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.

Check out Mrs. Grubby on Instagram and Twitter

Mrs Grubbys South Island Adventures in her JUCY Condo

 

 

 

Kareen and Jackie were international travellers craving a taste of New Zealand! Make sure you check out the highlights of their recent Queenstown holiday. Want a free road trip with Coco? Click here now to apply!

What if you needed to go on a beautiful road trip in New Zealand with extra comfort? Look no further than Jucy! I was so delighted when we won a free trip with Coco the Social Cabana to drive around Queenstown. After spending two days in Christchurch and Lake Tekapo, my partner Jackie and I arrived in Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital. There are so many things to fall in love with here: the spectacular and breathtaking natural scenery, the diversity of activities to tick off your personal bucket list, the warmness and quirkiness of the people here and the peaceful and cheery atmosphere.

We picked Coco up from JUCY’s depot at Queenstown Airport. Jaime welcomed us with a big, warm glee and told us we are going to be famous and pointed us to the screen of previous Coco handlers. Chris took us through the functional aspects of Coco. We were impressed at its mobile kitchen, lockers, GPS, wifi, entertainment screen and make-shift bed. Adventures of Coco: Kareen & Jackies Queenstown holiday

The weather was beautiful. Lovely sunshine coupled with fluffy white skies, snow-capped peak of The Remarkables and the calm still waters of Lake Wakatipu. Here’s a taste of what we did around Queenstown:

QUEENSTOWN GONDOLA RIDE Riding the gondola up and having a bird’s eye view of Queenstown is almost obligatory for every tourist. We stayed through until sunset and watched the sun go down. Also, I have to say the hot chocolate from the café here is the bomb! Adventures of Coco: Kareen & Jackies Queenstown holiday

SKIING AT CORONET PEAK We dared ourselves to drive up to Coronet Peak after renting ski chains and as soon as we parked Coco, a little bit of snow started to fall upon the ground. We made it up here safe and sound thanks to Gutsy Coco!

We picked up our first ski lesson ever! Tom, a professional ski trainer from Colorado, USA was our trainer and we learned some awesome tricks from him including how to control our balance. Although we paid for a group lesson, it turned out to be only both of us, so it became like a private lesson. I like to call it ‘Lucy’s Luck’!

GASTRONOMICAL ADVENTURE

Me and my partner share passion in exploring food whenever we travel. Of course a trip to Queenstown is never complete without heading to the legendary institution, Fergburger, which we were told served the world’s best burgers! The burgers were so huge, they were nearly the same size as my face! Adventures of Coco: Kareen & Jackies Queenstown holiday By coincidence, we discovered this little fish and chip stall called Aggy’s Shack, facing the lake’s waterfront, in the same row as Eichardt’s Private Hotel. The portions were great for the price.

We also tried some classic Kiwi fare on the menu, like the abalone paua patty. The ice-creams from Chocolate Patagonia were the perfect dessert. I particularly liked the banana split flavor. For someone who dislikes bananas, I found myself indulging a lo in it, for both dinner and breakfast. Breakfast! Adventures of Coco: Kareen & Jackies Queenstown holiday

 

We also tried local pub grub at Pub on Wharf, recommended by a local while we are strolling around Queenstown mall. Beef wellington is apparently one of the hardest dishes to cook in the world, but easily available here.

ROAD TRIP TO GLENORCHY

The 44km drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy is mesmerizing and we were constantly in awe throughout the journey. We made a pit stop at Wilson’s Bay – Because (Y)ou (O)nly (L)ive (O)nce! Adventures of Coco: Kareen & Jackies Queenstown holiday

Another exciting part of this trip for us was following in the trail of Sir Peter Jackson and seeing the inspiration for his Lord of the Rings movies, such as the Dart River, used as filming location for Isengard in Lord of The Rings.

Glenorchy is such a quaint little town with vintage charm. There was just something about this quiet settlement which made it so alluring for us. We fueled up at Glenorchy Café, which had fantastic food. Besides the popular pork sandwich, the hearty tomato soup and also delicious crumbles were definitely winners on the day. Paired with a cup of cappuccino, we could feel ourselves relaxing.

SHOTOVER JET RIDE

It was such a waste that the day we were supposed to head to Milford Sound on the JUCY Bus, the roads were closed to traffic due to avalanches. I was extremely disappointed when we were informed early in the morning by the bus driver that the road was still closed and so we would be getting a refund. But still, there’s nothing one can do when Mother Nature rules!

Adventures of Coco: Kareen & Jackies Queenstown holiday We decided to head to Shotover Jet for a ride on the jetboat instead to get over our disappointment over not making it to Milford Sound.

The adrenaline rush was exhilarating and we screamed our lungs out. We would like to thank the whole Jucy crew for accommodating us with Coco.

We love New Zealand so much that we will be back again in the near future to tick off Milford Sound and skydiving from 15,000 ft, just so we can earn even more bragging rights! The trip here is definitely a lifetime to remember.

