Travel and World-Schoolingj

Our 6-7 month trip is coming to an end, and we have had the most amazing time! Lots of ups and downs, lots of last minute plan changes and we have all grown so close.

We have all learnt so much as a family and as individuals, and we are very grateful to be able to experience everything that we have, we feel very lucky.

Here are some things that me and Glen have learnt:

  1. Never plan ahead just take each day as it comes
  2. Possessions are not important
  3. Life is for living and loving
  4. You only live once
  5. Take risks
  6. It’s important to say “I love you” everyday
  7. Surround yourself with people who are happy and smile alot
  8. People can be incredibly generous
  9. Animal therapy is an actual thing, and cuddling a dog, cat, rabbit or petting a horse will make you happy
  10. It’s always best just to laugh at everything that goes wrong (especially if you break a bed in a lovely hotel)
  11. You will never get 1 minute to yourself when travelling with your children
  12. You can love and hate your children at the same time
  13. Our girls are more demanding and strong willed than we realised, and could probably run for prime-mister one day.
  14. You can teach maths pretty much anywhere everyday, using sugar sachets, counting objects under water, and lift buttons
  15. There is never a “language barrier” when you are a pro at charades….
  16. ….And you have google translate
  17. will take your money regardless if you like your hotel or not
  18. Americans’ and Thais’ are the happiest people we have met on our travels
  19. Baths, dressing gowns and Yorkshire puddings are missed everyday (by Gemma)
  20. Glen has learnt how to play the ukulele
  21. The girls are now ready to settle somewhere for a while

What Ellie and Maisie have Learnt:

  1. To swim like mermaids
  2. They have both learnt how to belly surf and now they want to learn to do real surfing
  3. Both learnt how to horse ride
  4. Leant how to fish, gut and cook a fish
  5. How to feed a baby goat
  6. How to make friends and play with children from all over the world with out worrying about language. They have friends from China, India, Thailand, Japan, France, Russia, Netherlands, Germany, America, Fiji, New Zealand….
  7. How to say hello, goodbye and thank you in many languages
  8. How to get used to change and constant moving around, nothing fazes them now!
  9. How to pose for photos around 5 times a day for Indians, Thais And Chinese as they love their skin and hair colour!
  10. Learnt how to say goodbye without getting upset
  11. How to get used to only having a small bag of cheap 7-11 plastic toys
  12. Both can now walk for 3-4 miles with out complaining
  13. Both have tried new foods and realised they like new things
  14. Both of them are a lot closer as sisters than they were before we left
  15. Both of them want cats, dogs, rabbits, horses as pets, they have a list…
  16. Academic Lessons America– History, Cowboys, Tectonic Plates and mountains, astronomy, weather, wildlife, art, music
  17. Academic Lessons New Zealand– earth quakes, tectonic plates, and Thermal activity, wildlife, the sun and the moon
  18. Academic Lessons Thailand– Language, friendships, religion, culture, cooking and food, swimming,
  19. I’m sure they have learnt so much more than this list!

But now it’s time for a new adventure, in a new country with a different language that we have been practicing as much as we can!

Keep reading our blogs to find out what we are doing next!

Love Gem, Glen, Ellie and Maisie


1. Freedom camping is now illegal in most towns.

We only discovered this once we arrived in New Zealand, we were under the impression that it was the best place in the world for camping- but we were wrong! Unfortunately many other campers have abused the system in the past by littering and dumping anywhere and damaging their beautiful scenery. So now most “Freedom” camps are closed for good, and many signs are up saying no freedom camping.

2. Locals call Motorhome’s “Road Maggots”

Especially in the South driving in our 7.5 metre campers,we didn’t feel welcomed! We learnt that our nickname is “Road Maggots” that just get in their way on the roads; we had many cars and lorry’s tailgating us, forcing Glen to pull over to let them past. Parking can be a struggle in smaller towns if you have a larger Motorhome leave earlier, or plan your trip accordingly.

