May 032011


About a week after we had arranged the date, we realised that we were moving into the house in Queenstown exactly one year to the day we flew out of Scotland.

So here’s the year in statistics :

11 countries
8 flights (9 including a scenic one)
5 ferry trips
5 train journeys
1 commercial fishing boat trip
372 non-paid days (+9 more) for Darren (i.e. not employed)
…and in NZ :
2 new house moves
12,000km around NZ’s South Island
2 mountain season passes
2 heli trips (scenic)
1 joint residency application
1 tenancy lease signed
2 bikes purchased
2 boogie boards purchased (only one used…both travelled 11,000km on the roof though!)
1 cheap $2 shop ratchet strap frayed by 3 months of UV light, holding said boogie boards
2 fishing rods purchased
1 fishing licence purchased (but only one fekin’ fish caught…in the sea, where no licence is required!…despite about 40 salmon jumping in front of me in Diamond Lake while the sandflies attacked me and Ciara laughed from the van as I walked through the bog) 
1 van bought
2 small souvenir parcels sent home that we don’t know when we’ll see them again
7 interviews
3 earthquakes felt
35 times in “The Warehouse” saying “jeez that’s bloody cheap”
32 times at home saying “god some of that stuff from The Warehouse is sh!t”
209 (ish) curses of the price of “stuff” in NZ
2 sets of skis, boots and poles purchased
1 order of firewood for the logburner next week!
1 (probably) record breaking amount of stuff stuffed in a Toyota HiAce, and still keeping it liveable in

So that’s about it!

3 months travelling around Central Asia (“the ‘Stans”), Mongolia and China, after starting off at my sister’s old place in Oman.  We landed in New Zealand at the end of July, and intend being here for quite some time longer.  We are waiting for a “Work to Residency” permit (a longer process due to Ciara not working when it was processed), and are about to move into a house in Queenstown.

NZ’s been a very interesting time, from seeing our (and more so Ciara’s) change in attitude towards wonderful Wellington, leaving there with loads of stuff not done as we “knew” we’d be back to live….but it never worked out like that.
After almost buying a few different vans we definitely made the right choice for our road trip – it’s been amazing (although we’ve never required the 4×4 really) and we’ve never once got bored of living out of a van.  We have a record amount of stuff in it now, which we’re looking forward to emptying out into a living room and being able to pack it away.

We’ve had an amazing road trip of several parts : Phase 1 before my mum arrived, Phase 2 with them, Phase 3 before we landed in Wanaka for 2 months doing a HelpX scheme in Wanaka (which was “interesting”), then Phase 4 between that, and moving back to Queenstown.

In all phases it’s been great.  We’ve not done as much walking, climbing, swimming, fishing, kiting, cycling etc that we hoped, but we’ve had a fair stab at each of them.  Everything we’ve done has been the pick of the bunch or weather – from our wonderful one day walks, to out 1hr scenic mountain flight, 1 hr scenic mountain heli (a freebie!), to swimming with dolphins and everything inbetween.


It was always going to be extremely difficult to get something skilled in Wanaka but we’ve been so lucky (we hope!) to be able to move just 1hr away (or “over the hill” as us locals say, or “Southem Wanaka” as the main tourism Wanaka guy called it!) to Queenstown.  It’s hopefully going be out near perfect balance of a small, but very busy place, although we’re 180km from the nearest city, which just happens so sit at the very Southern tip of NZ’s South Island!  We’re looking forward to our first full winter in a ski resort town.

Although our road trip is ending for now, our little trips will continue right on our doorstep and around.  There’s almost everything you can do outdoors within a few kilometres of the house, including non active things like the best wine in New Zealand being grown on our doorstep.  There’s also 2 ski resorts within 15km of the door which we hope to explore extensively between July and October.  I should be getting my stand up paddle board delivered to the house shortly.

If we can stand the cost of living, it’s going to be a great next adventure.  The cost of living will be the subject of a post soon….the price of living in “playtown” as a friend called it and the harsh realities of living in NZ’s fastest growing town.

After reading that post you may never complain about a heating bill again… doesn’t help when you are placing an order for firewood and the person on the other end asks where about in town “Oh, that’s the cold bit” she responded!

Aaaaah Queenstown, it all sounds so good.

Oh bollocks……….I just remembered I’m gonna have to start working in a week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PS : The pictures in this post are the views from the lounge of the house. The top left of the 2nd picture is the top of one of the local ski resorts which is on the other side of the mountain – The Remarkables.  Time will tell whether we went against the advice of a local builder friend and got seduced by the view or not!

 Posted by at 10:39 am

  One Response to “One Year On – the end of the road trip…for now”

  1. That view is worth buying another sleeping bag for…..

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