New Zealand Day 0: The beginning of a new grand adventure

After my trip along the coast of California I was jazzed. I wanted to ride across the world if I could. I knew the next trip was going to be bigger. Longer, more miles; just bigger. Needing to save up some leave and money I set my sights on a winter trip to New Zealand. Far from home, a different country, and hopefully one grand adventure.

I had to make a few compromises on this trip. In order to make it as long as possible I scheduled it over the winter holidays. This meant I was giving up Christmas, when my family would usually all get together, and New Years. I also did not have a ton of money to spend. I was planning on being out there for 18 days. With plane tickets usually upwards of $2,000, my $3,500 budget was going to be stretched thin. I found what may have been the most absurd plane ticket I will ever buy. My flights included no less than three, eight hour layovers. I flew on Christmas Eve and landed on Christmas day. For this, I was able to travel, bike included, for only $1,300 dollars.

My first flight left out of Reagan National Airport just as the sun began to rise . A few hours later I landed in Houston. The sun had recently risen and it was a temperate day for a Marylander in December. I spent my 8 hour layover walking around the city and enjoying the sites. It was a fun city and I ate my body weight in tacos. The 2nd flight was a 15-hour red eye into Auckland. The New Zealand Air flight attendants walked around the entire flight handing out limitless Champagne to celebrate Christmas Eve – a perk that I did not expect when I booked my super cheap flight! I ate my dinner, had my fill of bubbly, and got a solid 10 hours of much needed sleep!

I landed in Auckland to my 3rd! sunrise of the trip so far. This time I only had a one hour layover and short hop to the South Island town of Queenstown. Upon landing in Queenstown, i grabbed my baggage and my bike and wheeled it outside. The sun was shining. The air was clear and a lovely 75 degrees. I was standing outside an airport putting a touring bike together after nearly 24 hours of travel and wondering what I had gotten myself into.

A stop along the lake on the way to my Airbnb

I cycled a few miles around the lake into town and to my Airbnb. After getting settled, I met up with a couple Americans I had met on Facebook. Gloria and Mike were on a trip together and driving across New Zealand. Luckily enough they landed in Queenstown when I was there. It was nice to land in a foreign country and meet some people I had talked to before. The three of us hung out, did some acro yoga, and got dinner. Before bed I got all my gear ready and then hit the sack. Tomorrow the real adventure would start.

Golden Hour

Published by Dave and Meredith

Two endurance junkies turned adventure travelers. Come on a trip with us!

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