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21 January 2019

don't forget to pack these: eight road trip essentials for a trip around new zealand


hi, hello - it is me - the dutiful author of the blog that's been unloved for about a month now; it may have started out as a holiday, but turned into a little hiatus of sorts. some offline time to think, to reflect on what was possibly the best three weeks of my life, and really get my thoughts (and life) together now that i've made it back to the reality of my life. more on that another time, but for now, let me start the chapter of my blog dedicated to my newly renewed love of the southern hemisphere by telling you about the things i wish i had packed, almost three weeks into my trip.

bug spray and itch cream

because bugs are a real thing below the equator. the itches probably began in singapore, but they grew and grew every minute i was in new zealand; on the south island, i woke up daily with new lumps and bumps, that seeminly appeared in the night, and the respite would only come from itch cream. my favourite remedy was a slathering of bepanthan, but the tiger balm i picked up in singapore's china town was also a saviour for those bites around my ankles that could only have been obtained while i was driving across country.


antihistamines

and, when the combination of the bites, the heat, and the foreign pollen got absolutely out of control, antihistamines were needed. and let me tell you a little somethin somethin about medicine in new zealand: it's bladdy expensive. i am a regular user of antihistamines anyway, to combat the natural body itches i get as side effects from my medication, but when i ran out of them in nz, i had to shell out $20 for a pack of 30 that would have cost me £3 back in london. that hurt, and itched - not a nice combo. please remember to pack your antihistamines.

sun block

here's some facts for you: new zealand only has an iota of an ozone layer, meaning your skin will burn in as little as eight minutes. for fair, british skin that's not used to seeing any sun, let alone southern sun, that burn time was probably more like four minutes. this is not an exagerration. you are warned to not leave the house without sunblock, and i would recommend two kinds - just to be safe. my preferred options are a 50+ for the body, and a 30+ to go under my make up (which already has spf in it, thankfully)


audio books

this one was one that totally slipped my mind in the planning stages, so please learn from my mistake. see, the car we rented had a cd player but no aux input. all i know is that when we were driving through mountain range after mountain range, from coast to coast and no radio signal, i would have done anything for a complimentary cd or audio book from the car rental joint. we stopped in a few charity shops as we drove to see if we could find anything that took our fancy, but it seems rural new zealand don't have much musical (or literary) taste. take your own.

clothes for all climates

this one might seem obvious, and yet.. turns out not. because even when you check before you go, and you take what you consider is "appropriate" clothing for a week-long jaunt around a small island, you're going to forget something. for me, it was waterproof clothing for the off chance it rained - which it did, but only once, but it rained a lot. the other thing, was something warm, in case it got cold, which - again - it only did once, but it was cold enough that i went out and bought leggings that i never needed to wear again.. not even on a glacier. basically, new zealand has its own micro climatet that can genuinely throw out four seasons in one day. i mean, you can drive from sea to snow in one day - remember that.


walking shoes

see above; sandals are not suitable for walking up a glacier. learn from my mistakes, and heed my warning that most of the country is absolutely not flat and absolutely cannot be reached in sandals - or even your most comfy of casual trainers. nope; you'll need something with a good grip and lots of support to help you get where you'll definitely want to go.

long-lasting foodie bits

i mean, trust me to mention food, but.. you'll want to take some with you that doesn't need much tending to for easy eating on the go. we had a thermal bag and an ice block that we froze overnight in our accomodation to keep things like fruit and a banana loaf and bottled water cool in, and stocked up on crackers and dry bits for easy snacking if we couldn't find a lunch spot we fancied (or: if we couldn't get to a town in time for such an event)(or: if we wanted to save some money) - it was ideal. and probably, common sense.


extra chargers

because trust me when i tell you that google maps and your phone camera are major battery drainers. if you want to find your way to your accommodation and also take a zillionty photos of everything breathtaking along the way, you will want to keep that bad boy charged as much as possible. i made sure to have my battery bank charged up before we headed out every day, juuuuust in case.

again, most of that is probably common sense, but seeing as it mostly managed to slip my mind, this post will act as a reminder for me the next time i plan to head on a road trip down under - if it helps you in any way too, then we're both winning.

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