The Itinerary, Part 2

On the heels of monsoon and stuffy weather we head to mid-winter climate in New Zealand. The second segment of our trip is seventeen nights moving from south to north both cardinally and 'islandly'. Our brief stay in the country that everyone says needs somewhere between three weeks and three months begins in Christchurch. A city reeling from recent tragedy was a place I wanted to visit for reasons of an earlier tragedy, the earthquakes of 2010-11. So much of the revitalization since then is centered around rebuilding more sustainable projects. Hopefully there will be plenty of good photos to share of the city, surely there will be stories of heartbreak to share from one city to another having dealt with terrorism.

Moving north up the South Island to Kaikoura, a coastal town known for its marine tourism, we will search out some local wildlife. Lynden and I have historically had some poor luck when it comes to whale watching adventures but its one of those things we love doing. With a year-round sperm whale population we hope that luck changes. Should we be unlucky there will still be plenty of other marine wildlife and beautiful coast views to share.

Our last stop on the South Island will be Blenheim: a small town in the Marlborough region known for its wine production. Not many consider it a winter destination but we will give it a try. A handful of vineyards keep their "cellar door" open year round. Our goal is to pedal around and visit a few, hopefully making it back to our host B&B in one piece.

Transit from South to North Island allowed us the unique choice of ferry or plane, and while the ferry looks neat I couldn't pass up a half hour turbo-prop flight over the Cook Strait. Hopefully the views provide ample distraction for those of us not into the propeller concept (Lynden) as we head for the windiest capital in the world, Wellington.

Three nights in Wellington should provide ample time to explore the unique location with its hills and harbors along with plentiful coffee shops and craft breweries. As we continue north to Rotorua we find the first true inland destination on the islands. With a plethora of adventure seeking activities like geothermal springs and redwood forests, Rotorua is sure to be an active stop. We may even visit a kiwi hatchery, because look at those adorable birds!

The final stop will be Auckland where we spend two final nights in city life exploring what is sure to be a vibrant scene. Hopefully we really burn ourselves out in Auckland because we have a long flight ahead of us, the second longest scheduled flight by distance to be exact - 17 hours and 50 minutes to Doha. Thankfully we will be enjoying that from the comfort of our double bed business class suite.