From Wanaka, we drove to Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park. Staying in the national park village gave us good access to the park’s trails and meant we could see the mountains in various light.
For our trip to New Zealand, I flew into Christchurch and met up with my parents, who were there on their own trip. We spent day exploring the Banks Peninsula, including an excellent boat trip from Akaroa. The next day, I flew Queenstown to meet up with Kyle.
For the 2018-2019 academic year, I was on sabbatical. While I was still working, I had a lot more flexibility in when I could travel. New Zealand had been on our to-visit list for a while, but seasons and distance make it hard to visit during a normal year. We took advantage of my flexibility by planning a three-week trip to New Zealand for February and March — late summer / early fall.
Over the years of wanting to visit New Zealand, we had accumulated an extensive list of places we wanted to hike and explore. As we got into planning the details, we narrowed our trip to focus on hiking in the mountains of the South Island. Just that easily filled three weeks.
In February 2017, we spent a long weekend on Kauai, splitting our time between Princeville and Poipu, with hikes along the Nā Pali coast, near Princeville, and in Waimea Canyon State Park, a visit to Kilauea Point, and lots of good food.
We picked Kauai as our February break from Seattle’s rain and grey. Kyle had never been and I had not visited since I was a kid.
We made a last-minute decision to visit Budapest on a winter weekend in February, to enjoy some of the city sights without the crowds (or in some cases, entrance fees) of high season. (This strategy also works quite well for Paris.) Low season apparently began that weekend, if you use the “hop-on-hop-off” tourist bus schedule as a metric. This a brief overview of our 34 hours in Budapest.