Our itinerary

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Marguerite, May 29, 2007.

  1. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Someone the other day suggested I post our itinerary for our holiday in New Zealand. I figured this was the place, so you can all travel with us vicariously. Remember, difficult child 3 is scared of volcanoes, I'm trying to teach him that without volcanoes we wouldn't have any land on the planet, it would all have eroded away long ago. We need volcanoes to make new land.

    I wanted to bring my scooter but it's going to be too awkward, with some of the travel. I was supposed to be getting a wheelchair instead, but we haven't organised it and I don't think we'll be able to.

    So here goes:

    Monday 4 June - we leave. easy child 2/difficult child 2 is working that day, she will also be driving BF2 to work. Somehow we have to get off our 'island' and to the airport, so at about 6.45 am she will drive some of us (probably easy child, BF1 & difficult child 3) to the wharf to catch the half-hour ferry to the railway station (it's on the terminus). We'll wave them off at 7 am then easy child 2/difficult child 2 will drive me, husband and the luggage to the nearest station by road - half an hour along the train line. it's a 20 minute drive.
    So we will get to the midway station about half an hour ahead of easy child, BF1 & difficult child 3. This will give us time to get our luggage down to the platform and wait for the train with the others on it. We should see them easily. we'll be in touch with mobile phones so there shouldn't be any problems.

    So when we finally meet up - we travel by train to Wolli Creek station where we change trains for the airport line. This takes us right in to Sydney Airport, but it's a privatised train line so it's going to be expensive.
    Then we sit around at the airport until our flight leaves at about 11 am. Hopefully meanwhile, difficult child 3 will be doing some schoolwork. Hey, I can hope!

    We land in Auckland (on North Island) at about 5 pm their time. It will be dark, we'll collect a hire car (already booked) at the airport and then take off for pastures unknown but somewhere in the Auckland area. We have not booked accommodation, so we don't have to look for one particular place, we can simply drive until we see somewhere we like the look of.

    Next day - we've been told we need to take a ferry round Auckland Harbour, they say it's beautiful. husband wants to visit a local miniature train club, so we might all tag along. We want to do a city tour, or maybe instead our favourite pastime - getting lost in a new city. it's the fastest way to learn it.

    From Wednesday to Friday, we're roaming at large. We have to make our way eventually to Taupo, where we're staying for a week. We'll probably aimlessly make our way along the Bay of Plenty. Taupo is four hours' drive east of Auckland and south in the mountains from Rotorua.

    So from Friday 8 June, we'll be in Taupo.
    From there, we'll be doing the touristy thing, checking out the thermal/volcanic stuff as well as hopefully letting the kids find some snow. There are supposed to be snowfields nearby. I won't be skiing - I've never had the chance to, and now I'm not strong enough. But easy child & difficult child 3 will definitely be wanting to ski. Don't know about boyfriend. I suspect husband & I will be inside drinking hot chocolate while we watch.
    BF1 also wants to go to a hangi, so do we. Even if I have to buy some fish and wrap it in foil myself and bury it in hot volcanic sands to cook, we'll do a hangi. Then there are the hot thermal pools, the walks around Rotorua, the geysers, the bubbling hot mud... it should be fun. And very different.

    The following Friday 15 June, we have to transfer to another place, on South Island. It's in Wanaka, another lakeside place. This is the transit that easy child booked - she's very nervous about flying, ("I'll be okay as long as I don't have a window seat.") but she was determined to do it with as few transfers as possible. Trouble is, she booked a Beechcraft 1900D! 19 seats, all of them next to a window!
    We'll hand in our car at Taupo airport, fly the Beechcraft out of Taupo, then change planes in Auckland to something bigger, flying to Queenstown on South Island. There we'll pick up our second car and drive to Wanaka.

    So from Friday 15 June to Friday 22 June, that's where we'll be based. From there we're hoping to get a look round the countryside, get to Milford Sound, have a bit of a look at LOTR country and explore.

    We check out of there on Friday morning 22 June. easy child goofed, she booked herself and BF1 to fly out of Queenstown the next morning, so we have to hang around in Queenstown for about 24 hours, then husband, difficult child 3 & I are entirely on our own for the next few days. We just have to make our way to Christchurch for our flight home, on (I think) Thursday 28 June. At some stage we're hoping to drive along the west coast of South Island, to give difficult child 3 a real close-up look at a glacier or two. But it will all depend on what else we've already done, and how much energy we have left.

    Besides all difficult child 3's schoolwork, we're taking his Alphasmart, husband's laptop and our new digital camera. Somehow with all that, we should be able to cram a decent education in that head, and still have a good holiday with easy child & BF1. difficult child 3 is a very good photographer, as well as a keen one. It will be the first time in New Zealand for all of us.

    So that's about it. If you want to travel with us, plug in those place names into Google and have a peek at some of the options. We've been having fun planning things, but not booking until we get there (apart from those two weeks' accommodation) so we're free to change our plans if we want to.

    Our favourite kind of adventure, is to just drive ourselves so we can stop if we see something interesting. By doing this we've found some fascinating places well off the usual tourist beat. We found Hartzview, a fabulous boutique vineyard down in Tasmania, two years ago - about the only decent vineyard we got to visit on that trip. It was a classic hidden valley, just wonderful. Instead of eating at the usual fast food franchises, we try to find where the locals eat, and go there. "I'll have what she's having."

