Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NZ #1: the vacation that almost wasn't

this is what i did in preparation:

1) bought air-tickets 10 months early - there was a MAS promotion & we grabbed them, literally!

2) having ample time before the trip, we changed currency whenever the rate was favourable.

3) asked around/checked blogs on travel tips; since this was going to be free & easy, i had to plan the destinations & duration of stay within the time-frame of the vacation.

4) check-out the accomodation & car rental rates for best offer. i paid online for the apartment on the 1st & last day of the trip. for the rest, i booked as i went along so that our travel route can remain flexible. in NZ itself, the free AA accomodation guide was fantastic & most have freephone numbers.

5) since i was going to drive, made sure my m'sian driving licence was valid & my own GPS was loaded with NZ maps. you could rent a GPS with the car rental for NZD12 a day, but why pay extra?

6) bought travel insurance  for a hundred ringgit plus per family, just to cover the unexpected.

7) as it was summer, brought sunscreen lotion & shades.

this is what i should have done:

1) as peak tourist period only starts in 2nd half of december, after the school term ends, should have gone to car rental personally to choose the vehicle. instead, i booked thru the phone & they could only confirm the class of car, eg. family sedan, either nissan or toyota. i had expected a toyota corolla but got a nissan sentra instead. although it was a 7-yr car, it was very well-maintained. they even offered free pick-up & drop-off within the city.

2) i underestimated the size of NZ. although i had not planned on going to south island, the north island was still huge!! we covered 2000km within 7 days & even then, only visited half of the island. in the end, 3 days in auckland was probably a day too many.

finally, we almost have to cancel. 3 days before we were due to leave, we were told one of the girls in the boy's cello class had chicken pox. a day before departure, the boy had a slight fever & he developed little skin lesions over his neck. without hesitation, i started him on zovirax, just in case it's early chicken pox. the lesions weren't typical pox & besides, i think he already had chicken pox before.

our options were either we cancelled the trip or i go with the daughter while the wife stay back with the boy.

as it turned out, he got better the next day & the skin lesions, whatever they were, subsided. i had planned to complete the 5-day course of zovirax anyway except that, while filling out the arrival forms on the plane, there was a question on bringing in medicines into NZ. in case i needed to explain it & the custom people got overly suspicious about harbouring dangerous viruses, i decided to discard the zovirax. as it turned out, those guys didn't even bothered looking into the bag.

NZ, here we come.....

**image : a crimson flower from the pohutukawa tree aka NZ christmas tree because the flowers tend to blossom in dec**


Adino said...

What a close call! Looking forward to seeing pics from your vacation :)

doc said...


too close!!

need to clear some old photos before posting as i have limited storage.

Unicorn Girl said...

Glad it all turn out well and rapid! & can't wait to see the pictures too ^_^ !

Mei Teng said...

I visited NZ in summmer too. Best time for travel over there as the weather's just nice...not too cold or hot.

That plant in the photo looked like something I photographed in Perth last year.

wenn said...

if u were to declare, they would check u thoroughly.

doc said...


still sorting out photos.

doc said...

Mei Teng,

it should either be in summer or autumn, i was told. we enjoyed the extended daylight hours.

couldn't find the photo in your perth posts.

doc said...


which is why i decided to discard.

missyc said...

just curious, you thot he had chicken pox before, so if u started him on zofirax but did not complete the course, no side effects (future) if any ?

Cruse Loyle said...

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JoMel said...

God is great! It all worked out in the end, and no doubt, you and the family had a great and unforgettable holiday. I've never been to NZ, but I would love to go one day, cos' I've been told that it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. True?

Do post alot of pictures, and some holiday stories. At least, I'd be able to imagine I was there! ;)

And again, Happy birthday my fellow sage!! :D

doc said...


i remembered he had chicken pox before, & although rarely it recurs, i didn't think he has it a 2nd time because the skin lesions weren't typical of pox.

still, i gave him the benefit of doubt & treated like pox, & because he actually he got better within 24 hrs, on hindsight, it would have been highly unlikely to be pox. hence, i was prepared to stop zovirax.

nope, no risks of side-effects in future.

doc said...


i'll be sure to hire that car when i'm next in dublin.


doc said...


yes, God is merciful & everything went well.

from the little i've seen on the north island, it's a beautiful place. i'd think at least 3 weeks are needed to explore just the north island & at least another 3 for the south.

the pictures will be uploaded when i've increased my web storage soon.

Yvonne Foong said...

I've got to admit, some men are so good at planning. It's one of my criteria for men now. :P Unmarried young men that is. :P

May I vote for your wife to go with the girl while you stay back with the boy if his lesions didn't subside in time?

doc said...


that's not likely to happen, but not because i won't do it. the missus will end up staying only in auckland because she's never driven in a foreign country. the most she'll do is do some local tours & that's about it. besides, she's never been apart from the boy for more than a day.

if i had gone instead, i'd have done the same route that i've planned all along.

anyway, that's academic now.

Yvonne Foong said...

Catch-22! Your missus can't dispense a hubby who can either stay back to treat one child or drive the other child on holiday. Thank goodness the whole family could go in the end!

doc said...


praise the Lord, indeed!

fishtail said...

Wah, so 'kan cheong'! So glad everything turned out okay after all.

doc said...


yes, you could say that. having to cancel a vacation, with its attendant pre-paid expenses, is hard to do.