by how much there was to do there. We went to Shantytown which is set up like an old gold mining town where we got to ride on a real steam train, dress up in old fashioned clothing and have out pictures taken with authentic looking backgrounds and we even panned for gold and got to keep it!
Next up was a tour of the Monteiths Brewery. I’m not a beer drinker, but Zombie is so it was right up his alley. The tour was interesting but the best part was getting to pour our own beer and getting another 3 free beers each on top of that. Zombie was rather happy by the end of it as I gave him most of my beers.
Day four was my favourite day by far. We left Greymouth early and headed up to the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. These are spectacular. If you go at the right time of day you can see the blowholes going nuts! We were a little early so we went for a walk through some nearby caves while we waited. It was worth the wait. This picture is sea water spouting out of one of the blowholes.
Next up was a short drive to Fox River. We went for a long leisurely walk down the riverbed, in the neighbouring bush and the nearby caves. We had no reception on our cellphones at all and it was incredibly liberating.
You are allowed to freedom camp at Fox River so we decided to do just that. We took some drinks down to the beach and were invited to join a group of people who had done the same. It turned out they were all strangers who had decided to have a drink together before heading to bed. We spent the night chatting, drinking and eating freshly gathered mussels all night with these strangers of all ages, from all over New Zealand and even an American couple. It was a really fun night.
The next day we slowly made our way back home, this time via Westport then through the Buller Gorge and the Lewis Pass. We found an old gold mine that we had a wander through, stopped several times to enjoy the sights and continue on our no rush holiday theme. I was sad to go home.
Having a holiday without a plan is amazing. I am lucky enough to live in an amazingly beautiful country where you can go from a busy city to a peaceful forest and river in a few short hours. And there is so much to do! We already have plans for another unplanned holiday next summer and I can’t wait.
Smiles and Sunshine