Christchurch, New Zealand: On Tuesday, we picked up our Happy Camper in Christchurch and drove south towards Timaru. With provisions in hand we were all stocked up for 26 days in our new home. Out came the atlas since we hadn’t planned a route ahead of time, and off we went in search of a home for the night.

The first night we found an off-the-beaten path campsite at the base of the Opihi River where it feeds into the Pacific Ocean, a small community called Millford Huts. We ate some dinner, made up the bed and crested the hill to see 5-7 salmon fishermen working on a catch for the night. It was pretty magical to be situated on the ocean in such a quiet spot. Day 1 of camping was good.

We left Millford Huts on Wednesday, heading west & inland. We had a picnic lunch on the rocks at Lake Tekapo, a glacier fed lake with unbelievably green water. Heading a little north and west, we decided on a campsite in a more rural area away from the tourists at Lake Tekapo. We backed the van up against a babbling brook where a few ducks checked in to say hi, and then we were off on a hike around Lake Alexandrina. After a dip in the lake, Thomas grilled outside and dinner was served brookside on our little camp table. So far, we’re both loving this camper van plan.