But the Moeraki Boulders were to be one of his highlights. They are an odd sight – grouped together on a stretch of Koekohe Beach – the boulders are scattered, unusually large, and many are perfectly spherical. Pete was eager to capture the early morning sun rays cracking over their surface.
I ain’t an early morning riser by any means, but I wasn’t about to rob him from this experience. But as it turned out, this morning was one of my faves too. Who knew that a sunrise could be so magical? Oh, probably just everybody but me.
Spoiled much? Yes. (But also just a good negotiator? That’s what I like to think at least.)
From there we hit the road for a long drive to Akaroa. Pete had chosen this sleepy town for a night’s stay based on the random comment of a friend; we hadn’t anticipated at all what a stunning drive it would be. Such days became symbolic of our seventeen day road trip, turning into equally terrific nights filled with nothing but the ring of silence and the bling of stars. We took spontaneous sidetracks into new towns, enjoyed blissful days offline here and there, and relished in an overall reconnection with a purely natural environment. This is something we do not do often enough.
All of this in beautiful New Zealand, no less, where we found ourselves completely enraptured on a daily basis in environments so varied that it was hard to believe that they were all on one tiny island. As this particular trip was designed by the photographer of this duo (Pete, of course!), it became one in pursuit of epic scenery. It was not about food (hot dogs are all you need when camping anyways) and it was not so much about cultural immersion. It was about the big shots in the big places. We spent many hours in the van, darting in all directions on a quest for the very best landscapes that the South Island has to offer.
On a whim during our longest driving day, as we cruised along the Lewis Pass from Kaikoura to the west coast, we turned off towards Hamner Springs to satisfy a craving – we wanted quesadillas and needed to hit a grocery store. On our way in, we noticed the perfect spot for lunch that we would hit on the way out. While I chopped veggies, Pete fired up the grill and set up our table. Other tourists stopped at the lookout, snapped a few photos, jokingly asked if we had extras to share, and left salivating to find a restaurant.
If we were on a bus tour, we wouldn’t have had the option to stop and grill. If traveling by car, we would have been those jealous ones who left with a couple of photos and a rumbling stomach. We realized in that moment, and in many others, that this really is a perfect way to see a country from all angles and without constraint.
Yeah. We could see ourselves choosing this as a lifestyle.
The only downfall, if I can even record it as such, was the minute lack of freedom between us. Not that we ask for much – we are quite used to being together 24/7 and most often want the same things. But if Pete wanted to get up at sunrise (which he did many times, and which I wasn’t always thrilled about), I had no choice but to do so as well. How dare he force me up to enjoy the dawn of a new day?
The nerve. It’s nothing that couldn’t be fixed, however, with a good cup of coffee and a doze in the front seat while he drove us to our next destination.
how to do it
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Many thanks to Maui Motorhomes for providing us with the complimentary rental for this journey. All opinions, as always, are our own.