Best things about travelling in a campervan

22 July 2014 10:51 a.m.

We’ve put together the 5 of the best things about travelling in a campervan, motorhome, RV, or anything on wheels!  There’s definitely more than five, but here  is some inspiration to get started. Not that you need convincing, but just in case you do….

Do you feel like getting away from it all? Do you need to inject some adventure in your life? Driving a campervan on a long road trip might just be the thing to revive you and bring  out the free-spirit in you. If you want to know why people rave about this kind of holiday, read below and start wondering why you haven’t thought about it before.

Best things about travelling in a campervan

Freedom

Having a campervan means you can do what you want, go where you want, when you want. You don’t need have to worry about having a schedule. Having total freedom to choose your own activities and destinations is one of the appeals of this kind of holiday.

Flexibility

Being the master of your own time and having your house on wheels means that you can change your plans at the drop of a hat, follow a different route, take the advice of fellow travellers and visit a special place you were unaware of. This is great news for someone who chooses to hit the road to break their everyday routine. Plus you don’t need to rely on buses and trains: some areas are more isolated than others and are reachable only by private transport.

Fun

Travelling by campervan is fun: you get to do things that you don’t normally do and see places you normally see only on tv or in magazines. You might park in a quiet spot near a stream and do some impromptu swimming – or skinny dipping for the brave ones. You can share stories, have drinks or play guitar around the campfire with new friends.  Be intrigued by wild animals, see different lands, find a surfing spot and relax on the beach or take a break from driving and explore a beautiful area by bicycle. There will always be new experiences just around the bend.

Best things about travelling in a campervan

Convenience

The allure of campervans is that you can sleep and cook in your temporary home. Buying groceries and parking on a camping ground is more convenient than booking a hotel and eating at a restaurant. Your accommodation will be used more often and you’ll get your money’s worth. Petrol will be a cheaper option in the long run as well. Do some research and you might be able to find free parking spots depending on the country you are visiting. Also consider the money you will save on package tours.

Adventure

Everybody is looking to add more variety and spice in their life. Something about  hitting the road awakens the adventurous spirit in everyone: it must be the fresh air, the open spaces, the sense that we are closer to nature, that we are experiencing life to the full and that we have the world at our finger tips. We have our few necessary possessions with us and nothing else, we are free and independent, the wheels taking us to a world of possibilities.

Best things about travelling in a campervan

Are you ready to go on an unforgettable trip? Can you hear the motor running and your inner Indiana Jones calling?  Check out some great campervan options at JUCY and head off on your own adventure!

Snowboarders take to NZ’s outdoors in a JUCY Condo

03 July 2014 09:51 a.m.

Andrew Wilde, pro Snowboarder, hits the road to check out what NZ’s got to offer…

We set out from Christchurch in our Jucy Condo camper ready for an 8 day film trip, with the final destination of Auckland’s Snow planet. We were filming for our own webisodes for a Chinese audience showing them a Kiwi road trip, 2 riders, a filmer and a driver.

 Day 1:Leaving Christchurch in the afternoon a bit behind schedule (as getting the shots took longer than expected) we made it to Kaikoura just in time to catch the sunset before getting back on the road to reach the destination of the day Picton.

Snowboarders take to NZs outdoors in a JUCY Condo

 Day 2: We had an early start but not early enough as we almost missed our Interislander ferry to Wellington. We made it on, as the second to last car. We got to see some amazing scenery before reaching Wellington. We went and filmed a few shots of the nations capital and of course went to see the iconic Beehive parliamentary building, before getting back on the road to reach Wanganui before nightfall.

 Day 3: We had a good solid drive ahead of in order to reach Taupo and catch the sunset. So we got some quick shots of the famous Wanganui River or Whanganui as the locals call it nowadays.

 We stayed in the Top 10 holiday park in Taupo which was very well equipped with great clean facilities as well a awesome hot pool and lots of fun activities onsite, I would highly recommend this for anyone visiting Taupo

 Day 4: We were booked in at Taupo Bungee and Cliffhanger at 10 am. After everyone had a shot of confidence we were ready to try both of the awesome activities out, everyone had such an awesome time! It was such a great start to the day. We spent the day checking out the lake and local skate parks getting all the shots we needed.

Snowboarders take to NZs outdoors in a JUCY Condo

 Day 5: Having spent night in Taupo, We had the hard job of getting up super early to film the sunrise which only needed two of us so the rest were luck enough to sleep in. We had a change of plans and decided to go to Gisborne to try get some surfing shots instead of going to Rotorua. we had a very long drive ahead of us but we made it there without to much any hassles.

 Day 6: Without any waves we had to do our backup activity which was a natural rock water slide on the way to our next destination, Mt Maunganui. When we got there we saw how big it was and it took awhile for everyone to get into it but in the end we got some of the best shots of our trip there! We had to get back on the road straight after as we had another long drive ahead of us.

 Day 7:Mt Maunganui is such a beautiful seaside town with awesome scenery and fishing, we were so luck to catch it on a bluebird day. We went to  Papamoa Blokart  recreation park to go try out there famous blow Karting but there wasn’t enough wind but we ended up having an awesome time on there 3 wheeled drift karts. Afterwards we had a nice short drive to our final destination of Auckland.