Adventures of Coco: Kareen & Jackies Queenstown holiday Adventures of Coco: Kareen & Jackies Queenstown holiday

Campervan friendly destinations in NZTravelling in a campervan is a great way to visit any area.  It allows you to travel at your leisure and to carry everything you might need with you.  Additionally, it keeps you closer to the land, to the people and places that make an area special.  Unfortunately, finding a place to park a rental campervan can be difficult sometimes.  Luckily, there are a few major attractions that are campervan friendly.  Here are some places to check out if you are travelling via campervan hire in New Zealand!

Pauanui, Coromandel

Park your campervan near the beach and spend a few days exploring the area’s many hiking trails.  Then come back and stretch out on Pauanui Beach to relax.

Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka is a perfect place to stopover and chill out if you are on your way to Queenstown.  There are multiple parking options, and activities range from skydiving, to hiking, to swimming.

Mount Cook, Dunedin

The drive to Mount Cook is almost as beautiful as the destination itself.  Park out in the open so that you can admire the gorgeous stars overhead at night, and then spend your days exploring the icebergs that dot the glaciar lakes around the mountain.

Adventures of Coco our Social Cabana: Olly & Theresa take Coco on a roadieMeet Olly & Theresa (pictured left) who took Coco, our Social Cabana away for a free adventure in New Zealand.  Sure sounds like they had an amazing time.  You can check out more photos from their adventures here on our facebook page.  Jealous?  Then apply to take Coco away on an adventure yourself.  She is FREE!  Check out www.jucy4free.co.nz to apply! Love Lucy xx

It’s Waitangi Day and our first day with CoCo the Social Cabana. After leaving the home comforts of Fox Glacier where we had spent a very wet but beautiful three months working, it was time for the “holiday” part of our working holiday. We met a very jolly Espen at JUCY Rentals – Auckland.  After we were introduced to CoCo and shown all of her mod cons, he pointed us in the direction of  a beach in Auckland’s North Shore. And so our adventures in CoCo began.

Adventures of Coco our Social Cabana: Olly & Theresa take Coco on a roadieAfter having our beach fill for the day, we took CoCo back into the city. After a quick shower at the JUCY Hotel in Emily Place, it was time for a feed and to find a suitable spot to decorate with birthday banners, balloons and other birthday related goodies, as we were meeting our friend who was having a birthday.

We then followed our noses… literally… being led by the smell of homemade chips… to the Spitting Feathers English pub, where we held the birthday party. The rest of the night’s shenanigans are a little hazy involving a vague memory of shots on the bar, and suggestions from various bar staff that you absolutely HAD to get naked to celebrate your birthday, pretty sure that did not happen, but that’s based solely on my blurred recollections, so who knows?  At the end of the night three of us headed back to Coco for a centrally located kip. Coco easily accommodated the four of us – myself (T), Olly and our mates Jody and Lucy.

Our first stop outside of Auckland was the beautiful Corramandel. We headed to Long Bay for a well-deserved “post-drive dip” in the sea.  At dusk we headed to a lookout to watch a sunset above the Corromandel Harbour, without doubt the best NZ sunset I have been lucky enough to see. We enjoyed a bottle of champagne, Lucy’s company, and celebrated our first night on the road. We then made post-dusk tracks to The Corromandel camping ground where Olly’s bartering skills got us a good late night bargain, and use of all on site amenities, for a bargain $5 each.

We woke up feeling a hell of a lot better than we did the previous morning, and had both toilets and taps on Coco, bonus!  We decided to head for Whitianga, for “fush and Chups” at Snapper Jacks, “the best fish in chips, eaten in New Zealand to date” (said Olly), and had a look around the cute town. After that it was time for some Hot Water Beach action, where we enjoyed a dig and a dip. We decided Broken Hills campsite sounded a suitably scary spot to spend the night, located in the Corromandel Forest Park. We stopped to stock the fridge full of supplies and other bits and bobs. We arrived at the beautiful, secluded camp ground and parked next to the river. We spent our evening eating a delicious Pork dinner, watching The Full Monty in bed and Olly Skinny dipped in the river… Motivated by the film, perhaps?!… Shame it was so cold… bless!

Day Four in Coco and after a lazy morning making breakfast, we decided to head to the Land of L’n'P (Paeroa). How could we resist when it is “world famous” in New Zealand?  On route we were drawn to a garage sale were Olly invested in a very dapper waist coat and I got talking to the lady about her latest heart attack and writing down her recommendations to go and live in a Buddhist retreat with her daughter.  We shall see about that one. For now though:  Destination Paeroa.

When we Adventures of Coco our Social Cabana: Olly & Theresa take Coco on a roadiearrived in the land of the tall L’n'P we quickly realized it was host to the annual Scottish Highland Games and Tattoo. Held right in the centre of town, the whole place was buzzing with a festival vibe and every corner was filled with haggis, and Scottish tartan.  It was extremely surreal being at the most uniquely, quaint kiwi town, surrounded by big burly Scottish men in Kilts throwing wood around.  So we decided to embrace it and erm… did a highland fling, which resulted in free entry!  (The last sentence was a variation on the truth, take it as you will!)

