I’m going to New Zealand!
Honestly, I’ve been mentally planning this trip for years. I have guidebooks dating back to 2008. It’s been on my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember.
And I’m finally going!
This trip happened like most of my traveling: I found really cheap tickets online and booked it. Didn’t really consider the time of year (It’s autumn there) or whether I’d be stuck in the middle of massive deadlines at work (I am).
But it’s fine. The fall is actually a great time to travel to New Zealand, when fares and rooms are cheaper and the weather is crisp and sweater-worthy, hovering around 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and dipping to around 50 at night.
What has always attracted me to New Zealand, or Aotearoa as its called in Māori, is its options for outdoor fun. Even when I was packing, I didn’t even think about taking anything other than long-sleeve shirts, yoga pants, sweaters and a rain jacket.
We’re arriving in Auckland, via Hawaiian Airlines, staying overnight, then catching a ferry to Waiheke Island, a popular escape for city dwellers with beaches, galleries and wineries.
From there, we’re making our way south — yes, I’m driving — through the famous surf district of Raglan in the west, across the island through the limestone wonderland Waitomo, and staying a few days at Taupo, the country’s largest lake. We’re planning to fish for trout, kayak down rapids, walk along the beaches, surf (if it’s not too cold or gnarly) and eat our way through the North Island.
We’ll wind up at Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city with 200,0000 residents. There’s a world-class zoo, a multimillion-dollar museum and a plethora of restaurants — and food tours! — and plenty of nods to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy filmed entirely in this country.
From there, we’re catching a ferry to Picton, our first stop on the South Island. From here, we’ll venture through some national parks, hopefully do more kayaking, maybe see some penguins and spend time at an alpaca farm. (Yes, alpacas. I wish I could bring one back!)
To be honest, there’s really no way to see all of what New Zealand has to offer in nine days, especially since we’re traveling to both islands. It’s like trying to pack in all the sites from Seattle to San Diego in less than two weeks. Virtually impossible.
But we’re going to make the most of our short time here. I’m excited just to see the place, its natural wonders, its glaciers and biodiversity, its surf breaks, its trees, its inspirational beauty.
I’ve been going through a fairly rough patch in my life these past couple of years, from battling fertility issues to dealing with finances (the woes of freelancing!), so I’m partly stressing about this trip and partly looking forward to it. I’m hoping when I get there, things will all make sense to me. I’ll figure out what I need and how to really cope with this torrent of emotions. And I hope to come back renewed.
Or five pounds heavier. Whichever. 🙂
Follow my adventures in New Zealand on Instagram (@catherinetoth), Twitter (@thedailydish), Facebook (/thecatdish) and now Snapchat (@catherinetoth).
Have an awesome time!
THANKS, MEL! Gotta put this on your list, too!
CAT: Eat lots of lamb! Guud Fuud!
Lamb has been EXCELLENT, as well as the beef and fish. Can’t wait to keep eating as we make our way down south!
Have a great trip and bring plenty of warm clothes !
I’m wearing FOUR LAYERS RIGHT NOW!!!
We are going in November & look forward to reading about your foodies finds in Auckland and Waiheke island. Also curious to know how the driving goes Dave and jimmy
What an amazing time to go to New Zealand! It’ll be WARM!!! Driving was great, actually, but I’m used to driving on the opposite side of the road. I’ve heard critical things about NZ drivers, but so far, it’s been really easy to get around. Great signs and Google maps help!