Final Plans for Australia and New Zealand!!

I have reached a great milestone:  I have finalized my travel plans!!  The only details that remain are those that will be finalized once I am in Australia.  As usual, planning the trip, exploring the possibilities, figuring out routing and logistics, etc. are great fun for me.  But that fun has ended and the real fun is about to begin!

I have decided to first visit my friends in Australia since their schedule was better this way.  I will first get to Sydney via LA and Auckland as I decided to fly Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand logo

(NOT a sponsored blog post! just like their logo!)

I decided on ANZ for price and itinerary.  Since the last bit of my trip is New Zealand, I didn’t feel like trekking back to Australia before heading home (once the trip is over, I will just want to get home!).  I did not pursue United as generally I don’t like it.  I did have enough frequent flyer miles to get there with Delta even first class but they do not start flying there until July and I had to travel in June.  Delta‘s partner airlines didn’t work out to get there on miles which was a big bummer as I had hope to fly Singapore Airlines first class all the way.  (The good news is those miles will take me elsewhere in the future!)

So, back to the itinerary, Sydney first.  After a week or so there, I trek over to Melbourne to visit my other friends.  I am hoping to visit some wineries in the Yarra area.  My Melbourne friends want to make a long weekend trip with me and we are toying with Uluru or Tasmania.  I am hoping for the latter myself as I have read wonderful things about “Tassie”.

From Melbourne, I say goodbye to Australia wishing I had gotten to see Darwin, the Kimberlies and Perth.  I could have spent the next 2 weeks seeing those places but have decided that New Zealand is much higher on my priority list.  This is a hard-to-get-to place in the world for me to get to so I had to go off priorities (much as I like to think I will be able to go back someday).  I arrive in Christchurch, NZ where I signed up for an independent tour of the southern island for about a week.  An independent tour, which is a new concept for me, means they provide transport and accommodations but it is not a guided tour and you are not necessarily traveling with the same people the whole time.  Both of these things appeal to me.  I wish I could have driven around the island but traveling solo, I didn’t feel this time like dealing with everything by myself (though there are self-drive tours that seem pretty good for anyone wanting to drive).

The tour I have opted for will take me through glacier territory, fjord waters, mountain towns, and hopefully wine territory near Blenheim (of Sauvignon Blanc fame!!!).  I decided to spend the majority of the time in the south island though I realize I am forgoing some key sights in the north island.  I will have little time in the north island and mainly in Auckland from where I will depart to head home.

I am so looking forward to this trip!

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