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We had a nanny’s 80th birthday to attend in the South Island, so we hopped into the car and drove for two days.

We made it from Hamilton to Wellington in one of those days. The playlist was on and the sun was (mostly) shining.

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Good tunes and a clear road make for a great road trip.

When passing Mt Ruapehu, my snapchat followers were spammed with videos of the mountain. There is something so romantic about snow-capped mountains.

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You can’t drive past Mt Ruapehu and not stop to take a picture.

For lunch, we stopped at a place called Papa Cliff cafe and spent $6.50 on a burger. Expecting an average feed for that price, we were pleasantly surprised to be presented with burgers with thick patties and plenty of salad. We commented that it might have been the best $6.50 we had ever spent.

If you’re hungry and on a budget, this is the place to buy lunch.

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If you’re driving along state highway 1, you must stop here for lunch.

We managed to get to the Wellington Bluebridge ferry terminal with time to spare. The ferry was due to leave at 2.30am, so we booked a photowalk for the early evening.

Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, is home to parliament. I captured a shot I have seen a million times before – always a great feeling, although I’m not in love with the picture.

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Finally got my shot of parliament.

As we had booked a cabin on the boat, we were able to board at midnight and go straight to sleep but, of course, it was not that simple.

There are no double beds on the ferry, which is understandable, and we ended up sleeping on bunk beds.

At first, we both tried to squeeze into the one bed but that didn’t last too long.

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Who doesn’t love abandoned shacks?

So Adam pulled the mattresses off and tried to lie them on the floor. Of course, there wasn’t enough room.

In the end, I slept on the bottom bunk while he slept on a mattress on the floor. Our fitbits told us we didn’t get much sleep – I wasn’t surprised.

The overnight ferry meant we arrived in Picton just as the sun came up. It’s a pretty town, and apparently one of Adam’s favourites, but we didn’t get to stay long. We had an 80th birthday to get to! Hopefully, I’ll find out why he likes it so much on the way back.

Driving through wine country in the morning was breathtaking but it wasn’t until we arrived in St Arnaud that I became really excited.

In this tiny town sat a little corner shop-cafe hybrid. We picked up some bug spray, water and coffee. I looked at the wall, and there was this beautiful picture of a walkway over a lake, shadowed by mountains.

I had to go there.

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It was the perfect day.

It’s called Lake Rotoiti and, when we arrived, the clouds were low and gloomy and a couple of young boys were bringing in their boat. The scene made the perfect picture – I look heaps of them and still can’t pick my favourite. If it wasn’t for our deadline and the swarm of mosquitos, I could have stayed there for a long time.

We finally made it to family in Christchurch, where we played around with drawing words in light. A great way to finish a good couple of days, roadtrippin’.

More from New Zealand:
Wellington PhotoWalk with Up An Adam
Night photography with Timaru Photowalkers
Six reasons why Bay Dreams sucked

Travel stories - our quick New Zealand Road Trip