3. South Island is less welcoming to campers compared to the North.

We haven’t worked out why this is yet, and maybe we will never know but just we didn’t feel liked in the South Island.

4. Camping in New Zealand is harder than camping in USA.

I know we are comparing two completely different countries here, but our travels in a Motorhome in USA was a lot easier than our trip around New Zealand. USA is fully equipped with dump stations every few miles, where New Zealand has a dump station every 50-60 miles if your lucky. Americans sell their homes, and buy massive RVs to travel in around their own country. So locals in USA are more welcoming to travellers, and you can meet a lot more locals on the road compared to New Zeland.

Our trip around New Zealand was amazing, but I feel we would of learnt a lot more about NZ and it’s culture if we travelled by car and stayed in hotels.

5. All your camper friends will be European or Asian.

Get your language book out, as you might struggle making friends around the campsites! We didn’t meet many New Zealander’s during our travels, or English speaking families. Our children had a fantastic time and learnt a lot from foreign children which I am extremely grateful for. Ellie got her pen and pad out most days, going off to teach all the children English!

6. New Zealander’s don’t wear shoes.

I googled this as I wasn’t sure why New Zealander’s don’t wear shoes- they walk barefoot in the supermarket, shops and streets! Here what I found:

“Culture: In Maori culture, going barefoot means that you connect with nature. A wharenui (meeting house) in a marae (Maori meeting place) is considered a tapu (sacred) place. Wearing shoes inside a wharenui is an act of desecration to the tapu of the wharenui. Our Maori heritage is important and meaningful to all of us.”

More info click HERE

7. Rotorua and many other towns have Maori gangs, that wear different colours.

I am not joking, and I only found this out when another New Zealander couldn’t believe I survived a grocery shop called Pak ‘n’ Save, Rotorua! I just felt like I was in Pitsea Essex nothing different for me!

“FOR a quiet country, New Zealand has a peculiar problem with gangs. It is reckoned to have one of the highest membership rates in the world. In a population of 4.7m, police count over 5,300 mobsters or “prospects” who are angling to join.

More info click HERE

8. You will drive though sheep and clouds for miles in the South Island.

This is quite an experience as you are literally driving in the clouds all the time while you are in the South Island everything looks so beautiful! I have never seen so many sheep in one space before, all dotted up the hills for miles…

9. …And then without warning you will see the most fascinating views.

This is the best part about New Zealand, the huge contrast between green lush fields, and rugged mountains. And it creeps up on you without warning, giving you a wonderful surprise! Even in the North Island you’ll be driving through sheep and fields, and little do you know that over the hill is the most pristine beach you have ever seen! The two don’t usually go together, but in New Zealand two contrasting landscapes stand side by side as one.

10. New Zealand sits on a tectonic plate Fault line.

This is what freaked us out the most about New Zealand- the many “Fault Lines” it has causing all the geothermic activity and many earth quakes. The biggest fault is the East Coast of the North Island, where the Australian Tectonic plate pushes under the Pacific Plate- rather than how they should be- side by side. At the moment there are predictions of a Tsunami anytime soon! Read more HERE


11. There are no Land Animals in New Zealand

I still can’t get my head around this to why there isn’t any land animals here, there are many birds, some of which can not fly but nothing else! I do wonder weather all the geothermal activity and the fault lines have scared them all off!

12. Top 10 Campsites are the best

Top 10 are fully equipped campsites, with full hookups, hot showers, kids playground, other children for our children to meet and play with. Yes I know these cost a few more $ than some of the DOC Sites, but for us Top 10 has been a god send! Nothing like a hot shower, a little bit of WiFi for blog writing and Netflix when the kids are asleep! Click HERE to see their website.



