My mind is always wandering, wondering “where to next?” and “how can I get there?” I’ve got to have some travel plans in the pipe line to keep me going.
Right now it is currently the spring school holidays; two weeks off to recuperate from the whirlwind 11 week term that took me by storm after our big Thailand trip last July. While I’ve laid pretty low and local this past week and have lots of work planned for the upcoming week to prepare for the term ahead that I know is going to go at warp speed with reports and the year finishing up, there are few exciting things in the works that often capture my attention and dominate my daydreams.
In the 3 years that I have been living in the Far North, I’ve returned to the South Island only once. Between now and the New Year, all that is about to change and I am more than making up for lost time!
“Meeting the Family” in Christchurch
Thom’s Nana turns 80 years old in November. His lovely mum had mentioned that she was going down to spend a week with her parents, so I got to looking at flights and they weren’t ridiculously expensive from Auckland to Christchurch. So we booked flights for Thom and I to join
. Then I wrote off my beloved car
, which left us unsure as to how we’d be getting to and from the big city of Sails. We had to book another flight from Kaitaia to Auckland, as they were on quite a cheap Grab-a-Seat sale. So we have a long weekend in November coming up in Canterbury. I have met most of Thom’s dad’s family as they all live in the north, but this will be my first time meeting his extended family in the south.
Other than catching up with a few friends we made on the Teacher Xpress trip to Thailand in July and spending quality time with family, I haven’t made any plans as to what we’ll do or see. I think we’ll just roll with the punches, go with the flow, and any other cliché you can think of and see where this weekend takes us.
Scarfie Reunion in Dunners
| Graduation with the girls Dec 2009
As soon as school finishes up for the year, one of my good friends from Teachers College will be getting married. Kirsty’s family is from Dunedin, which is where her wedding is to be held. I’m very excited to return to where my New Zealand adventures all started, with Thom in tow, especially as he’s never been further south than Christchurch.
School finishes on the 19th(something tells me I might need the 20th to ‘recover’) and the we fly out of Auckland on the 21st. Kirsty’s wedding is the 22ndand then we don’t fly back until Christmas Eve, leaving us with 2 whole days to explore and tiki-tour and no further travel plans have been made – just the kind of freedom I love! It’s not ideal landing back in Auckland at 8pm on Christmas Eve with a 4 hour plus traffic drive ahead of us, but I booked the tickets based on price rather than time conveniences. Even when I tried to change, that was the only flight available.
|Amy, Kirsty and I 2010
Weddings are also a brilliant time to bring everyone together. In Teacher’s College our class consisted of 23 of us, and in a year we all became incredibly tight-knit. I am so looking forward to seeing everyone that will be coming ‘home’ for it, from Auckland, and the outback of Australia! In a way, I feel like Dunedin is essentially my New Zealand ‘home’, it’s where I’m ‘from’, if you will. My former flatmate and DF partner Amy will also be bridesmaiding for Kirsty, so perfect excuse to see her too!
These sorts of catchups are becoming super-necessary with other plans in the pipelines.
Cross Country Road Trip – New Zealand
It’s been planned for ages, and made official for a while now, but I am just starting to get myself sorted into working out details and an itinerary for some inevitably epic memories.
|Gram and I after my Brock grad 2008
I consider myself so fortunate to have my grandmother coming from Canada, by herself, to visit me. She is absolutely one of my all-time top role-models in my life, and a travel inspiration to boot. She has taught me everything I know about bargain shoppingand getting the best deal. Get the best bang for your buck, and the further/longer you can go and the more you can see/do – I live by these lessons!
Now, I get to put everything she has taught into practice, asshe’s coming to spend a whole month with me in the Land of the Long White Cloud. She’s given me one simple request, to “see it all” as she reckons at her age, this will literally be a ‘once in a lifetime trip’.
|I met Jackie in 2009
Gram has another special interest in visiting New Zealand as well. You see, my Gram has had a pen-pal in New Zealand since, I believe she was 14. They corresponded regularly via the post for YEARS.When I flew through Christchurch in April 2009, en route to Australia, Jackie and her husband graciously took me and my friend in for the night. They picked us up from the airport, took us out for lunch and caught up on how my family was doing. She knew heaps about everyone in my family!
I’m so excited for my Gram getting to meet her lifelong friend for the first time in person, as well as spending some much overdue quality time with her. Although, you never know, more quality family time could be in the cards too!
So far, our tentative plan includes flying from Auckland to Taupo where we’ll stay for a few days and do the Barbary cruise of the ancient Maori rock carvings, which Erik from On My Feet or In My Mind
won and kindly gifted me. (Thanks again, Erik!
)We’ll take a bus from Taupo to Wellington, where we’ll spend 2 days. I’m hoping to catch up with my former flatmate, Haley and her beautiful bubba who will be nearly a year old by then! As well as checking out other Wellington attractions.From Wellington we’ll fly to Christchurch and then pick up our rental car from Fresh Rentals for 8 days. Gram has asked to see where I went to university (Dunedin) and I will make sure to take her to Queenstown and Milford Sound, but other than that I don’t have any solid plans as yet. I really want to make sure we see Lake Tekapo and Twizel
, as that’s one area that I have missed every time.
I had originally wanted to hire a car and drive one way, so that I could hit areas like Nelson and Gisborne/Napier that I hadn’t been to yet. But January, in the peak of the tourist season, is not the time to do that; the price tag was far too dear for me. Regardless, the South Island still has endless beautiful scenery to offer, so I know we won’t be disappointed
So there you have it folks, our official travel plans for the rest of the year! A bit of returning to old places, and some exploring some new.
Stay tuned for more travel plan announcements to come soon!