After our fill of L’n'P and scottishness, we made our way to a beach camp in Matata. We stayed at a DOC Campsite looking out over the Bay of Plenty. We paid $6 each and slept on the sand, under the stars, listening to the sound of crashing waves.

Today was the best day EVER! We had to get out of the campground by 10.00am, so at 9.59am (getting our $6’s worth) we made tracks to Rotorua. It was a beautiful Adventures of Coco our Social Cabana: Olly & Theresa take Coco on a roadiedrive, and we were excited to see the famously smelly Rotorua.  Once we arrived we randomly stumbled across a market, whilst having a look around we completely randomly bumped into an old Queenstown friend who was working on a stall there. After a slightly smelly catch up with our mate, (smelly water… not our mate) we sniffed out some more smelly Smokey water in Kuirau park. Thanks to Rotorua’s sulphur-asthmatic airs we were able to ‘let one rip’ right, left and center, and no-one bats an eyelid. Bliss. T noteIt’s Olly writing this, by the way. NOT T. Next it was time to realize a dream… and ZORB!

It was THE best way to get down a hill (after snowboarding).EVER. I don’t know how, or who they thought we were, but the extremely amazing crew at ZORB sorted us out with 3 free rides each, the “Double Trouble”, “Zig -Zag” and “The Drop” . Lucy took photos as we rolled in every direction, in water, inside what seemed like a big beach ball being thrown directly down a hill! I felt like a sock on a spin cycle, literally hair-raising. At one point I could not see where I was and panicked at the thought I had left the safe confines of the track and would spend the rest of the day encased in an inflatable ball rolling solo around the North Island. Luckily this wasn’t the case and we just had a spectacular time! Thank you ZORBING Crew at Agroventures.

Adventures of Coco our Social Cabana: Olly & Theresa take Coco on a roadieDay six, and our last morning waking up in CoCo. BOO HOO! After a fine bacon and egg butty we headed to Huka falls and followed the road South to the spectacular Tongariro National Park. The drive was spectacular and we caught a short but amazing view of the volcanic peaks (one which has been erupting since August the 6th).  We enjoyed a couple of short walks, enjoying the last of our JUCY time and then it was time to head back to Auckland to wish bon voyage to CoCo and Lucy, and reunite them with the JUCY team and end our incredible JUCY journey. Thank you JUCY we have had the best week ever and without your generosity and the kindness of strangers it would not have been possible.

Much Love and until next time, T and Olly xxx

Adventures of Coco our Social Cabana: Elise & Claires North Island NZ AdventureMeet Elise & Claire (pictured left) who took Coco, our Social Cabana away for a free adventure in New Zealand.  Sounds like they had an amazing time – they loved it so much that they even wrote and sung a song about it which you can watch below.  You can check out more photos from their adventures here on our facebook page.  Jealous?  Then apply to take Coco away on an adventure yourself.  She is FREE!  Check out www.jucy4free.co.nz to apply! Love Lucy xx

Claire, Coco and I set off late afternoon for the Coromandel.  Our first stop – Burgerfuel!  With fuel in our bellies as well as the campervan we were ready to begin our week long trip around New Zealand’s North Island.  It was dark by the time we reached our DOC campsite, Shag Stream (of course, chosen for the name).

In the morning we went to the local i-site to ask about walks in the area. We picked a couple of the shorter walks which gave us nice views across the lush green valley.

We then drove onto Coromandel Town where we stopped for some yummy food and wifi at the Chai Tea House – a quaint little cafe with a friendly chilled-out vibe. We got talking to the staff and found out there was going to be a live music gig / open mic-type event there the next night with a number of musicians expected to participate. We decided that this was definitely something we wanted to go to, especially as Claire is a musician! We had planned to be at Hot Water Beach the next evening but decided we’d head over there that night instead and do the hot pools at dawn.

After a very scenic drive we reached Hot Water Beach just before sunset, sussed out where the pools were then made a light dinner. As we were clearing dinner away and Adventures of Coco our Social Cabana: Elise & Claires North Island NZ Adventurediscussing where we would bed down for an early night we got talking to some guys. It turned out one of them owned a winery down the road. He invited us to park our van there for the night and to join them in the house for some drinks! We took them up on their offer. What followed was a fantastic night full of amazing home-made feijoa cider… wine… wood-fired pizza… meatloaf… crumble… music… dancing… table-tennis… and interesting chat with the locals and the resident woofers.

We didn’t quite manage to rise before dawn to get to Hot Water Beach, but did get there before low tide which was 06:30am so were quite impressed with ourselves.  It meant we still got a good couple of hours to soak in the amazingly warm pools. The winemaker had lent us a shovel but we didn’t need it as an Aussie guy invited us to join him in his pool. He had dug a big hole for his family but they hadn’t managed to get out of bed. He was even happy to pose for some photos with Lucy!

Next stop was Cathedral Cove which was beautiful and another great spot for a photo shoot.

After buying Feijoa Smoothies from a stall (our new favourite fruit) we headed back to Coromandel Town, via the 309 road this time, to go to the music show.  We had a lovely evening in the Tearoom. Several musicians took to the stage and by the end everyone in the room was joining in for a big singsong – brilliant! Afterwards we were invited to stay for a little after-party and Claire entertained us into the wee small hours with her beautiful singing.

