Down Under in Winter

A 6-month layover and I’m ready to roll again – to a destination that I visited nearly a decade ago.

For one moment, it appeared that there were no air tickets available under $1900 – whether to Europe or Canada, or anywhere down Down Under. A listless search on the internet one Saturday morning last week had me quivering in excitement when Scandinavian Airlines offered a ridiculous price for a 2-week sojourn in the far north, while Qantas offered – only with a 3-week advance booking – something similar price-wise for a traipse through New Zealand with a stopover in Sydney.

It was surprisingly, a very difficult decision to make: the chance for another driving trip with boxes of chocolate biscuits stashed in the back or the joy of riding in the Scandinavian trains? The cool temperate forests of Sweden and the chic of Copenhagen, or the winter temperatures and the lack of crowds in New Zealand? Long flight vs not so long flight?


The latter won out and since I’m leaving in three bloody weeks – such is the nature of somewhat-impulsive decision-making -, the first few days in between have been filled with an intensity in researching and reservations – rivalled only by the same emotive outpouring associated with the  consumption of chocolate – and will go on for a few more days yet.

On the list of things-to-do in NZ – a list which I’m sure will grow and get less childish as the days go by :

1. Spot a kiwi (the bird, not the resident of NZ)
2. Whale-Watch at Kaikoura; other sea mammals can join the ride
3. White-water Rafting (again)
4. Look at geothermal mud spots (again)
5. Observe a Haka
6. Look at snow-capped mountains (not too difficult)
7. Visit some art galleries

I can’t wait.

Itinerary: Auckland – Rotorua (Taupo) – East Cape from Opotiki to Gisborne – Napier, Wellington – Blenheim – Kaikoura – Christchurch – is the itinerary for New Zealand. An additional 3 days in Sydney (How cool is this? My hostel’s YHA Sydney Harbour at The Rocks, facing the Opera House) as a stopover is the crowning glory. 

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