Day 8: After a long 7 days we finally got to do what we set out to do, snowboard at Snowplanet. This was our first time in an indoor ski resort but we had such an awesome time getting our final shots and finishing out amazing New Zealand road trip!

 After an action packed 8 days everyone was ready to have couple days off . We all had a great time and had the got to try some really fun New Zealand activities. I would like thank everyone who helped us along the way it wouldn’t have been possible without your help. Please check out www.Andrew-snow.com to see our trailers and episodes.

Snowboarders take to NZs outdoors in a JUCY Condo

An Autumn Adventure with @studiohome creative Julia!

04 June 2014 03:31 p.m.

Julia Atkinson from Studio Home took a JUCY Styla for a spin around New Zealand… check out the nooks and crannies she explored between Queenstown and Wellington.

I had two weeks booked for a half work, and half excuse to visit the South Island (home) roadie. I’m pretty fortunate that my “work” requires a lot of travel and in general, meeting, photographing and interviewing creative people across New Zealand and Australia. It’s hardly a drag….

My two weeks were strategically planned to coincide with one of my favourite times of year in the South Island – Autumn. There is nothing more crisp, fresh or beautiful than the misty freezing mornings or the first bitter and wintery weather systems that start to sweep through.  Yes, I’m a total sucker for having to don my woollens and defrost my car every morning!

While I had accommodation sorted with friends and family the whole way, I didn’t have wheels! Getting paired with the new Jucy Styla was pretty perfect as it was INSANELY economical being a diesel, grunty, smooth and really….nothing like what you would expect from a rental car at all ha!

I flew into Queenstown to be instantly swallowed up by the snowy Remarkables just kind of standing there to greet everyone getting off the plane. I was reminded straight away that the immense majesty of the landscape down there is on a much more massive scale then ever remembered!

An Autumn Adventure with @studiohome creative Julia!
I quick chat with the Jucy team at the airport and a chilly shuffle across the car park to pick up my wagon and I was off!
I spent three days in Queenstown, splitting my time between shooting at the delicious and local fave; Vudu Café and Larder, lunches with friends, sneaky explorative cruises up the lake just to take it all in and some intense fireside computer time.
By Wednesday I reluctantly realised it was time to keep the wheels turning and I decided to crack into a large driving day through some of my favourite country. I left Queenstown and her golden colours to wind through the misty Kawarau Gorge to Cromwell. Then I cruised down Lake Dunstan and all its strange, bare hills and through the back roads of historical village; Clyde. I LOVE the landscape through there and on to Roxburgh. It’s weird and alien looking! Dry and bare and scattered with HUGE boulders like they’ve fallen out of a giants pocket!

An Autumn Adventure with @studiohome creative Julia!An Autumn Adventure with @studiohome creative Julia!
It took me about 3 hours or so before I made it to Dunedin where I promptly made for the studio of artist Jon Thom, spent a couple of hours interviewing and taking pics then made and U Turn to head back along the same road I came. Seems a little silly – but it was such a beautiful drive, and heading back but in the opposite direction allowed for a totally different view!
What’s more I was heading for Lake Wanaka….only my most favourite place in NZ!

Wanaka had me for the weekend and I lapped up every second. It’s much more low key than Queenstown and the small town vibe suits me just fine. But the skyline catches my breath just the same and it doesn’t matter how many times I leave that place …I spend a lot of time staring sadly into my rear vision mirror!

An Autumn Adventure with @studiohome creative Julia!
Due to some last minute shuffling of appointments further north, I cut my Wanaka time short and left in good time on Sunday. Again – one of the best days spent driving in the South Island I believe! I hit Tarras then ventured through the high country of the Lindis Pass and on into the Mackenzie Basin. This area is quite something…desolate (except for the relatively recent circles of green from new irrigation) stony, sparse bordered on one side by tussocky hills and the other, the rugged and black Southern Alps. I always half expect to see a woolly mammoth rolling a long in the distance!
It’s been my tradition for at least the last 8 years to always without fail stop at Lake Pukaki and have a wee silent moment taking in Aoraki/Mt Cook. On this day the usual saturated blue of the lake was more of a glacial milky colour which made everything look silver. Sigh. It’s a pretty special place!

An Autumn Adventure with @studiohome creative Julia!

After another 3 hours ish I reached my parents place just north of Christchurch where I bunked down of for a few days to catch up on some work.
On the Wednesday, pre-dawn, I loaded up the Styla and once again pointed her north. In just a couple of hours of low lit driving I slid out of the Hundalee ranges to arrive seas side just south of Kaikoura. The sun was just coming out and I stopped for a second to take it all in as fisherman quietly launched their boats for the day. My timing was kind of bang on as in the rosy gold light I could make out shapes jumping and realised that I was watching an enormous super pod of dolphins frolicking their way south! Awesome!

Tradition struck again with an obligatory piece of fresh battered fish from The Cave restaurant for breakfast and a quick drive to the peninsula look out to enjoy it while taking in Kaikoura, her north and south coast and the snowy peaks to her west. It’s a pretty incredible location!

An Autumn Adventure with @studiohome creative Julia!An Autumn Adventure with @studiohome creative Julia!