We took a leisurely drive towards Mount Maunganui, stopping off at a beach and at a little cheese factory where they make cheese and keep a variety of cute animals.

We climbed the hill in Mount Maunganui where we got terrific views and a magnificent sunset.

Adventures of Coco our Social Cabana: Elise & Claires North Island NZ AdventureAfter spending the morning on the beach in Mount Maunganui we set off for Taupo where I had arranged to meet a Swedish friend I had met in Australia. We managed to get a cheap camp spot right on the lake in the centre of town (in the grounds of Absolute Lakeview Motel). Handy for the pubs!

The next day, we went for a beautiful drive along the lake and into the mountains at Tongariro National Park. We took the chairlift up Mount Ruapehu which offered great views of the surroundings and the highest café in New Zealand!

On the way north we stopped again in Taupo to do a short walk along the Waikato River. We had to first wait to get the all clear from the fire brigade who were trying to control a small bush fire. It was particularly hot in Taupo that day and there were many people swimming in the lake. Adventures of Coco our Social Cabana: Elise & Claires North Island NZ Adventure

The walk was beautiful and took us to the raging Huka Falls then back to the start where we had a rewarding dip in the natural thermal pools which spill into the cold river –bliss! In the evening we set off for Raglan.

Our last day with Coco.  We decided to hang out at Manu Bay and record a song about our week with Coco.

Thanks for an awesome week!

Claire & Elise

A Survival Guide to hitting the US highways: the dos and donts of the road  A Survival Guide to hitting the US highways: the dos and donts of the road

There are so many things to consider when driving in a new place, especially one as large as the USA. Road rules and regulations can change from state to state, but a few things like planning out your fuel stops or paying attention to road closures, always stay the same.

These do’s and don’ts will not only help you survive your great American road trip, but make the most out of every second of it.

DO…

  • Be aware of the overall rules of the road in the USA, as well as individual State driving regulations. AAA is a good source for learning state road rules. Also pay attention the traffic signs while driving, such as those that advise turning your headlights on in the day on certain strips of road.
  • Plan your fuel stops ahead. The price of gas in the USA soars in secluded area as well as expensive places to live. Plus, each state taxes fuel differently, so while it might go for $2.99 a gallon in Arizona, it costs $4.09 a gallon in California. Websites like Gas Buddy can help you plan where to get the cheapest gas.
  • A Survival Guide to hitting the US highways: the dos and donts of the roadReview your route of travel before setting off. A lot of National Parks in the USA are drive-through, so rather than planning to stay in one location for three days, stay at a few different spots along the way to avoid backtracking.
  • Look into road closures and warnings. Snow, mudslides, rock fall, ice, potholes and roadworks. There are a number of reasons a road in the USA will close with little warning. Pay attention to updates on local radio stations, especially in the winter months.
  • Share your road trip with a friend. More than any other form of travel, it’s best to have someone with you on a road trip. Mainly to share those moments when you’re driving along and something incredible pops up and to keep things more interesting on long drives, but also to share the driving, cost of fuel and to help with navigation when you’re behind the wheel.
  • A Survival Guide to hitting the US highways: the dos and donts of the roadBring Snacks. Keep a few food and drinks in the front of the car to save yourself from stopping every time you feel hungry, which wastes time that could be spent reaching a destination. Ideal snacks in the USA include Goldfish, beef jerky, pretzels, water, Gatorade and soda. You want foods that aren’t messy or greasy, drinks that will keep you hydrated and caffeinated.
  • Remember tunes and entertainment. Losing radio reception an hour into a four-hour drive is painful. Avoid this by bringing your iPod and an adaptor to car stereo systems. It’s simple enough, but something a lot of road trippers forget. Plus, there are a number of games that will keep you and your passenger content for hours, such as 21 questions.

DON’T…

  • Underestimate distances in the USA. This country is huge. Have a think every time you utter the phrase, “That doesn’t look too far.”, because most of the time, it is. Make sure to find the proper entrance to National Parks. Some can be hundreds of miles long with several entrances, not all open to the public.
  • Think just because something isn’t far in distance, that it will not take long to reach. Some things that must be considered besides distances include traffic (especially in cities,

A Survival Guide to hitting the US highways: the dos and donts of the roadespecially at rush hour) and the types of roads you’ll be driving on (some can wind and bend so much you’re average speed for a while is about 20 mph).

