I love New Zealand
I love being with my family in New Zealand.
I love the freedom of camping in New Zealand without predatory mammals and rodent scavengers getting into your food lol.
We just spent the last few days camping, which maybe the last camping trip of the season. Over the hill and down the road is a beautiful little bay called Okains. We camped in the biggest tent in the world, thanks to our friends Kathryn & Kenneth who graciously allowed us to borrow it.
I love me a good camp site and this spot was the bomb bo diggety. True story. Look at the size of this plush accommodation, awesome right?! Mac kept saying “this is bigger than our house!”
Mike, Mac, Olivia (our grand daughter) and I had the very best time together. It’s really important to me to build family memories. I want my children to know that I was willing to make choices for them, to build happy memories for them and show them the beautiful world I brought them into. And now that I have the chance to be with the next generation, I want my grandchildren to know me, to be a part of my life in a very big way and to know I will make a choice to spend time with them too. I loved my grandmother, she was one of the most influential women in my world and I am determined to be a woman of influence in Olivia and Bailey’s worlds. I desire to encircle them with goodness, laughter, options and adventures so we can break the negative angry cycle in our family, I can’t think of a single thing that has more potential for good that I could accomplish in my life than being a catalyst for change in my family. One day they too will make choices to love with their whole hearts because of it!
Okains Bay is a small bay on Banks Peninsula, it’s about an hour 15 minutes from Christchurch. The road to Okains Bay is windy and hilly but nothing that any self respecting kiwi driver doesn’t know how to handle. Windy and hilly are our normal! And besides that, the bay is absolutely worth the effort! I wouldn’t say it’s a drop dead gorgeous bay, it’s pretty average for New Zealand standards..but a combination of delightful elements add up to make it a phenomenal family getaway.
This shaky video is showing the beach environs of Okains Bay, our happy place. You will have to click the pause button to stop it from replaying…I can’t figure out where to turn the autoplay setting off yet.
I’ve always been an early riser, I love my mornings of peace and quiet (and if I was really being honest here I would tell you that I feel quite protective of my mornings and don’t like it when one of the family wakes up early and my quiet is interrupted lol) but every now and again I wish my menfolk were up and about to share this beauty with me.
Each morning started with glorious morning light coming through the trees. When you love light, as I do….you can not help yourself; you have to leap from your hammock and grab your camera. I am okay with this odd addiction of course, there are worst things in life than being addicting to gorgeous light. Maybe next time I will wake them to enjoy it with me!
Our daily routine went pretty much like this . simply put…wake. play. eat. beach. eat. chillax in hammock. beach. eat. chillax. beach. bed. repeat the following day.
I am certain anyone could benefit from following this routine a few weeks a year. Although some things I noticed about this routine is, kids don’t get it. Chillaxing in hammocks for long sunny afternoons is not.their.thing.
So we took TOYS! The rocking horse, blocks, books and a few other toys to keep them entertained. We arranged the hammocks forming a box boundary they were NOT to move out of while we were in the hammocks, should one or both of us fall asleep. This arrangement worked perfectly and highlights the wisdom in getting organized to relax! lol But who knew her favourite thing to do would be to sit in the front seat of our car waving out to every passerby and shouting BYE at the top of her lungs.
Mac enjoyed the flying fox (zipline) at the small park when he wasn’t in the water.
But really, it’s all about the beach right?
Beach by day…
and by NIGHT
Spending time in the outdoors with these loves is one of my greatest blessings. I can’t think of a single place I would rather be. I am so grateful I get to have this choice.
At some point on the last night my husband announced “This is now one of my favourite places in the world” If you have been lucky enough to travel as much as we have, and seen as much as we have seen…(which really isn’t a lot compared to many of my friends) it brings this statement into perspective. This is a HUGE claim of a favourite place, HUGE!!!
I get it.
I loved every minute of the relaxing days doing not much at all. But still…my heart did a little leap, because maybe, just maybe… if he falls in love with NZ enough, he will want to stay!
and that would be the best thing ever, for me and his boy!
Okains Bay Campground is pretty well appointed, with clean bathrooms, including showers ($2 for 4 minutes – takes $2 coin only), a laundry with freezers (need a freezer bag from the office), handy kitchens with cook tops, ovens, fridges, kettles and toasters. The costs are very reasonable – $12 adults, $6 5-15 and Under 5’s are free. The hosts are super friendly and went above and beyond helping sand stuck tourists campers out & on their way again.
If you are looking for a camping getaway…give Okains Bay a try, a little slice of heaven over the hills and down the road. Be warned though, because it is so close to Christchurch it is often VERY busy during peak times like the Christmas holidays (which in NZ means the kids are off school from mid-dec to beg. Feb) . You do need to make reservations to stay at the camp ground and they have a 500 people capacity. There is an office for the camping ground on your left after driving through the little township. You stop here to pick up your peg and pay for your stay. Once you get to the camp ground it’s a bit of a free for all finding a spot.
The thing about Okains Bay is the beach is a relatively safe beach, if ever such a thing can be said about a beach. Safe to me means it’s not known for rips, the surf is light and there is a gentle slope into the water, no sudden drop off which makes it pleasant for the kids. If you have kids you will know enjoyment ensues when everyone can just get on with uninterrupted discovery. There is also an estuary river on the side that feeds into the beach, a popular spot for kayaking and riding the lilo!
Get prepared…bring toys, cards, beach badminton, a ball…anything to keep them entertained while you continue to rock a way the hours in hammocks or sun your buns on the beach. Again, be warned… there is no internet reception in this area. SO streaming Netflix movies is out of the question! lol
If you are photographically inclined, the evening golden hour lighting is divine!
and a quick shout out for the morning light too, YUM YUM YUM!