I continued north and through to Blenheim where I stayed with and interviewed NZ’s Queen of Colour, interior designer Alex Fulton. While it was only 24 hours I lapped up the best Japanese I’d ever had in NZ and a decadent platter with local wine….they don’t do things by halves in Marlborough!
The following morning it was another early one to zip the half hour on through to my last port of call in the South Island; Picton. As they sun came up I drove the car into the bowels of the Interislander Ferry then armed with all warm things I had, found myself a rail side posse to take in the pure magic of the Marlborough Sounds. We slid through Tory Channel then on over the straight to eventually enter Wellington Harbour and the North Island. Wellington always surprises me …its white little houses clinging to the rolling ridges and tops around the harbour, kind of reminding me of San Francisco!

An Autumn Adventure with @studiohome creative Julia!

Wellington looked after me for another 3 days. I took photos at Khandallah’s best kept secret; Tea Pea, visited the new harbour side HQ of fashion brand; Kowtow and for the first time ever explored all its exposed suburban bays where houses cling and hide behind rock while the Tasman has a good go and ripping them off!  It was kind of unlike any other urban touring I’d ever done!

All in all I had two weeks exploring what I thought was very familiar territory….but for the most part it felt like I was seeing everything again for the first time! That trip is surely one of the most gratifying with its quick and continual changes of scenery. Probably my favourite.

An Autumn Adventure with @studiohome creative Julia!

You can also read about Julia’s road trip here

Travel Fashion Girl’s glamping experience from LA to Utah!

19 May 2014 01:30 p.m.

Travel Fashion Girl went for a spin in our JUCY Champ! Check out her USA adventure, along with some great tips on where to go and what to pack!

As a “travel fashion girl”, I’m more of a glamper than a rugged camper and Jucy Campervans offered the perfect vehicle for my 10-day road trip from Los Angeles to Utah:

Day 1: The big road trip day has finally arrived! Picking up our Jucy Campervan was an experience in itself. From the moment we laid eyes on their bright purple and green offices until the moment we had a tour of the vehicle, it felt like the fun had already started.

Read my full camper rental review for the jucy details!

Day 2: We got on the road one day later than planned due to untimely obligations. The drive also took longer than expected so we ended up spending the night at an RV stop just across the Utah state line – the convenience of having a moving hotel room!

Travel Fashion Girls glamping experience from LA to Utah!

Day 3: Refreshed, we awoke for an early start and quickly found that any inconveniences the previous day were well worth it! By starting our drive through Utah early in the morning we got to see the incredible sights in the daytime on the way to the National Parks – awe-inspiring!

Day 4: After spending the afternoon driving to all the viewpoints at Canyonlands National Park yesterday, we reserved our Saturday for a day filled with hikes. Unfortunately, it rained half the day but we were still able to get in a couple of hours in the afternoon. Spectacular!

Travel Fashion Girls glamping experience from LA to Utah!

Day 5: We spent the morning at the famous Dead Horse Point views and the afternoon getting acquainted with Arches National Park. Famous for its towering arch-like formations, Arches was one marvel of nature after another.

Day 6: Today we spent the whole day exploring Arches National Park. We did two 2-3 hours treks and the rest of the viewpoints we visited off right off the road at vehicle accessible stopping areas or through short walks.

Travel Fashion Girls glamping experience from LA to Utah!

Day 7: We made a last minute decision to add one more national park to our short road trip: the famous Zion. We spent 1.5 days doing the more accessible yet scenic trails, which was a great way to enjoy one more park and also break up our long drive back home.

Day 8 – 9: Who can drive through Vegas and not stop for a night? We can’t! While I’ve been to Vegas numerous times, my boyfriend has only been once so we stopped for a night (later extended to two nights) and enjoyed a little sin city action on the last nights of our trip.

Travel Fashion Girls glamping experience from LA to Utah!

Day 10: Sadly, today was the drive back home. We headed straight for the Jucy headquarters to say goodbye to our campervan. It was an epic adventure definitely enhanced by the stylish little vehicle that made our lives way easier and more fun on our road trip to Utah!

It was a short and quick 10-day trip from LA to Utah and we averaged 2 nights, and 1.5 days at each destination. Thankfully, the conveniences the Jucy campervan offered allowed us to move quickly without spending much time on set up and tear down each day.

Travel Fashion Girls glamping experience from LA to Utah!

Thanks Jucy for joining us on an awesome adventure!

For your car camping check-list - read this

For tips on what to wear when visiting a national park in a Campa – read this

 

Freedom on the Great Ocean Road

15 May 2014 02:48 p.m.

Divergent Travellers took to the Australian roads in a JUCY Campa -here’s their tips for the Great Ocean Road!

There are many ways to experience the Great Ocean Road from guided bus tours to self-drives and everything in between. Some people prefer to leave the planning in the hands of a company and join a coach bus or small van group tour. They usually hit the highlights and offer a relaxing experience.  Others prefer to rent a car and spend their time at guest houses while making their own itinerary. For the true adventurers, you can’t beat renting a campavan and using your freedom to experience all that the road has to offer.

We picked up our Jucy campavan at the end of our stay in bustling Melbourne. Their location in St Kilda is easy to find and accessible from the CBD if you are not staying in the St Kilda area.  We found navigating our way out of the mega city an easy task and before we knew it, we were headed down M1 straight towards Geelong.

