Merry Christmas from Okarito, NZ (population 35)

The exhilarating family road trip around New Zealand continues as we make our way towards Okarito, the adorable little town where we will spend the next two nights camping. And, of course, the next two nights happen to be Christmas!

All the details: Okarito

Getting there: Okarito is on the west coast on NZ’s South Island not far from the popular Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, about 5 hours west of the Christchurch Airport.

Where to stay: Pitch your tent at Okarito Campground for $15/night (for each person). It’s not possible to reserve a spot in advance, so just have some cash to pay upon arrival (if the staff aren’t there, you can leave money in the wooden box on the honour system). There are BBQs, a communal fridge, and a sink in the little kitchen area, and even hot water ($2 coin) for the showers if you’re looking to splurge.

What to do: There are a few lovely walks in the Okarito area, or you can hire a kayak and take to the sea!

Top tips: The shops near Okarito are pretty limited, so do the bulk of your food shopping before you leave one of the larger towns.

What happens in Okarito is not a whole lot, but perhaps that’s very needed. We go on leisurely walks, drink Fireball out of camping mugs, kick our feet up and read, and even pop into the tiny town for supplies to make the very traditional Christmas dish, guacamole. We light a campfire (that almost immediately shoots off embers onto my new jacket and burns neat little round holes into it) and roast marshmallows together, recapping the wonderful trip we’ve been having and getting excited over the stops that are still to come.

In less than a week, Cal and I will be parting ways with dad and Eileen to travel up to the North Island for Rhythm and Vines, a NYE festival, so we are soaking in the last bit of family time. We will see them again next March when we spend a few weeks in Seattle to renew my visa, but we certainly don’t see them often, so it’s really nice having everyone together for Christmas― the first time in years.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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