New Zealand

South Island Road Trip in a 6 Berth Campervan with Kids

We are a family of 4 from the UK Travelling the world, this is our second road trip of our travels and we are in New Zealand; We flew in to Christchurch after a wonderful time in Fiji! We picked up our Maui 6 berth motorhome from the airport, and set off to explore the South Island. For those of you reading from the UK, you will feel like you are still in the UK until you are atleast South West of the Island, and it’s a very strange experience especially if you are in a little day dream and forget where you are!

We have shared our 21 day South Island Road Trip in this travel blog in hope that it will help others who are trying to put together a road trip plan, I have included as much detail as possible, and everything listed below is suitable for families.

All campsites mentioned can be found on an app we recommend you download called CamperMate, and most of our day trips we used for last minute discounts – I have also added approx. driving hours.

A lot of our ideas have come from other bloggers talking about their experiences, so please if you have any other information about the South Island of New Zealand for Motorhomes and campers please comment on this blog.


Night one – Spencer Beach Holiday Park Lots of open space, park and bounce pillow for kids

Night two – Fifield Driveway $12  Large quiet driveway perfect spot for a good nights sleep

What to see and do in Christchurch

This was a quick stay for us to get our bearings after a long flight but we went to:

The Antarctic Centre $149 for a family but we received 30% off from a tourist Magazine

We had the best day here! Had a shivering experience in the Storm Room, cuddled beautiful Husky Dogs, had the most thrilling ride in a Hägglund which we didn’t expect to be such fun! And we finished the day watching a 4D movie! Absolutely perfect and highly recommended.

New Brighton

If you fancy a long stroll along the beach with an icecream, watching the huge waves and surfers this is perfect for you! If you walk along the peir to the end you will also see people fishing have a nose in their bucket to see what they have caught for their dinner!



Night one – The Oval FREE This carpark does get busy, but it is next to a large playing field and a pub Incase you don’t want to cook, and you fancy a bite to eat.

Night two – Cairnlea by the Sea $25 Driveway stay plus Pony ride for an extra $10 We highly recommend this “Driveway” stop! The host is super friendly, welcoming and her home is absolutely beautiful! If you pay an extra $10 she will take you on the most magical horse ride you have ever been on! the beach was out of this world, I thought I was in heaven absolutely stunning.

What to see and do in Dunedin

Otago MuseumDiscounts on Bookme

We absolutely loved this museum! So many activities for the kid, and highly educational especially if you are home schooling. After trying out all the science experiments, don’t forget to pop into the butterfly house at 11am to watch the release of new butterflies. The new butterflies have not had a chance to spread their wings yet so you will be able to hold them for a while! Beautiful experience for the kids.

Otago PerunsulaFREE

This drive is very tight and winding road but highly recommend as the views are spectacular – we managed it with our 7.2 meter motorhome.



One Night: Purakaunui Bay Campsite – DOC Site – $20 2 adults 1 child 1 infant – We highly recommend this campsite, I can not stress enough how spectacular it is! The sunset and sunrise are magical, set up your chair and watch every single colour graduating across the sky! We were lucky enough to get close to Sea Lions too, and we were able to watched them fight and flirt with each other. Purakauni Bay Campsite has to be on your wish list! Tips before you go: No wifi, pay by cash only, long road driving in just keep going!

What to see and do in The Catlins

Nugget Bay LighthouseFREE

This is a must see, beautiful 800 metre walk up hill to the lighthouse, the views are amazing.

Sea Lions at Purakaunui Bay Campsite- FREE

Sunset and Sunrise at Purakaunui Bay Campsite – FREE



Three nights:

Queenstown Top10become a member for $13 to receive discounts on other campsites

What to see and do in Queenstown

 Skyline Gondala Rides and LugesDiscounts on Bookme

We booked this for Easter so our kids, they loved hunting for eggs at the top of the Gondala and after the hunt we made our way down to the Luges. Luges are go-karts that you pull a handle midway to release and drive down hill, and pull pack to break! The track is just like a go-kart track, but uses gravity – so can go quite fast (there are two to choose from depending on how brave you are) We doubled up so we had a child each, there were younger children riding themselves but I didn’t feel comfortable with this, especially with how fast others go. (I could just about control the luge myself!) Once your up in the Skyline you can also choose from Parachute jumps, bungee jumps for the adrenaline junkies!

