We’re beginning to get our heads around the itinerary for our New Zealand adventure. And what a big, impressive beast it is!
We’ll drive down to Heathrow, where our first novel experience awaits us: the priority check-in and all-round pampering that is – I sincerely hope – the lot of the business class traveller.
We’ve never flown business before, and probably never will again, so we plan to make the most of it. I hope they load plenty of champagne to keep us suitably mellow during the flight to Singapore, where we’ll spend a couple of nights before flying on to Auckland.
Auckland is New Zealand’s biggest metropolitan centre, being home to around a third of the country’s entire population of a little under five million. After spending four nights in and around the city, acclimatizing and recovering from the inevitable jet lag, we’ll pick up a rental car and spend a further ten nights visiting some of the highlights of North Island.
Then it’s a short internal flight from Palmerston North, across the Cook Strait to Christchurch where a second rental car awaits us. We’ll spend the next 32 nights touring the length and breadth of South Island, before returning to Christchurch for the flight back to the UK.Embed from Getty Images
That’s if we make it to South Island, of course. Before we get there, we’re due to visit White Island on the east coast of the North Island, in the Bay of Plenty. It’s New Zealand’s most active cone volcano, and has been built up by continuous volcanic activity over the past 150,000 years. Active it surely is, as our itinerary advises us that we’ll be issued with hard hats and gas masks before we arrive.
GAS MASKS! For heaven’s sake, what sort of trip is this going to be? I’m feeling my age a bit these days and was rather hoping New Zealand would be a walk in the park. But instead it looks like we’ll be walking on the wild side.
On the other hand, why not? After all, you only live once. It could even be fun, and if the volcano blows its top while we’re there at least I’ll leave this life with an impressive bang.
Hard hats, gas masks, random unpredictable volcanic eruptions and accompanying earth tremors? Bring ’em on I say, bring ’em on!