Once Kathy found out we could fly to Auckland New Zealand, with a stopover in Australia, for a few hundred bucks less than flying only to Australia, there was no stopping us.
We overnight in Auckland at our chain-of-choice after a lot of flying starting Monday afternoon, fortunately with 7412 miles of it in those new Business Class seats:
Depart: SEA 7:05 PM Mon, May 11
Arrive: SFO 9:08 PM Non-stop
678 miles traveled
Operated by: Depart: SFO 10:43 PM
Arrive: SYD 6:25 AM
Arrives 2nd day
7,412 miles traveled
Operated by: Air New Zealand Limited Depart: SYD 9:30 AM
Arrive: AKL 2:30 PM
1,345 miles traveled
The next morning we'll pick up our motorhome (the Aussies at least call them "camper vans") from this outfit. It's the low season and won't cost us much more than a mid-size car - amazing! The company e-mailed us a suggested route, and we plan to take our time in a leisurely trip around part of the North Island.
The names on the itinerary don't mean a lot to us yet - Tauranga / Mt Manganui, Rotorua, Taupo, Napier, Waitomo, Raglan - but we're really excited about our first visit to New Zealand, a country we've found on the "favorites list" of almost every experienced traveler we've talked to.