Me & Mum’s Epic South Island Adventure: Day One

After the best part of a year apart, I’m finally reuniting with my Mum (who is Kiwi) in New Zealand. After scooting around the North Island visiting family and old friends I haven’t seen for over a decade, we’ve now embarked on a three week road trip around the South Island, which neither of us have properly explored before.

Three weeks in a tiny car with your mother might sound like a recipe for disaster, but luckily my Mum is nuts in all the best ways…. 

Reading the Lonely Planet

Here I am, planning the trip.


10am-2.30pm: Arrive in Christchurch. After a couple of half-arsed lengths in the pool in the sunshine at our hotel, Mum and I decide that we should totally do some kind of health kick thing to make up for all the Lindauer we drank up North. A smug discussion ensues about juice diets, mountain treks and 6am gym sessions, and we walk into town to buy trainers, sun cream, sleeping bags and a bunch of other essentials.

3-4pm: Mum is hungry.

4.30pm: Decide to share a (delicious) pizza in the market. It is sunny, so also wine.

Lindsey Kennedy Christchurch

The health kick gets off to a fine start

7.30pm: Much, much wine later, we realise that we have spent all our allocated spending money and make a plan to sleep in the car for the rest of the trip. Also, one more wine won’t hurt.

8pm: I remember the list of things we were supposed to buy for our trip. Feck. The only shop that is still open is a minimart in the centre, so we pop in to try and find all the things. After a lengthy debate over optimal sun cream factor, we also buy chocolate, liquorice, postcards, notebooks, dried apricots (?), salt & vinegar crisps, and more sweets. We also find it highly entertaining to ask the unimpressed teenage shop assistant three times if he sells trainers and sleeping bags. He does not. I offer a slurred apology, which does not go down well.


8:10pm: Locate a pub that sells Lindauer.

9:00pm-9.15pm: Agree that we should go back to the hotel because early start etc. Race barefoot across the park. This seems highly amusing at the time.

9.15pm: We do not know where we are.

9:20pm: Mum insists she knows where we are on the map. I insist she is wrong. Mum points to a path on the map marked “jogging track”. “There!” she says, triumphant. “I told you I knew where we are!” “But how do you KNOW that’s where we are?” I ask. She looks at me like I’m a moron, and says: “DID WE NOT JOG?” I can’t breathe because I am laughing.

9:45pm: We wander about in mounting despair, seeking someone to ask for directions. Unfortunately this is New Zealand, a country with a population of 12. None of whom are on this particular road at this particular time.

10pm: We have another argument about which direction we should be walking in. I am 100% certain I am right. I try to prove it by locating the next street name on the map. It turns out I am wrong.

10pm-End of time: Mum is smug.

10:15pm: Get back to the hotel room. Sarah Millican is on the telly. We decide that the best thing to do is eat ALL of the treats now, thus ensuring that nothing will interfere with the health kick that will definitely start tomorrow.

11pm: Recall that I still have no trainers. Conclude that it probably makes sense to cancel that 6am gym alarm after all. Nom nom nom liquorice and hot chocolate nom nom nom.

… Funny how, so far, our grand epic self-reinventing road trip feels uncannily like every time I’ve popped home to visit Mum ever (minus the sunshine and swimming pool, of course).

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