After a good night’s sleep and a quick oatmeal breakfast, I was charged up and ready to get going on this day. I wasn’t expecting super pictures because I knew the times of day that we would be hitting our stops wouldn’t give us great light, but just being in those places would be a real treat. We were going to see the other two of the top three places I wanted to visit on this trip.
We got up as early as we could and headed out of town. Today we would get to see what so many before us thought was the most spectacular part of their NZ trip – Mt Sunday! The trick was to get up early because it’s about a 2.5-hour drive and the best light is supposed to be from about 10-1pm. I was hoping for some nice photos.
We knew that our trip would entail a lot of driving, but this was the longest day of driving that we just couldn’t plan around. We were not near an airport and there were things we wanted to do around Tongariro National Park, but there is not a lot of NZ that we really wanted to see between this latitude and Wellington which is at the very southern tip of the north island. The only solution that made sense to us was to drive. It was going to be a long day.
We got up early, ate breakfast in the room (banana, yogurt, nuts, oatmeal), and headed south to the farming community of Matamata and Hobbiton! We had been warned to allow extra travel time on all roads but our 30 minute buffer turned out to not be enough. With all the road construction, we just missed the first-of-the-day tour we had reserved but luckily they had space on the next one. Just after lunchtime, when we left, the place was completely filled up. This place is super cool and popular. If you are planning to visit, I highly recommend booking ahead.
We left Jacksonville midway through Monday headed to Dallas on American Airlines. From there we boarded Quantas headed for Sydney. Shortly after takeoff our pilot explained our delayed departure was due to a required double check of the fuel load. Apparently this calculation can get kind of complex and our flight was unusual because we were going on the largest commercial airplane in the world (neat) on the longest single flight in the world (boo).
I am so thrilled to be sharing the recap of our recent trip to New Zealand! This post will serve as an intro and talk you through the months of planning that we did. If you are dreaming of visiting New Zealand in the future, I hope this information makes your planning quicker and easier.
Be sure to follow this blog as upcoming posts will walk you through each day of our trip with details and pictures.