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

 

 

 

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

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: Aaron & Jen’s ‘Northland’ Roadie with CocoMeet Aaron & Jen (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 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

Day one: Memory Lane
Today was the beginning of our trip with Coco. Being Hamiltonions we needed to get to Auckland before the Jucy office closed at 5pm. And being from Hamilton we underestimated just how horrible Auckland traffic really is at 5pm at the beginning of a long weekend…

But before we knew it, the friendly Jucy staff had us all set up with Coco and we were on our way! Or not… Auckland had trapped us again and we began our crawl out of Auckland heading north. Destination?… Unknown!

Easter was upon us and we didn’t want to be lost and hungry on Good Friday, so all we knew was that we needed to stop, get food and stock up on Easter Eggs. We made out way of Auckland to see a big bright yellow Pak n Save to our left.

While we were in the neighbourhood, we did a quick drive across the motorway to Forrest Hill – Jen’s old stomping ground. We passed her old guide hall, house, vet and were heading towards play centre when we passed the water tower, also known as the ‘skating concrete’ back in the 90’s. Once we got up there it seemed like a perfect spot for dinner. We enjoyed our first night cooking in the back of Coco and enjoyed our meal with a stunning view overlooking Auckland city.

Following dinner we headed north to Jen’s Aunty Julie at Snells Beach. We found a nice spot on the driveway showed off Coco’s awesome features and had a cuppa and a catch up. Then it was time for our first sleep in Coco.

Park in Aunty’s driveway: $0 per night.
Ambience: 10/10 – nothing beats hospitality of family
Shower: Good pressure and free!

Day two: Roads and Beaches

Adventures Of Coco Our Social Cabana: Aaron & Jen’s ‘Northland’ Roadie with CocoWe awoke and realised it was already 9am, and slid open the  door to the sound of bacon sizzling – it was the ultimate cue to get up! We enjoyed an amazing breakfast of bacon, eggs and croissants overlooking Snells Beach, accompanied by an amazing view. After a Facebook suggestion by a friend we headed towards Tutukaka – we stopped at several beaches along the way, grabbed a nice mocha at a caravan in Mangawhai Heads, went for a few walks on the amazing white beaches and checked out Whangarei Falls.

Using Jucy’s hamap we pinpointed Whananaki as our destination for the night. Our first pick was the DOC campground (cold showers but only $6 bucks each), pulled up outside to a ‘fully booked’ roadside side. Our second option was the local campground (Whananaki North Holiday Park) – which had all the facilities and a HOT shower.  We pulled in, paid our fee, set up Coco, cooked a meal in the back and had a glass of wine to cheers a great day two.

1x Camp Site at Whananaki North Holiday Park: $30 for two per night.
Ambience: 7/10 – Lots of people but all friendly!
Shower: Kiwi as, clean and 50 cents for 6 minutes!

Day three: To the Capital

This time we knew where we were heading – Paihia! Heading back down towards SH1 we needed to take a slight detour via Hikurangi, to visit the old pub Jennifer’s grandparents were supposed use to run “back in the day”. Finding it proved easy as the town wasn’t much bigger than the main road. The pub itself was closed and looking for new owners. We might have hung around a little longer to explore except the local police car had a beaten-up man in the back and Aaron was scared.

After hearing about the famous Friedensreich Hundertwasser toilets we thought we better stop in Kawakawa and check them out.

Adventures Of Coco Our Social Cabana: Aaron & Jen’s ‘Northland’ Roadie with CocoThe toilets themselves were pretty impressive. The mosaics and bottles created a unique environment and it was nice to have a clean public toilet for once. We also checked out living space and wandered around the mosaics made of mirrors, tiles and pictures.

We continued north to Paihia, where we found a little “campervan only” camping ground set amongst olive trees and set up Coco. Next door was an adventure park/playgroundso we decided to give it ago. Turns out we’re more vertically challenged than we realised, combine that with a lack of balance and upper body strength and you find adult-sized adventure playgrounds aren’t that much fun. Time to move on.

Following the beach we made our way over to the main township, hopped aboard a ferry and set sail for Russell. Twenty minutes later we arrived in New Zealand’s original capital. We enjoyed a beverage in our oldest pub, a walk along the waterfront and watching a local skipper bring in a 132kg Marlin.

Back in Paihia we followed a toilet sign to no toilet (… grr…) then headed out to ‘treat’ ourselves to a Thai dinner and give Coco a break from her cooking duties. A visit to Countdown on the walk home to treat ourselves to ice-cream topped off an excellent day.

