We explored this little route on our way up to do the NC500. The weather, forecast to rain all week was kind to us, and stayed dry, with a few sunny spells throughout the drive.
The route starts at Kielder Castle and finishes on the A68 near Otterburn, a few miles from the Scottish border. There is a small £3 levy, which you pay via a machine at the Kielder end. It only accepts change, although if you are caught short, the bike centre opposite were very accommodating in changing a note for us.
The Road Less Travelled: The Southern Scenic Route
This part of New Zealand is often missed off the itineraries of travellers, especially those who are pushed for time. The route runs from Queenstown, through Te Anau and onto Dunedin via Invercargill and Balclutha. Lured by the prospects of photogenic lighthouses, wind torn trees, penguins, and waterfalls we set aside a few days to explore this area. Continue reading
Having already been on several wildlife cruises in New Zealand already, we opted to take to the air in our search to see a whale. We booked a forty minute scenic plane ride with Air Kaikoura. On booking in, we were informed that it was a good day – there were several whales about, with the last trip seeing three! We boarded our plane with some other guests and got ready to start spotting from above! We all had headphones so we could listen to the pilot, in addition to the radio chatter. Continue reading
We had the opportunity to try something new whilst on the west coast of the south island; Knife making. This is something that Jenny and I have been interested in for a while. A good quality bushcraft knife can cost £100’s. There are lots of different styles of knife and we weren’t sure exactly what we were in for with the course, but it came highly rated. So we booked in a few months before we left. Incidentally this was our first ‘hard’ date. Up until this point we’d given ourselves plenty of flexibility to allow for buying a van. Continue reading
There are a few differences with buying vehicles than in the UK and it’s a pretty easy task, but with a few more steps.
Warrant of Fitness (WOF)
Vehicles in New Zealand must have a WOF. These are similar to Brits MOT, but less stringent. Typically these last for either 3 or 6 months, although on newer vehicles this is 12 months. A valid WOF does not mean the vehicle is in good running order, it just checks that it is “safe”. When you buy a vehicle, the WOF should have been completed within one month of the sale.
New Zealand has a pretty unique market for camper vans due to the number of visitors they have. There are big motor homes with all the equipment and room to sleep 6, right down to a 25yr old estate car with the seats folded down and it’s important to realise that these vehicles are there to suit the demand. There are families out there looking for comfortable travel with home comforts, there are backpackers trying to do everything as cheaply as possible and there’s a whole range in between. Also there are different types of camping available to different vehicles. In New Zealand you can’t just rock up and sleep anywhere anymore. Continue reading