 Freedom on the Great Ocean Road

Geelong is a good place to stop and visit a grocery store before you reach Torquay and start your drive on the official Great Ocean Road. There will be better variety and better prices to be found here. Stocking up beforehand offers you the freedom to stop when you want once you reach the road. Torquay is the first city you will pass through and it gives off some serious surfer vibes. A walk through the streets and a visit to one of the beaches is an excellent way to start off your drive. Depending on how many days you have allotted for you travel, you could easily spend a night here if you choose.

If nothing else, be sure to stop off near the beginning of the road at any information center and grab a tourist map for the Great Ocean Road. This will highlight all the towns and great places to stop along your way.

Adventures on the road from this point are plenty and there are a variety of ways to put together your trip. Highlights include Lorne, a beautiful seaside town with a resident population of big, white Cockatoos. Kennett River is another great wildlife stop, where just off the highway you can park and enjoy observing koalas in the trees above.  The Twelve Apostles are a must see and are clearly marked from the main road.

 Freedom on the Great Ocean RoadFreedom on the Great Ocean Road

Of course this only scratches the surface of the stops you can make on this great drive. You’ll quickly find that a lot of the enjoyment from the road comes from just enjoying the twisty roads that wind up, down and through the cliffs next to the ocean. Camping areas are abundant and make nice places to stop for a good night’s rest. Top that all off with great weather, amazing nature, beautiful landscapes and the freedom that comes from your own campavan and you are in for a real treat.

Freedom on the Great Ocean Road

JUCY Easter Roadie

01 May 2014 05:00 p.m.

“Congratulations Carolyne, you have been chosen to be our Easter Roadie trip.”

Feelings of excitement and happiness ensued. I was given the opportunity to have a campervan for five days anywhere I wanted in Australia and at the same time be able to spread some Easter Bunny cheer to the local community. I immediately told my partner, Roméo, who could not believe I had won. Doing the Great Ocean Road and the Mornington Peninsula was on our top list of places to see for some time now and so the decision of where we were headed was an easy one.

Alice from the Melbourne branch of JUCY contacted us shortly after and told us our mission would be to spread some Easter cheer to the local RSPCA in Burwood, East. We would be delivering some beautiful chocolate baskets to the volunteers and staff and handing out some even tastier treats to their dogs.

On Monday March 31st, Roméo and I departed our apartment, hopped on the tram and headed to the Melbourne JUCY branch to pick up on new home for the next five days.

We were greeted by the lovely JUCY staff and proceeded to check in with the awesome long-bearded American Josh. We were delighted to be given the Penthouse Campa. He even threw in a free GPS, making this the ultimate vacation package!

Once we got familiar with the Campa, we had the pleasure to met Alice. A beautiful, all smiles, British young woman. I could feel her excitement as she handed us our Easter costumes, cute bunny ears and matching tails.

JUCY Easter Roadie

Turns out she’s a huge animal lover, just like us, and so to spread the Easter cheer with her was a real treat.

Around 11:30am we were set to depart. Arriving a little after noon, we were greeted by the ever so kind Catherine from the RSCPA. She could not believe the size of our baskets nor could get over how cute we all three looked in our Easter bunny outfits!

We then proceeded to the break room, set up our goodies, and Catherine made the surprise announcement on the intercom!

JUCY Easter Roadie

As the staff and volunteers poured into the break room, they were a little confused but also very delighted to see three little Easter bunny handing waiting for them with huge baskets of chocolates! Basket openings, chocolate devouring immediately commenced! Just an awesome way to start off the week…only if all Monday mornings could be like that!

We proceeded to head downstairs to tour the animal area. We were secretly very excited for this as we would be able to give Easter doggy approved treats to the RSCPA dogs! Tails wagging, dogs patiently waiting their turns for the treats! It was a real delight.

The RSCPA experience was an amazing opportunity to chat with the hard working staff and volunteers of this newly built branch. It is simply inspiring to see first hand the attention that is given to every single living creature in this place. For Roméo and I, it could not have been a better why to kick-start our Great Ocean Road trip.

JUCY Easter Roadie JUCY Easter Roadie JUCY Easter Roadie

We arrived at the Great Apostles lookout area just in time to catch the beautiful sunset.

I can never get tired of the Australian sunsets, just absolutely beautiful. No words to describe the serenity that chills your entire body when you look onto the horizon.

The sunset was definitely the icing on the cake to end such an awesome day. Tonight was going to be our first attempt to making dinner in the Campa. On the menu: chicken spaghetti with sweet basil and tomato sauce and a side of green beans! Yummy! The Campa kitchen got our quick approval!

The next day, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and a surprising hot morning for an April 1st. It would soon turn out to be the hottest day on record, 26 degree Celsius!

On today’s route, Port Campbell for coastal town viewing, then back up to Johanna’s Beach for lunch by the ocean, relaxing, and walking around. Cape Otway Lighthouse to take in some of the breathtaking landscape.

We finished off the day with a stop over by the Lorne beach for a quiet night dinner and sleeping. On the menu tonight was a delicious rice and green bean Bolognese. We planned to drink our Peter Lehmann 2008 Barossa Shiraz bottle but given the fact that it was 26 degrees Celsius, the bottle was more than warm. Quick on his feet, Roméo, decided to make his own cooler.

