Posted by: savayla | January 10, 2010

Planning a Trip

When we were younger , and more fancy free , we never planned a trip, apart from the final destination.  We just threw in what we thought we may need, looked at the map the night before, and left.

I remember when Kyle and I were students in Grahamstown, South Africa.  We decided to go camping in Hogsback, an incredibly beautiful mountainous area 2 hours drive from us, where it snowed in winter.  We borrowed a one man tent, threw in a pot, a spoon, a fork , a sleeping bag and pillow and off we went.  Seriously !!!

It was a time of utter abandonment and joy.  As I sit here going back in time, my memory stops at a photo I took of Kyle running and up and down throwing a water bottle high up into the air.  No reason, just for fun and because we were young, in love, and free.  Need to try that again one day.  It was a fantastic weekend, we cooked our eggs and baked beans in one pot and shared it with our one spoon.

The next time we heard it was snowing in Hogsback, we once again threw some things into our car, including a two man tent, and headed off.  Skipping lectures of course.  We had not really thought this out as we were the only people in the camp site, surrounded by a forrest, and camped on the snow.  We loved it, as did our dog Turk.  Come night time though, and we got really, really cold.  We first tried putting newspaper down under our sleeping bags.  Nada.  Kyle has often been known to be a MacGuyver, so he calmly took the backseats out of the car, laid them in the tent and we were as warm as you could get.   Luckily for him and our future daughters, we told the park manager to only make the fire to heat the water for the showers in the ablution blocks, in one block as we would shower together.  It was only us there.  I always finish earlier than Kyle so watched him dress.  As he was pulling up his underpants I screamed for him to “STOP” !!  For once he listened.  There was a large scorpion sitting snugly in his underpants, about to unleash a reign of terror.  I am sure the men reading this can understand what I mean.

Ok, so my tangent is finished.  20 years later, thankfully 2 daughters minus the scorpion sting to the nether regions, and we are sitting in Langkawi, Malaysia, planning our two week camping trip in New Zealand.  I have learnt a few things about planning.

1.  Always buy the best camping sites book you can.  It really helps.

2.  Buy the EyeWitness books on that country or area.  They are worth their price and invaluable.

3.  A good map helps. Before you start your trip or arrive in the country.

4.  Don’t start your planning the way I did in the beginning !!!

EyeWitness New Zealand book

We want to camp down the East Coast of the North Island, ferry ourselves and the car over to the South, head down the East Coast again, and then make our way up the West Coast of the South Island, to Nelson where we have rented our house for 6-9 months.

We knew certain areas that we definitely wanted to go to, but this was not enough. I found myself using the camping book to find places to stay, and then looking at what we could do in that area.  Too soon I found that I was doing it arse about face.  I love that expression !!

The best way I found was to look through the Eyewitness book which is literally jam packed with photos and information on all areas.  I found some absolute gems and also discovered that although we thought we didn’t want to go to Rotorua, we actually did !!!  We are missing the whole Hawks Bay, Bay of Plenty side and going inland to spend time amongst the boiling mud pools, geysers, hot water pools, thermal activity of Rotorua and Taupo.  And man am I excited.  I was last in an area like this 14 years ago in Iceland.  It was truly awesome.  Another planet  which I want my girls and husband to experience.

So we now have our trip down pat.  But, we are not booking anywhere.  That adds stress to a trip.  We are not going in a high season time, and we want the freedom to chop and change when we feel like it.  The only part that has been booked is  our ferry trip from Wellington to Picton.

So, yes, we are not free flying, throwing pots into the boot and winging it, but with two kids, temperamental weather and a country which we want to truly experience , I think that planning is best.  As long as you are flexible to change , which we definitely are known for.   Ummm, plan number 2034 dad !!!

New Zealand Camping Guide, North and South



  1. Loved your Travelling letter.

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