1x Campervan Park @ Olive Grove Campervan Park, Paihia: $30 for two per night.
Ambience: 9/10 – Nice, Quiet, Great setting among the olives!
Shower: Spacious, modern and clean – but most expensive at $2.00 for 4 minutes!

Day Four: To the Top!

We aimed to be out of the Olive Groves by 9am as today was going to be a big day – but we got a little carried away with another cooked brekky and hot drinks out the back of Coco. Once on the road we still managed to get to the Waitangi before all the tourists. We enjoyed exploring the historical grounds of Waitangi.

After learning more about Treaty history, we jumped in Coco, cranked up some road trip music and set off on the two-and-a-half hour hike to the very tip of NZ. It was like a massive convoy of tourists – all in campervans, rental vans or 4×4’s loaded with supplies. We passed a few of Coco’s siblings – giving the big Jucy wave to the other vans!

Once we got to the very top – we parked on the side of the road, cooked some lunch and sat back over-looking the impressive Tasman sea. Then it was a hike down the big concrete path to the iconic lighthouse and AA sign. We took some token tourist photos – climbed back up the hill – and set off for the next thrill-seeking adventure – SAND DUNING!

We carted Jen’s childhood boogie boards all the way from Hamilton especially for this activity, but  it turns out there are only certainAdventures Of Coco Our Social Cabana: Aaron & Jen’s ‘Northland’ Roadie with Coco boards you could use when sand duning, sadly Jen’s barely moved us anywhere in the sand! So we caved and hired a board from the friendly board hire truck – this definitely got us moving down the giant sand dunes. Once we got our confidence up trialling ‘the babies’ we set charge for the ‘big dunes’. We stood at the bottom, looked up, it looked easy. It was only when we saw tourists fly down the hill smashing themselves up that we realised the sport was really dangerous!

On the way back, we  saw signs for Mangonui. We’d heard about the world famous ‘Fish and Chip’ shop so thought this could be a nice place to stop. We stopped at the shop, which was overlooking the water and packed (a good sign!). We grabbed a feed of fresh kai moana, and sat in the back of Coco overlooking the lovely Mangonui harbour. People weren’t wrong about them being great fish and chips!

Some locals in the fish and chip line suggested the Hihi Beach Holiday Park as a place to park up for the night – this was as far as we would go after the km’s we had done today. We pulled up, found a park and headed down the beach for a nice walk down the bay watching a beautiful sunset. It was definitely a good recommendation.

Hihi Beach Holiday Park: $40 for 2x for one night.
Ambience: 8/10 – Bit dated, but lovely spot – wicked sunsets!
Showers: Again dated – but nice and hot – best bit – FREE!

Adventures Of Coco Our Social Cabana: Aaron & Jen’s ‘Northland’ Roadie with CocoDay Five: Reality. Home time.

We made the most of the free showers by having another shower before hitting the road.

We stopped at New Zealand’s oldest stone building in Kerikeri for a quick coffee and muffin overlooking the Kerikeri river, couple of photos and a sneaky look through the Kiwiana giftshop.  After checking Jen’s phone – she re-read the text Jen’s mum had sent about checking out her family’s pub while we were up North. Jen asked “What was the name of the scary town we went to for the pub?” Haunted by the last visit, Aaron replied: “Hikurangi!”

Well it turns out we went to the wrong town! Fortunately Google maps showed us the correct town (beginning with H and ending with I) was on SH1 on the way home.

We arrive in the correct town – Hukarenui – to find only a pub and a museum. However the pub was shut, so we took a look around the grounds and took some photos. Adventures Of Coco Our Social Cabana: Aaron & Jen’s ‘Northland’ Roadie with Coco

We had an amazing long Easter weekend in Coco. Conquered quite a few kilometers, saw a good chunk of Northland and have definitely been converted on the way to travel. Maybe in Europe we will do some ‘glamping’, but when we are back home in NZ after our OE, we will be keen to take one of Coco’s cousins for another journey some where in NZ.

Thanks Jucy and your amazing team for allowing us use of Coco!

Aaron and Jen

A guide to camping in the USAWake up, open the door and step outside. The grass is green, air is clear and in front of you the most spectacular sight a person can see in the morning. The sun rising over the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. After a night of sleeping in peace, there’s nothing to do today but go exploring.

Camping in the USA is a beautiful thing, but can be somewhat hard to get used to.

