New Zealand Quirky Attractions

One thing you learn after spending just a short time in New Zealand is that Kiwis have a sense of humor. And, if you do a New Zealand road trip, you’ll notice countless oddball sculptures, and lots of BIG things. They’re everywhere in New Zealand, alongside roads and in towns. These New Zealand quirky attractions make for great stops on a road trip or even a day trip, and we took advantage and stopped at a lot.

Favorite Quirky Attractions

While not as famous as the big sites and museums, these New Zealand quirky attractions are part of the fun of visiting. Plus, there are so many scattered around the country, you don’t have to plan anything. You’re bound to run into a kiwi sculpture or something!

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New Zealand Road Trip Route

Our two month campervan road trip of New Zealand is over and we had a great time. The New Zealand road trip route took us from Tauranga, North Island to Fiordland in the South and back. We drove over 6200km and saw countless beautiful sights.

Freedom camping near the beach in Hawkes Bay
Freedom camping near Napier, Hawkes Bay

Planning Our New Zealand Road Trip Route

Small as New Zealand is – equivalent to Colorado – there’s a lot to see and do. Before we hopped in the van, we didn’t have much of a plan besides seeing as much as we could. We bookmarked Lonely Planet, read people’s blogs, and used Google Maps to decide where to go and what to do.

Once we started driving, we only knew where we were going next. Then, as the days progressed, we booked two things weeks in advance: the Doubtful Sound overnight cruise, and the Kaikoura Coastal Walk. Everything else we booked a day or two in advance or last minute.

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Exploring New Zealand by Campervan

After more than five years of life aboard a sailboat, Brian and I are accustomed to living in a confined space. That’s probably why we adjusted pretty quickly to van life. We had fun exploring New Zealand by campervan. If you’re keen to do the same, read on for some tips and highlights.

Toyota Hiace campervan parked at beach campsite
Our van parked at the Kina Beach campsite on The Tasman

Buying a Campervan

It is remarkably easy to buy a campervan in New Zealand. Registering it was simple too – the seller gave us a couple of pieces of paper to take to the post office, we filled them out and got our new registration. Easy. Insurance isn’t even required here because they have limited liabilities. We got it just in case. Guess you can’t take the North Americans out of us even after five years away.

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Our Campervan in New Zealand

We bought a campervan! One of our goals in New Zealand is to drive the whole country, north and south, and freedom camping is the way to go. We bought the campervan, a Toyota Hiace, within a week of arriving. It’s a little old so Brian did a lot of work sprucing up our campervan in New Zealand.

We haven’t gone campervanning since Iceland so this is going to be an adventure! But before we really hit the road, here’s details on our campervan in New Zealand.

Buying a Campervan in New Zealand

Yes, we could have rented a campervan, but bought instead because we will be using it for months. We want to drive all over the north and south islands over a few months, so buying seemed more practical and hopefully economical as we want to sell it when we’re done.

Because so many people want to drive around the country, there are lots of campervans here. When people arrive, they buy, and when they leave the country, they sell. As a result, there are many ways to find a campervan to buy in New Zealand. We found ours at the weekly Auckland car market. Other ways of finding cars and campervans are through numerous Facebook groups and Trademe.com.

car market, Auckland, New Zealand
Busy car market in Auckland
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Colombia’s Zona Cafetera Highlights

We loved Colombia’s Zona Cafetera – coffee zone- so much we returned for a longer visit five years after our first. It’s a top tourist spot for many reasons including its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site and some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. While there, we visited some of Colombia’s nicest towns and saw amazing nature and wildlife. If you’re considering a visit, read about Colombia’s Zona Cafetera highlights.

Filandia Rainbow
The scenery is beautiful in Colombia’s Zona Cafetera

Getting to the Zona Cafetera

There are many ways to get to Colombia’s Zona Cafetera, and we have done most! By air, domestic flights arrive to three separate airports (it’s a big region): Armenia in the south, Pereira central, and Manizales, north. We flew into the Manizales airport years ago from Bogota, and this time we flew out of Pereira airport back to our boat in Cartagena.

Buses are very frequent and affordable throughout the country, but I get carsick so wasn’t up for that this time. We drove from Medellin, with a stop in Jardin, and went the indirect way, which I wouldn’t recommend unless you’re adventurous, have a lot of time, and/or a four-wheel drive.

Visit the Metropolis of Manizales

A university town in the mountains with a great cable car system and nearby hot springs, we visited 5 years ago and you can read all about our fun times exploring Manizales! This is the furthest north of the Zona Cafetera and one of the three airport hubs of the region.

Stay in Salento

We stayed four nights total in this beautiful town and it was the perfect length stay for us. Salento features a variety of restaurants and accommodations and is an ideal base for touring Colombia’s Zona Cafetera highlights.

Salento town Colombia
Pretty Salento has lots of hills

Salento is charming. With a beautiful town square and well-maintained colorful buildings, it’s a pleasure to stroll the streets, although keep in mind, it’s built into a hill so it gets tiring.

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