Of course there’s a plan
It’s everything I think I would like to do with the time I have, if I have perfect weather, if I’ve perfectly gauged how much time I’m going to want to spend in various places once I get there, if I don’t suddenly meet the love of my life (or just somebody friendly I decide to travel and/or hang out with), and if I don’t talk to somebody who convinces me that someplace that isn’t on the itinerary really should be or that someplace that is, shouldn’t. Basically, it’s an exercise in thinking. Expect nothing like it to actually happen.
The interactive map is here. It’s still a work in progress. I’m giving myself a lot more stayover days in many places than most guidebook routings allow and have also included a couple of flex days in somewhat likely spots that aren’t really allocated to anything. My desire to be that flexible – even if it means lots of nights in a tent because I’ll have few reservations – is why I’m doing this on my own.
As Eisenhower said, the plans are less important than the exercise of planning. Putting this together has forced me to consider lots of possibilities and that’ll have me better prepared when circumstances demand a change, which they will. So there.
I’ve left off a bunch of towns and cities that might be interesting. The idea is more “adventure” than cities, but that too could change. Dunedin in the south seems like it would be a fun place. Blenheim and the Wairoa Valley are the heart of Sauvignon Blanc country. Both have big asterisks on them. If anything else falls out, one or both could pop right back in.
I’m trying to be mindful of the things I can do close to home and intentionally making anything similar a lower priority than things I can’t do here. I can visit good wineries 2-3 hours from L.A. and never do, so not going to make them a priority on a trip halfway around the world.
But staying flexible
I have a hotel reservation for the day I arrive. It will likely turn into two nights, but leaving that open. My first day on the road will take me to Tekapo, where I’ve reserved space for the Mt. John Observatory tour. Not perfect timing as I’ll be a few days after the new moon, but not terrible either. It’s been decades since I’ve seen the Magellanic Cloud in anything other than a photograph. Doing it in an established Dark Sky Reserve will be a special treat.
Several days later, I’ve booked an overnight kayaking trip on Doubtful Sound in Fiordland and I’ll juggle things around that as much as possible, but they’ve also told me that if I need to switch dates to later in the week it probably won’t be an issue that time of year. So while I’m committed to the trip, I can still move dates a bit. I’ll camp and stay in holiday parks where it seems there is plenty of availability.
So very little is booked and even what is booked is kind of flexible. My map and calendar say backtrack from Fiordland to Queenstown or Wanaka with lots of local exploring around there, but I’ll make that decision when It’s time.
So many options. It’s going to be fun.