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CJ Weekly 6 - Aoraki to Wellington (and everywhere in between)

Updated: Mar 26, 2019

Kia Ora and welcome to the sixth edition of the CJ weekly – our last week in the South Island (for now!). Week six was jam-packed like a jam-wrap. It included Aoraki, Christchurch, Kaikoura, Picton and even Wellington! That’s right – one week and two islands (we made our way up north for my cousins wedding in Martinborough). What else? Week six included my (Char’s) 27th birthday and James surprising me with a gorgeous AirBnB in Wellington, our very first car crash and eating pepperoni pizza in bed. Glorious! Apart from the car crash that is.

OUR FAVOURITE PHOTOS (disclaimer - have also included a few pics from our trip to Kaikoura earlier in the year)


  • TOTAL $4,639 (combined - weeks one to six).

  • $1,353 for week six only (including the ferry across the Cook Strait and two external hard-drives).


The laptop is finally fixed so have a watch to see what we got up to in weeks 5-6!


  1. Having a lovely family bbq back in Christchurch and Mum making her famous chicken nibbles. She got the recipe back in 1984 and it's still going strong. Easily the best meal we have had to date. And not a soup tin in sight.

  2. A super kind man we encountered on our walk up to Mueller Hut (in Aoraki). He said hey, how are you going and then proceeded to ask James if he was KIWI. KIWI. AS IN WAS HE FROM THE COUNTRY OF GREATS. THE COUNTRY THAT KNOWS HOW TO PRONOUNCE WORDS PROPERLY AND DOESN'T ABBREVIATE EVERY SINGLE ONE AND CHUCK AN O ON THE END (Servo, Smoko, Avo, Dero, Hospo, Jimbo etc...). It was so great. And James got all awkward and muddled and tried to make it abundantly clear he was Australian (feel like he said mate about fifty times too many). It’s so weird isn't it, you don’t realise you have been waiting your whole life for something like this to happen until it does. So so worth the wait though.

  3. James making me a birthday cake made entirely of biscuits. Big call but locking in Griffins Macaroons as my favourite biscuits. Which is weird as I don’t really like coconut.

  4. The absolutely mind-blowing visitor centre at Aoraki. We casually strolled in there thinking we would spend a couple of minutes looking around and then suddenly our whole morning was gone. The exhibitions are so well done and it was really interesting (and awe-inspiring) to read and watch the history of our famous Cookie.

  5. Lake Pukaki. After spending the last six or so weeks roadtripping the South Island (and I guess you could also add my 20 years living there ha) we have decided Lake Pukaki is our favourite favourite spot. The beautiful blue water is simply stunning in its own right, but then adding Aoraki into the mix as the backdrop? Unbelievably beautiful. Without fail, this place took our breathe away each and every time we visited. (I may have also cried the first time we visited). We also couldn't believe the peanut butter spread on our apples that we were able to freedom camp along the lake. The Mackenzie District have great freedom camping bylaws and we are loving the freedom our wee pop-up pooper enables (thanks Dad).


  1. Summer temperatures reaching 5 degrees overnight and waking up to frost on our awning. I mean c'mon. Also I know I make at least one crack at NZ's "warm weather" in every single CJ weekly. But also, I don't really know if I will stop either...

  2. Reading each and every one of the heartbreaking memorials at Aoraki. Please note we didn't really know which category to put this in, as we thought the memorial was beautiful, our hearts just ached for all the lives lost. Especially Justin McDonald who fell when his abseiling equipment failed. He was just 34.

  3. Being honked at six times (by three separate cars ha) at a Wellington intersection. Definitely not the warm welcome we were hoping to receive from our fellow Wellingtonians.

  4. Ferry delays. And being crashed into while waiting to board. And then being the last to board because of the crash. And then managing to find the last available table on the Ferry, and then discovering it was in the area reserved for the school kids. Don't get us wrong, we love a couple of kids, but 60 or so in a single room is quite a different story. (Also side note - I feel like my school trips involved meal mates (such great crackers), being left in the dark for isolation exercises and finding wetas in the showers - I don't ever remember a lux trip up to the North Island?).

  5. Beginning our drive into Martinborough (cause woohoo wedding bells!) and aiming to get to the one campsite on the way in (which we had confirmed was open until 9:00pm). (You can probably guess where this is going before reading any further). So of course, at 8:30pm we rocked up to locked gates and nowhere else to go (the road back out then closed at 9pm due to roadworks). So what did we do? We wrote a 'We are so very sorry' note and chucked it in our dash (I made sure to link my handwriting so we looked kind of fancy) and then camped right outside the gates. Thankfully we didn't wake up to a fine. Although, we didn't wake up to a compliment on my handwriting either. So not a total win-win situation I guess.


  1. Tripping over mid-pee, getting my shorts caught in my shoes and then as a result, getting pee all over me. While I am putting this in the 'things we found funny' category, I definitely didn't see the humour at the time. Also wondering if the couple that saw me continuously ask James to sniff me thought I was weird.

  2. My five year old nephew Charlie hopping in Vinnie and saying "Just drop me off in Paris please".

  3. James' epic epic fail trying to make a coffee on the ferry. I'll leave this one to him to explain - "I had my trusty jetboil with me so I decided to make my own coffee on the ferry (so I wouldn't be at the mercy of outrageous coffee prices). As I wondered if using propane gas would be acceptable to the general public (but mainly the crew who would kick me off) I thought I better use the disabled toilet just in case. All was going swimmingly in there until I turned the heat up, went to grab a spoonful of coffee and by the time I turned around, my milk had started to overflow. And then in my haste, I slipped on the milk which was all over the ground, but somehow still couldn't manage to turn the heat off. At this point milk froth/steam was pumping out of the jetboil like there was no tomorrow so I decided to direct it into the toilet (while thankfully managing to finally turn the heat off). And then in this process the jetboil lid fell into the toilet. Of course. I don't want to admit defeat but the whole thing ended with me wiping a milky bathroom floor with toiletpaper, fishing the lid out of the toilet and then the real kicker, paying $6 for an average coffee from the cafe."


  1. What is the track etiquette for passing? Do people coming up or going down the track give way? Seriously if anyone knows the answer PLEASE GET IN TOUCH.

  2. Why is the Department of Conservation (DOC) so casual with their signage? Love that they put signs up asking if you've left your lights on, but wondering if some signs warning of difficult terrain/areas where death has occurred may be more effective? Just a thought though (cause you know it is true, no-one does like to leave their lights on).

  3. Why does NPD rarely ever advertise their petrol prices? Especially as they're usually cheapest. Reverse marketing?

  4. Are the laws different for buses pulling out in Australia and New Zealand? We feel like in Australia the buses just bloody go for it, and you're more likely to get a finger than a wave. Whereas here, the buses seem to wait until they're safely able to pull out PLUS you feel like you get a wave EVERY SINGLE TIME.

  5. Is the mark-up on food higher on an airplane or a ferry? And do either compare with popcorn at the cinemas?


And that's a wrap for week six (and the South Island!). Stay tuned for our North Island adventures! Hopefully no more car crashes, pee on our pants and spilt coffees. But also, if that's what's in store for us then I guess bring it on!

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