Exploring New Zealand 1978- 2019

 For anyone joining this blog post series, I am on a roadtrip around NZ, while also working,presenting sessions (and training) on Office 365 and Microsoft Teams at the Digital Workplace Roadshow - perfect way to enjoy some work-life balance! See the related list of posts at the bottom. The blogs include my pics and travel stories, feedback from locals and a "Recharge" segment on something you will hopefully find inspirational 🙂 Enjoy! 

My first trip to the South Island was when I was 10. My parents took all three of us kids out of school for three weeks and the last week was the first week of the May school holidays. Four weeks of travelling the whole of the South Island!

We had a Holden Kingswood Station wagon 1974, which my dad modified by putting a massive big box on the top to keep all our stuff in! I am sure we looked (and no doubt acted) like the travelling hillbillies!

This was the iconic New Zealand ‘Roady’ at its best! We camped in places off the beaten track, and occasionally stayed in little campground cabins – this was a luxury for sure!

Given the tape deck was the best sounds, in remote NZ, where radio reception disappeared fast, we listened “over and over and over” to one soundtrack. We all knew every word, by time we returned. I recall songs like “Along Came Jones”, “Yakety Yak” and John Denver, Neil Diamond and “Its hard to be humble”.

….. Some folks say that I’m egotistical
Hell I don’t even know what that means
I guess it has something to do
With the way that I fill out my skin tight with jeans …

Oh Lord its hard to be humble..

Song by Mac Davis

Oh my goodness!

My memories are still very clear, perhaps because it left a lasting effect on me, or perhaps because, we were “forced” (well my brother would say that – I personally loved it) to write in a journal EVERY day. We then had to report back to school with a presentation (again I loved that part haha).

My writing, not only explored the history, and things we saw and encountered – but included savouring the dappled reflections of the trees on the roads, as we traveled, the quiet scenes of nature, magnificent views and winding roads, and stunning autumn leaves. In fact, most of my writing was “outside” of the things we did or places we visited.

I still have great memories of all the exploring also; eating pig trotters in a band rotunda (no wonder I gave up meat some 30 years ago!), panning for gold, learning about jade in Hokitika and watching glass be blown, seeing the tiny houses in the mining village of Twizel, seeing snow and standing in awe of the ice at the Fox Glacier entrance.

South Island Magnificence

I have done a few trips down to the South Island over the years, they have mainly been flying in and out of Christchurch, Dunedin, Nelson and Invercargill for work. My partner and I enjoyed an especially scenic trip Christchurch to Queentown in 2018, and recently my daughter and I took at week to explore Queenstown and Glenorchy in winter. (pics below).

It is always special, always magic, and always something new. An incredible part of our beautiful country and always worth the adventure.

Further to my Wanderlust Adventures post, and the subsequent posts as I travel around, I thought some maps, of where I am going might be good! This tour, covers multiple stages, with a few different people joining me.

Stage One – The North

This covered a few days trips from home town Tauranga (shown as Bethlehem) to cover the Roadshow events in Hamilton and Auckland.

The REAL adventure begins this weekend, in the campervan, with Layla. I begin my adventure first east to Hawkes Bay then South to Wellington.

Stage Two – Crossing to the South

After the Wellington event, I am joined by my most wonderful, husband-to-be, Stephen. We get to enjoy crossing the Cook Strait to Picton together and will treasure the time wandering across the top of part of the South Island, through what looks to be a couple of idyllic places – Havelock and Cable Bay.

We then arrive in Nelson, where Stephen returns back to work, and I do the Nelson event!

Stage Three – Down the East

I leave Nelson, to travel down the East coast, through the Malborough region, and stopping in Kaikoura. I then arrive in Christchurch in time for the Roadshow and more training there!

This quiet time is ear-marked for planning and strategy for 2020 , including a couple of online sessions to put the wheels in motion.

Stage Four – Continuing South

I am joined in this part, by a very good friend, Tracey. We will take our time, to see parts of Christchurch, out to Akaroa, before heading down through Oamaru to Dunedin. Good friendships cannot be underestimated and I know I will value the time where conversations are not rushed, and there is time to dream and strategise for 2020.

Stage Five – Time for reflection

The DWR ends in Invercargill and I have added a little extra time to go explore the lower South Island, up through Manopouri, Te Anau, and the beautiful Milford Sound – something I have wanted to do for AGES! My bestie – Maria (one of those lifetime, school friends of 35 plus years, who knows ALL my secrets haha – you know the one?) joins me for no doubt an insightful and inspirational journey through rain forests and waterfalls. So excited!

We then fly out of Christchurch – with Layla – potentially a nerve wracking experience (for Layla and me!), but hoping all will be fine, and Stephen will collect us and Layla from from baggage claim circuit!

Stage 6 – Back up the West Coast

After Xmas, Stephen and I fly back to Christchurch to create more of our own special memories. We tackle Arthurs pass, over to Hokitika, down the line to explore the glaciers before winding back up to Nelson.

A few people recommended Saint Arnaud, so we penciled that in as well! What a way to close out 2019 and bring in the New Year!

Any suggestions?

I would love all your tips and suggestions, for places to stop, in particular lovely walking spots (dog friendly a plus!), or photo spots not to be missed.

I am @debbieirelandnz on Instagram where most of the photos will go, if you want to follow along.

Blog Posts related to this adventure

6 thoughts on “Exploring New Zealand 1978- 2019

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  1. OOO Debbie girl…I love this…especially the keeping of a journal…I did the same as I was riding around with one of DAD’S long distance driver with a tractor-trailer all over the the west and north west of USA….I did it after my first stint at Disney of 2 yrs. Of course, I returned to Disney 2 other times for 12 years..I love my journal…I tried putting it into correct English and writing, but I have always kept it in the fragments and quick statements about my journey..It is FUNNER to read like it is. Be grateful and thankful that Bev and Dave sort of made you kids go…It was more educational than the weeks in school…DAD did that to me and younger sister when I was in 10th grade. The principal was not fond of it, but DAD told him, Tony will learn more the 2 weeks he’s gone than he will if he stays here in school..The principal frowned as we left his office and began my first trip to Florida…1967…..Nevertheless, HAVE A BLAST ON THIS TRIP….OF A LIFETIME…YEEEEEEE HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWW….I hope to follow this FANTASTIC trip….hi to HOOT next time you talk to her…

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