Mr. Mongoose and I have a serious case of wanderlust. As I mentioned in my intro post, we LOVE to travel. We travel mostly for pleasure, but Mr. M also travels a ton for work. So when deciding on a honeymoon location, we narrowed down the numerous options by asking ourselves a few simple questions. What area of the world have we never been to? Which countries are in our top five of places we’d love to visit? Where else can you hug a koala or go on a Lord of the Rings tour? The answer to each question was without a doubt, Australia & New Zealand.
I’ve reluctantly accepted the fact that you can’t ride a kangaroo. / Image via Down Under Views
My favorite New Zealanders Brett, Jemaine, and Murray (from Flight of the Conchords) / Image via HBO
We made the decision on these countries last summer and were even more encouraged when in my research I came across Down Under Endeavours, a Chicago-based travel agency with expertise in the South Pacific area. Now, I’ve never used a travel agency to plan vacations and have always planned every trip myself; however, because we’re traveling so far and we both know absolutely nothing about either country, I figured it was time we relinquish vacation-planning duties to the experts. And I’m so glad we did!
The company specializes in highly customized travel itineraries, which were right up our alley. With all the intense wedding planning going on, Mr. M thankfully took the lead on planning the honeymoon and has been working closely with our travel specialist to put everything together. He told her the things we enjoy (beach, adventure, nature, and LOTS of wine & food because, seriously, Australia and New Zealand produce some of the best wines in the world), and she came back with recommended locations that best fit our interests.
Some of our itinerary stops include adventurous locations like the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest, and the Glow Worm Caves. A few of the activities we have planned include scuba diving (for the first time, yikes) at the Reef, bike tours, wine tours, a boat tour of Milford Sound (like Mrs. Wallaby!), seeing a performance at the Sydney Opera House, a Lord of the Rings tour, and possibly a cooking class or two. The custom itinerary designed for us includes hotels, private transportation, most activities, and some of the airfare since we’re going to a number of different cities.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Life / Image via Australia.com
Daintree Rainforest / Image via Executive Retreats
Glow Worm Caves / Image via Glowworm.co.nz
And the best part? Mr. M is a frequent flier on Delta and he’s racked up a TON of miles over the past few years. Because of this, we were able to exchange miles to 1) get free round-trip airfare to Sydney and 2) get upgraded to business class both ways…for free. I nearly pooped my pants when Mr. M booked this sweet deal—and he still has a ton of miles left over. (I also have a good amount of miles which we’re saving for a future trip.)
This will be one of the most epic journeys of our lifetime (and hopefully not the last)—we are going for three and a half weeks since we saved a TON of money on airfare. Since we’re having a destination wedding in May, we’ve decided to wait until September to honeymoon, giving us something fun to look forward to (other than our marriage, of course!) once all the wedding hoopla is over. September is also our dating-anniversary month, and the day we leave will be our eight-year anniversary. I am SO pumped!!!
If going on a honeymoon, will you plan it yourself or use a travel agency? Are you going right after the wedding or are you putting it off for a few weeks/months?