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Today I put the finishing touches to our plans to visit New Zealand and booked the last set of accommodation for our month-long tour in December – January. It’s going to be an epic trip (and an expensive one thanks to Brexit and the devaluation of Sterling). I’ve wanted to revisit the country for donkey’s years. I was there in 1999 during an 18 month around the world trip. We’ll be visiting some of the places I saw then plus many new ones. Last time I made the trip entirely by public transport, this time we’re hiring a car to travel around the South Island – although we will be taking a trip on the Tranzalpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth which is one of the world’s great railway journeys. We’ll also be visiting one preserved railway near Dunedin, but the rest of the holiday will be taken up with outdoor activity and sightseeing as we’ve got a very busy schedule but then there’s no point in travelling half-way around the world just to sit on your bum!

One aspect I I’m really looking forward to is the chance to shoot more pictures. New Zealand’s a stunningly beautiful country but going through my slide archive I’ve been surprised at how few I took during six weeks there in 1999. I suspect that’s because it was towards the end of our trip and I was conserving rolls of film as Fuji Velvia was a rare (and expensive) commodity in that neck of the woods (and we still had Fiji and the Cook Islands to visit). Still, here’s one or two to whet your appetites.

T8899. Franz Joseph glacier. New Zealand 1999.crop

The Franz Josef glacier on the South Island seen from a helicopter just before we landed and went hiking on the glacier itself.

FR0644. No 7145. Kaikoura.NZ. 1999.crop

An intermodal train from Picton to Christchurch passes Kaikoura on the East coast of the South island. This line was closed after a devastating earthquake but re-opened earlier this year.

T9075. Queenstown. S Island. New Zealand. 1999.crop

Looking across Lake Wakatipu at sunset, Queensland, South Island

Expect a host of pictures from both North and South islands and regular blogs. It’s going to be good to take a break from the madness of Brexit before the sh*t really hits the fan.

Another change since 1999 has been in the ease of finding places to stay. Then, the internet was just taking off. I remember using dial-up in a post office in Yogjakarta, Indonesia to try and book a hotel, and how frustrating it was (but also exciting because of the possibilities). Now, I’ve been browsing properties via Booking.com and AirBnB from my smartphone!