On the spur of the moment, last week I booked Singapore Airline flights to the antipodes. We’ll be flying into Auckland and a month later departing from Melbourne. I’ve been to Oz many times because that’s where most of my family live, but this will be our first visit to NZ. “All” I have to do now is arrange the bits in between the long-haul flights. Our only definite destination in NZ will be to Tauranga on the East coast of North Island to stay with my sister-in-law for a few days. It’ll be the first time we’ll have seen her since shortly before my brother (her husband) died. It’ll be an emotional time but we’ll be sure to sink a few bottles of NZ’s best to celebrate ****’s memory. There are lots of great places to visit within an hour or so drive from Tauranga so that’s much of our accommodation already sorted. Until a couple of days ago, my intention was to spend our first 7 or 8 days in North Island then fly to Brisbane to catch up with a nephew and revisit the city my wife and I fell in love with during our honeymoon. Then we were going to Melbourne (possibly flying to Sydney then driving round the coast to Melbourne) to spend the major part of our holiday with my two sisters who live there. But a change in circumstances (that I’m not going into right now) mean we’ll be spending less time in Melbourne than originally planned. So I’m currently considering increasing our NZ stay to two weeks so we can see some of South Island too. It would be such a waste to travel so far and still to miss so much. So it’s back to choosing just where to go in NZ and how to get there. Having our (by then - next March) nearly four year old daughter with us will limit too much in the way of hikes and adrenaline adventures, but there will be so much else to see and do. Car hire seems to be far more expensive than everywhere else in the world that we’ve been to, but I believe there will be some amazing drives. Fortunately our daughter travels really well. On with the research and planning.