Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
One of the most helpful tools I found here was the Travel Time & Distance Calculator.
Our holiday rental is going to be an apartment at the base of Mt. Maunganui (in the BoP) and we had discussed taking the Interisland Ferry to visit the South Island for a day. In my head, I'm thinking Maui-sized driving. We've done a lot of that.
So when I looked at the Travel Time & Distance Calculator, I quickly saw that a "day trip" to the South Island from the BoP isn't possible! It takes over 7 hours to drive from Mt. Maunganui to Wellington (where the Interisland ferry departs from).
I had no idea it would be that long of a drive. Certainly not Maui-sized driving!
We definitely won't be taking the Interisland Ferry this visit...much too far from our home base this time!
It does make me feel better though. I had secretly been wondering if I could live on an "island" nation. When we drive around Maui I sometimes wonder what it would be like to live somewhere that you could essentially visit everything in one day. Not that you could see or experience everything in one day. But just the smallness of an island...would that make me feel closed in?
New Zealand is much bigger than I pictured in my mind, and knowing I could drive for 7 hours and not be in the middle of the ocean made me happy. There is so much to see, experience, & explore and it's not all just a short drive away!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
"I just wanted to let you know that you have inspired my husband and I. Yesterday, I jokingly said "hey you want to move to NZ?"- I thought he would gape at me and tell me I was crazy. Instead he looked thoughtful for about 1 min and said "actually that sounds like a good idea.". so I told him about you and we said we would have to definately ... Read Morethink about it and it would not be tomorrow if we did it- but it is an option. but- you know- if we figure out it is not for us, your blog has still opened my eyes that there I can think outside the box and we can make a completely different life if we want to."
How neat is that? Maybe New Zealand isn't a good Out-Of-The-Box fit for your family, but consider something that is. Shaking things up can be good!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
There are approximately 7,392 miles between Texas & Auckland, NZ! By the numbers:
*3 1/2 hour flight to LAX, 12 hour flight to Auckland from LAX
*NZ is 17 hours ahead of our time zone at home. Can you do the math quickly on that one to figure out what time it is? Because I can't! To make it easier, I try to remember NZ is a day ahead & 7 hours behind our time. So if it's Monday 7:00pm in Texas, it is Tuesday Noon in NZ. Don't ask me about daylight savings time. I have no idea how that comes into play.
We will be staying on the North Island, in the Bay of Plenty...Google some pictures...it's beautiful!!
Monday, July 13, 2009
move to a new country means taking those differences a little more seriously and locking them away for future use.
Take, for example, tipping & sales tax.
In New Zealand, there is no tipping! I have read that NZers laugh at Americans who come visit and when paying for a restauraunt bill, try to tip.
This seems like such a strange concept to me...not to tip for good service. Tipping is such a part of what you're supposed to do here in America...I think it will feel really wrong to walk out of a restauraunt without tipping.
But I'm glad I know this little tidbit so I won't seem too touristy :)
Another interesting shopping tidbit is that the price on the tag is the price you pay. Sales tax is already included in the price. So no more having to do mental math to figure out your 8.2% sales tax...or whatever the sales tax may be in the area you happen to be in.
Tipping & sales tax are so ingrained in my head when shopping that it will feel strange to not worry about figuring it into the cost!
And speaking of strange...I have a whole big post in my head about re-learning to drive, New Zealand style!!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
This rental will be our first vacation lodging in something other than a hotel chain. I am excited to have a full kitchen, and a washing machine/dryer will mean we can pack half of what we normally would!
There are two bedrooms, so Cowgirl can have her own bedroom and space, and Little Man will either bunk with us or join Cowgirl...not sure what his sleeping preferences will be in a year!
Everything in the apartment looks so well done...
Friday, July 10, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
We decided last night to move our trip to August 2010 for a few reasons.
*August is low season for travel, and since we aren't really going for a vacation in the sun, it didn't matter that it would be Winter. The average high for BoP is 59 and the average low is in the mid-40s. It will be a fantastic break from the 100+ degree temperature here in Texas in August!
*Since it is low season, the rates for the bach rental and car rental are less, sometimes by half!
*And the most exciting reason....our daughter Cowgirl is coming with us!!! Since she is in a public school, it was impossible to pull her out for almost two weeks. But August is our summer break, so the first two weeks of August 2010 will work perfectly. I am so excited that we'll be bringing her & getting her impression of NZ life as well. Not to mention the fact that Little Man adores her & loves spending time with her!
So there you have it...we're visiting in August 2010 and will bring 2/3 of our children with us!
Sunday, July 5, 2009
There are so many options for renting a bach in the Bay of Plenty it's almost overwhelming. To try and find a place that is smallish (some sleep 10-16 people!) for just the three of us, and someplace that has amenities we are looking for during our stay still turns up a ton of search results. Guess it's better to have too many choices than not enough!
We've never rented a holiday house before anywhere, so I am a little nervous to stay somewhere other than a hotel. This will be something new for us!