A winter tour of New Zealand

After spending a brief time in New Zealand last year, something inside me yearned for me to return. I’d only visited the North Island but I knew the South Island had many natural gems waiting for me to discover.

I’d already planned in my head that the only way was to see New Zealand is all its glory was by doing a mammoth road trip. Normally, a trip like this is better with others, but at the time I had no-one to join me. That’s nothing new; typically throughout my travels I’ve always made the journeys solo, meeting people on the way to my destination. Yet this time things turned out a little different. I’d been talking about my tentative travels to New Zealand with a newly found friend, Mitchie who is from the Philippines. I put it out there and asked for her to to join me.

To my delight, her answer was yes.

After we hired a campervan through a company called Mode Car and Camper Rentals from Auckland, our journey began.Our cosy camper was the catalyst for our trip. A two-berth Toyota Estima included all the camping and cooking equipment we needed.

It was winter time in New Zealand, so warm clothes were necessary. We made our journey straight south taking in all the views along the way. Despite being from North-East England I  was shocked that I gasped in excitement at the snow-capped peaks within Tongariro National Park appearing in the distance. I’m no stranger to mountains and cold weather but this was truly breathtaking. We both were stunned on how beautifully innocent they appeared, out of nowhere.


Wanaka was next on our list and my favourite place from the trip but before that we experienced winding roads, never-ending lakes and backdrops to die for as we ended up at Lake Hawea. With snow-capped mountains in the background so high, the cloud lining was actually below it. Add a lush blue river underneath in contrast to yellow grass banks and the pictures turned out pretty good. The photo speaks for itself:

Wanaka was a treat and after reuniting with some of my friends, lots of flat white coffees, lamb & mint pies and a couple of beers we spent the night. The next morning we wanted to get up for another sunrise, and found a spot by a lake in the middle of a random neighbourhood. The sky was light claret red and with the snow mountain backdrops it was another incredible frame to see.

Instagram influencers take note.



After roaming around Wanaka we decided to head to Christchurch on the way back up to the North Island As you may know, Christchurch is vulnerable to natural disasters and a devastating earthquake hit only last year. Still, the town was upbeat and interesting enough. By this time, we were keen for a good breakfast before the journey home and stumbled across a place called Bunsen Cafe.

We were impressed and I believe one of us may have even said “This is the best eggs benedict I’ve ever had.”


Heading back to Auckland after a manic 10 days road tripping we were keen for some comfort. In the middle of Queen Street we got an apartment to rest in before meeting some of my friends in the city later.

One thing was missing though, comfort food. Inevitably there was only one thing for it to end our trip. Homemade Chicken Adobo.  – Rappler.com

Tommy Walker is a freelance travel writer from the UK and has been on the road since 2012. You can follow him on Facebook: The Wandering Walker, Instragram: @thewanderingwalker and eebsite: www.thewanderingwalker.com

Mariemiel Sison is a Chef and Food & Beverage Consultant from Manila. Check out her on Instagram: @mitchiesison Email her at  mitchiensison@gmail.com

For a 5% discount using Mode Cars & Camper Rentals quote the code ‘5ONTOM’ or click here


Tommy Walker

Tommy Walker is a British journalist, photographer and travel writer currently based between Hong Kong & Taipei. In 2019, Tommy reported for Rappler as Hong Kong correspondent for the anti-government protests. His work provided frontline videos from demonstrations which included the Polytechnic University siege, and Hong Kong’s national security law fallout. His work has also included covering the COVID19 pandemic in 2020.