Surfing all the way to the Rugby

I've lived in the UK my whole life but have been fortunate to have parents who showed me many places around the world. Travelling wasn't new to me but New Zealand was. I'd even been to Australia but stupidly spent far too much money before getting over to the land of the long white cloud. I've played rugby since I was a little snapper and as much as it kills me to say this, nothing interested me more than finding out where the All Blacks got all their talent from. The issue I find with most travelling though is where to even begin. A 24 year old trying to look for an agency that isn't going to charge me under the table before I've even bought my first bottle of sunscreen. When you google it, especially in the UK, you get your standard $2,000+ packages that spread over about two weeks. Not what I'm looking for.

My two passions in life are Rugby and Surfing. All I wanted was the all in one package to do both those things. Try typing that into a search engine and not having a heart attack. But then, I found CloudTravel. They'd just updated their website and information and I couldn't quite believe what they were able to offer me.

The Custom Itinerary meant I could get ridiculous with them and see how much I could basically get away with, especially as it was free. Even if I didn't use them, I still went away with a free itinerary. So, thinking about my dream trip, there were three key things I wanted: see the All Blacks play live, rent a van I can just live in, surf at least every two days in a new spot.

Mitchell, at Cloud Travel got in touch a day after I'd submitted my itinerary. Even with such time difference, he was able to call me at a decent time here in the UK. We spoke in more detail about what I was after, and it was then I realised my 'ridiculous' trip was actually very possible - that wasn't what shocked me though, it was the price. Incredibly, more than a grand cheaper than what I was searching for.
After a few conversations over what sort of trip I was looking for, Mitchell managed to book me a really cool camper that was small, cheap on gas and had a roof rack for my board. We talked about a road trip and that there is actually a road that'll take you from Christchurch International Airport all the way north and around the coast back south. You could do this easily in 10 days. He even managed to find that the All Blacks were playing in Wellington towards the end of my trip, so we made the decision to get the van on the InterIslander across the channel, spend two nights in the capital and get to go see the guys do their thing for 80 minutes (they obviously won). As Wellington has a great airport there too, that would be my departing airport. Everything fit together so smoothly.

I landed at Christchurch airport with someone from the hire company already arranged by Cloud Travel to meet me. We went to their vans not far away from the airport and (as the forms were already sorted), I had the briefing and was now in my new home for the next three weeks. It was incredibly exciting putting my big rucksack in the back, loading up the tunes and heading north.

Christchurch was a beautiful place, Mitchell recommended a couple of quick stops and despite the Earthquakes, they've made it into an up and coming place. Equally, it was powerful to see the damage an Earthquake can cause. I had my first surf trip at Taylors Mistake, this was a good taste of going out with some pros and it was just what I needed after a 27 hour flight.

My first stop was Kaikoura, about a three hour drive north of Christchurch along some of the most incredible roads and hills you'll ever see. I didn't know what to expect other than that there were Whales there and it had incredibly scenery. When I arrived, it was perfect. At about 4pm, the sun was starting to mellow into the hills and the sea was so calm. I was told though, this would be my second surf spot, but it was in a spot that only surfers knew about. I won't disclose the name out of respect - but Mitchell mentioned I need to head north out of the town, take a right after X spot, travel another 50m and I'd find some grass land, free for campers, right in front of the surf. It was magical, the only people there were also traveling surfers. I met a group of people that night, we had a fire, beers and talked about where we were all from perfect.

The trip continued, all the way to the Able Tasman, down the coast (where I experienced the most terrifying surf I'd ever been in, I should have known when I was the only surfer out), I ventured into Queenstown, Wanaka and then went into Milford Sound - which was easily the most incredible place I've ever been. A day drive over to Dunedin, another good surf trip followed by the sighting of some Orcas too. I was back in Christchurch on day 9 doing a full loop of the South Island with a surf every other day.

Towards the end of the trip, I relaxed before my flight to Wellington. As I'm Vegetarian, I needed specific hotels to stay in. Some how, Cloud Travel had put me in a 'Vegetarian friendly' hostel on my last night there. I then flew up to Wellington over the Alps and again, unbelievably, Mitchell put me on the left side of the plane...the view with the mountains!

After landing in Wellington, I was given some advice where to go. Te Papa, the waterfront and on to Weta Workshop where they do all the Lord Of The Ring special effects. But that night, the AB's were in town. We'd gotten some great seats right in front of the Haka and it was just brilliant.

It was sad to leave NZ after doing everything that I wanted and the country actually offering it to me. The highlights I would say was Queenstown, my surf on the West Coast and the AB's game, however, nothing compares to the full itinerary I received that covered everything from Cloud Travel. They really took some time to get to know me and my trip, and it was a bargain.

Cheers guys! I'll be back soon...


This product has been added to your cart