Life in Our Campervan
Milford Sound, New Zealand - (map)
For those of you who were wondering what it's like to rent a campervan and drive all over New Zealand, I thought I'd write a description of a typical day in "Life in Our Campervan."
You fall into a rhythm when you cruise New Zealand in a campervan. Rising early in the morning to frost, we are thankful for the van's heater. Tim, of course, immediately makes thick, black coffee in the coffee press. (Until his first cup of coffee he is not fully human.) We take turns showering in our miniscule shower, then convert our bed into a table and eat a simple breakfast of hot cereal. As we prepare for the day, we often bump into each other while contorting our bodies to share the small space.
Once we hit the road we enjoy a feast for our eyes. The scenery displays spectacular views of rolling green pastures, quaint small towns, and lakes reflecting snow-capped mountains.
While Tim drives I navigate and I am also in charge of reminding him to drive on the right side of the road. Luckily I don't have to remind him often!
We never have problems with bad traffic, frequently driving for hours and seeing few cars. Then we will round a corner and be confronted with hundreds of sheep in the road. We sit and wait patiently until they clear.
Often we drive 5 hours a day, stopping to hike, browse shops or eat lunch. Tim always has coffee, Diet Coke and gum on hand to keep him alert.
On this day we leave Queenstown in the rain and head to Milford Sound, a four hour drive to the fiord. Along the way we see lakes, waterfalls, beech forest, rugged mountains and go through a mountain via a long tunnel. When we get to the other side of the mountain it's snowing. All along the way there are signs not to stop because of potential avalanches.
Milford Sound is one of New Zealand's most popular tourist destinations. Rain is not unusual here. It rains almost 6 meters a year! But on this day it was cold and heavy snow is predicted. So instead of getting stuck in this remote area we decide to drive back across the mountain pass after taking a few pictures.
Towards evening we park at a campervan park (they are all over New Zealand), hook up our electricity, and make a delicious dinner on our tiny stove.
We have grown quite attached to the campervan...kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room, and transportation all in one!