Have A First-in-a-lifetime Holiday This Year

When it comes to New Year's resolutions, everybody dreams of once-in-a-lifetime holiday. Rugged mountains, deserted beaches, luxury lodges … who wouldn’t want to jump on a plane and get away from it all.

There are some destinations, however, that deliver such incredible experiences that guests are compelled to go back again. After trying it out for the first time, they can't help turning that once-in-a-lifetime trip into a regular holiday destination.

Two such adventurers, Pam and Bob McKeon from Gatley in Cheshire, found this out when they called local travel specialist, New Zealand In Depth, in 2014 and booked their dream trip away.

“New Zealand was always high on our wish list,” said Pam. “We were initially attracted by the fact that it’s literally on the other side of the world. I think it was the thought of going so far whilst we are still relatively fit that spurred us on to find out more and plan our holiday.

“We’re interested in nature, wildlife and walking. When we saw pictures and the scenery looked absolutely fantastic we booked our once-in-a-lifetime trip for October 2014.”

For some, fulfilling this dream travelling experience would have been enough. Not the case for this Cheshire couple who were already planning their next trip before their feet had left kiwi soil. “We were just part way through our amazing six week road trip, and I was already starting to think ‘perhaps we could come back’,” said Bob. “Towards the end of our holiday, we were already planning our next trip.”

There are some holiday destinations that are so welcoming that your once-in-a-lifetime trip is destined to turn into a twice or thrice-in a lifetime event, and New Zealand is definitely one of those. Paul Carberry, one of the UK’s leading New Zealand travel experts from New Zealand In Depth said: “It is all too easy to fall in love with New Zealand. There is something about it that makes you want to come back time and again. Of those from Britain taking a break in New Zealand, a quarter had already been there at least once before.”

Paul adds; “It’s not surprising that reader surveys in the UK’s leading travel magazines and national newspapers consistently put the UK’s favourite travel destination as New Zealand!”

Over the six weeks they were away, Pam and Bob underwent a New Zealand adventure which saw them drive from Auckland and visit spectacular spots on both the north and south island.

Paul Carberry, from New Zealand In Depth said: “When we heard that Pam and Bob were interested in the nature, wildlife and walking, we knew that they would fall in love with New Zealand. With six weeks over there, we didn’t want them to have overly long drives and therefore pulled together a plan that would showcase wonderful New Zealand wildlife and nature experiences including alternative off-the-beaten-track stops along the way.

“With wildlife top of the agenda we made arrangements for them to not only search for wild kiwi on Stewart Island, but also visit the endemic fiordland crested penguins and albatross.”

Pam and Bob’s first trip took them from north to south, starting in Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsular down past Lake Taupo in the North Island; and onto Blenheim, Kaikoura, the west coast highway on the South Island. Their itinerary, planned by New Zealand In Depth, also made it as far south as Stewart Island and New Zealand’s lesser known ‘third island’.

“It was all incredible,” added Bob, “and the chance to drive yourself around gave us the independence to travel at our own pace.”

So, what is it about certain holiday destinations that have us wanting to go back?

Paul Carberry, travel expert at New Zealand In Depth, explains; “There are certain places around the world where you are put at ease the moment you step off the plane. Whether it’s the welcome, the guest houses that make you feel like part of the family, or simply the chance for you to adopt a pace of life that suits you. Whatever that magic ingredient is, New Zealand has it by the bucket load.”

British travellers are amongst the longest stayers in New Zealand, with most guests to the country on holiday or visiting friends or relatives. When asked about their experience, the vast majority left extremely satisfied rating their experience 9.1 out of 10 on average, another factor for the high number of return visitors.

According to Tourism New Zealand research, UK visitors are more than likely to be looking for a holiday where they can have fun, learn, relax and explore new things, whilst younger visitors from the UK are more likely to value reducing stress, escaping everyday life, and having excitement and adventure. “The beauty of New Zealand is that it’s all there,” adds Paul. “The challenge for me is understanding exactly what interests a guest, and then tailor making an itinerary to suit them.”

Just 18 months after their first trip, Pam and Bob will be New Zealand bound on their once-in-a-lifetime New Zealand holiday … again.

With an itinerary that combines some familiar places as well as new experiences there is a palpable excitement around them as we discussed their forthcoming trip. “This time we are adding a trip up north to the Bay of Islands, also stopping at Hawkes Bay and Arthur’s Pass, as well as visiting some of our old favourites,” said Pam.

“One place we had to go back to was Stewart Island as we had such a special time there during our last visit. It feels a little like a remote Scottish island. With few people living there and wonderful wildlife encounters, it is just a great place to be. This time we decided to stay a little longer to see if we can find a few more Kiwi.”

It all goes to show, that after your first-in-a-lifetime travel this year, you might be planning your return sooner than expected.

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