    One place we're hoping to get to on South Island - Sam Neill's vineyard. We saw it on a travel show, it looked fascinating.

    So travel with us, have fun. We'll tell you all about it when we get back.

    Marg (and family)
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I've got my backpack out to pack a few things. What can I expect the weather to be like?
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The weather is cooler than Sydney, from what I've seen. One of our two morning current affairs/news breakfast TV shows also screens in NZ, so they're included in the half-hourly weather reports.

    All the main cities are on the coast, so their minimum temps are no lower than about 6C at the moment. We'll be up in the mountains, and any country which has glaciers has got to have permanent snow somewhere. We're supposed to be near snowfields in both places, so I suspect it's going to be cold in the mountains.

    Auckland's max today was 18C, when we in Sydney were 24C. Wellington was 16C. South Island is colder.

    When we stayed in Hobart in May two years ago, the city was about 5-10C colder than Sydney. Mt Wellington, immediately to the west of Hobart, was 10C cooler on the summit. We drove up there, and froze. The week after we came home it snowed on Mt Wellington.

    We've already had snow on the Aussie alps (NSW & Victoria) with more falling today, I believe. NZ mountains are much higher and much colder than Australia. The whole country tends to be a few degrees cooler and a bit wetter.

    But the unseasonal warm weather has also hit NZ same as us. So we're planning to take layers, with a couple of extra warm outer layers for good measure. We're not used to the cold, we tend to rug up when those who are used to it are still wearing t-shirts. The hot springs are open all year round, it should be interesting. We've been told Rotorua smells of sulfur. We chose Taupo because it's far enough away, we thought, but we've since discovered it's also very geothermal in the area so I suspect we're in for a week of sulfur smells. I just hope difficult child 3 will put up with it.

    Cooler weather is forecast to hit us tomorrow. We'll see.

    Oh, and I forgot - another important visit, somewhere, is Waitomo Caves - there are some spectacular glow-worms there. It's on the North Island, about an hour or so from Taupo, but we could also go there while we're on the way earlier in the week. We'll just play it by ear.

    Glad you're coming along, TM. I think we'll have a fun time!

    Be prepared, however, to be in CD blackout for the three weeks plus that we'll be away. Our only access will be Internet cafes, if that. We may have to avoid them, in order to keep BF1 away from them (or we'll never get him back out of them!)

  4. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    Okay, I have added this to the places I want to visit before I die.....when are you available to act as tour guide?
  5. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    How exciting!!! What a fantastic trip!!! I can be packed and ready in a second's notice!!! I can dream, can't I???

    I can't wait to hear all about your adventures. And, don't forget to include lots of pictures!!!

    CD isn't going to be the same without you for so long!!! I'll miss you but am happy you have this wonderful opportunity. ENJOY!!! WFEN
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's good to have a few more people on board.
    husband says it's likely we'll be dragged to an Internet cafe with BF1, so I might get to post along the way.

    Not sure if we'll be able to put difficult child 3's photo diary up, we would need to post it on a website and I don't know of one we could use. Thinking cap is on.

    I spoke to difficult child 3's year advisor today - the photo diary is going to probably substitute for credit for a number of subjects - Geography; Science; English; Technology; Visual Arts. In order for this to work, difficult child 3 will have to cover the geology of the place; the terrain; the land formations; the culture; the economy; the geothermal industry plus the new revelations concerning environmental problems; some glaciation; the artworks and craft we encounter. Whew!

    And as for leaving on Monday - difficult child 1's girlfriend is going to be visiting, she has offered to drive some of us, easy child 2/difficult child 2 will be driving the rest of us plus luggage - all to the midway railway station. easy child 2/difficult child 2 has a safety course to attend before she does her work placement over the next few weeks.

    In 48 hours we'll have easy child & BF1 here. That means easy child 2/difficult child 2 & BF2 will be sleeping on the living room floor. When difficult child 1 & girlfriend arrive on Sunday, we'll have to scrounge some more floor space from somewhere. And I'll have to clean all difficult child 3's schoolwork and craft off the dining room table.

    I still have to write up a list of chores for the kids to do while we're away. That's my next job.

    Getting excited!

  7. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    How about photobucket.com or yahoo.com to post the photo diary?
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That's a thought. I'll investigate. I could post his Tasmania diary, too.

  9. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    Would love to take a virtual trip with you....

    Wish I could help you get ready and drive...sounds like a great trip!
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Something I've had a giggle over, it's the people asking, "How are you getting there?"

    Like, we could walk? Not! There aren't any sea voyages (apart from private ones) and I don't like the idea of being anywhere near the Southern Ocean in winter, not after the iceberg that floated past New Zealand last year.

    The only way is to fly!

    I'm worrying about airport security now. It's flamin' stupid. It's also very arbitrary - they give us a list of what not to bring, then include other categories, such as "anything which security personnel consider to be a security risk."
    It really is as stupid as, "Maam, those chocolate bullets - the packet calls them 'bullets', I'll have to confiscate them."
    Technically, a drawing of a hand gun would be confiscated. I'm not even going to bother with carry-on luggage - it's all going in the hold luggage. Even cosmetics - it's just too much trouble to work it all out. Lipstick, toothpaste, jars of Vegemite - all can get confiscated. Baby bottles containing made-up formula.
    And that was last time we checked - now we're past June 1, we need to check again, they did warn that security was going to tighten.

    At least we don't ALL get body searches. Unless they've just upgraded to that.