While inevitably it’s a very easy lifestyle to get into, those first few moments on your camping adventure can be daunting. Things like finding the right spot, getting the best deal and remembering essential items are important and often lost on new campers. This tip-filled guide will prepare your first camping trip, which by the end of you’ll probably be swearing off all planted possessions in exchange for a life on the road.

Free camping 

It really does exist. For starters, camping deep in the forest or wilderness is free mainly because no one is going to enforce payment, but you need to deal with getting to a spot remote enough for this to happen. Further, once out in the wild, you are completely on your own, so make sure you are fully equipped and educated in survival.

If you’re not interested in going the Bear Grylls route, there’s always Wal-Mart. The super store allows RVs to park up over night for no cost at all. Don’t expect camp facilities like showers and electricity, but at least civilization and maybe even toilets and internet are close by.

FreeCampsites has a more detailed listing of free camping spots around the country.

Only spend when you have to

On top of free camping being available in the USA, so is extremely affordable camping. Think $10 a night. The only problem is that the lower campsites go in price, the less they usually offer. So plan where you stay strategically. The nights when you need a shower or internet, pay a bit more for a campground that has everything you want. The nights you don’t need these things, and you really don’t every night, look for a place that basically only offers a spot to park up and sleep.

Discount camping clubs

Do you have AAA? Passport America? These are common questions when you arrive at a campground. The USA has quite a few campground clubs where you pay a small up-front fee andA guide to camping in the USA receive discounts when booking at campgrounds or RV resorts in their network. This is a very good investment for those going on trips two weeks or longer. Stick to the bigger companies as they are going to have the most options and look into the region you are traveling. While one club might dominate the northeast, another dominates the southwest. Common discount clubs include AAA, Passport America and Good Sam.

Location, location, location

Even in the camping world it matters, though for very different reasons. Since campers or people with RVs have a means of transportation the location of main attractions in the area to where people choose to stay often loses relevance. Instead location becomes about finding the best spot actually on the campground or resort. Make sure your spot is flat, so you’re not sleeping on a slant. Also think about what matters most to you like being close to a toilet, next to something scenic or in a shaded area so you can sleep longer and keep the car cooler if need be.

The essentials

Some key items to bring along on any camping trip include a lantern or flashlight, knife for cooking, earplugs, antibacterial dry soap, napkins, towels, bedding, sleep pads if you’re pitching a tent, entertainment (books, DVDs, music) and water.

Guidebooks or campground listings also come in handy, especially when you’re not booking or planning ahead. You can purchase these at the book store or find them in various campground offices.

When to stop and reserve a spot

A guide to camping in the USAMost campground offices close early. People can still arrive later and pay in the morning, but it can be difficult setting up in the dark, especially in national parks and forest. For this reasons it’s best to arrive before dark at least. Usually offices are open until dusk to help people and even if they’re not at least in the light campers can get their bearings in a new area.

Another thing that must be considered is availability. In the low season, this usually is not a concern. In the high season, it’s most reassuring to book ahead or arrive just after midday to make sure a spot is still available in the campground of your choice. If you’re not too picky about what campground you’re staying at then you will find something inevitably, it just might take a while. If you have a listing of campsites, call ahead and see what they have available for the night on the same day. Reservations can usually be made over the phone.

Parks vs. KOA

Two major options in camping in the USA are national parks or KOA. In general, camping in national parks includes the minimum, partial or full hookup, toilets and usually showers, but not always. The good news is that these sites start at $10-20, which is the lowest rate you will find while camping in the USA. Of course the best part about camping in national parks is the sights and scenery available. KOA camping tends to be more modern, partial and full hookups, new and clean toilet and shower facilities and free wireless internet, but the price of these start at about $40.

There are also a lot of independent campgrounds and RV resorts available in the USA where you can often get the best of both worlds: inexpensive camping with everything you could ask for in a beautiful area. More often than not, independent places are the best bet, though you’ll want to arrive first or check them out online before booking. You can never be sure what to expect of places outside a network.

Chances are you are going to stay at all three of these options on long-term trips!

Love
Lucy xx

Adventures of Rocco our Social Crib: Fabian & Alinas Aussie AdventureMeet Fabian & Alina who are the latestly lucky people to take Rocco away on a free adventure.  You can read about their time with Rocco below and check out more photos from their trip 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

Fabian and I were were pretty excited when we picked up Rocco – even though we hady rented a JUCY Crib before and knew what to expect- but Rocco was something special. He has a different look and comes with a camera, tablet & WiFi. What else could anyone ask for?

