Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Enroute - January 29-31, 2018

This next adventure started with a $21 Amtrak ride from Ventura to LA Union station - where the LAX Flyaway bus ($9.75 from Union station to LAX) connected me to my 11:20pm - 14 hour flight to Sydney - connecting to another 3 hour flight to Auckland.  For inquiring minds - from getting onto Amtrak to deplaning in Auckland, the journey takes 25 hours. And this is my first ever trip to New Zealand.

Of course, somewhere along the way, as I struggled to get some sleep in the rock-hard seats, even I wondered why I choose to endure these long, uncomfortable flights for a few days (in this case 16) of adventure.  Easy answer:  ‘Cause I can and I love it — living an unconventional life where I value life “experiences” now that my babies are raising their own, and I’m fortunate enough to not be beholden to an employers’ demands/schedule.

For those who wonder why I make such a long journey for only 16 days in country — I’ve long-ago learned that it’s easier to make excuses NOT to make a journey.  And yes, 16 days for New Zealand is ridiculously short — but like all my trips I just approach it as just one of many trips.  Sometimes the duration is dictated by the affordability of the air fare — and that was a driving factor in this prime-summer season to New Zealand.  Just a few weeks after I grabbed this ticket for equivalent of $595 in credit card points - the price of the same flights were in excess of $2200.

So, as with most of my trips — I grabbed the cheap flights and thereafter decided how much of NZ I would be able/want to see.  And, opting for having a leisurely trip — I decided just to take in Auckland and the area north of there called Northland and the Bay of Islands (a world-regarded SCUBA destination).  Other parts of the north island, including the highly regarded Wellington, will have to await the next journey here.  And just in my preparations for this trip, I learned of an annual buskers’ festival in Christchurch - a January event that I’m already using when looking for cheap air fares to New Zealand next year!

Wanderlusting cheaply is greatly served by AirBnB accommodations — and this trip was organized around such AirBnb locations not only keeping the costs down but also commonly adding to the fun of the trip by interacting with hosts.

So, upon arrival in Auckland — I pick up a rental car ($350 for 2 weeks) and head to a well-located Airbnb in the central area of Auckland - staying 3 nights to give me a chance to explore Auckland.