This blog is written, photographed and compiled by Vicki Annison, a freelance writer based nr Hamilton, New Zealand.
In 2008 two lengthy airplane journeys bought the Annison family from the UK to the land of the long white cloud.
Two crumpled and creased adults herded three tired children through the airport and set off with their ten suitcases to discover a new life.
Having jumped in feet first, with gumboots and jandals, we are now bona-fide Kiwis loving living the life here.
The Kiwi Annisons settled down in Cambridge – the town of trees and champions – in the Waikato.
Nearby Lake Karapiro was the location for many adventures with a new toy… an old motorboat with which we could tow the kids on the end of a long rope (or something like that).
However we decided that we wished to see more of this wonderful country, so we ditched the boat and set out to source a low-budget campervan that with love, attention and a splattering of money would give us many years worth of wonderful trips around New Zealand.
In March 2010 we bought our bus.
It is a 1981 Isuzu Journey Custom (an old Japanese school bus I think) with heaps of potential. We have done numerous jobs on it already but it is definitely a work in progress.
Most importantly it has allowed us to travel.
We like to get to places we’ve never seen before but also love to visit good old favourite spots to relax.
Often the bikes and kayaks come with us and enable us to further explore areas and have more adventures.
Unfortunately, we have limited amounts of free time (and money) so our travels fit in around our finances and other commitments. We do not full time OR live in the bus.
Originally our travels were only recorded by photographs on Facebook; enabling friends from around the world to see what we are up to and comment on our pictures.
However, I realised that a lot of comments were from other New Zealanders who wanted to know exactly where was that beautiful waterfall? How could they get to that remote beach? How do we know where we can camp for free?
A kiwi friend told me she was showing her family some of my Facebook pictures, taken on a trip in our bus, and her daughter exclaimed, “That Vicki Annison has been to more places in New Zealand than we have!”.
The idea of starting a more accessible diary of our bus trips lodged in my head at that moment and started the inevitable journey of swirling around in there until I did something about it!
The beginning of a new year in 2012 spurred me into action and, after some deliberations on the naming of it, the Kiwi Blog Bus was born.
My dream for the blog is that it will enable me to better chronicle our road trips and so pass on any advice and useful information to other would-be travellers of this beautiful land of kiwis.
(And a book deal would be nice too!)
If you happen to read more than just one post on this blog you might realise that it seems to cover two periods of time, and two different vehicles! You would correctly have noticed that there was a changeover of campervans at somepoint, and perhaps a few less family members travel in the campervan now!
Back in 2015 I wrote an update that we’d sold the bus to help us move to a lifestyle block. A second blog was born (Kiwi Good Life) but I didn’t have much spare time for writing blog posts so mostly now just share any Kiwi Good Life pics on Instagram or Facebook.
Here’s the updated part of the update; in late 2020 we bought another campervan!
Our family has grown up over the years – as they tend to – so most of the time the travellers now just equal two, plus sometimes two furry canine friends who tag along, so this meant we could go for something a little smaller than the bus.
So this is what we travel in now:
A 2/3 berth VW Crafter – all modern and flash (well it is after you’re used to a 1981 converted school bus!)
I’ll stop writing “About” notes now and go and start having some campervan adventures to write about.
Be seeing you around these blog pages soon!
Hi Vicki from another kiwi 🙂 I love the idea of your blog and your photos are stunning! (especially the last one and the sunset). My husband and I like to travel around New Zealand as we can afford it (are planning a South Island trip next year) so I will follow this blog with interest 🙂 At the moment our favourite places are the Coromandel and a little place called Pikowai (near Matata) where we camp every summer.
We love the Coromandel too and have also stayed near Pikowai as we travel often to Whakatane 🙂
Hope you are enjoying the travels of the Kiwi Blog Bus.
The bus is the best way to see a country huh? You just get to hit the road and sleep wherever you find a beautiful place! Good on you guys!
V and I traveled around Australia in a smaller but similar situation to your bus. It really is the way to go!