Quick tip: if you want your wine or beer to be cool, find a shallow rocky area, make sure it’s low tide, cradle your bottle between the rocks, eat a little snack while you wait, and come back in 20 minutes. By this time your drink should be chilled and ready to drink! Simply open, pour, and enjoy!

JUCY Easter Roadie JUCY Easter Roadie

At 7:00 am we woke up the next morning and it must have been still about 20 degrees Celsius. Thankfully by 8:30 am the temperature started to drop, and it started to rain. On program this morning was the Erskine Falls. We were graced with a huge rainbow on our way to the tallest falls of Victoria.

We felt like we were in the Amazon jungle surrounded with the lush and green plants and trees. For the afternoon, our plan was to head to Queenscliff and hop onto the ferry to Sorrento.  The ferry is a great option, as we were short on time, and wanted to connect quickly to the Mornington Peninsula. 40 minutes later we arrived safely at our destination.

As today had been very wet and remarkably cooler compared to the previous day, one of the major highlights was us heading to the Peninsula Hot Springs in Fingal for an evening of pure relaxing. The moment we stepped into the reception area, we felt calm and soothed. We were delighted to weave our way around the 20 different baths. The other bathing experiences included the sauna and hamam, the reflexology walk, and the hydrojet pool. But the most special, must have been climbing all the way to the top of the bathes and immersing our bodies into the thermal hot spring bath that overlooked the entire city line. Just a spectacular experience.

The next morning, waking up refreshed and relaxed,  we drove to discover the walking trails of the Cape Schank Lighthouse.

The Mornington Peninsula landscape does not disappoint. Our afternoon was reserved for wine tasting; this region of Victoria is very well known for its Pinot Noirs.

We created our list of the four wineries we wanted to visit thanks to our trusty wine touring map. On the list was:

  • Montalto Estate
  • Eldridge Estate
  • Main Ridge Estate (the oldest winemaker in the region)
  • 10 Minutes by Tractor

We had the pleasure of discussing with the cellar door staff about their 2014 vintage season, tasted some interesting pinot noirs, and even had a private tour of the cellar area at one of the wineries.

As this was our last night in the Peninsula, we wanted to do something special for dinner. We purchased at the IGA in Hastings a tandori styled chicken that we grilled on the BBQ. This is one feature of Australia that we absolutely love! Get your meat and grill it on one of the many free barbecues. We toasted our evening with a nice Shiraz. It was simply a perfect night spent overlooking the Shoreman Beach.

On Friday morning, we said goodbye to the Peninsula and started making our way back home. We took the long way and stopped in the city of Mornington.  Then headed towards the Ocean Road and stopped along the Brighton beach houses for some final pictures. We drove our CAMPA back to its destination on Inkerman Street in St. Kilda and handed over the keys to Josh; our new American friend. We said our goodbyes to the Jucy team and headed back home the same way we arrived.

JUCY Easter Roadie

Until next time JUCY campa, you were great to us, and we can’t wait for our next adventure with you!

Cheers,

Carolyne and Roméo

Easter Bunny Roadie winners Australia 2014

 

Mrs Grubbys South Island Adventures in her JUCY Condo

08 April 2014 03:39 p.m.

I must start by saying, I never thought it was possible to miss a vehicle rental as much as we do. Whoever out there is currently driving Jucy’s HEY950, please give her a big hug and tell her we miss her dearly. In the 2 weeks that we had her, our Lucy became part of our family unit.

We began our journey in Christchurch. The Jucy crew was extremely helpful with making sure we had everything we needed for our road trip, including some great recommendations on places to visit. We stopped for groceries at a nearby mall, then immediately hit the road. Our first night in a holiday park, we met Paul and Betty Callahan, our campervan neighbors from Florida, USA, who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary by touring New Zealand in a Jucy Condo. The best part about being a Jucy customer, are the other Jucy friends you meet on the road. There is a camaraderie among Jucy’s that makes you feel like you have friends wherever you go.

Mrs Grubbys South Island Adventures in her JUCY Condo

The following day included swimming with over 100 dusky dolphins off the coast of Kaikoura. What an experience! We’re not huge fans of zoos with caged animals, so to be able to swim with dolphins in their natural habitat was something really special for each of us. Following our swim, we hit the road headed north towards Kaiteriteri Beach. The following morning we woke and walked along the beach. We visited Split Apple Rock and had one of the best burgers of our life at Fat Tui. Being from California and familiar with beautiful beaches, we decided to forego exploring Abel Tasman in depth and instead headed south to experience the glaciers and landscapes we don’t regularly get to see living on the coast of California.

On the way to Franz Josef, we stopped to see the beautiful Pancake Rocks and blowholes in Punakaiki then stayed in Hokitika for the night. A must see for anyone interested in the famed New Zealand glow worms, is the Hokitika Dell. Spending the evening surrounded by so many glowing lights in a quiet little dark dell was other-worldly!

Mrs Grubbys South Island Adventures in her JUCY CondoMrs Grubbys South Island Adventures in her JUCY Condo

We woke the next morning and headed to Franz Josef. On the way, we made a detour to the Hokitika Gorge. If you have the time, definitely add this stop to your itinerary. The drive is beautiful in itself, but the turquoise waters flowing through the gorge have to be seen to be believed. Just don’t forget your Goodbye Sandfly, they are fierce in this area!

