Travelling has always been a big part of Matt and mines relationship since the very beginning. We’re both desperate to see as much of the world as possible, especially while we can. Over the years, there have always been two places we’ve talked about time and time again. A few years back, our focus was on buying a house together and that meant our dream holiday wasn’t feasible due to the sheer amount of money it would cost. But back in Februarywe finally booked our flights to New Zealand and Australia!
This trip, in particular, came about because Matt is such a huge Lord of Rings fan and where was LOTR filmed? Yep, you guessed it – New Zealand. It was always somewhere he’d found beautiful and while I’m not a LOTR fan, even I can appreciate how incredible it looks. Australia was definitely somewhere more on my bucket list than Matt’s but again, he loved the idea of going there too. Considering we would literally be going to the other side of the world, it made perfect sense – financially too – to join the two trips together.
Deciding when to go was more difficult. My job only really allows me two weeks off at a time and that just wouldn’t be enough for what we wanted to do, especially if we were going all that way. We then started looking at December and Christmas, simply because of the abundance of time off that the Christmas holidays bring! Along with bank holidays and weekends, going away at the end of December and beginning of January meant we could be away from three weeks. Perfect!
Once we had booked the time off work, it was time to wait for the flights. Long haul flights are sometimes not released until 12 months before you want to flight, so for a whole year I was counting down the days. But even in December, it turned out that not all the airlines released their flights at the same time, meaning prices were sky high and just not competitive. You have no idea how often I was checking Skyscanner!
I was actually introduced to Trailfinders (not a sponsored post fyi!) by a fellow blogger on Twitter and boy, am I glad I was! I’d planned on sorting the flights individually and by myself but upon ringing Trailfinders, our lovely travel agent Katie made life so much simpler. All I had to do was tell her exactly where we wanted to go and when and she would do all the hard work – at no cost whatsoever to us. Katie was actually the one to inform me that the airlines hadn’t all released their flights yet so to leave it with her and she would keep an eye on them. A few weeks later, she rang to tell me that she had found us flights! Katie had managed to find us flights with well-respected airlines, at great times of the day plus a couple of hotels included too which meant we actually got a reduced rate on the price as we were booking a package. Even better was that we could pay a deposit and then pay the rest two months before we flew. While we could have paid the whole amount there and then, it was actually really helpful to spread out the cost as it meant we could pay for other parts of the trip with the reassurance of already having our flights secured.
I can’t really put into words how it felt to finally have the flights booked. I hadn’t actually told any of my friends our intentions as I was so cautious it might just be a pipe dream that never happened. We’ll be starting our trip by flying to Auckland where we’ll pick up a car and drive across the North Island, making about six stops. We’ll actually be there during Christmas which will feel so strange as neither of us has ever been away from home for the 25th! We’ll then fly from Wellington to Sydney where we’ll spend nearly four days exploring. I’m so excited to spend New Years Eve there, you can bet we’ll be right by the fireworks!
New Years Day will see us fly to Cairns which is a city in Queensland. We’ll actually be staying in a place called Port Douglas but our main intention is of course the Great Barrier Reef. Matt is especially looking forward to snorkelling and making the most of a place that might not be there in years to come and even I’m tempted to take up diving. As we would need two layovers to get back to Heathrow from Cairns, we decided to make the most of the location and spend our final night in Brisbane before making our way home.
Now all our flights and Sydney/Brisbane accommodation is sorted, each month we’re booking more parts of the trip. I’m actually loving spreading out the booking process like this as each time we book somewhere or something new, I get so excited all over again! We’ve booked some amazing stuff which I can’t wait to share closer to the time. If you’ve got any experience of New Zealand, Sydney or Queensland, please let me know in the comments! I’ll be blogging everything we get up to of course so hopefully you’ll all enjoy reading more. But for now…bring on December!
Why not check out the rest of my travel posts here.