To get out of Sydney was even worse than our Lonely Planet told us, but after shopping and filling up the fridge we somehow made it up North for a quick break in Terrigal.  After a coffee and a little walk on the beach we kept on driving for a few hours with only one more break at Shelly Beach. The weather was nice and sunny that day but it changed when Rocco was on the highway. It started to rain and we decided it would be best to find a campsite as soon as possible. We got lucky in Taree and spend our first night there.Adventures of Rocco our Social Crib: Fabian & Alinas Aussie Adventure

The next day, after Skyping with our families back in Germany and telling them how to find Rocco on the move, we drove to the North Brother Mountain in the Dooragan National Park, where the view was absolutely breath-taking. From there we kept on driving North to Camden Head and its Pilot Station Beach where we saw a wild dingo for the first time (okay, we both first thought it was a normal dog).

Rocco took us to Port Macquarie when heavy rain started again. We found a campsite which had the rudest staff and was by far the untidiest campsite we’ve ever seen, but Rocco was as usual our nice and comfortable home. In the campsite’s kitchen I saw the biggest cockroach ever, so I decided not to leave Rocco anymore.

Day 3 took us to the cutest Koala Hospital we’ve ever been to. It was located near the central of Port Macquarie and we were seriously thinking about kidnapping one of these cute buddies. Our next stop was Crescent Head with its famous Little Nobby’s Junction beach. Unfortunately the weather was getting worse and dark clouds made it windy and rainy. We then decided to take Rocco to the highest waterfall in Australia, the Ellenborough Falls. On the way we nearly ran out of petrol because one of the Tourist Information must have given us an old map, it showed gas stations that did not exist anymore. Anyway, the waterfall was worth it and we found a gas station right on time.

Finding a campsite was pretty difficult this time because it was already late, so we asked someone in Wingham and he told us to go to Manning River. We didn’t find a campsite there but hundreds or maybe even thousands of flying foxes in the sky – it was truly unbelievable.  We kept on driving and got back to Taree and camped at the campsite where we had spent the first night.

Adventures of Rocco our Social Crib: Fabian & Alinas Aussie AdventureThe next day was sunny again and we made a little plan on where we wanted to go. We decided to move towards the Blue Mountains.  We took a much needed short break in Maitland – a little boring town with McDonald’s and a bookstore. From there we kept on driving for quite a while, we took Rocco down to Hunter Valley and Putty Road towards Windsor.

From Richmond we took the Bells Line of Road and stopped at Bilpin to have a piece of their famous apple pie. After that we went on to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden with one of the nicest views from Mt. Tomah.  In Blackheath we had an astonishing view from the Anvil Rock and we saw the Wind Eroded Cave. At Perry’s Lookdown we luckily found a free campsite and decided to stay for two nights. It was just us, Rocco & nature (and some other campervans of course). Then the weather started to get bad again.

The next morning we went to a wonderful lookout at Govetts Leap, where we took a walk to the Bridal Veil Falls. Our Lonely Planet told us to go to the Coachwood Glen Nature Trail, which turned out to be a little hidden treasure.

From there we went on to the Leura Cascades which was a nice walk right next to the waterfall when it (of course) started to rain again. Our last stop for that day was the Gordon Falls Lookout and even though the weather was getting worse and the dark clouds were everywhere, we were absolutely amazed by its beauty!

We wanted to make it to Canberra that day, so we had to rush a bit to see the rest of the Blue Mountains. Since the weather had been really bad the night before, it was very difficult to walk to the waterfalls and lookouts – but we somehow made it to the Katoomba Cascades. Our last stop in the Blue Mountains was the Echo Point. It was a nice view but it was the Adventures of Rocco our Social Crib: Fabian & Alinas Aussie Adventurefirst time we had to pay for parking (1st hour $3,80, every following $4,80) and for me personally there were way too many tourists.  Fabian walked on to the Three Sisters over the Giant Stairway, while I was getting ready for the drive to Canberra.  We arrived in Canberra at around 7pm. One of our friends took us to Ainslie Mountain by where we had a nice view of the sunset over the Capital.

The next day in Canberra we took a walk through the Parliamentary Zone but unfortunately didn’t have the time to have a look at the National Gallery or National Museum. We drove up to Ainslie Mountain again where we saw a huge rainstorm in the distance – a little foretaste of what we would experience in the following two days.

