Being away from home for five months at a time means we can’t possibly plan our entire trip in advance. Before we left Canada, we had our return flights booked, our first three house sits lined up, a rough idea of how we hoped to split our time between Australia and New Zealand, and that’s about it.
Some people would be uncomfortable leaving so much still up in the air, but in reality, this approach gives us very important flexibility.
This year, on our first morning in Australia, we woke to the news of the devastating earthquakes in New Zealand. We were glad that we hadn’t already booked anything in the affected region. Roads are damaged, public transportation limited, and repairs are ongoing. We don’t know when things will return to normal, but for now, we’re assuming there are areas we will have to avoid.
Last year, flooding in the UK washed out roads and railroad bridges and left footpaths under water. We never did see all we’d hoped in the Lakes District, nor were we able to travel to Scotland. Of course, this was only an inconvenience to us; it was an absolute nightmare for those who were forced out of their homes and whose livelihoods were affected.
Another reason our planning can be a little willy-nilly is that we depend, to a certain degree, on house sits for our accommodations. We have a rough idea of places we’d like to go, but getting gigs in regions we know nothing about is also fantastic! In addition to saving a bundle of money, this gets us off the beaten track, so we do find ourselves going where we’d never intended.
We’ve only just secured our second house sit for New Zealand, and we’re starting to plan for road trips during our ‘time off.’ We have one quick trip from Aukland to Wellington, the rental car is booked, with stops at Airbnbs along the way. This will be a speedy, road trip tour of the North Island. A first glance, if you like.
At the end of January, we’ll have a couple of weeks to explore the South Island. We have a few ideas of what we might like to do (perhaps the Marlborough wine region, Queenstown, Christchurch), but nothing’s set in stone, yet.
Eventually, we’ll be making our way back up the North Island, for a stay in the Bay of Plenty area, then maybe we’ll see a bit of Aukland and the region north of that. Who knows?!
We’re even toying with the idea of a short cruise (we’re cruise virgins and rather skeptical, so we will keep it short, when we finally do dip our toes into this form of travel).
As we continue to firm up plans, we watch the weather and snowfall at home. Every year, we consider the possibility of extending our time away. We know we can spend up to 3 months each in Australia and New Zealand. Leaving ourselves some wiggle room at the end figures into our plans. You see? Loosey goosey works for us.
For anyone who’s been to New Zealand; any hot tips? With a potential three months at our disposal we’d like a good balance between touring both islands and slowing down, living like locals. Maybe New Zealand is on your bucket list and you have a fantastic dream itinerary you’d like to share!
Please make suggestions in the comments section; the internet doesn’t know everything! Just be warned, before you suggest bungee jumping, sky diving, or some of the other more adventurous activities New Zealand is known for, that’s not us. We’re generally happy to keep both feet on the ground (unless we’re strapped into a plane seat), often putting one in front of the other, exploring nature & gardens, or finding somewhere to eat!!
So, let the suggestions fly & feel free to ask questions, too.
I’ll be waiting.