Once we reached Franz Josef, we checked in for the night and woke early the next morning for the Ice Explorer tour, a very cool (no pun intended) and informative morning, hiking on and learning about the Franz Josef glacier.

Following Franz Josef, we headed towards Wanaka, a cute little lakeside town. The next day, we attempted to hike Roy’s Peak, but short on time and not equipped with enough water for the strenuous hike, we only made it halfway up before throwing in the towel and hitting the road towards Queenstown. First stop – Fergburger! We had heard so much about this place offering the ‘best burger in the world’ and we have to agree, it was a mighty fine burger!! But a word of advice for those who want to forego the hype and the sometimes hour plus wait, visit Devil Burger nearby, which has equally delicious offerings and no line.

As fun and alive as Queenstown is, we tend to gravitate towards quiet towns away from the buzz, so we headed out to Glenorchy. I just can’t find the words to describe this area; we definitely left a huge piece of our hearts in this sleepy little gem of a town. If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan (which I am), the Ride of the Rings tour by Dart Stables is a must, as well as the Dart River Jet Boat and Funyak tour. Of course, no trip to New Zealand is complete without a little adrenaline excursion. Mine included a bungy jump from the nearby Kawarau Bridge, the birthplace of bungy.

Mrs Grubbys South Island Adventures in her JUCY CondoMrs Grubbys South Island Adventures in her JUCY Condo

While in the Queenstown area, we decided to take the Scenic Milford Sound tour offered by Heli Tours Ltd. This tour was easily the highlight of our trip. It’s one thing to see all this breathtaking scenery from below, but from above was something you just can’t beat. Our pilot Phillip was so informative and friendly, and with our teenager being a little uneasy in the air, Phillip made sure we felt safe during our entire flight.  He took us over hidden alpine lakes, rivers and valleys not visible from the ground, out to land on a beach only accessible by air or water, and then into Milford Sound for a coffee and pastry. We then flew up to a glacier and landed for a photo then back into Queenstown. I really can’t say enough good things about this company. Katherine, the owner, will be the first person we call to book another amazing tour the next time we visit the south island.

After leaving Queenstown, we drove down to Milford Sound for a day of kayaking through the beautiful fjord (yes, it’s really a fjord, and not a sound). After our day in Milford, we headed north again making our way back to Christchurch. Along the way we drove past the beautiful turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki towards Mount Cook for a little hiking around the Tasman Glacier and Hooker Valley areas.  We then headed to Lake Tekapo for the night, where we had the great fortune of meeting ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ New Zealand actor, Jed Brophy, while eating dinner. What a nice guy, and a big treat for me being a huge fan of the movies!

Our last night was spent in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I don’t know how Mount Potts and the Rangitata Valley aren’t at the top of every south island ‘must see’ itinerary. We loved that area the most of all. Our final morning we spent visiting the town center of Christchurch. It was surprising to see so much of the devastation of the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes still visible and in the midst of recovery. Finally back to the airport, parting with our Jucy Lucy was difficult but we are certain that we will be back someday to reunite with her and explore more of beautiful New Zealand.

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Mrs Grubbys South Island Adventures in her JUCY Condo

 

 

 

Elisa’s JUCY Road Trip from Melbourne to Sydney

01 April 2014 10:20 a.m.

Elisa was the 2013 winner of ‘Best Jobs in the World’ in Australia. She took our JUCY Condo between the two biggest and famous cities in Australia: Melbourne and Sydney. In 15 days, here are her 10 top spots on her unforgettable JUCY Road Trip!

Day 1 : Great Ocean Road : Melbourne – Apollo Bay

Melbourne, Monday 10:32am: van checked and packed, Lucy on the rooftop, it’s now time to leave the Jucy branch and escape the city (which is great by the way!).  Sun is shining, the Great Ocean Road and its fluffy koalas won’t wait for us all day! Max’s got the driver’s seat, I’m the lucky one who can soak up the beautiful beach views and breathe the fresh air, umh that feels so good to be on a Jucy road trip!

Elisas JUCY Road Trip from Melbourne to Sydney

Day 2:  Great Ocean Road: Apollo Bay – Port Campbell

After a first night in the campa, a brekkie in the nature with an ocean view, we headed direction Port Campbell. Thanks to a small detour to the Otway Lighthouse, we saw heaps of koalas up in the trees that was awesome to spot them in the wild! All the tourists were fascinated, no matter the nationality, koala‘s awesomeness is universal ! Our day became even more sensational once we got to the 12 Apostles. These “Giants” emerge so proudly from the Southern Ocean, it’s breathtaking! Loch Ard Gorge was also spectacular!! What a great day out on the Road with our Jucy Lucy, and yeah I forgot to mention that we made lots of new friends on the road, Jucy brothers!

Day 3: Great Ocean Road: Flying over the GOR – Timboon – Mornington Peninsula

What a better way to take in properly the scenic coast of the Great Ocean Road than by the air? We hopped on a chopper and took thousands of pictures! Nice! Then direction Timboon to taste good local products and we start with L’Artisan Cheese, because as good French people we love cheese!!! But Matthieu, the manager, does French style cheese and especially cheese from my own region in France J He offers us a visit of the cheese factory, all dressed up for the occasion (hygiene reason) we go through the different stages of the production to finish with a delicious tasting. We have the feeling to be back home, yummy! The tasting trail continues with whiskey, chocolate and fine ice creams. The stomachs full, we head to Queenscliff to board the ferry going to the other side Sorrento: Mornington Peninsula!