We drove on to Huskisson, one of the oldest towns on the South Coast and we had a little walk on the beach in the pouring rain. The wind was getting stronger as well so we decided to look for a campsite early this day because driving around was no fun at all.

Adventures of Rocco our Social Crib: Fabian & Alinas Aussie AdventureRocco took us to Wollongong where we found a campsite in Bulli right next to the beach. We just stayed in the car because the rain was too heavy and watched a movie on Rocco’s DVD-player.

Our last day with Rocco had come and the rain had gone again. We cleaned Rocco and got him ready for his drive back to Sydney. Our last stop before dropping Rocco off was a lookout over Bulli beach.

All together it was an awesome trip (even if the weather wasn’t perfect) we saw much and this would’ve never been possible if it wasn’t because of Rocco. It was an amazing opportunity to see more than just the big cities and we can’t thank you enough for this free road trip with the lovely Rocco.

Fabian & Alina

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

Top ten free things to do in Los AngelesHome to the rich and famous, one would think Los Angeles would be an expensive city to tour.

Wrong.

While some activities such as Universal Studios or Hollywood homes tours can be pricey, most of the very best things to do in the city of stars are free. We’ve sent a lady out in a JUCY Rental RV to do some research, and this is what she found.   From visiting must-see sights like the Hollywood sign to watching a live taping of your favourite show, this really is the city where dreams come true and the guess what?  These ten dream activities are completely free.

10.) Attend an open house. Go beyond the Hollywood homes tour and actually step inside one of them by pulling an I Love You Man and attending an open house. You might land on a private tour of an A-lister’s pad. One can only hope for sundried tomato aioli. Alternatively, you can sneak into some of LA’s most famous hotels, like Hotel Roosevelt. No one will question you and you might stumble upon a film set.Top ten free things to do in Los Angeles

9.) Hit the beach. Just in case the bright lights of Hollywood have blocked out the sun during your visit, here’s a reminder. Los Angeles is located right on the beach and is home to some stunning and animated beach towns, like Venice, Santa Monica and Malibu. Park and soak up the sun or walk around taking in the sights, like Santa Monica Pier and Muscle beach.

8.) Window shop on Rodeo Drive. Most of us can’t afford anything on one of America’s most expensive streets to shop, but looking is free and extremely fun. For those not so much into shopping, check out the cars that come through this street. You might even see one of a few Bugatti Veyron in the world in front of Bijan. This is also one of the best places in Los Angeles to spot stars.

7.) Spot the stars on Hollywood Boulevard. So you probably won’t be seeing any real stars here unless there is a premiere, but they’ve all left their marks on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Find Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson and more on this two-mile-long sidewalk attraction, which is split into two sections.

6.) Star gaze at Griffith Observatory. While you can walk up to LA’s famous planetarium, it’s one of those places you’ll be happy you have a car to visit. Learn about the solar system through one of many exhibitions or attend one of its special star gazing events.

Top ten free things to do in Los Angeles5.) Find the film locations from your favourite movies. As you would imagine, a lot of movies have been filmed on the streets of LA. A bit of searching on the internet will lead you to Sid Hudgens’ ‘Hush Hush’ spot in LA Confidential or Cher’s mall of choice in Clueless.

4.) Laugh out loud at a comedy show. Los Angeles is home to an array of famous comedy venues. The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater offers free entrance a few times a months. Check their schedule to see if your trip coincides. They do not take reservations for these events, so be there first to claim your ticket.

3.) Walk to the Hollywood sign. Get up close to what might me Hollywood’s most famous attraction. The Hollyridge Trail starts on Beachwood Drive and takes about an hour. The walk is mostly on an incline, but very easy to complete. Once at the top, you’ll look down on the Hollywood sign as well as all of LA.

2.) Join the audience at live a show taping. An endless list of TV shows and series are filmed in studios in and around the city. Some you can find tickets to include The Ellen Degeneres Show, Conan and The Price is Right. Visit their websites to find availability. All tickets are free, but first come first serve, so register in advance. A major plus about this is you are given access to some of Hollywood’s biggest film studios, such as Warner Bros. and Paramount.Top ten free things to do in Los Angeles

1.) Check out the red carpet at a Hollywood premiere. By far, the most fitting thing to do in Hollywood is go to a premiere. The red carpet part of these events is usually open to the public, though you will have to get there early to claim a good spot. The best thing to do is pay attention to the news to find out if, when and where a film or TV show will premier during your stay in Los Angeles. You might even stumble upon one at the Chinese Theater, while touring Hollywood Boulevard.

