The alarm was set for 3:45am.
At 3:46am we rolled out of bed, I threw my last couple of items into my suitcase and zipped it up ready to go.
By 3:59am, Maddie and I were in the car on route to the airport.

With its wild coastlines, towering mountains, crisp air and the fairy-tale-like forests, New Zealand’s charm is undeniable.

As the pilot announced that we were preparing for landing and to please fasten our seat belts, I glanced out the window to see the towering mountains of the South Island. A clear reminder of why this place remains my favourite country on earth.

View from above // Photo by Gabi Mulder @gabimulder

Milford Sound. No words needed // Photo by Gabi Mulder @gabimulder

After landing, our first stop was to pick up our home on wheels that would be taking us across the island.
It had a little kitchen that came out of the boot, a double bed to fold down at night, a crackly speaker system, big windows, and just enough room for two twenty-something year old girls to live in.

One morniing we woke up at 8am, made steaming cups of tea and sat out on our little front veranda. There was no need to speak much when we could simply look around and be in complete awe at what surrounded us // Photo by Gabi Mulder @gabimulder

“Pull over! This road is incredible!” // Photo by Gabi Mulder @gabimulder

Our plan was to travel throughout the South Island, not planning too far ahead, but seeing where the days and the weather took us.

A few sheep friends I made while hiking up Roys Peak. Their encouragement to keep going was a big help. Thanks pals! // Photo by Gabi Mulder @gabimulder

The drive towards Mt Cook is like no other road imaginable. Surrounded by golden fields and towering mountains, we couldn’t help but jump out and run down the road yelling ‘WE LOVE YOU NEW ZEALAND!’ // Photo By Gabi Mulder @gabimulder

The following two weeks in our van held more magic than I can possibly try and capture in words. Our days were spent hiking up mountains, cooking dinners in our tiny van kitchen, taking hundreds of photos, laughing until we had tears streaming down our faces, watching sunrises and sunsets, taking planes, helicopters and hot air balloons up into the mountains, and being in awe of our surroundings 100% of the time.

7am campsite views // Photo By Gabi Mulder @gabimulder

I could play in these golden fields surrounding Mt Cook forever // Photo by Gabi Mulder @gabimulder

Lake Wanaka. Looking 40 years into the future, I like to imagine myself having a lake house here with an overflowing veggie garden // Photo by Gabi Mulder @gabimulder

Thank you New Zealand for being the gem that you are. My smile is wider than ever, camera memory card is full and I’ve got a whole new bank of memories thanks to you.

I can’t wait to see you again soon!

Gabi x