I’ve just glanced through your blog and it definitely interests me in learning more about your adventures throughout New Zealand. I just arrived in NZ and to have a resource like your blog would help me during my 5+ years in this beautiful country. Keep exploring!
Kia Ora! I am loving this blog so far! Looking forward to hearing more about your great adventures around Kiwiland. Although I’m abroad right now, I can’t wait to finally make it back home!
Thanks for the comment. Hope you enjoy following our travels – where are you from in NZ? Maybe I can visit and post some pics for you!
That’s a good question… I’ve lived all over! Mainly Wellington, Dunedin and most recently in Auckland. I don’t know whether it’s easy getting your bus across the Straights, but if you get a chance to explore the South Island, let me know!
We will be going to South Island at some stage for sure! Just trying to build up a bit more spare time and money!
Lots more visits to Auckland (and its surrounds) are on the cards and we need to go and do lots of exploring around Wellington too.
Stay tuned 🙂
Awesome! Much as I like the North Island, I think the scenery’s much better in the South. Looking forward to your travels! 🙂
Very inspiring. Keep campering!
Thanks for visiting – love the word “campering” – may be using that in the future 😉
Thanks for liking our post! It’s nice to see you and your family exploring New Zealand. We have seen a fair bit of it, but as we are originally from the South Island we will have spent more time in different parts than you guys. It’s definitely worth the effort and expense to get down there though!
All the best,
Jo and Aaron
We are pretty keen to have a proper trip down to South Island and explore.
Just need bit more time, and money, but we’ll get there !
In the meanwhile we still have lots of North Island still to get to 🙂
I’ve nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award 🙂
Wow! Many thanks for nominating my blog http://www.kiwiblogbus.com for a Versatile Blogger award.
I love writing my blog almost as much as I love the fact that people actually read it!
Thanks again and hope you keep following our adventures 🙂
You have captured this beautiful country in your photos
Thank you – I consider it an honour to live here and get to photograph it. 🙂
Hey Vicki/kiwi of the Bus! Just a note in case you wanna read me doing some more carrying on about your lovely gift 🙂 http://littlebeut333.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/oh-my-gaaaawd-an-actual-award/#more-2510
Kia Ora Vicki… you sound a lot like my husband,.. officially he’s Dutch, but we’ve dubbed him an Honorary Kiwi since he settles in like a local every time we visit.
I’m lucky to have been all around NZ during various travels but many of those were years ago so re-visits are fabulous and I’d love to make a full time bus trip one day (if time, health and finances allow)
I hail from Christchurch but we are often in Hanmer Springs when we visit NZ every few years… so who knows… a co-ordinated visit to Hanmer to meet up one day in the future ??? you never know!
Not only will your blog build up a reference for other people but it will also remind you of where you’ve been, …places you want to go back to (or not LOL) amenities available etc and best times of year to visit.
If you have only visited a few places then you’d remember all the small details but when the travels and the place names start to stack up, having a handy reference is invaluable.
Excellent that you’ve adapted so well to the Kiwi way of life and the kiwi style of living… here’s a many a bus trip and good times and new firends on the road !
Thanks for your comments Kiwi Dutch 🙂
I very much use my photos (old and new) to help me blog. They instantly bring memories surging back and it’s then very easy to recall a trip/visit/holiday even a 10 minute stopover somewhere. I love that there are now permanent records of my memories floating around out there and it’s made even better because it appears that other people read and enjoy them too!
Let me know when you make that trip to Hamner, it’s a place I haven’t been to (yet!) so who knows!
Wonderful blog! It may be that I envy you a little bit. When we once had the chance to choose we opted for the USA and left NZ as a place to dream of. We don’t regret it – i never regret anything – but now I know much more how we would have loved it in NZ. And it’s mostly the people that make me want to return over and over again.
From what I can see you have had some wonderful years of travelling and I’m sure they are not over yet – maybe you will make it back to New Zealand!
