I often get asked how I plan our family road trips. With only a week to play with in late January, I decided we would head from Hong Kong to the ‘sunnier’ climes of New Zealand. The last time we headed to this island nation in the South West Pacific was seven years ago on our honeymoon. At that point we were two kids and quite a few kilos lighter! Our South Island trip was phenomenal but I don’t like to revisit places when there’s so much of the world to see. I was also desperate to pay a visit to a close friend in Wellington who had just had a baby so I decided a trip to the North Island it would be…
Ask friends and family for referrals. My Wellington friend was a fountain of knowledge, as were my parents who had done the road trip a few years ago. A Kiwi mate from Auckland gave me some great tips on where to shop & eat (definitely pay a visit to Depot in Auckland)
Ask your online communities from Facebook groups to Tripadvisor forums. I received loads of restaurant/hotel recommendations and also itineraries this way.
Consult the infinite world online. These were my favourite:
Calculate your driving distances with Google Maps
Check the ‘Whats’ On’ calendars for the towns/cities you are visiting (often found on the official town council home page). Certain festivals will draw big crowds and drive up the prices of accommodation. We were in Rotorua for the start of the Ragamuffin Reggae & Rnb festival. Apart from some awesome dreadlocks wandering around town, we weren’t too impacted by it but it did mean our accommodation options were more limited than usual.
Go old school and read guide books, perfect for night time reading. Luckily I had our old Lonely Planet from the honeymoon in ’07.