Little did we imagine when we attended the events evening at our favourite shop in Preston that two weeks later we would receive a phone call from Phil at Rohan Preston with the news that we had won a dream holiday to New Zealand. A few days later we learnt from Lauren at Discover the World that the prize consisted of flights to New Zealand and three weeks in a deluxe automatic motorhome. O M G! – we had never driven a motorhome and it was at least forty years since we indulged in any form of camping! Would we be up to it? Lauren was very reassuring – there was no age limit to driving a motorhome in NZ (unlike the UK), and loads of “retirees” drive them over there. Actually the driving was great – on the left and on quiet roads. You get a superb view sitting up high in the cab with an enormous windscreen surrounded by the most amazing scenery.
Some of the routes must truly be up there with the most scenic drives in the world. Our favourites included
The Forgotten World Highway on North Island from Taumarunui to Stratford and Mount Taranaki.
Queen Charlotte scenic drive from Picton en route to Kaiteriteri and Abel Tasman National Park.
The road over the mountains from Wanaka to Queenstown.
The road from Twizel to Mount Cook.
The motorhome gave us complete freedom no need to book up campsites in advance, and we were able to stay in some absolutely stunning locations with wonderful walks.
Kaiteriteri Beach Motor Camp was magical with the beach and water taxi into the national park just across the road. Lake Outlet Holiday Park right beside Lake Wanaka and the Glentanner Holiday Park with magnificent views of the Mount Cook and the beautiful turquoise glacial Lake Pukaki.
Husband Phil opted to do all the driving and I was in charge of navigation and route-planning. No problem with the aid of Tourism Radio which came with the motorhome. This device was able to pick up our location and tell us about points of interest in the locality. It proved very useful on our drive from Franz Joseph glacier to Wanaka. As we approached Haast village it suggested we stopped to sample the local speciality: whitebait patties – which were absolutely delicious. We also learnt about the famous hokey pokey ice cream which we enjoyed on Bob’s Peak, overlooking Queenstown.
It was summer in New Zealand (February) and mild, sometimes really hot, sometimes very wet. Our Rohan microgrid stowaway sweaters were brilliant for cooler days – light and warm, and thin enough to wear waterproofs over the top when necessary. I have two, the zip neck and the jacket, Phil has the V-neck- all excellent. I also found my Rohan Roamers (trousers) just right on cooler/wetter days. (See “camping at Wanaka” photo.)
Finally, a huge thank you to Rohan for a truly awesome holiday!