Thanks for following the Kiwi Blog Bus 🙂
We are moving to NZ soon and got more excited upon seeing the wonderful sights on your blog. Keep it up!
How exciting for you! I remember the dread/anticipation/thrill feelings very well 😉
Thanks for your comments and visiting the blog.
Hey there, Great blog. My family and I plan to visit NZ in a year or so and live through the campervan experience. Your blog will help me more than Tripadvisor (and I love Tripadviser!!). Nic
Thanks for the great comment 🙂
Hopefully I’ll get the chance to explore South Island too and add some helpful posts before you come!
It’s such a pleasure to read about your travels and get lost in your incredible pictures. We’re all as eager as Jess and Pip to jump in and see where you’re off to next. My wife and I stepped away from our lives in Atlanta to spend the month of April, 1986, wandering through NZ. We came home with fond memories and an incurable longing to return.
You’re certainly right about the way that pictures and a diary or journal deepen the personal joy of travel. More than that, though, you’re building a story of your life as a family that you and your children will treasure throughout your lives. After all, nothing outside the campervan is as important as what’s inside.
Thank you for your lovely comment.
I’m glad you are enjoying our travels and I’m happy that you feel like you are tagging along too !
I hope you make it back to New Zealand for more of your own travels and adventures 🙂
G’day Vicki thanks for dropping by my blog. It has given me the opportunity to refind your great Blog. Love your photos. Just spent 2 months in NZ. Explored South Island it is AWESOME. Did not have time to blog while on the road so am now diligently catching up before we take off again in Matilda, our faithful old Toyota pop-top. North to the winter sin in Oz.
Look forward to reading about your trip 🙂
Hi there, We are Sue and Steve Lowe and live in Timaru – middle of the South Island and have recently bought a camper. We used to have a combi and missed the handiness of having everything ready. I have started a blog too and as yet just local travels due to it being mid winter. We do have a lot of Sth Island knowledge and would welcome sharing that. I can get a lot of Nth Island info from you and your blog. Our daughter is at uni in Wellington and we travel with our spoodle! Mind you sometimes she goes to the kennels which she loves. Look forward to some exchanges.
Our blog address is http://orf-piste.blogspot.com
When are you planning a trip to the Sth Island?
Your blog looks great Sue!
We would be over South Island at a shot but things like work, money, school and time always get in the way!
One day 🙂
Please keep in touch and do let me know if you make it up North!
Vicki- I nominated your blog for the Liebster Blog Award. I’m not exactly sure what the award rules are because like most awards there really isn’t a detailed list of how to win. The Liebster Award (from what I gathered) is for smaller blogs. I really have enjoyed reading your posts and love seeing NZ. Thanks, Jon.
You’re an inspiration. It’s not always the case that the whole family gets to live an adventure! Glad I stumbled in such a wonderful blog. Happy travelling!
Happy to have discovered your blog today! We have just arrived from England, a family of four – husband, I and two kids, and we plan to travel New Zealand for a year…we are off to Northland region this weekend, and was googling bay of islands, that’s how I found this. Plan to browse over all your trips now, get some feedback for our travelling next one year 🙂 So far loving it here!
Welcome to New Zealand!
I must admit I’m very jealous of your one year plan – i’d love to take a year off and travel and see more of this beautiful country 🙂
Luckily I get to live here every day so I cannot complain!
I hope you find some useful info in the blog – as you’ll see we sold the bus some time ago and haven’t continued the blog since but you’ll find me over at http://www.kiwigoodlife.co.nz talking about our adventures on our lifestyle block.
If you need any specific travel tips, particularly re the North Island – flick me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll see if I can help 🙂
I have just stumbled onto your blog and I love it. I am actually doing somewhat the opposite of you. I am from Hamilton and I am making may way around your side of the world. I loved in Scotland for a year and now I live in Iceland.
You, and your family, are amazing for doing this. Love your adventures! 🙂
Thanks for getting in touch!
Hope you’re enjoying your northern hemisphere travels – I’ve never been to Iceland but I did live in Edinburgh for six months 🙂