We don’t like to do things the usual way. It’s generally a lot less fun and a bit too predictable for our liking. We’re a bit of a “give it a whirl and see what happens” kind of people.
So I guess it’s not surprising that we invented a game that gives you random directions to find new spots. And it’s probably not surprising that we play the game all the time. Or, that in the last week of Summer school holidays, we head off with absolutely no idea where we are going and get lost!
So in the last week of school holidays we headed off on holiday with no idea where we are going. Not even if we are heading north or south.
This year though we’ve upped our game even more.
For starters we’ve added in an extra child with one of Bella’s friends coming along too so four kids in total (that’s the four of them in the picture above – two 13 year olds, a 12 year old and 11 year old). That means less space in the car which brings us to the twist…
We’ve got a holiday budget, and we want to save a bit of that holiday money to do some amazing stuff wherever we end up by buying our groceries instead of eating out.
But we don’t want to spend ages in a supermarket when we could be out exploring and we need the extra space in the car so don’t want to bring groceries from home.
To solve our problem we’re doing our shopping online with Countdown using their myCountdown app. They’ve got a great feature called ‘click and collect’ where you choose your groceries and your nearest store will pack them for you and notify you through the app when they’re ready to pick up. All we have to do is go collect them – how good is that?
How do you do that you ask when we don’t know where we are going?
Enter the twist… Once we get the “head for home” card we’re going to use the Countdown app to find the nearest Countdown store to send our click and collect order to and that’s where we’ll go for our holiday! Best part is, we won’t have to waste much time at the supermarket so we can spend more time enjoying this gorgeous weather and relaxing.
This will be the easiest trip, but potentially the longest trip to the supermarket ever!
Where did we end up?
Before we left the kids made their shopping list using the myCountdown app. It was a bit of a negotiation to stay within our budget and get something everyone wanted. But I reckon we did pretty good (I even managed to get my fancy coffee!) I left them totally to it so I was pretty amazed after we picked up our groceries just how much they had been able to get.
And not just the chips and chocolate (expected right!) but we had loads of fresh fruit and veggies too.
So where did we end up? The short answer is Paihia.
The long answer is always more interesting with loads of twists and turns along the way.
We had no idea where we were going until an hour out when we booked our Click and Collect order at Countdown Paihia.
The motorway card was placed strategically at the front of the pack (did I mention my kids cheat) and we pulled a card at random to see which direction we’d go. Left. For us, that’s north!
Some more directions and we’ve stopped for a drink at my old stomping ground Orewa.
Back on the road we get a card telling us to follow signs to a beach. So we ended up at Waiwera.
Waiwera is an awesome beach for swimming at as it is usually calm and stays a good depth for kids for ages (just be careful of the current).
Finally back on the road we go a left which sent us out on a gravel road toward Wainui. Cruising along the roads we came across an Army tanker in the middle of a paddock (yep).
And a chair on top of a hill with a giant wine bottle and glasses.
And then of course there’s the epic Gibbs Farm…
It’s one of the things I love the most about the Getting Lost Game that you just couldn’t find those things in a trip guide.
By the time we get to Whangarei it’s been 6 hours since we’ve left home (it’s a 2 and a half hour drive!) So we made an executive decision to go strait and stop exploring today.
The destination (thanks myCountdown app) was Paihia. We started searching places to stay and found Cooks Lookout.
Perched on top of the hill looking out over Paihia it’s a peaceful retreat (well it was until we arrived).
Amazing views right off our lounge and we had enough room for us all to have our own beds (hard with 5). And best of all it fit into our budget.
It also boasts the Bay of Islands largest saltwater pool.
It also happens to be just 2 minutes away from the Countdown. And because we turned on tracking for our order in the myCountdown app it was waiting for us when we got there.
Why having groceries sorted matters
Now I’ve had an epic grocery shopping fail on holiday (it’s over here if you want to have a laugh at my expense). So it was awesome to know that we had shopping sorted with the myCountdown app, even if we didn’t know where we were going!
It’s also good to know that your money can go on epic adventures and great places to stay rather than spending heaps on eating out. Our dinner the first night of Chicken rolls was awesome and under $30 for all of us.
And do you know a restaurant with this view?
And it was so good not having to worry about having groceries spoiling in the car (remember we were 6 hours and it was 29 degrees) and to have more time to enjoy the pool instead.
We reckon the myCountdown app is a perfect Summer road trip companion. We’d like to thank Countdown for supporting Getting Lost on this post (how cool is that!). As always, the views are our own.
You can find out more about the my Countdown app here.