Elisas JUCY Road Trip from Melbourne to Sydney

DAY 4-5-6: Mornington Peninsula, Philipp island and Wilson’s Promontory

Swimming with dolphins and seals! Sorrento is a lovely seaside town where you can swim with dolphins and seals, we don’t  want to miss this opportunity, so  let’s go for a 3 hour cruise with Moonraker Dolphins and lots of adventures! These animals  are so playful! We say goodbye to the dolphins to say hello to another cute animal: the penguins! On the pretty Phillip  Island, we are  excited to observe the Little Penguins coming back home at night. A very cool experience, they don’t care  about us, they  just make their way to their burrows and keep doing their things!! After a few walks on the coast, many  pictures taken on the  wild beaches, we head to Wilsons Promontory, known as The Prom.

Elisas JUCY Road Trip from Melbourne to Sydney

This is one of the favourite spots to the locals and we immediately get why!! The beaches are just so beautiful, calm, and the  colors are magnificent. The camera doesn’t stop a minute there!!

Unfortunately time’s arrived to leave Victoria and drive further north to New South Wales, new adventures awaiting!

DAY 8-9-10:  The beautiful south coast of New South Wales

After a bit of driving, we can’t wait to get wet and play on the pristine beaches New South Wales is famous for. Jervis Bay is a great spot to stop. Murray’s Beach, Hyams Beach: both come with white and squeaky sand, aqua blue water…what else you can dream of? Great to enjoy the view and the breeze, but what if you want to make the most of the waves? Nothing better than learning to surf to do so we choose Surf Camp Australia for a couple of hours in the water, yeah ha! Let’s rock the waves on the perfect 7 Mile Beach!…umh umh not that easy actually but Sam our teacher is so much fun that it doesn’t matter if we can compete with Kelly Slater!! There is always a beginning to something, I would say!

DAY 11-12-13: Adventures in the Blue Mountains

After so much sand and paradisiacal postcards pictures, we are looking for a different adventure: time to head to the mountains…the Blue Mountains! Here it’s a well new playground. First, we check Scenic World out and aboard the highest cable car in Australia (270 metres between cliff edges) and the scenic cableway, it makes it very easily to explore the Jamison Valley and say hi to the Three Sisters! Just what we needed for a start. Then, time to get into it and go canyoning and abseiling these wonderful canyons and waterfalls the Blue Mountains are well known for! High N Wild drives us for an day trip we won’t soon forget!  In the morning, we get some confidence with heights and go rappelling 5, 15, 30 metres cliffs. Step by step. I pretty scared of heights but weirdly I’m ok. The most difficult bit is to stay on the edge and start the descent, once you have done that, it’s all good and fun to be in the air and take in the spectacular scenery! The afternoon is wet! Jumping in the canyon, waterslide and last but not least an awesome 30 metre waterfall to abseil!

Elisas JUCY Road Trip from Melbourne to Sydney

 DAY 14-15-16: SYDNEY

After great fun outdoors, we are excited to taste a city lifestyle and Sydney lies just at the corner! Hop on our Jucy van and less than 2 hours later we drive the harbour bridge with eyes wide open. The city skyline is pretty nice, we are amazed and we can’t wait to see the opera house from a closer perspective. We move through the city easily, the Jucy van is as much at ease in the mountains as in the busy streets. 3 days is the minimum to experience what Sydney is about. Leave the van and hop on and off a ferry, discover the beaches like the famous Bondi, or Manly. Go surfing, walking along the spectacular coastline or simply sunbathing. The choice is yours. Go back to the city itself and explore the garden and parks, go shopping, check out the Victoria building. Have a break in a coffee shop or simply have a drink in the Opera house bar to get the best view over the Harbour bridge, the bay and the Opera.Elisas JUCY Road Trip from Melbourne to Sydney

Missing your van already? Give it a ride to the alternative neighbourhood of Newton and feel like in Berlin! Drive to Taronga zoo if you fancy getting up close with some typical Australian wildlife!

Go in a club at night and feel the vibe!  Told you, 3 days are not much !

5 National Parks people must visit in Western USA

21 March 2014 12:25 p.m.

The idea that everything is bigger in the USA can definitely be proven by the country’s national parks. Geysers spewing up to 8,400 gallons of boiling water an hour, North America’s tallest waterfall, as well as some of the world’s largest trees? Talk about value for money.

No trip out West is complete without a visit to one of America’s most famous national parks. In fact, road trippers could spend their entire holiday happily gallivanting across several or even just one of them. Whether it’s snow-topped mountains and glaciers you fancy in parks like Yellowstone, or endless desert and funky yucca trees in parks like Joshua Tree, this half of the country has something for everyone.

