…a long way to go but worth every second!
Last October 24th, almost a whole year ago now, me and the mini adventurer headed off on our biggest ever adventure, a trip to the other side of the world! We spent two weeks in the magical, beautiful and wonderful New Zealand.
I think a lot of people thought I was off my rocker taking a just turned 6 year old on three flights, via the USA and Australia, to NZ, but I would do it all over in a heartbeat. It was truly the most amazing experience of both of our lives and I’m already saving to take us back again in the next 18 months.
I admit New Zealand may not be the most obvious place to take a child, it’s not the beaches of Spain, or the theme parks of the USA and it certainly isn’t reachable in a few hours. I think many people think of it as destination for gap year students, and with its bungee jumps and backpackers hostels, it is perfect for those kinds of travellers but it’s so much more, and there is so much there to do with kids. From zoos and dolphin watching, to museums and Maori nights, there is something for everyone and I can’t recommend it enough.
I would imagine one of the most off putting things about taking the trip to most people would be the cost, and I admit it’s not a cheap trip especially the flights, however by being careful about where you stay and how you travel it is possible, especially in comparison with heading somewhere like Orlando, where a couple of weeks at the theme parks can cost the best part of 10 grand for a family.
I spent about £3,500 on the 16 night trip for me and Luka but that included everything, flights, all transport, accommodation, food and drink and activities, and we did so much while were out there, including some more expensive activities like feeding the Meerkats in Wellington Zoo and going on a dolphin and Whale Safari in Auckland. It also included stopovers in Sydney and Los Angeles and the travel, accommodation and activities we did there. By staying in some more budget hotels on times while we were away and by getting a cheap hire car, it allowed us to splash out on making memories. Also while NZ is considered expensive, the things I find I usually spend the most on while we are away, the zoo’s, museums etc, were so cheap compared to the UK. Entry for us both to Auckland Zoo cost just £15, where as a trip to London Zoo is almost 3 times as expensive!
Another thing that I would imagine would be something that would put off a lot of people is the travel time. It is a long journey to undertake but by preparing well it is so worth it. Personally I quite like long haul travel, that time where you can’t be bothered by texts or calls, you get food brought to you (I mean that’s worth it alone for a single parent), and the fact you get to binge watch movies while drinking wine is amazing but I must admit I did worry how the little guy would take it even though he is a regular traveller and flyer, but it was actually really easy. I think by relaxing the rules (I let him play on the football game on the TV screen for as long as he wanted – something he definitely isn’t allowed at home), packing lots of things to do, as well as a lucky dip bag for when he got bored, we got through it actually really easily. Also our flights worked out really well as we landed in NZ at about 9pm so by getting to bed and having a good sleep we were up and about the next morning with zero sign of the dreaded jet lag!
So if you can ever afford it and have at least two weeks to spare, definitely get yourself to the land of the long white cloud. The people are friendly, the places are incredible, it’s so easy to get around and the experiences are some of the best you will ever have in your entire life.
Keep an eye out over the coming weeks for my top tips for travelling New Zealand with kids, and what we did on our travels in Aotearoa.