  • Put off restroom stops. As soon as you have to go, make it your aim to stop. You can go miles and miles of a highway with no exits or rest stops in sight. What starts off as, “I can hold it a little longer”, turns into, “I’m going to burst!”.
  • Forget maps or a GPS. Seeing where the road will take you sounds like a good idea, but there are a lot of roads here, some that go in circles or lead no where. Bring navigation devices along, even if you don’t want to plan out your trip.
  • A Survival Guide to hitting the US highways: the dos and donts of the roadStick to the quickest route. Just because Google Maps recommends taking interstate highways, doesn’t mean that’s the best way to reach a place. One of highlights about road tripping in the USA is the drives. Make an effort to get on this country’s famous roads, such as Route 66 or the Pacific Coast Highway. These roads might take longer to reach your destination, but it’s more about the journey anyway.
  • Speed. It’s really not worth it. Not only is speed tracked by radar from the roads, but it’s also tracked by aircrafts. Plus, the main reason limits are put in place is to avoid accidents and injury. A car crash will ruin so much more than just your road trip.
  • Don’t forget cash. There are some places that still only accept cash and these places are usually the only ones available for hundreds of miles on deserted highways. Plus, you can save about 10 cents per gallon, when you pay for gas in cash.

Love
Lucy xx

Adventures of Rocco our Social Crib:  Rocco, be our Jucy one night standMeet Ian & Cass.  They had so much fun with Coco in New Zealand that they wanted to see if Rocco was just as awesome, so took Rocco for a one night stand from Sydney, Australia.  You can read about their time with Rocco below and if you want too check out the rest of their photos here on our facebook page.  Jealous?  Then apply to take Rocco away on your own adventure for free.  Apply at www.jucy4free.com.au  I’m waiting for your application!

Love, Lucy xx

Could you cheat on a true love for a quickie weekend tryst? Cass and I decided we could, putting aside our week-long romance with Coco in New Zealand and hitting the road with Rocco for a 2 day getaway to the central coast and Sydney’s northern beaches.

Australia’s coffee is something we’ve become passionate about after moving here last year, so after a friendly check-in and introduction to Rocco at Jucy’s Botany branch, we hit a local café, before hitting the road to escape the city.Adventures of Rocco our Social Crib:  Rocco, be our Jucy one night stand

The majestic harbour bridge is always a sight to behold, even on a cloudy day, but as we cruised up the pacific highway, temperatures soared. By the time we circled the lakes near Avoca, Rocco’s tablet was reading 42 degrees celsius and so we were eager to hit the cooling waves at Macmasters beach near Kincumber. Now Cass is not a fan of seaweed, and the popping shore break was launching plenty at her as she dived through the azure water. Catching a few body surfs, we retreated to the beach with our picnic to enjoy a lazy afternoon soaking up the incredible weather.

Adventures of Rocco our Social Crib:  Rocco, be our Jucy one night standTaking the scenic road through the Bouddi national park, weaving through a forest of torn red bark and keeping a watchful eye for the birds of prey it shelters, we eventually arrived at the Marie Byles lookout. Sadly no whales were breaching in the late afternoon, but the view of the undulating coast stretching out all the way back to our Bondi home was spectacular.

A friend from the central coast had given us a top tip to find Putty beach, a hidden gem tucked inside the national park and a great camping spot to consider for next time. It’s expansive beach and rocky headland view were perfect to enjoy a tasty Little Creatures beer and admire ski canoeists paddling out towards the darkening horizon.

Dodging a few turkeys (which Cass was convinced were baby cassowary birds!) we headed down to the Patonga head for sunset, overlooking the Hawkesbury river. The plan was to enjoy the famed fish and chips in the quaint sleepy village, sitting on the deck and dangling our feet over the jetty. However, distracted by a huge Pelican perched on a lamppost surveying the tranquil view, we missed the closing time! Thankfully the upscale Patonga Beach Hotel next door offered an absolute feast of fresh off the boat Oysters, scallops, prawns and perfectly fried fish and chips to satisfy our appetites, all washed down with a tasty pale ale and glass of bubbles for Cass.

Capping the night off we retired to the Ettalong beach holiday park to rest Rocco from the full day’s adventure. With good amenities and a selection of DVDs in the common room, we snuggled up in Rocco and remarked how with the flip down DVD player and comfortable double bed, it felt like first class on a plane.

Breakfast in bed remains one of the finest luxuries in life (and one not usually associated with camping!) But let’s be honest, this was glamping- and sharing panettone and fresh fruit salad with Rocco after a steamy 40 degree night made it even sweeter.Adventures of Rocco our Social Crib:  Rocco, be our Jucy one night stand

After using the tablet & WIFI (super handy!) to look up the best spot to grab coffee, we headed down for a couple of Australia’s famous ‘flatties’ on the esplanade.

We swiftly re-assembled Rocco’s interior by 9am, and were ready to hit the Northern beaches – first stop the famous Avalon beach. We were greeted by a buzzing crowd cheering on speedo-clad athletes in a swim and surf competition. The 63 year old dude who won blew the budgie smugglers right off his 20 year old competition!

A hot rod converted into the daddy of all BBQ’s followed, “The Car-Bequeue” was the ultimate sausage sizzler (and made a great second breakfast!)

The weather suddenly turned so we ran to take shelter in Rocco & ponder our next move. Rain and stormy skies had not been on the radar when we planned this trip!  However, our British roots had us spectacularly trained for such eventualities. We changed tactics from sunbathing to beach-hopping and decided to stop at every beach down the coast from Avalon to Manly (well, nearly all of them!)