All In all we would highly recommend Skyline!

Arrowtown Bike hire from Arrowtown Bike Hire

Arrowtown is absolutely beautiful especially if you are travelling in Autumn, as the trees in and around the town are turning beautiful reds, browns and yellows. You can park your camper for free, walk into the village and grab yourself a full breakfast from wonderful English cottage pub food is amazing. After breakfast cross the road to the bike hire shop and they will get you ready for your bike ride! The track you ride on is 16 kilometres towards a winery – its upto you if you have the energy to bike that far! We made it as far as the Southern Discoveries Bridge which isn’t far at all! BUT we had Ellie aged 8 riding with Glen on a tandem bike and Maisie aged 4 in a trailer on the back of my bike! Which was HARD WORK, we decided to take the road way back rather than go back up the hill! We were out for around 2.5 hours altogether which for us was just enough.

If you decide to go on a bike ride from Arrowtown book on the Arrowtown Bike Hire link above – if you have joined Top10 you will receive 10% off.

Arrowtown information:




Two nights:

Knobs Flats Campsite $20pp £10 Child we recommend this campsite if you are wanting a good priced campsite to book rather than hoping there is space at one of the DOC campsites – our boat trip was at 3pm so didn’t want to risk not having somewhere to stay late at night.

What to see and do in Milford Sound

Mirror Lakes – FREE

Lake Marian – FREE

Milford Sound Juicy Boat Trip $90 (2 adults 1 child 1 infant) – Bookme for discounts

This was one magical trip and the drive to Milford Sound is probably the most unique experience of all; as you will drive for hours through fields, and all of a sudden the landscape changes without warning! You will be driving in the clouds looking at huge Beautifull mountains and lakes and there will be plenty of places that you will want to stop and say WOW! We decided to drive to Milford a day before our boat trip as we wanted to take our time stopping and taking photos (I would recommend this if you have a day spare). The boat trip itself was something that you cant describe in words, all I can say is you must go and it can not be missed!

Important Tips before you go

  1. Fill up your tank at Te Anau
  1. Make last calls / emails at Te Anau
  1. Empty your toilet waste at Te Anau Marina or Milford Sound as there will be no where else to dump
  1. Wrap up warm, regardless of how warm it is, as you will get very cold on the boat.

-DRIVE FROM MILFORD SOUND TO WANAKA 4-5 HOURS- Stop at Jackson Orchards, Cromwell Apple Farm.


Two Nights:

Glendu Bay Campsite – $88 for 2 nights

What to see and do in Wanaka

Puzzling World – Bookme for discounts

Our girls absolutely love a challenging puzzle, so for us this was a must! If you love to boggle your mind, and try out a cool out door mazes this is for you!

Lavender Farm –  Low cost but will only see Lavender in season

Wanaka Tree – FREE

If you are going to Wanaka you must see #thatwanakatree it’s a tree that has grown out of the Lake a few metres away from the beach – yes that’s right a tree growing out of water! It attracts a lot of attention from tourists and has had a lot of photos taken! You could say that its quite a famous tree!




One Night:

Pleasant Flat Campsite DOC Campsite $34 2 adults 1 child 1 infant

What to see and do in Haast

Waynes River Safari –

This is one of the best experiences we have had in New Zealand so far, it wasn’t cheap but it was worth every penny! Defiantly wrap up for this as you will get wet and cold, but you will have a trip of a lifetime! The jet boat only takes around 8 people so it is a very personal trip, and is out in the rain forest for around 2 hours. You will seeing beautiful waterfalls, and fierce river rapids while Wayne tells you everything he knows about the rainforest  – you will get some amazing information at each stop. The travel back is very exciting driving against the current, and you will enjoy a few fun turns and drops! Super exciting! One tip – it’s the rain forest and it will rain A LOT! Wrap up very warm with layers and take up their offer of warm jackets they have hanging up – you will need them!

