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CJ Weekly 10 - A dibble and dabble in the North Island

Kia Ora and hello!! Welcome to the tenth edition of the CJ weekly and thanks for joining us! (Especially after the rather dire last couple of entries!!). This week was Wonderful with a capital W - we explored a bit of everywhere in the North Island - ranging from Taranaki to Tauranga to Tongariro (HOW DO SO MANY PLACES START WITH A T IN THE NORTH ISLAND). Disclaimer - we also explored a few other areas like Rotorua but they don't start with T so they don't get a mention here. We even got to stay with one of my favourite people from my university days - Beau (he was my ultimate study buddy and car pool pal... in fact one time we even managed to bribe our way out of getting our car clamped with a gingerbread man!), and his super lovely girlfriend Milly. Both 11/10 humans. Alright, without further adieu (I wonder how many times I say that haha) here are our favourite memories and experiences from week ten on the road! If I was a hip surfy gal, this is where I would say yeeooow, but I'm not.. so this just got mildly uncomfortable and now I don't know how to end this sentence..ahhh someone help.



  • TOTAL $7,509 (combined - weeks one to ten).

  • $861 for week ten only



  1. Staying with Beau and Milly. These two legends were beyond hospitable to us - cooking us delicious vegetarian dinners (easily the healthiest we have eaten on the trip), letting us do washing galore and showing us their favourite local spots. Beau is actually a ranger at McLaren Falls Park (a Council run park) so James and I had an absolute blast firing off all our many many ranger questions. "Have you ever had to do first aid?" "What do you think of 1080?" "Do you only ever wear khaki coloured clothes?" "Do you carry walkie talkies?"

  2. This adorable wee boy's reaction at Bridle Veil falls. He ran down the steps shouting "WOW WOW WOW" the whole time. It was just a beautiful beautiful moment, and actually made us stop and think WOW too.

  3. Chickpeas. How have we never had them before? Delicious!

  4. Watching the sunrise up at the Pouakai Tarns (Mount Taranaki) and getting such a beautiful still day. (Especially when one of our kiwi pals said it took him 39 visits before he got perfect conditions up there!!!). Also on our way back down we saw a DOC ranger (hit the jackpot with rangers this week guys) and fired off about 103,851 questions to him too. "What do you think of stoats?" "How do those traps work?" "When did you last see a kiwi?" "What do you use that knife for?" "Do you also love to wear khaki?" "How do you remove goats?" "Why are goats so bad here?". So two things to note here - firstly, if you're a ranger, probably best to stay away from us as we are apparently unable to control our chat with you. Secondly, we found out that goats are a huge problem because they essentially destroy all the undergrowth which in turn can cause forests to collapse. :O

  5. Walking through the giant redwood forest in Rotorua. Except James bought homebrand guacamole dip here (never had it before) thinking it would be nice to sit among the trees and eat some corn chips and dip, but instead it was truly HORRIBLE. Worse than the time I was at the Premier's Awards in Perth and accidentally ate this weird crab thing thinking it was feta. But seriously guys the guac dip tasted like a weird mixture of anchovies, feet and sweat.


  1. Being super pumped and ready to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (It has been one of James' two NZ dreams [obvs marrying a kiwi was the first one]) and then unfortunately arriving to a storm. We umm'd and ahh'd about whether to just do it for a really long time, but decided there was little point in walking in -5 degree weather when there was such a small chance we would even see the emerald lakes. Our fingers are crossed we might manage to get back to the Riro before our time in the North Island comes to an end.

  2. Our odometer not working. Now this might not sound like a big deal to you buuuuut when you don't have a working fuel gauge either - this makes for quite an interesting combination. Oh Vinnie, you're an absolute crack up aren't you.

  3. Getting a LOT of rain in Vinnie super duper quick - so much so it came through the pop top and soaked us. Could technically advertise Vinnie as having an indoor shower?

  4. The State Highway casually turning to gravel for about 50km. Good one NZ.

  5. Getting Vinnie stuck in a ditch. DID NOT LOVE THIS ONE. NOT ONE BIT. DEFINITELY THOUGHT WE HAD LOST VIN FOR A MIN (I know I'm rhyming here which may make it seem like this was a lighthearted situation but TRUST ME IT WAS NOT) AND HE WAS GOING TO TOPPLE OVER. SOMEHOW OUR BACK TYRE HAD SLIPPED INTO A DITCH, CAUSING JIM'S TO GO FULLY UP IN THE AIR ON A CRAZY ANGLE. Being the responsible, cool headed adult I am, I started running away instantly, looking for anyone who could possibly help (a.k.a trying to get away from the problem at hand haha). I knew Jim was going to make me help him manoeuvre Vin back up and out of the ditch, and to be honest, I DESPISE that kind of pressure. Thankfully it all worked out in the end and next time I'm asked about a situation where I had to work under pressure I will have this bad boy up my sleeve and ready to go.

THREE THINGS WE FOUND FUNNY (with a sneaky fourth)

  1. Jim fixing the odometer (woo) and me instantly saying "Ok, great so let's write down the new ODO then and start from there". Obviously the ODO was exactly the same.. as it had been.. for the last few days. Some days I swear I'm smart and others, I really just have no words.

  2. Eating super duper healthy with Beau and Milly for a few days and as a result, being really inspired and motivated to make a conscious effort to eat more fruit and vege. So we set off from their place, stocked the fridge with all the green goodness we could fit in and began enthusiastically discussing all the different salads we would make that week. And then we pulled into Dominoes and got an extra large pepperoni pizza.

  3. Ranger Beau giving us a tour of his park and a tradie pulling in beside him to ask about some work related thing and Beau saying "Sorry mate, I'm flat out here, otherwise I would come up with you and show you what to do". Hehehe let the ranger tour continue.

  4. Vinnie beginning to overheat and Jim saying "Oh c'mon on Vin, it's not like you've even driven a single km" (this was when our ODO wasn't working haha). Guys I had to put this fourth one in - Jim isn't usually funny so when he is we really have to embrace it haha.


  1. Is there anywhere in New Zealand where you can buy teabags with strings? ANYWHERE? ANYWHERE AT ALL?

  2. Why do mountains have their own weather?

  3. How many jars of homebrand gaucamole does Countdown actually sell?

  4. Does New Zealand have the most road-cones per capita in the world?

  5. When was the forgotten highway forgotten?


And that's a wrap for week ten! It feels great to finally be out and about exploring the North Island and so far, we are LOVING what we are seeing. Although, Vinnie seems to find it hillier than expected... which probably means the CJ weekly 11 is going to include yet another breakdown haha. (That's nervous laughter by the way guys ...real nervous).

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