For Day One on VNTRbirds first authentic road trip, the birds were planning on arriving in Picton on the InterIslander Ferry with Oliver, pick up the Nissan Sunny rental car, hang out in Murchison and then camp in Lyell. Well, according to this, TUB did about 50%, but then so much more!

Waking up at 5:30am even when excitement is in the air is not an easy feat. Though, the birds accomplished it and Oliver was soon at the door waiting for the girls to finish last minute chores. Heading down to the sidewalk, TUB &O hung out chatting about how anxious they were for their trip to start when the taxi Kelley called the night prior, pulled up. When the driver saw the entire luggage that this trio was carrying he had a panicked look on his face. But there was no way TUB was leaving behind their snowboards, so with some great maneuvering and elbow grease everyone and everything was stacked in the cab.
The shuttle station that drives to and from the ferry wasn’t too far from VNTRbirds’ home and only ran them a $13 fare. Unloading the cab, but loading up their arms, backs, and hands the three waddled over to the shuttle stop, paying $2 for a ticket and waited. Around 7:10am the shuttle arrived! Even more excited, TUB and Oliver climbed up the steps, placed the bags on the shelves and held on to the safety bars. The trek to the harbor was also a quick drive and TUB were the first ones off the shuttle and into check in. Unfortunately, the girls’ snowboards cost them $15 to bring onto the ferry.

Hanging out in the terminal for about 15 minutes, the call for the ferry to Picton got TUB &O right out of their seats. This ferry is enormous! With about eight stories inside, a cinema and food courts, TUB overlooked this and went straight for the windows to enjoy the view. From Wellington to Picton, it would be a three hour stretch.
Sleep stole the birds for the first hour of the voyage, but hunger woke them up for a Big Kiwi Breakfast. Jaime settled with an avocado and some pancakes while Kelley and Oliver munched down some eggs, bacon, tomatoes, hash browns and toast. This livened up TUB and their companion. Soon they came in to the channel of the South Island, the trio went up to the deck of the ferry. VNTRbirds couldn’t ask for a better day to start their journey. With beautiful blue bird skies the girls ignored the crazy wind around them and couldn’t help but oogle at the scenery of the aquamarine ocean, green hills and those far away mountain ranges of the Southern Alps.


TUB and Oliver didn’t leave the deck of the ship until it was time to dock and step onto the South Island in Picton. Snagging all of the bags from the baggage claim, they were off to NZ Rental Cars to pick up their ride. Not really knowing where the rental place was located, TUB &O wandered around, until it was time for a phone call. It ended up that the trio was only a few feet away, and about an hour early for pick up, but the man in charge didn’t mind and got VNTRbirds and Oliver all sorted out. Instead of a Nissan Sunny, the girls got a slight room upgrade with a Nissan Cefiro Excimo.
All the dotted lines were signed, the credit cards were ran and the car was packed! First stop, New World for some grocery shopping. Coming out with apples, kiwi fruit, avocados, bread, PB &J, chips, Tim Tams (NZ biscuits/cookies) and beer, the girls knew this was going to be the trip of their lives! Tossing all the food in the backseat with Kelley, Jaime claimed shotgun and Oliver started the engine. They were on their way to the Nelson Lakes in Blehiem!


VNTRbirds were overtaken by the beauty of New Zealand all over again. Jaime had her camera out the entire drive snapping photos left and right. The drive consisted of multiple stops just for pictures. Some of the sheep, because lambs were frolicking the fields, most of the mountains and tons of the rest of the scenery! The giddiness inside of the car was enough to power an atomic bomb!


An hour or so into the drive, VNTRbirds made it to Blehiem with Ollie. Pulling through the town straight to the lakes and tramping trails.

When VNTRbirds thinks of a lake, they think of dark water on a rocky beach with some ducks. Though, in New Zealand, lakes can be blue and teal, like a child’s coloring book. The beaches are similar, along with some mallards, but accompanied by a black swan. Going out to Lake Rotoiti (because TUB’s Kiwi friend Jackson suggested it) the girls were awe inspired. A million pictures later, TUB &O walked over to the Loop Track for a quick day hike. Taking only about two hours to complete the whole track, TUB loved being engulfed in the forest. Walking along the dirt path the birds went up and around looking out into the abundance of trees with little openings that revealed the lake.
TUB and Oliver finally popped back out, skipped a few rocks on the lake and then hopped back into the Nissan.



Making their way to Murchison, the trio only stopped briefly at a convenience store, dairy to New Zealanders, for some fire starters. Continuing straight onto Lyell, it was dark by the time they started making camp, but the tent was simple and up in no time. The site was one of the DOC’s and had an ‘honesty box’ up for the camp fees. Only $6 a person.
Once everything was up, sleeping bags laid out and clothes changed, Oliver and the girls walked around finding all the wood they could. Building up a fire wasn’t easy though, mostly everything was wet and the fire starters weren’t too successful. Totally giving up in the end, TUB &O enjoyed their Peanut Butter and Jelly dinners in the dark before hopping into the tent; finishing the night with a few beers and some snowboard videos.


Stay tuned for the rest of the week!

– VNTRbirds