5 National Parks people must visit in Western USAGrand Canyon National Park

Don’t be surprised if you catch a bit of vertigo looking down this one-mile deep canyon located in Arizona. The drop and mass of this National Park is impossible to comprehend. While the Grand Canyon is usually entered from its North or South Rim, most will travel beside it for hours leading up to its entrance. Eroded walls colored red, white and grey descend upon rivers that may look small from far above, but stretch 277 miles through the canyon. Those that are lucky might spot a California condor flying across the canyon.

Don’t miss: The South Rim from Mather Point at sunset. The canyon’s colors warm up as the sun sets opposite it.

How to get there: People can enter the park through its North or South Rim entrances, but its South Rim is the more popular viewing site and open all year.

Entrance fee: $25

Yellowstone National Park

Stretching almost 3,500 square miles across three states, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, from this geothermal area, people can see the earth come to life. Inside the first national park in the world, one can find the world’s largest collection of glaciers, over 300 geysers and active volcanoes. The park is also home to an array of wildlife, such as wolves, grizzly bears and bison.

Don’t miss: Old Faithful Geyser, which erupts every hour or so discharging up to 8,400 gallons of water at a time. Though this is not the park’s tallest geyser, that accolade goes to Steamboat Geyser, it’s one of the park’s most frequently erupting.

How to get there: People can enter the park through one of five different entrances, which are very far apart, so pick your’s according to where you are coming from and the time of year you plan to visit. The Park’s North Entrance through the town of Gardiner, MT is the only one open all year.

Entrance fee: $25

5 National Parks people must visit in Western USAYosemite National Park

Sculpted by glaciers, this UNESCO World Heritage site is known for its granite cliffs, Giant Sequoias and towering waterfalls. Enter the park and watch a natural drama unfold. Located along the Sierra Nevada in California, this is one of those places you want to see at every season, whether it’s covered in snow and gushing with waterfalls in the winter or brought to life American Black Bears prowling through meadows of wild flowers in the spring.

Don’t miss: Yosemite Falls, which is North America’s highest waterfall. Made up of an upper and lower level, this waterfall measures at about 2,425 feet tall.

How to get there: People can enter the park through one of four entrances west, east or south of the park. Check ahead for road and entrance closures before visiting, especially during the winter.

Entrance fee: $20

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

5 National Parks people must visit in Western USATwo national parks for the price of one, Sequoia and Kings Canyon link together just beneath Yosemite National Park along the Sierra Nevada. From these national parks, make sure to stop at one of several heavenly lookout points to see the parks massive forests and mountains popping out above the clouds and of course stand next mighty Red Woods and Sequoias.

Don’t miss: General Sherman, a triple-threat giant sequoia. While this tree is not the tallest, widest or oldest tree in the world, it comes in near the top of all three categories. Measuring 275 feet tall and 102 feet around at the ground, this tree is estimated to be between 2,000 and 3,000 years old.

How to get there: The most convenient option is to enter this park at its Big Stump Entrance located on Highway 180 and exit at the Ash Mountain Entrance on Highway 198 or vice versa as this route allows visitors to drive through most of the park. However, this is another park to be very weary of road conditions. Check ahead for road closures and invest in tire chains when visiting in the winter months.

Entrance fee: $20

Joshua Tree National Park

Drifting away from valley’s, trees, streams and canyons, Joshua Tree might be the most unique park on this list for a few reasons. First and foremost, the desert park is quite barren compared to the others on this list, but also because it attracts a more vibrant crowd. Walk sandy trails through dispersed Yucca trees up to unusual rock formations perfect for climbing. Don’t be surprised to find the most random things here, like a drummer playing on the side of the main road. This area is known for its hippy character.

Don’t miss: Keys View where people can see the San Andreas Fault.

How to get there: This is another park where it’s best to enter and leave at different points. There are three entrances to the park. A popular route is to enter at the Park’s North Entrance Station at Twentynine Palms and leave at its West Entrance Station at the town of Joshua Tree, or vice versa.

Entrance fee: $15

This list contains five must see national parks in the USA, but there are several more. Since each park costs between $10 and $25 to enter, those interested in hitting more than three national parks on their holiday should invest in the National Parks Service America’s the Beautiful Pass, which costs $80 and covers entrance into all US national parks for up to a year. Entrance into certain national parks is free during a few holidays or long weekends throughout the year.

If you can only fit in a few, this list gives a short overview of a few incredible ones as well as the price of entrance, directions and must see sights. Each entrance fee provided is for a private car pass, which is valid for up to seven days.

Spend a day driving through or weeks camping out, but don’t miss these incredible national parks.

Love,
Lucy xx

Grand California Road Trip: Hit the Road for the Vacation of a Lifetime

17 March 2014 11:06 a.m.

Tina Buell from Trekaroo hits the road for a family fun-filled vacation in California!

I spent my entire childhood and young adult life road tripping up and down the Golden State. My parents, who were fearful of flying, definitely wanted us to explore California so I have racked up thousands of miles traveling along the coasts, mountains, and deserts of this grand state. To help you make the most of a family friendly California road trip, we are partnering up with our friends at Ciao Bambino! to present you with this amazing, hand-picked 10 day itinerary for the vacation of a lifetime. We’ve taken the brain work out of planning this road trip and are offering our inside scoop into what can be your perfect California family vacation. Buckle up, let’s explore California.

View full post here!

Grand California Road Trip: Hit the Road for the Vacation of a Lifetime

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