Sunday revealed Australia’s enduring enthusiasm as we watched a rowing race at Collaroy beach & Narabeen’s “nippers” kids competition in the misting rain. We joined in the sporting spirit with our own 6k barefoot jog up and down Sydney’s second longest beach. We quenched our thirst further South at Dee Why, spoilt for choice by quaint bars & restaurants fronting the beach. The best coffee award of the weekend goes to Girdlers Grind on The Strand, not to mention a sprinkling of (nervous) excitement on top- they’d cleared the beach due to a shark sighting!

Adventures of Rocco our Social Crib:  Rocco, be our Jucy one night standAs we reached our final stop, thunder & fork lightning swooped in. From our perfect (and dry) viewing spot at Murray’s Craft Brewing Co. the Manly surfers appeared unfazed – until a series of lightning struck water. Sipping an Angry Man pale ale, we felt anything but- even the weather hasn’t spoilt our day.

We reluctantly boarded Rocco for our final leg, and decided to take the long way home via the Anzac Bridge, boasting phenomenal views of the harbour.

Thank you Rocco, you’ve been a fabulous one night stand.

Cass & Ian xx

Adventures of Coco our Social Cabana:  James & Mels Christmas gettawayMeet Mel & James (pictured left) who took Coco, our Social Cabana away for a free adventure over Christmas.  They took Coco for a trip to the Hawkes Bay with loads of stops along the way.  If you’re keen to check out more photos from their trip you can do so here.  Jealous?  Then apply to take Coco away on an adventure yourself.  She is FREE!  Check out www.jucy4free.co.nz to apply! Love Lucy xx

Saturday 22nd December

James and I woke up at the crack of dawn. Despite being out at my work Christmas party the night before, we were too excited about our little roady to bother with hangovers or sleep-ins! With our scheduled pick up of Coco at 10.00am, we decided to venture out for breaky to set us up for the day and kill some time.

It didn’t take us long to devour breakfast, pack up some gear and head in to Jucy HQ. In all honesty, I’d been too excited about winning Coco to do any real research about what that really meant, so became even more excited when I realised that we’d be able to cook in a little ‘kitchen’ out the back and watch a DVD if we wanted to!  I couldn’t believe that on top of the WIFI, camera, and iPad, we were even given fresh sheets and towels (it’s the little things!).

So we hit the road with James at the wheel (I was maybe a bit optimistic about the lack of hangover after the Christmas party) and headed South East with Napier as our end target and stopping every chance we got.

We made it to Napier around 6.00pm and explored briefly before James told me it was time to head to Hasting to meet his parents! I was so nervous, and sooooo tired but with the knowledge that I could escape at any time to the solace of Coco’s ‘bedroom’, it would all be ok.

Mel

First stop southern motorway.  Having picked up Coco and packed with enough gear to survive any natural disaster we made our way south having braced ourselves for lots of Adventures of Coco our Social Cabana:  James & Mels Christmas gettawaytraffic, knowing most people would have the same idea about escaping Auckland for Christmas.  With the station tuned and cruising along in the comfort of Coco we were casually greeted by a gridlocked Southern Motorway, traffic backed up as far as the eye could see, this was my first taste of true traffic congestion Auckland Style.  Over the next hour we progressed about 5 km until we hit the bottle neck and were back running again. Fortunately we had both prepared ourselves mentally for such an event, so the traffic and delay wasn’t an issue for a Dunedinite departing Auckland by road for the very first time…

With stomachs starting to speak out and fluid retention devices at capacity Cambridge was the ideal location to stop, refuel and have a look around.  Known more for its studs, (no we’re not talking eligible bachelors), Cambridge is renowned for horses, dairying and home to Sport NZ’s Rowing High Performance Centre.  Having last visited Cambridge and Karapiro in 1995 for the Maadi Cup Rowing Regatta it was great to return and have a look around.  Definitely a beautiful spot with loads of access to biking trails, lake, and camping grounds to lengthen a visit.

Back on the road south on the “Thermal Explorer Highway”, the next stop was Taupo to stretch the legs and see what was on offer in the central North Island Township. With the temperature and humidity high it made for a perfect stop to take in the hustle and bustle of town and walk the lake front.  With Mt Tongariro in the background Mel and I planned our return visit to compete in the Lake Taupo Cycle Ride whilst somehow resisting the temptation to go for a swim. It has to be said Taupo’s water temperature has a long way to go before it gets to the warmth of many Central Otago Lakes!

Before hitting destination Hawkes Bay we had one last stop on the Napier – Taupo Rd at the lookout for Waiarua Falls. Running through the valley of dense bush, this waterfall was surprising and unexpected given the location and geography of the area. Given there had been little rain in the area over recent times, I could only imagine what waterfall would be like after rain or winter snow melt.

Having finally arrived in Napier we ventured Coco and Lucy onto the shores or Marine Parade before finally meeting up with all the family for dinner and settling in to our ‘home’ for the night… Although it was a long day on the road, the comfort of Coco made traveling easy and pleasurable.

