The way we choose a vacation destination is simple: Hubby insists it has a nice beach.
I insist it’s a place we’ve never been before.
He insists it has a reason to dress up for dinner.
I insist it’s free of spiders the size of manhole covers, weird plumbing and weather.
Not that we ever go anywhere. But if we do, there are criteria.
It’s our own fault we ended up so picky about world travel.
When we took our first trip on our 10th anniversary, we went to New Zealand, and wouldn’t you know it, we hit the mother lode on our first try.
Not to date us or anything, but we found this place before Frodo Baggins did.
And I totally claim it. Ours.
I had the fun of my first airplane ride (12 hours long) driving on the wrong side of the road (crashed my first day) and seeing a place so devastatingly gorgeous that the whole rest of the planet pales in interest.
Plus, only sheep live there. No creepy crawlies with fangs. Perfectly safe.
The natives speak english and they’re happy to take your tourist dollars in exchange for some local excitement.
As a matter of fact, when we went our dollar was about 2 to 1 of theirs. It was like the whole country was having a ‘half off’ sale.
I suppose Frodo Baggins has taken care of that by now.
I want to tell you about our trip in a couple of pieces but I won’t be able to do it justice. We rented a camper van in Christchurch and drove the south island before hopping a ferry to the north island and flying out of Aukland.
We saw deep jade green fjords and glaciers carving through gorges and beach rock blowholes and yellow orange sulphur springs and great fern tree forests and towering snow-capped alps and vast prairies of blowing grass.
Countless miles of beaches.
Christchurch has postcard perfect English gardens and fairytale architecture, and then sends you up a mountainside in a glass cable car for a wild view of untamed wanton countryside, with a backdrop of the south pacific.
We stopped at a McDonald’s and did not order the burger with beet slices.
We stopped in a little pub in the middle of nowhere and ate sticky buns and at people’s homes, ate roast lamb with mint jelly.
New Zealand is “down under” but never (I mean ever) confuse it with Australia.
Have you seen a haka? You don’t want a piece of that.
We went in September, and the air rates are a bit lower then. Seasons are reversed. Our beginnings of fall are their beginnings of spring. We brought warm clothes and were told to expect rain every day. It only rained once, during the night, during our entire two week venture.
For those of you who are curious, yes, Christmas holidays are spent on nice warm beaches.
Santa wears a speedo.
I’m going to open this particular travel story up to you beautiful wonderful loyal readers. If there is something particular you’d like to hear about New Zealand, put your request/question into the comment box below and I will try to address it next Tuesday.
If you actually live there – you lucky ducks you – by all means add your two cents to the forum.
And don’t forget your contact information so we can all come stay at your place.