A lot of research (and emails / phone calls with my brother who lived in NZ for a year) has gone into planning my trip's itinerary. ...I want to do it all!
My plan is... to spend my first week on the North Island with Lenny's good friend, Ben, and his family. I'm excited to be with them for Christmas. They live in Auckland (magenta marker) but have rented a place in Tairua (light blue marker), which I'm really excited to get to.
The day after Christmas I will fly to the South Island... into the Hokitika airport (yellow marker)... to rent a car and drive up to Franz Josef (red marker). I'm really excited about Franz Josef! It sounds like a great little town... and I've booked a helicopter ride / glacier hike!!
I will then drive a lovely scenic route to Wanaka (dark marker), stay a few days... and go to Queenstown (green marker) on New Years Eve. ...Then fly back up to Auckland on the 1st and fly out on the 2nd! I have a day's layover in Bangkok and have booked a hotel there... I'm excited to get out into the city for a bit on my way back to HCMC. Fun, fun, fun. :D
Below are some Google Map screenshots showing my trip:
New Zealand from Vietnam...
My mom made a great point last year when she told me that if I ever wanted to get to New Zealand... now would be the time, since I am so much closer to NZ while living in Vietnam than I would be from the States!