James

Sunday 23rd December

Adventures of Coco our Social Cabana:  James & Mels Christmas gettawayI survived meeting the in-laws!!  So to celebrate, we decided to go exploring.  First up was the Hastings Markets to sample lots of fresh fruit, coffee and oils. Then we headed out to do some ‘touristy stuff’ like drive up a big hill and stand in front of old buildings! I loved seeing all the old pictures of pre-earthquake and how the buildings had been restored or replaced.

With James and I both being ‘pretty into’ our sport, and with the upcoming England cricket team tour to NZ, McLean Park was a bit of a must see (geeky huh?!), although I was secretly dreaming of vineyards and wine tasting tours…

Mel

With the travel over for a couple of days and a superb sleep in the back of Coco it was time to explore the Hawkes Bay. First stop was the Hastings Markets to sample all the delights from the region:  fresh fruit, wine, pastries coffee and oils. Who would have thought orange olive oil and ice cream would go together?! Yummm!! It was great fun, especially with the odd local asking why I was carrying Lucy around in my back pocket while visiting stalls!  Unfortunately for us we had missed the TV1 News team who had been there earlier that morning!

Following the market we ventured in to Napier, and being the sports nuts that we are, headed straight for Mclean Park – home of the Magpies and Central Stags. The intention was toAdventures of Coco our Social Cabana:  James & Mels Christmas gettaway get a photo of Lucy and us wearing all Jucy’s props in the middle of the Mclean Park, but unfortunately we couldn’t rouse a grounds person to let us in (and those fences were HIGH!)  From there we set about and checked out Napier’s water front Xmas market, visitors centre, mini golf, Port, Bluff Hill (not to be mistaken for the one in Southland) and art deco buildings. Napier, having experienced a major earthquake in 1932, is popular for its ‘Art Deco’ buildings, with the former Rothmans Smoke Factory being the most high profile building and where we chose to take Coco and Lucy.

Day was finished off with an ale of the world’s finest (Speights) at one of the many bars overlooking the Marina at Ahurari Bay, before heading back to Hastings, cooking up a storm thanks to Coco’s kitchen, and settling in for the night.

James

Monday 24th December

Sadly, it was time to say goodbye to the East Coast and head back up to Auckland to spend Christmas with my family. So I packed up Coco and avoided tearful goodbyes by sneaking out when everyone was busy with final Christmas shopping!  Coco, Lucy and I cruised home – again stopping at every place we could, including Taupo for an early lunch (mmmm thanks Burger Fuel), Tirau for some last-minute Christmas shopping of my own and Cambridge for some groceries (fearing that Auckland would be carnage).  It’s funny, I’ve driven through these places on so many road trips, but never really stopped to ‘be a tourist’. I almost wanted to put on an accent so when I got out of Coco people wouldn’t wonder why a North Island Local was so excited to take pictures of giant, corrugated iron animals.

Mel

Adventures of Coco our Social Cabana:  James & Mels Christmas gettawayChristmas Eve, I unfortunately had to say goodbye to Lucy, Coco and Mel for their return leg to Auckland, having safely delivered me to the Hawkes Bay. The previous couple days roady-ing and venturing around Napier / Hastings was the icing on the cake anyone would want leading up to Christmas. One thing’s for sure, Christmas 2012 will be remembered not for the record temperatures and Auckland’s traffic, but for JUCY giving us the freedom to explore the roads, rest areas and townships to be with family!

Once again I would like to thank all the team at JUCY, giving us Coco and Lucy for the week was magic. Can’t wait till the next big holiday knowing a Jucy Cabana Camper is on the cards allowing the freedom to explore.

James

Tuesday 25th December – Christmas Day!!

Despite being up at my Mum’s house, I refused to sleep in the house while I had Coco. I slept in there, watched a movie, wrote some (literally last minute) Christmas cards and was up ready to tackle Christmas with the family. Coco got a lot of attention from everyone and became a welcome escape for me when it all got a bit overwhelming – as big family reunions can.  I was thankful and excited to be able to continue my adventuring – even on Christmas day – by heading out to Wenderholm – a beautiful Auckland Regional Park.

There were loads of people at the park, which reminded me of how awesome Christmas in New Zealand is: Once the presents are opened and the eating is done – everyone hits the beach to play with new toys, and of course eat some more. The park was alive with activity, not only from the people visiting but from the native birds residing in the pohutakawas. I actually fell asleep in the back, after an adventure through the bush, while listening to all the Tuis singing.Adventures of Coco our Social Cabana:  James & Mels Christmas gettaway

Mel

Wednesday 26th December

It had been a very relaxing way to end the last few days of adventuring, and although I still had a couple of nights to sleep in Coco, I was a bit restricted as far as distance I could venture. So I enjoyed camping out and pretending I was somewhere far away for another couple of days. I decided that it could be a real way of life, just packing up and hitting the road, taking naps when you feel like them, seeing what kinds of gourmet meals you could cook on the little gas stove, and heading out exploring on a whim. Yup, it was definitely my kind of holiday and one that I plan to do again very soon.

Thanks Coco, Lucy and all the Jucy team!

