Sayonora, Dora

December 30th – Narrated by Alaina

How have 20 days passed so quickly? We have covered so much ground in that time and have loved every second (outside of Murchison). From us becoming comfortable driving on the left hand side, to our first camper road trip.
We look back to the first days driving in torrential rains and virtually every day, coming around a bend and being treated with a gorgeous snow capped mountain range. New Zealand has spoiled us.

 We thought it fitting that our final day consist of visiting Hanmer Springs. A local destination, Hanmer has natural hot pools and a variety of activities for families – including waterslides – insert Mike’s huge grin here. With such a long, stressful drive the night before, we were ready to be pampered and even splurged on our own private thermal pool room!

 We loved being able to jump from one hot pool to another and loved even more a funnel waterslide where we learned you get more rotation when your double raft is heavier. Let’s just say we had stellar rotation.

 Having to get back to Christchurch by four, we made our way to Dora for one last sandwich lunch in our “kitchen” and get on the road.

 Dropping Dora off was by far the saddest thing on this trip. We managed to drive approximately 3,250km, which is 2,020 miles. In layman’s terms, we drove from Kennebunk to Denver.

 While an old girl, she got us through the good, bad (Murchison) and ugly (my almost turning into the wrong lane and perhaps a little smooch to a fence while backing up). We ate, slept and drank in Dora and she was with us every step of the way. We can’t encourage this method of travel more. New Zealand is made for campers, for example:

The Jucy Wave/Flash: There are lots of Jucy’s (Dora’s or Javier’s – the bigger campers) on the road and similar to the Jeep wave, we had so much fun spotting the purple and lime green campers on the road and flashing our LIGHTS and waving. Although we began the trip wanting to start the Jucy Wave trend, we quickly learned that It is definitely already a thing. Either way, we felt like we were part of an exclusive club.

Hitchhikers: I so desperately wanted to pick someone up, but it never worked out with our timing. NZ is a safe place to pick people up and it also caters to backpackers with dozens of backing packing only facilities. It seemed like we saw hitchhikers with signs for Queenstown throughout our entire trip, except for when we were actually heading to Queenstown! Oh well, they probably wouldn’t have enjoyed being stuck in the back filled with our luggage & laundry anyway.

The Campground Experience: As you have probably noticed throughout our posts, some of our fondest memories from the trip were from the campgrounds themselves. Meeting people from around the world & sharing stories is definitely an important part of the overall experience. Add in the fact that almost all of the sites had showers & wifi, it wasn’t a bad way to travel!

Flexibility: Some of our other favorite experiences simply came from the fact that we could go wherever we wanted, whenever we wanted. See a fun swimming hole under a bridge? Pull over and go swimming! Hear about an awesome spot to find some seals? Take time to go see them up close & personal. See a sign for Clay Cliffs 14km away? Go drive out of your way to see if they’re worth it (and they are!). New Zealand is definitely a country that you have to drive to truly experience.

We pulled into Christchurch dreading what was ahead… Saying goodbye. We pulled into Jucy with a great sigh of relief that we were still alive and Dora was still intact, but it was really hard to pack up, empty her out and say goodbye. Dora contributed to an absolutely perfect 17 days (outside of Mike’s allergies and sand flies), and we will always be thankful.

 We arrived to our AirBnb location which was perfect for just sitting on a couch and vegging. We cooked dinner, did laundry (considering my pants were itching me on my left leg and I found a huge bug hanging out in there it was needed) and watched TV for the first time in weeks! It was also extremely convenient and located right near the airport for our early morning flight.

Until next time New Zealand. We fell so in love with you, we are already dreaming about visiting the North Island sooner than later! We’ll leave you with some partinn glamour shots of Dora so that you can get to know her as well as we did:


2 thoughts on “Sayonora, Dora

  1. Now you know why our trip has left such amazing memories. I can hardly wait for you to visit the Bay of Islands on the North Island and take the catamran through the mountain of rock in the middle of the Bay. Can I come along?

Comments are closed.