What went well in 2019?

2019 followed the same pattern as 2018, with a lot of travel squeezed in. We started the year camping in Hastings and crashing at relatives in Napier, spending less than a week at home before heading out to Castlepoint for a long weekend. Mark led the way to Melbourne, before Mr5 and Amelia joined him for a long weekend. We had both family and Adult-Only adventures on the Abel Tasman in the April holidays, then spent the July holidays between Whakapapa and Rotorua.

Around those we managed a night walk at Zealandia, a half marathon in the Hawkes Bay, and several other local adventures. August saw us on our biennial trek to Queenstown for skiing, before we returned to Queenstown again for a campervan adventure, with friends joining us for a trip to Rakiura. In November, Mark and Mr6 went to Christchurch, and Amelia went back to Melbourne. Christmas was at home, and the year ended at a campground in New Plymouth.

We continued in the tradition of spending a lot of time utilising facilities that are familiar. Group holiday houses, the ski lodge, several trips to Castlepoint. When we went to Queenstown for skiing, we drove the extra distance to Cardrona rather than taking the shorter trip to Coronet Peak.

Our plans to have friends kids with us on our adventures fell through – in April due to a stingy boss cancelling my friends leave, in August due to tight finances and a lack of leave, and in October because their child just was not ready for that level of exertion (but the parents still came, which still made a lot of difference).

Three years in a row we’ve done something dramatically different to previous experiences. This year we hired a campervan for 10 days. We looked into this last year for our time in the Coromandel, but that area is not overly receptive to freedom camping, so we skipped it. This year, we were heading for Fiordland and Southland, and there were a number of places we wanted to visit that were infeasible any other way.

A lot of our other adventures were much like things we’ve done before – visits to the ski lodge and Castlepoint, Skiing out of Queenstown, tramping and camping – albeit some with minor twists, like Mr6 climbing Castle Rock for the first time, and tramping in new locations.

We managed a couple of Adult-Only adventures. Mark got a week in Melbourne to attend a conference, then we flew Mr6 to Christchurch for a week so we could go kayaking in the Abel Tasman together. Last minute spaces came up on an AO weekend at the ski lodge, so we grabbed those, and Amelia hit up Melbourne for a friends 40th on her own.

Mr 6 took a record 10 flights (2 international) and 4 ferry sailings (one set across Cook Strait, the other across Foveaux) this year. We were grateful to hit no major issues – even being at the airport at 4:30am went smoothly.

Our year opened in a campground and finished a different campground. Our travel was more extensive than was really feasible and the latter part of the year only still saw travel because we had made promises to do it. 2020 will be a significantly quieter year, with a focus on low-cost and local adventures.

We avoided significant dramas this year. Despite the challenges we faced in managing the volume of travel this year, we wouldn’t change it. A couple of big years was a little bit too far, and we all feel that, so cutting back for 2020/2021 shouldn’t be a big ask for anyone. We’ll probably still try and keep the tradition of an October adventure though. Not sure where yet.

Our only plans for 2020 at this stage are a long weekend in Queenstown to celebrate our 10th anniversary (because we’ve fallen in love with the scenery), and an adventure departing Christchurch after Christmas. As someone who loves exploring and adventures, this is slightly terrifying, and only palatable because plans are coming together for our big 2022 Round-the-World adventure.

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