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CJ Weekly 5 - Driving the entire length of the South Island without a handbrake!

Updated: Mar 19, 2019

Kia Ora and welcome to the fifth edition of the CJ weekly. Week five on the road saw us drive (without a handbrake ha) from Marlborough Sound down to Christchurch and then onto Wanaka and Tekapo. It included some very special time with the whanau in Christchurch (and doing a million loads of washing thanks Mum and Dad), Char finally getting her hair done (woo!) and still not spotting a kiwi. Aaand we were even in a kiwi zone one night! I should just ask now are we setting our kiwi expectations too high? Should we just concede and go to Willowbank or Orana Park?

OUR FAVOURITE PHOTOS (disclaimer - have also included a few pics from our January trip to Tekapo)


  • TOTAL $3,198.38 (combined - weeks one to five).

  • $983.87 for week five only (including a service for Vinnie).


Week five's video will be combined with week six (a.k.a Char broke the laptop with the footage on it).


  1. Spending time with the whanau. A few years ago, when James and I first met in the States, I asked a friend of his where his favourite place had been on his travels, and he imparted these remarkable words of wisdom on me (he clearly made an impression as I was 19 at the time and I still remember the conversation to this day). He said “it’s not the scenery that make a place my favourite, but the people that are there”. It’s a simple statement but one I think about a lot. And for me that pretty much sums up Christchurch. It might not be as beautiful as Milford Sound, or as sunny as Nelson, but it has the most special special people in it. Plus it also had like two days of sun this year so take that Nelson!

  2. Getting my hair finally done and the hairdresser using paper rather than tinfoil for the highlights. How environmentally conscious is that! I looked it up and an average hair-salon goes through 300m of tinfoil a week!!!

  3. A really happy solo traveller we met at the beach. She came up and asked if I could take a photo of her as she was sick of “taking the selfie”. As I started snapping some pics of her, she said “wait, I’ll do something cool – make sure you ready”, so I was all set, thinking she would do a cartwheel, handstand, or maybe even a dance, but she just kind of ran and stumbled in the sand and then fell over. I thought she was going to say give me another go but she just looked at the photos and grinned. She was one of the happiest sparkliest people we have met on our trip. And I loved that her ‘something cool’ was legitimately falling over in the sand.

  4. Finally spotting a… no not a kiwi, a stoat. And James trying to explain to me what the animal was. He started off explaining the fox off Dora the Explorer (swiper no swiping!), then went onto a ferret and ended with a squirrel. You should see what he's like in pictionary when he tries to draw a dog!

  5. Walking in the pouring rain for an hour and then finding a nice dry hut up the top of the mountain. You know, it made me think I don’t know if we have ever really appreciated shelter. I remember when we got a really windy storm in Perth and it ripped off our cupboard door outside and we were so annoyed we had to repair it. Perhaps instead we should have been grateful that we had a warm place (inside!) and could stay away from the storm.


  1. Finding a 24/7 fuel pump, confirming it was definitely definitely open 24 hours a day and then arriving to find it was out of order. Of course. We had driven 9 hours (500km lol) that day and this was about 11:30 at night, so James wasn’t too jolly about driving another hour (and going back the way we had just come) to get petrol.

  2. Taking an extra day at the mechanics to get Vinnie all fixed up... but WOOO GUESS WHO HAS A WORKING HANDBRAKE NOW! It’s us by the way.

  3. Mum telling James off for leaving her washing baskets in the sun. She’s had them since 1980 and they are in perfect condition because no one has ever left them outside. UNTIL NOW. And round two was even scarier when Mum found out that he had left her pegs outside too. Gee James. It’s like you want to end your life. For James’ sake, I’m putting this under the things we didn’t love category, but for me it definitely goes in the five things we loved/found funny category.

  4. Not having any heating and it dropping down to 5 degrees overnight. I mean seriously, do we even do Summer any more? Asking for a mate.

  5. A big gust of wind almost blowing us into an incoming truck. Sometimes I wonder if Vinnie really should be on the road.


  1. My Mum welcoming us back home and immediately saying “oh so that’s where my pillowcases went. And where on earth is my tea cosy”. Spoiler alert – the tea cosy was on top of the fridge (where it has always lived).

  2. Mum’s complete and utter excitement with her new electric bread knife. It even lives in its own wee wooden box.

  3. Mum constantly calling T2 “Tea for Two”.

  4. Driving the entire length of the South Island (850km) without a working handbrake. (Thought I better put in a fourth so I’m not just ripping on Mum the whole time haha).


  1. Are Cookie Times the best cookies in the world?

  2. Why are there hardly any camper-trailers and caravans here?

  3. Should freedom camping be called responsible camping? Or responsible freedom camping?

  4. Did anyone ever find Sarah’s ring on Roys Peak and return it to to her?

  5. And did she take them out for dinner as the reward she promised?

  6. Following on from #4, did anyone also find and return David’s iPod to him?

  7. Do people read the little signs people put up at the start of walks? Or is that just us. And shout out to Sarah and David if you’re reading.


And that’s all for week five! We have just one more week in the South Island before we head up to the North Island for a wedding (and hopefully some warmer weather!).

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