Love
Lucy xx

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

Jaime & Matt travelled around New Zealand in Coco our Social Cabana.  They have shared the highlights or their trip below – enjoy!

Love
Lucy xx

During our trip, we embarked on the Sweaty New Zealand Challenge.  15 days. No tour buses. No guided tours. Just the two of us and 15 sweaty adventures. We hiked, ran, jumped, lunged, flowed, biked, and explored our way through the ever-changing scenery of the North and South Island.

Coco the Social (and infamous) Cabana took us throughout the country, giving us a chance to explore all the nooks and crannies we could cram into two weeks. Here are our highlights with Coco. Let the adventures begin!

Hardcore: The New Zealand Women’s Sevens Team
I have a soft spot for anything Olympic oriented. Go figure. So when a friend told us that the Women’s Sevens Team was in the Bay of Plenty for training games, we were there!

These women will have the chance to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games, the first time over 100 years that Rugby will be an Olympic Sport. The day after we watched these gals kick some ass sea bass, they were headed to Dubai for a major International Competition. Good on ya!

Stand Up Paddleboards & Yoga in the Bay of Plenty
Jamie & Matts highlights with Coco, JUCYs Social Cabana
For one of our Sweaty Challenges, I led a beachside yoga class with the East Coast Paddler Company. Following our yoga flow on land, we tried out our yoga skills on stand up paddleboards out in Pilot Bay.

It was so exciting to see everyone (of all ages) have fun, laughing, trying different yoga poses on the water, some for their first time ever. What a great way to bring a community together!

We are ambassadors for a clothing line, Hinano Tahiti that just launched its product in New Zealand, currently in East Coast Paddler’s shop in Mt. Maunganui. Here is a press release about our yoga day and inspiration behind it.

Exploring around Mt. Maunganui
Jamie & Matts highlights with Coco, JUCYs Social Cabana
Park your JUCY mobile at the base of Mt. Maunganui’s beach motor park and you’re good to go. With views of the ocean on one side and the bay on the other (with “the mount” behind you) you’re ideally located for getting the most out of this town’s cafés, beaches, walks, and shopping.

We were spent from a Stand Up Paddleboard race the day prior, so we opted to take the 3.4k stroll around Mt. Maunganui instead of the steep hike up to the top of it. Though we were told the views are worth the hike! Next time.

Run. Cycle. Celebrate.
Jamie & Matts highlights with Coco, JUCYs Social Cabana
Running a half marathon on vacation may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the Marlborough Marathon Event hosted at the Villa Maria Estates was an event to remember. What a morning: running through the vineyards, completing 21.1 kilometers, and BBQ & bubbles to follow.

Staying on a working vineyard, Coco hung out in the garage while we cycled to nearby wineries to celebrate the morning’s events!

Discovering Hobbits and Trolls
Jamie & Matts highlights with Coco, JUCYs Social Cabana
Wandering around Middle of Middle Earth aka Wellington, we ran into quite a few hobbits, trolls, and even a wizard or too. The World Premiere of the Hobbit was quite an event, which we found was best experienced by bar hopping following the long stretch of red carpet to the Embassy Theatre. Cheers to the Middle of Middle Earth!

Going for a ride
Jamie & Matts highlights with Coco, JUCYs Social Cabana
Rent a mountain bike for two hours and unleash yourself into the wilderness of the Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua. You find yourself amongst the sweet smells of pine and what feels like a million miles from anyone or anything. Absolutely gorgeous.

Exploring Wellington’s Waterfront
Jamie & Matts highlights with Coco, JUCYs Social Cabana
Hidden art work in the rocks, gorgeous water, a scenic botanic garden, a fantastic Museum (complimentary entry, woohoo!), relaxing cafes, and vibrant bars. This city has heaps to explore!

Coco parked herself at the only Motor Park in Wellington, just along the waterfront next to the Interisland Ferries. Yes, it’s essentially a parking lot, but the location is awesome. Just remember to put your pants on before you hop out of the car in the morning or you might scare the commuters walking by.

Yoga…Everywhere!
Jamie & Matts highlights with Coco, JUCYs Social Cabana
We love yoga. So why not do it outside to get the most of the spectacular scenery?

Jaime & Matt

Be JUCY, Live JUCY, Rent JUCY