Throughout the year travel plans get thrown around, group chats grow, and imaginary journeys are constantly hatching. There’s nothing like being stuck in one place to get the feet itching and adventure gears moving. Combine that with a seemingly endless winter and by the time things started to warm up finally, it was the usual case; ideas galore and a bunch of mates frothing to get out and explore New Zealand.
With the Christmas festivities behind us, it’s become a tradition now to point the truck south and drive for as long as humanly possible to get uncrowded waves and amazing sights. The pull of the South Island is always a strong one, but this year we had other plans.
I mean, most of us have been living in the North Island all our lives and had never taken the time to get properly off the beaten track, which I’m the first to admit, sounds criminal once I put it down on paper. So to fix that, this year we decided that we wouldn’t be crossing the strait to our brother island. However, this didn’t stop us from pointing the truck south and driving until we found uncrowded waves – some traditions stay strong for good reason!
For the first leg south along the coast, there were a handful of friends wanting to get in on a short trip before reality kicked in again. The backbone of this trip was our trusty Land Rover, with enough Feldon Shelter Rooftop accommodation up top for the pair of us (plus a few extras), and our friend Scott’s Chevy van. The van has been in Scott’s life for a long time and was originally sourced as a home in Arizona whilst he spent the year in the desert for university.
Two years of travelling the States later, the decision was made to ship it back home to NZ. Possibly the two most unlikely road-going companions but together the unlikely duo would drag us around the island the best they could. Scott’s van is one thirsty American lass, and our truck likes to take it slow, so with us keeping the pace and the van taking it easy on gas, in the end, they turned out to be quite the match.
After a particularly interesting (read: big) swell lead us to the east of the island, we spent the first week enjoying the start of summer we had been waiting for.
The East Cape has a special micro-climate during the summer months, and it didn’t disappoint. Each morning we were greeted with clear skies and promising waves (if you’ve ever spent any time travelling NZ, you’ll know a long stint of the sun is something of a rarity). As the various friends started to head back north to the daily grind, our plan was to continue the slow duo’s chug south.
A series of long drives looming, and a diminishing swell outlook along the coast, had us sitting around the gas cooker thinking out loud about our options. Scott is a keen hiker, and with us being already half way down the island, the mountains to the west were calling.
I’m the first to admit that my road trip motivations are fuelled by waves and coastal living, so heading inland hadn’t come to mind, but with flat seas all around the mountains appeal seemed to grow, so off we went.
Head on over to our friends at Corona NZ to check out the full adventure Northward: http://www.corona.co.nz/2017/04/corona-journey-no-45-long-road-north/