AND SO IT BEGINS! The first stop on our trip will be New Zealand. In February, this Commonwealth nation will be smack dab in the dog days of summer, which is exactly what we're looking for. With not much more than 3 pairs of shorts and a camera in our bags, chasing the sun around the planet will be critical; we aren't packing for cold.
After a brief period of research, it seems the Star Alliance Program isn't the best way to go, and we'll save about half our flight budget by booking individually as we go. (It just so happens one of Jeff's favourite pastimes is poking around on the internet looking for cheap flights, so this works out well.) Our longest and most-expensive flight will be the first one.
On Sunday, February 3rd at 6:40PM EST we'll leave Fort Lauderdale with sights set on the down under. After hopping through Los Angeles and bouncing off the Cook Islands we'll arrive in Auckland about 24 hours later, which will be 11:35AM on Tuesday, Kiwi Time.
Holy mind fuck, Peter Jackson!
We'll settle into New Zealand's largest city for a couple of time traveling adjustment days before we hit the road in a campervan! (Inspired by the best-looking couple on the travelogue-blog-circuit, Yuriy and Julia Manchik, vans are a common and popular way to travel in both New Zealand and Australia.) We haven't locked-down which company we'll use, but Escape Rentals looks like a lot of fun with its Mystery Machine-inspired vans. They hook you up with itineraries which get you to all the most-interesting sites. I'd like to add a jaunt to Great Barrier Island, accessible by ferry or small plane.
After several days of that we'll head to the South Island. I don't even want to type it, but Jeff is hellbent on participating in an activity with its origins in New Zealand: Bungee jumping. I'm not sure I'll be able to watch. I'll need a glass of wine (or five) to be within screaming distance of this.
And so, my version of extreme sports will need to happen: Vineyard tours in the Marlborough Region. Some of the world's finest Sauvignon Blanc comes from New Zealand and I plan on drinking all of it.
Now's your chance, Kiwis: Let us know what we MUST do. Restaurant recommendations, sites, places to cocktail, things to avoid. Tweet me @_jasonhudson and point us in the right direction!
(BEAUTIFUL MAP, IN AN ONGOING SERIES, BY PAUL DOTEY.)
EAT, GAY, LOVE
The Announcement (November 28, 2012)
This is Happening (January 7, 2013)