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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Things to Do in Pawleys Island SC

We had a whirlwind trip to the U.S. in May, a break from the boat that didn’t really feel like a break because we were so busy! In addition to getting the coveted Covid vaccine, we spent a few weeks catching up with friends, family, and exploring new places. Much of that time was spent where my mom lives and we found a lot of things to do in Pawleys Island SC.

About Pawleys Island

Pawleys Island is a small beach town on a barrier island in the Low Country of South Carolina. Things move slower there, and it’s pretty and peaceful most of the time. Located 70+ miles north of Charleston and 25 miles south of Myrtle Beach, we drove from Florida to visit my mom.

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Kayaking With Penguins on the Western Cape

One of the most memorable and fun experiences of our South Africa trip was kayaking south of Cape Town. After our time in the city, we needed another opportunity to commune with nature and animals, so we took a guided tour of the beach home to cape fur seals and penguins in Simon’s Town. We loved kayaking with penguins on the Western Cape. You can do it too!

Paddle with Penguins

The two hour tour is called Paddle with the Penguins.  That much time spent on a kayak in the bay allowed us to see penguins and more wildlife. We were really lucky with the weather, which was warm and cloudy, and the sea, which was calm.

Our guide, Terry, a marine conservationist with Shark Warrior Adventure Centre, was a trove of information about the penguins. He also led us near seals and sea birds and told us all about these marine animals and their home in Simon’s Town, all while guiding 8 of us through the very calm but busy waters of False Bay.

kayaking with penguins western cape tour
Getting ready to kayak False Bay
And Seals!

The seals came as a complete surprise to us, and they were beautiful and plentiful! Many seals were lying on the rocks, and some of them swam around our kayaks. They are very playful and fun and got quite close to us!

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A Kayak Tour of Ometepe

One day of rest was enough! Yesterday Lyna and I wanted to get out and see more of the wildlife of the Ometepe Islands. We biked our way to the town(?) of Mérida to meet up with the people at Caballito’s Mar Kayaks for a kayak tour of Ometepe.

Overview of the Day

It was not an easy bike ride or kayak but wow was it worth it. Perfect weather – sun and some wind, and tons of wildlife! I am not an experienced kayaker, so it took me a little while to get the hang of it. For most people, including Lyna, it isn’t hard. The bike ride was also mainly difficult because of the potholed roads and worn bicycles. This isn’t the Alps or anything folks!

Here is a partial list of what we saw: a caiman, turtles, blue herons, monkeys, ospreys, sleeping bats, egrets, ibises, tiger herons, magpie jays, and parakeets. There were more but I can’t remember them!

About the Kayak Tour of Ometepe

The kayak tour took about 3 hours and we paddled from the lake into this beautiful river where we were able to get up close with the birds and other creatures. Once we were in the river, which was very calm and fairly narrow, we went really slowly so we could watch the animals and try to get photos. I did my best! Here are the photos of what we saw on our kayaks.

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Las Isletas In Photos

Granada, Nicaragua is a beautiful colonial city on a lake. While not the biggest city in the country, it is still very important as a center of commerce and tourism. One of the top things to do in Granada is visit the little islands, or isletas. This post showcases Las Isletas in photos.

This week I am not traveling solo, yay! My partner in adventures is Lyna, who is visiting from the wintry north. We are enjoying all that Granada has to offer: nature, wildlife, sun, hotel pools, music and outdoor bars and restaurants.

So far in Granada we have gone out on the Calzada, taken a boat tour of Las Isletas, swum at our hotel pool, kayaked around Las Isletas, walked the Malécon, enjoyed live music in the square, and more. Las Isletas is definitely a highlight!

ABOUT Las Isletas

Las Isletas, or the Granada Islands, are a group of 360+ small islands in the lake off the shore of Granada. These islands were created by a volcanic eruption of nearby Vulcan Mombacho, another must visit in the region.

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