Tips before you go

There is no internet or cell service until you pass Fran Josef, (you might be lucky to pass one or two spots here and there) But plan your stays before you head off, download your CamperMate so you can use it offline,  as well as anything on Netflicks you would usually watch. Once your on your way you will not be able to make any calls or check for stops so have a little plan before you head off that way.

-DRIVE FROM HAAST TO HOKITIKA 4-5 HOURS- Stop at Fox  Glacier for a Photo


Night one: The Woodstock Hotel – FREE The first night we stayed in a pub carpark for free – The Woodstock Hotel. The pub opens at 4 and offers amazing food and self brewed beers (you can try them all on a sample platter) Most nights they have a meal deal and some nights even live music!

Night two: Seaview Lodge and Campground – $45

This was the most quirkiest campsite we have ever stayed in! We chose to stay here as it was a 2 min walk to see free glow worms at “The Glow Worm Dell” You will find directions to this on google maps. Anyway, this place used to be an old Asylum and its open to campers for showering and cooking. We had so much fun exploring inside the building, walking down all the creepy corridors and finding creepy dolls! Highly recommend if you don’t mind somewhere strange to stay and explore!

What to see and do in Hokitka

Hokitika Treetop WalkBookme for discounts

This was fantastic, walking along the tree tops and seeing the iced topped mountains in the horizon, peaceful and calm. We had lunch in the café after, which was set up for children with a park and outdoor toys. We felt settled here, and stayed for sometime playing badminton!

Glow Worm Dell – FREE –Just a short work with a torch to a wall of glow worms! You have to wait until after sunset to see them.

See Mushrooms on the way to Woodstock Hotel – FREE – Keep your eyes open for red and white spotted mushrooms along the road, I was quite excited as I thought these kind of mushrooms only 🍄 existed in fairy-tales!



Two Nights:

Punakaiki Beach Camp – $105 for two nights

What to see and do in Punakaiki

Pancake RocksWe went here twice as we loved it so much! Make sure you check the tide times as its best to go at high tide so you can see the waves pushing through the blow holes! Spectacular and exciting event for all the family to enjoy.

Truman Track – Best visited in Low Tide

Punakaiki Caverns – The tide does not effect the cave

Tips before you go –There are no shops or petrol stations here stock up before you go

DRIVE FROM PUNAKAIKI TO PICTON 4-5 HOURS (quick stop at Nelsons Lake for a Photo)

Do you want to see a Dinosaur tree? 

On your way to Picton you may want to stop at Westport as its the next town to get some Petrol and shopping – on your way out you will pass Buller River. If you look to your left you will see what looks like a dinosaur! This is not advertised anywhere, we are guessing its just a fun find! I may go back and name it Englandsuras…..


Two Nights:

Top10 Picton – We highly recommend Top10 campsites! They are not as cheap as some DOC stations, but with your 10% discount and during May/June 30% off it works out around the same! And for that you get a park for the kids, use of bikes and trikes (some charge some don’t) hot clean showers with music playing! (You May of heard us singing) We paid $20 for 1 hour in the hot tub which was pure luxury and relaxing family time.

What to see and do in Picton

Picton Foreshore – 12 minute walk through the harbour to the main town, nice walk through the town centre lots of nice places to eat. For the kids the Foreshore has a fantastic playground, with a water splash park in the middle for free! Right next to the beach. Highly recommended for a cheap day out while in Picton.


Click HERE to see the North Island

Top Tip: We suggest planning your route around dump, water stations, and petrol stations and Plan your trip before you go to your next few destinations; Wifi and phone service is very limted.


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