When Candice and I sat down to do our trip planning, there were many things we didn’t take into consideration. For example, we were traveling during the holidays, we were traveling to summer vacation for the southern hemisphere and people celebrate the holidays differently in other countries. But I will get to that later.
When we started planning our trip, we found out that a few people we knew were going to be in Sydney, Australia for the New Year’s and so we decided to buy a plane ticket to Sydney for three days part of the way through our New Zealand adventure. We may or may not have picked our plane ticket based off the airplane that we got to fly because we are… amazing? Yes, we are nerds and it was going to be our first time flying on a 787 which in all reality is not very easy to get on unless you’re flying to Japan from Seattle. Otherwise, not many 787s fly out of Sea-Tac so we had to take advantage of the fact that LAN does a non stop flight on their 787-9 between Sydney and Auckland as a connection to Santiago.
Side note: If you get the chance to fly on a 787, I recommend it. I find that when I am on most flights, my skin will dry out on the flight regardless of how long the flight is. I go through a lot of moisturizer and chapstick while flying. But the 787 has a lower altitude level in the cabin which helps it retain moisture in the air. Definitely did not feel as dry on our three hour flight to Sydney and back to Auckland. Plus, the windows are bigger, they are dimable and if you’re near the wing, you can watch the wings fluctuate. For someone who is looking at the wing as you land and if you don’t realize it does that, it may be a little terrifying but the wings are flexible and will settle when you land. It’s a pretty cool plane if you get a chance to fly on it.
Back to the trip, we decided that we were going to roadtrip the entire country of New Zealand. But first, before we started we made a list of what we wanted to hit while we were there. Here were our “Must Do’s”:
- Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
- Milford Sound (hiking)
From there, we began our trip planning. Our trip turned into:
- Land in Auckland on Christmas Day and go to the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves then drive to Wellington
- Go from Welling to ChristChurch
- ChristChurch to Queenstown
- Queenstown to Milford Sound
- Milford Sound to Queenstown
- Queenstown to Auckland (via plane)
- Auckland to Sydney
- Sydney to Auckland
- Auckland to Hobbiton
- Auckland to home
Once we laid out our itinerary, we had to begin finding places to stay. Let’s just say that finding places to stay in both New Zealand and Australia during the holidays three weeks before arriving is a bit rough. If you plan on going to either country during the holidays, make sure you plan well in advance. Hotels are expensive and the Airbnb’s book quickly. Key travel dates for people are December 27th through after New Year’s. In addition, rental cars are more expensive because they are in high demand and the amount of things open during this time there are minimal. So keep that in mind.
We finally got confirmations on our Airbnb’s and a week later we boarded our flights from Seattle to Auckland via Vancouver, Canada. And so it began….