February 12, 2005

something else to obsess about

I've been stuck inside most of the day, feeling slightly under the weather. What better way to spend a few hours in bed than to search around the net for info on self-drive destinations?

It started out simply enough. My birthday is in June, and I thought I'd splurge on a 3-day jaunt to San Francisco or something. None of the hotels jumped out at me. Between bad reviews and high prices, I thought I'd try something else. I didn't spend too much time on New York City. Not NYC's fault, but the site I chose to look on just didn't make anything look very exciting at the time.

Then I found myself looking up car rental rates in the UK. For the longest time I've wanted to scoot around Great Britain in a hired car exploring the countryside. I ended up on the Virgin-Atlantic vacations site, as I had a good experience with them on my first transatlantic trip to London, but I had some trouble with their site's car rental module. Looking back at their main page, I noticed they had a New Zealand option.

New Zealand! Land of Hobbitses! Of course, Peter Jackson's LOTR trilogy only served to enhance my desire to see the Land of the Long White Cloud, but really, it seems to cater to my fascination for the beauty of nearly-untouched natural expanses: lush, green, rolling hills - ice-blue lakes - snow-capped mountains - long, sandy beaches.

So now, I'm seriously considering a late June/early July 10-day trip to NZ with rented 4WD SUV included. Because if I'm gonna be driving between the north and south islands for nearly 9 days, I'm obviously going to be hitting some back roads. I understand that my trip lands me right in the middle of winter down there, but from other people's travel photos of NZ in June/July, it doesn't look like there would be any severe weather/inaccessibility issues.

The only hitch right now is that the itinerary does not include hotel accommodations. I'm wondering if there are any "motel" chains (similar to Motel 6, Travelodge, etc.) in New Zealand. I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants sort of gal, and don't really like being hemmed into any specific hotels on any specific dates. I'm just wondering if there a significant number of cheap lodging options every 50 miles or so. Anyone from NZ reading? Or does anyone have any travel experience there?


posted by julie at February 12, 2005 08:08 PM

things people have said

You paint a lovely picture. If I were slightly more adventurous I would do something like that, as well. I could just imagine getting lost in a WHOLE DIFFERENT COUNTRY. Mmmmm. Sweet.

so said: Erik at February 13, 2005 11:00 AM

NZ is great! Spent 2 months there about 5 years ago. Don't waste your money on any hotel chains. Check out the hostels instead. Tons of them... http://www.yha.org.nz/ ...great people and a perfect source of things to do in the area.

Not sure how safe you'd feel, but hitchiking is very popular there as a way to get around. Of course, if you're wanting to travel all over in a short time span, that could limit your endeavors.

so said: Angie at February 16, 2005 02:13 PM



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