Mel

Adventures of Coco our Social Cabana:  Dave & Ashs Coromandel ExperienceMeet Dave & Ash (pictured left) who are the latest lucky couple who got to take Coco, our Social Cabana away for a free adventure.  They took Coco for a trip to the Coromandel and by the sounds of things had a fantastic time.  If you’re keen to check out more photos from their trip you can do so here.  Jealous?  Then apply to take Coco away on an adventure yourself.  She is FREE!  Check out www.jucy4free.co.nz to apply! Love Lucy xx

What can we say? We really hit it off with Coco. Both from Canada, my girlfriend Ash and I recently set off for an adventure abroad. After 10 months traveling Australia we decided to come explore New Zealand.

We had an awesome time touring the Coromandel these last 7 days, and what better way to travel than in a decked out Jucy van! We started off in Auckland and drove straight to the town of Coromandel where we camped our first night overlooking the Bay.Adventures of Coco our Social Cabana:  Dave & Ashs Coromandel Experience

From there, we headed to Whitianga where we chilled out, had a picnic and checked out the Marina.  We really lucked out with the weather the first few days and it was nice to just relax by the beach knowing we could hop in our van and check out a nearby town at any point in time.

While driving along the windy roads of the Coromandel we passed heaps of beehives, lamas, cows and more. We ended up camping for 3 nights in Hahei, which was probably our favorite spot of all. We stayed at the Hahei Holiday resort and had a hard time saying goodbye to our spot where we could hear the waves at night and where Dave had many romantic lunches with Lucy.

AAdventures of Coco our Social Cabana:  Dave & Ashs Coromandel Experiencefter finally saying bye to Hahei, we headed back towards Auckland where we camped our last night at a beautiful and secluded DOC campground just outside of Taruia. Our site right along the river had a freshwater swimming hole that we enjoyed after a long afternoon hike in the sun.

We loved our 7-day experience with Coco so much that we HOPE we can meet her friend Rocco when we head back to Australia in a few weeks. Wink wink**

Thanks heaps! From Dave & Ash
-Montreal, Canada

Get down, dirty & get the blood flowing. A guide to exercise on the road!Get down and dirty. Get the blood flowing.

You’ve been cruising along in your JUCY mobile, the “pimp my ride” company of car & campervan rentals. As much as you love your bright green and purple set of wheels, you definitely don’t like the uncomfortable imprint you’re a** is making in the seat. Sorry, it’s inevitable, you’re driving.

Awkwardly stiff legs and achy backs may be a side effect of touring around on a fun adventure for hours, but do not be dismayed, there is hope!

Next time you stop your snazzy ride for a fuel up (mental, physical, or purely for petrol), don’t let your inhibitions stop you, it’s time to strike a pose!

Here’s the first set in a two-part blog on yoga poses that will help lengthen and open up all those achy, tight spots. Your lower back and hip flexors are begging you. Come on don’t be shy, do it for them.

High Plank to Downward Facing Dog

Get down, dirty & get the blood flowing. A guide to exercise on the road! Get down, dirty & get the blood flowing. A guide to exercise on the road!

Why?

-Lengthens your spine.
-Stretches your hamstrings, calves, achilles tendon, shoulders, and spine.
-Strengthens your wrists, hands shoulders.
-Calms the mind (= less road rage. Phew)
-Feels like you grew an extra inch!

How?

-Plant your hands on the ground and come into a pushup position also known as high plank.
-Hands shoulder width apart and feet are hip width apart.
-Engage your core (the entire area wrapping from around the front of your abs to your back).
-Your body is in one long, straight line from heels to the crown of your head.
-From this high plank, keep hands and feet where they are and lift your tailbone to the sky in a downward facing dog.
-Reach heels towards ground, reach chest towards thighs.
-Now transition back and forth. Inhale to high plank. Exhale to downward facing dog.

Three-Legged Dog

Get down, dirty & get the blood flowing. A guide to exercise on the road!

Why?

-Hip openers are so yummy and highly needed after being in a seated position.

How?

-Lift right leg high to the sky, allowing hips to open and rotate to the right side.
-Bend right knee.
-Even though hips rotate, try to keep shoulders squared off towards the ground.
-If you’re feeling super flexy, you can look for your right foot underneath your left armpit.
-Repeat on left side.

Bonus: Add in a Tricep Pushup!

Get down, dirty & get the blood flowing. A guide to exercise on the road!

-While in High Plank, add tricep pushups for some upper body love.
-Elbows hug your side tightly as you lower down.
-Only lower to your elbow height to protect your shoulder joint.
-Avoid letting your hips dip too low.
-If this is too wild today, you can do these on your knees.

These awesome stretches and tips were brought to you by Jaime Komer.  Jaime Komer is a certified yoga, pilates, and spin instructor, and an Olympic Silver Medalist in Water Polo. You might see her testing out her own crazy stretches while traversing New Zealand’s roads in JUCY’s Coco the Social Cabana. Her most recent adventure: The Sweaty New Zealand Challenge at www.athleteyogitraveler.com.

Love
Lucy xx

Be JUCY, Live JUCY, Rent JUCY