One YEAR traveling with kids!!!
Can anyone believe it’s been a year now? One nomadic freaking awesome year!
I can’t! But I’m going to try and summarize it now.
It was a year ago when we left our home in Auckland and spent 3 amazing weeks in Tongariro National Park. We had tons of first-times there, like being nomadic, hiking, having very little. It was a great time adjusting to the new life. That was when we also found out that having hiking shoes is a good idea. Angelo also did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a famous trail up and down Tongariro mountain (in running shoes). We visited Taupo and Whangarei while there, both great places to be!
From Tongariro, we went back to Auckland and spent 2 weeks. We had a lot of paperwork, tidying up our storage, PO Box, shopping, and all. It was not the best time, but it was still good because we also took the time to see friends and eat all the nice and familiar food we could.
Mount Maunganui was the third stop. It’s a beautiful beach town in NZ, very worth the stop. From there, we visited Hobbiton for the delicious dinner at the Green Dragon Inn. It was one of the most expensive meals we’ve had, but well worth it!
The drive from Mount Maunganui to Wellington was long and tiring, but everyone handled it very well. We met our friends Tathi and Josieudes there. We had only a couple of days as we had our South Island trip booked!
We used Interislander ferry to go to Picton and it was AWFUL. Major sea sickness that lasted for days. Seriously.
Luckily, we had a long stay in Pohara, Golden Bay. Such a beautiful place! Totaranui beach was our favorite place in the area and we’re planning a summertime visit soon.
Kaikoura is such an incredible place! That’s where we saw up-close wild fur seals and whales. It’s a super small town, but well worth the visit – we need to see it again, after the 2016 earthquake. They say a lot has changed!
Christchurch was a great surprise, we weren’t expecting the resilience we saw there. Such a beautiful and huge place! We didn’t see half of it. It definitely is one of the places we need to go back to.
On the other hand, Dunedin was one of the places we were expecting to love and ended up not enjoying at all. Part of it was due to the rainy weather all week, but we also had the outside toilet, the rats, and the lack of amenities. Not our best week, but we did see sea lions at the beach, that was one nice and sweet thing.
On the way to Omaui, we stopped by Moeraki Boulders. They’re actually a lot less impressive than we thought, but still pretty cool!
Omaui, though, was AWESOME. We had the prettiest house, had some wonderful weather, found great hikes and parks and playgrounds and went to the southernmost point of NZ (almost). The sky there is just incredible. The colors are from another world!
Then, because we’re not very impulsive, we decided to stop by Milford Sounds. OK, it’s pretty but the tide was low and NOT AT ALL what we were expecting. We did have a pretty fun kea experience on the way back, though!
Kingston was another great surprise, I loved it. A super small town, beautiful and we spent our days lake-front. So very awesome. We visited Queenstown and Arrowtown while we were there and, even though we did love Arrowtown, Queenstown isn’t one of our favorites.
Our glaciers time included a night in Whataroa and a week in Fox Glacier, but we also visited Franz Josef Glacier. It was a great experience, our fist glacier experience. Albeit a bit disappointing (due to the distance to the actual glacier), we had fun, great hikes, and some beautiful sceneries.
Blenheim was the last stop in our South Island road trip, and we loved it. The weather was beautiful every day, the house was one of the best we’ve had so far, there were great walks, beautiful beaches, oh it was one lovely closure to our road trip.
We crossed the Marlborough Sounds with Bluebird on the way back to the North Island and it was – again – horrible. Sea sickness is a curse.
We had one night in Wellington before heading to Rotorua. We had some massive road works right in front of the house we’d be staying and it wasn’t the best week. Its sulphuric smell had the kids complaining all the time. While there, we had our first geyser experience at Te Puia and we even visited The Buried Village. Great learning week.
Auckland was also a stop, this time longer, and we spent our days right in the heart of it. It was a great time, we got to tourist our own hometown, have all the Burger Fuel we missed while we were in the South Island. Great time.
And we had our first international travel in this trip, straight into Japan. We visited Tokyo, Osaka, and Suzuka. It was such an amazing month there the kids can’t stop talking about going back. There was a little of everything, from temples to glorious food, to the beach, to high tech robots dancing, to Godzilla, Pokémons, Hello Kitty, Disney Sea and Universal Studios (with a visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and some creepy zombies).
Brazil was our third country and we spent a long time there because we have family and friends. We ate a lot, spent lots and lots of time with the people we love, visited Salvador and Ilha Comprida, but the rest of our days was spent between Mogi das Cruzes (from where we went to São Paulo) and Itanhaém, a coastal town where my uncle has a house that he let us use. We spent Christmas and New Years there. It was an awesome – but long – time.
Uruguay was the first country we had never visited before and it was awesome. Montevideo is one of the best places I’ve visited and it’s now in my heart. Colonia del Sacramento is also great, such a beautiful little town! Highly deserves to be a Unesco World Heritage Site. It was very expensive, though, so we had to cut down on our day trips. I can’t really wait to go back and see all that we missed.
Chile was our fifth country and it’s new to the blog so I’ll keep it short. Santiago is pretty cool, with some incredibly beautiful spots, but the people seem to always be in a hurry + there’s the smog. Viña del Mar is a beautiful beach town BUT most of the beaches aren’t safe for swimming, the food isn’t good, and there was a fire in the forest that kept us locked inside the house. We visited Valparaíso, which is super colorful and nice but we weren’t in the mood for it so didn’t enjoy much.
And Bolivia! That’s our last stop in our first year! We spent most of our days in La Paz, but we also visited the incredible Salar de Uyuni (or Uyuni Salt Flats) and Tiahuanaco (Tiwanaku). We spent most of our days sick due to altitude sickness, a cold, a concussion… They were eventful days but all I can say is that it’s beautiful!
In total, we visited 6 countries (counting NZ because we did travel a lot there before going abroad), mostly in South America.
Had some hospital visits (1 for Melissa, 2 for Angelo, 1 for Thais – that’s me) – accidents happen, and so do ailments. Make sure you have a travel insurance and you’ll be fine!
We started learning Spanish (not easy, so I guess we’ll be learning until we die), tried a lot of different food, saw many different places, used so many different transportation methods, dealt with a huge number of problems (like rats, outside toilets, health problems, accidents, road blocks, and so much more!).
We also learned what we actually need, so we dumped a lot of stuff on the way, and bought some others (I WILL update this post very soon, promise!).