With less than two weeks to go before we leave, there is still so much to do. I must be feeling my age for I don’t know how I coped with a house move and going travelling with two young children 15 years ago.
I am currently writing out an itinerary that is starting to look like planning for army manoeuvres. There is a plan for the day, then a contingency plan, and sometimes an extra one!
After a bit of research and emails I discovered that some activities in New Zealand need to be booked a little in advance. It is advisable to book the cruises on the Sounds a couple of weeks in advance. Then if bad weather threatens and you feel like you could be wasting your money, check the cancellation terms, which are usually quite generous: say, a full refund for 24 hours notice given or half your money refunded for 12 hours notice.
This, I noticed, applies to the water taxis on the Abel Tasman Track. As we don’t want to take camping equipment with us and therefore only have one day to see a lot of the coastline. We have booked a water taxi to Bark Bay with a 20km (12 mile) walk back. Easily achievable!! However, the unknown quantity is the weather. We chose to book the Marahau Beach Camp for the night after the walk as it will be needed.
Lord of the Rings fever began at about the time we first visited New Zealand and it has settled down to become quite a feature of this country nicknamed Middle-earth. For example: Hobbiton has been revived from some plywood hobbit holes in a field as we saw it to what looks like the complete village as it appeared in the films. We have booked to go there, not cheap for a whole family of adults, more than three times the price in 2003 but it looks much better value for money.
There is also Weta Workshops in Wellington, which now does tours and has a shop. Two of us are booked on a tour there, where you can see the artists at work.
Although some activities appear to be only partially booked up a few days beforehand on the websites concerned, we don’t want to take any chances and miss out by leaving it to the last minute. If you’re going to the other side of the world you have to make it worthwhile.