From camping at Womad to a Luxury Lodge on Lake Taupo

Travelling back from London to New Zealand for the annual Womad concert was a delight on Qantas Airways. The Qantas A380 was an absolute delight but then it sure makes a difference travelling without any under 5 year olds! A great time to catch up on the paper work, enjoy the Australian wine on board whilst managing to see a couple of films – quite often it’s the only time I have to catch a movie and Qantas always has an impressive selection. Whether we travel independently, on our own, with a friend or partner, with children, budget style, luxury style, long-term, short-term or in tour groups, I think we could all agree that we somehow want more travel in our lives.

I’ve been fortunate as I have recently had an incredible month of combining work and travel – Sydney –  Dubai – London – Salzburg – Lanzarote – London – Melbourne – Wellington….all in two weeks but well worth the catch up with David Wickers (my old Bridge & Wickers business partner) Nick Van Gruisen (boss of the Ultimate Travel Company) my three brothers (skiing in the Italian Dolomites, Mum (Lanzarote) and of course some of my oldest friends from London for a memorable night out at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire where we saw an old 80’s band favourite of ours called ‘The Stranglers’ in concert, heard of them? What a ‘classic’ it was too!

Qantas Flying over the Sydney Opera House


Two days after returning I was back on the road ‘Kiwi style’ camping with my family. First stop, New Plymouth for three days enjoying the ‘Womad’ music festival. We did what you are never supposed to do and that is attempt to erect a brand new tent having never taken it out the bag before, and in the middle of a small cyclone – but we got there and I have to say we had an amazing experience listening to local and international artists. We particularly liked the Swedish based Norwegian singer/song writer Ane Brun. The vibe was great and would definitely recommend for anyone who happens to be in the right country when the festival is near you!

Womad Festival NZ

Next it was off to the caves of Waitomo, a wonderfully atmospheric experience for both Kiwis and tourists. Our journey underground by foot and boat discovering the surreal labyrinth of limestone caves and formations was very special. Tom and Reilly still talk about the twinkling gloworms.. And a total surprise and highlight of the stay was the amazing ‘Huhu’ restaurant next to the campsite – one of the most delicious meals in NZ to date, the dark chocolate chilli mousse in a brandy snap basket was delicious – need I say more?!

View of pool & Lake Taupo from the Point Villas

More camping on the way to Lake Taupo before being hosted at the luxurious Point Villas – a marvellous 5-star alternative to the luxury lodges scattered around New Zealand. Once the boys had enjoyed a swim overlooking the stunning lake it was off to bed and our chance to enjoy cooking the owners, Peg and Brian, a delicious meal in the dream kitchen. We were able to enjoy a lovely evening by the fire sharing stories with our gracious hosts, all very cosy. It was a most enjoyable evening and a totally fitting ‘road trip’ finale!

Please take the time to read this months company ‘spotlight’ – Neill and his team at TIME Unlimited Tours are an absolute must for anyone travelling to Auckland.

If you found it this newsletter useful or of interest to others, please forward it to anyone you know thinking about packing their bags and heading off somewhere. I take great pride in assisting people during that sometimes stressful initial enquiry and early booking stage of organising a holiday.

I look forward to hearing from you

Jerry ‘Travelman’ Bridge

PS. if you have the budget, why not follow the footsteps of the Royals …


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