New Zealand is like a second home to me. I’ve been traveling to this remarkable island nation for the past 15 years and am very excited to be returning after a three year gap since my last visit.
I plan to post regularly from this unparalleled country as I reconnect with friends I’ve made there over the years and re-discover some of my favorite nooks and crannies of the North Island. This trip also promises new sights and sensations as I plan to spend more time in the Taranaki region along the western side of the island. You may recall this area as having hosted the filming for “The Last Samurai” starring Tom Cruise.
The final itinerary is fairly worked out but it’s always best on trips like this not to schedule every minute of the day. The loose outline thus far is a hodge-podge of airlines and dates but it looks something like this:
Oct. 22, DFW – LAX: American Airlines, 757
Oct. 22, LAX – AKL: Qantas Airways, 747
Oct. 24, First day in Auckland to recover
Oct. 24, AKL-WLG, JetStar, A320 @ 17:10
Oct. 25-Nov. 3 = Driving tour from Wellington to New Plymouth to Auckland, possibly Cape Reinga. Maybe one day in Wellington I’ll take the Interislander across the Cook to Picton for lunch!
Nov. 3, AKL – SYD, Emirates, featuring the A380
Nov.3-6 = Relaxing, if that’s possible, in Sydney. I’ve never seen the Olympic Park and have heard that Maroubra is the undiscovered place to go for time at the beach. Then again, being the airplane geek that I am, a few hours at this beach by the airport would suit me just fine, too!
Nov. 6, SYD – LAX, Qantas, featuring the A380
Nov. 6, LAX – DFW, American Airlines, 767
Fourteen days, four airlines and about four hundred miles of driving, on the left, of course! Then there are the restaurants I hope to visit again:
“Tulsi,” a delightful Indian Bistro named for the Indian basil plant that I enjoy in Wellington.
“Santa Lucia,” a sublime Italian restaurant on Mission Bay in Auckland.
“Mekong Neua,” an artsy Thai and Laotian blend with great soups in Kingsland, Auckland on New North Road.
Finally there is “Tony’s,” a wonderfully eclectic steakhouse on Wellesley in the Auckland CBD that is simply a must-stop on every tour.
I’m already researching new places to add to the list as well but still leaving room for those sinfully decadent meat-pies that bloat the body for less than $2! Oh, and since it’s the late Spring that time of the year, the first wave of beachgoers should be out in numbers!