Here at Amber Halls, we’re gearing up for a summer road trip to Canada, meanwhile I’m sharing some of our other Road-Trip experiences with you.
When my friend left to live in New Zealand we had an open invite to visit. In the first few weeks of an easy pregnancy we even considered it for when I was seven months pregnant, luckily we talked ourselves out of it. So instead we booked to go for a month the following year.
As our departure date approached, we realised travelling with a 9 month old had its own trials. (nappies, baby food, formula milk etc)
We were taking our sturdy pram to double up as a high-chair for feeding time, however it had to go in the aeroplane hold, and so we hade to carry our child around the airport for 3 hours as she was only crawling. A wilful child, she insisted on crawling around much of Heathrow in her pink baby-grow.
We booked an on-board cot and were lucky that the traveller in seat three of our line, took one look at the babe and insisted he was moved, so we had 3 seats for her to climb all over and a cot, which she refused to sleep in. Stage one – off to Kuala Lumpur and a few hours stop-over. I never found the baby changing area and looked longingly at other travellers who knew about having a stroller which they could take on-board and push their kids around in airside in the airport.
Flight two to Auckland – a bit more tricky with a child who only catnapped. Our pram arrived from the hold, damaged and spent the rest of the trip tied up with string. Spent our first few days with my friend at the house they were still building and her Pyrenean mountain dog (child-friendly it was NOT) We spent just under a week with them, acclimatising (babe slept during the day and was wakeful during the night) I recommend The Botanical Gardens in Auckland post flight as they were very peaceful after all that flying, we borrowed the car they’d shipped over from England, which after just a few days badly and embarrassingly broke down on us.
Time to leave our friends, we hired a car and set off, south, first to some glow worm caves at Waitomo (Had to take turns as our babe was too young to go on the boats) We stayed on the shores of Lake Taupo, then, we drove up Mt Ruapehu. In Wellington we left the hire car and took the Seacat to the south island (balancing an enormous number of bags on the pram with the baby) That night we stayed near Picton, next we headed to Kaikoura for some whale watching, but found they didn’t take babies on board. So we headed south towards Christchurch then crossed the Southern Alps hoping to see Mount Cook, it was covered in cloud the day we were there)
Great scenery (yes there are sheep which you can meet on the road) and interesting roads, single track bridges sometimes shared with train tracks, wild rivers, sun browned fields, and other times green ferns and mosses dripping with moisture, miles of traffic free roads, except for the one police speed trap which we got snapped in! Many of the motels had hot tubs, so after a day in the car we put our babe in her swim ring and let her bob about the tub with us as we relaxed. I fell in love with some of the personal mail boxes we saw. (see pictures below)
We stopped at Fox Glacier and Franz Joseph Glacier and carried our babe to the glacier foot. Then up the west coast to Westport and the Pancake Rocks, then Nelson and back to Picton and the Seacat. Time to go to Rotarua and the thermal mud areas, plus a Maori village experience. Here the babe decided she’d start walking whilst on the paths of the hot springs and only in tiny canvas slippers, “ooh ough hot”. Christmas was spent back in Auckland with our friends, now we had a toddler, they were trying to finish outside decking and our girl was keen to show off her walking skills, we went to the beach on Christmas Day!
The days before New Year we travelled around the Coromandel peninsula, it was lovely seeing flowers in full bloom, hay making and sunshine in what would normally be our mid-winter back home. To us the farming was of interest and I would describe it as Britain back in the 1970’s, about thirty years behind Britain.
Flights home were the same route, our baby wanted to toddle up and down the aeroplane gangway, but we coped and were even complimented by other passengers when we landed in London at how well behaved she’d been.
Next The Fall in New England with a toddler.