After a few months I think I have finally settled on the itinerary. The North Island was giving me some troubles, and there was one city I wasn’t sure about on the South Island. Over the weekend I finally figured it all out (for now).
One thing on my list of things to see was a Glow Worm cave on the North Island. But with as much as I wrestled with the other things I wanted to see, I could not make that work. The tours are only 45 minutes long, but the reality is to drive there, park, and do the tour means it is taking much more out of our day than 45 minutes. There are other things we could be seeing. So, I decided that the Glow Worms are not a necessity. I would rather be enjoying a hike (which is free) than in a cave seeing worms that light up. If we can make it work, great. If not, that’s okay and it is nothing to focus an itinerary off of.
So – now on the North Island the plans are to stay in Tongariro National park for two nights and Whakatane for two nights. The national park is literally in the central part of the North Island. This will allow us to pick any direction and go that way and we don’t need to decide until closer to the date. It will also allow me another day to take the kids skiing if my husband wants to go out on his own. Whakatane is about 3 hours and 45 minutes from Auckland. Again – this will allow us more options – we’ll be along the coast but we can also go towards the north east area of New Zealand.
I think with our itinerary we have a good mix of hotel stays and apartment stays. Two apartments we will be in for 5 nights, 1 for 4 nights, and 2 for 3 nights. With the hotel stays we will have 3 that are 2 nights, and 2 hotel stays that are only 1 night each. The longest we will be without a washing machine is 4 nights. So, we should be able to pack light.
Well, it’s now November 20th…the trip is coming together. I *almost* have the itinerary completed. Just when I think it is final I think of something else. I only have two areas to work out – the North Island stint between Wellington and Auckland (4 nights – I am looking for only two locations there) and if we fly into Invercargill or Dunedin before heading into Queenstown.
I may have reserved all of our apartment rentals at this point. Right now for the North Island I have us booked in a hotel for three nights, but I may change that. I’ve reserved our rental cars as well, and only have one more flight to book. So I’m feeling like we are getting there. I’m the type that likes to go on vacation with everything fully paid for except for meals, so for me I like having everything booked way in advanced and paid off before we go.
Places we have apartment rentals for are: Sydney, Port Douglas, Queenstown, Nelson and Auckland. We are in hotels for Christchurch, Franz Josef, Punakaiki, and the North Island (possibly). I have to admit that apartment rentals keep us sane when traveling as a family. By the end of the day we all need our own space. An apartment gives us the capability to spread out and relax on our own. It also allows us to prepare our own meals in case we aren’t in the mood to eat out. It also helps us pack light as we can use a washing machine in the apartment to wash our clothes every few days.
The kids are starting to become more interested in the trip as well. The boy would like to go to Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand. The kids also want to go skiing when we are in Queenstown. The boy has also requested a helicopter tour…we will possibly do that at the Franz Josef glacier but with it being winter there is a high probability that the ride might now happen. And the girl may participate in the Sydney zoo’s Zookeeper for a Day program. It looks pretty neat. I have been telling the kids to expect clothes this Christmas since we’ll be doing some expensive outings on our big trip. They were not too thrilled 🙂
Categories: Australia, New Zealand
Tags: Auckland, Australia, Dunedin, Invercargill, Nelson, New Zealand, Port Douglas, Puzzling World, Queenstown, Sydney, Wanaka
Well, the Australia portion of our trip is now fully booked, except for the flight from Australia to New Zealand….
I ended up doing a complete 360 on the Australia part. Originally I wanted to visit Tasmania and Melbourne but then my husband reminded me he needs to work while we are in Australia so flying between Sydney and Tasmania and Melbourne would be too much checking in and out. So now we are going to stay in Sydney a little longer and then visit Port Douglas, based on the advice of my brother and people on a TripAdvisor forum.
Port Douglas is about an hour north of Cairns. Cairns is one of the gateway cities to the Great Barrier Reef. However, there is not an actual beach there. Port Douglas on the other hand has a four mile beach and is also close to the Daintree Rainforest, Mossman gorge, and a river where crocodiles live.
So now the plan for Port Douglas is to go zip-lining above the rain forest, enjoy the beach and try to relax for a few days before we head to New Zealand. I plan to take the kids to the Great Barrier Reef at least once but I hope we can go twice. It will depend if they like it or not.
I have the lodging booked for both cities as well. We are staying in a townhouse very close to Circular Quay in Sydney. That is one of the central places for public transportation. And in Port Douglas we are staying in a resort where we will be very close to the beach and there are huge salt water pools that the kids will love swimming in.
Now – I just need to get my husband to start working on New Zealand, otherwise I am going to plan everything there. I keep asking him for help but so far I have gotten no feedback from him except for Australia.