It’s less than 4 weeks until I depart to New Zealand on a road trip adventure of the South Island, so I thought I’d do a little post about preparation and planning for the trip including booking of flights, itinerary, budgeting and the works!
This won’t be my first trip to New Zealand, I actually have family there both in the North and South Islands – my mum being from New Zealand, all her family are still based there. Prior to moving to Africa in 2005, my sister and I would spend every summer holiday in New Zealand, mainly in Pauanui along the Coromandel Peninsula where my mums’ parents live, but I’ve also travelled throughout the North Island including trips to Rotorua, Whanganui, Auckland, Taumarunui and a bucket load of other locations. However, I’ve only ventured down south once, and that was during my New Zealand trip last July, unfortunately though I only had the chance to explore Nelson due to time constraints.
However, my upcoming travels in June have been planned out slightly better allowing me to explore the wonders of the South Island to a greater extent than last years trip.
So let’s start by discussing flights!
There are plenty of options when it comes to booking your flights. For the more experienced traveller, or if you have a set airline in mind, you can book through their website. For those less travelled who aren’t sure about who to fly with or how to book online, heading into your local travel agent would be the best way to go. Personally, for my upcoming New Zealand adventure I did some research online comparing flights not just their price but their departure/arrival times, what’s included in the ticket etc. The flights I compared to figure out what the best option was going to be included Jet Star, Qantas, Air New Zealand and Virgin. After gathering a rough idea of prices for flights, I headed into my nearest Escape Travel to see if they had any options better than the ones I had found myself. Although, I didn’t book any flights on that particular day I at least had a set flight that in mind that I wanted to book, and luckily enough Air New Zealand had a sale on later that week, which I took full advantage of saving myself a lovely $150!
Now that you’ve got your flights booked the next thing to think about is a rough itinerary that will assist in deciding upon accommodation and transportation if necessary. For this particular trip our itinerary is looking a little like this:
17th June – fly into Christchurch from Melbourne, get a connecting flight to Nelson
17th to 20th – staying in Nelson
20th – start the road trip to Queenstown with a stop over for the night in/around Franz Joseph Glacier
21st to 24th – staying in Queenstown
24th – make our way to Christchurch
25th – 26th – staying in Christchurch, flying back to Melbourne mid-afternoon
Flights booked, travel itinerary organised, all that’s left to plan is accommodation and transportation.
In regards to how we’re getting from town to town (besides flying from Christchurch to Nelson) we’ve booked a camper van that we will pick up on the 17th and will be our home for the week, and during our stay in Nelson, luckily enough we’ll be parking it in my uncle’s backyard so no need for booking a caravan site. It’s going to take roughly 2 days to get from Nelson to Queenstown so we’ll probably overnight in Franz Josef but for now we haven’t booked a caravan site to park the camper van at – that will likely be a on the spot decision. However, for our time in Queenstown we’ve pre-booked a site at Creeksyde Holiday Park and when we’re in Christchurch the current plan is to stay with relatives, so all in all there’s not a great deal of accommodation to plan this time round.
Now comes the massive preparation of budgeting.
My original budget, excluding the cost of flights, was going to be $1000, which I thought was reasonable for a one-week trip, however, it has dawned on me that this budget might have to be rethought because of the amount of activities that are currently on my to do list. Personally, I think the best way to organise your budget is to organise a rough list of activities/places you want to see/do, the costings of these, the cost of the caravan and camp sites, and then from there allocate your budget.
Here comes the fun part of the check list, figuring out what things you want to get up to during your trip. I have a few bucket list items and other fun activities in mind (note that all below prices are in New Zealand dollars):
↠ Bungee jumping (depending on which location we do it at, it can cost anywhere between $195 and $275)
↠ Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike – $435
↠ alternative to the heli-hike would be the Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk – $75
↠ Shotover Jet – $135
↠ Paragliding – $189 (early bird special)
↠ Penguin Place – $52
↠ and if we are lucky enough to be graced by the snow gods and have the chance to go snowboarding – $147
At the moment that’s my rough guide to activities, I don’t want to plan too much as I also want to have some spontaneous decisions and adventures occur! Don’t forget to budget for meals too! Remember, most importantly when it comes to budgeting, it’s always better to over budget and not spend it all than to under budget and be stranded with no money left!
Last but not least on the preparation list is having a rough idea of what to pack, always make sure you check what season you’re going in – you wouldn’t want to have nothing but bikinis packed in the depths of winter!
When I’m in New Zealand it will be winter, and trust me when I say it can get bloody cold, so it’s important I pack the warmest of the warmest clothes I have.
Are you heading any where exciting soon? If so, what are your top preparation tips? Leave a comment below x