In early October we booked a one-way ticket to Christchurch, New Zealand. We wanted to keep things flexible and hadn’t planned to book any more flights until 2016. That was until we discovered that to get into New Zealand we’d need to show an onward ticket, which meant we’d have to book some more flights. The first iteration of our plans was to fly from Auckland to the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico, at the end of March & cycle from there to Canada,. We planned to book a flexible ticket from Edmonton or Calgary to London Gatwick with WestJet. Planning things was easy! That was until we looked into flying from New Zealand to Mexico; it would involve 15 hours in LAX. Oh, and anyone with any sense cycles the Pacific coast from north to south to avoid two months of headwinds.
Iteration #2: We got invited to stay with some people on the Gold Coast, Australia, so thought about going there for Easter, but Philippa didn’t want to spend very long in Oz as it wasn’t a country that she had much interest in visiting. The new plan was to stay in Oz for about two weeks and then fly to the southern tip of Baja California and cycle northwards. Ah, yes, there was that issue of the headwinds. Starting in Canada didn’t make sense because it would still be cold in British Columbia in early April.
Iteration #3: The next plan was to fly to Los Angeles and then cycle southwards to the bottom of Baja California over four weeks. From San José del Cabo we could fly up to San Francisco or Portland, Oregon, thus missing out some of the headwinds, but that still wasn’t ideal.
Iteration #4: Whilst we were in Mallorca Philippa showed a bit more of an interest in Australia and decided we could cycle the 2,000 km from Brisbane to Melbourne or visa versa. We discovered we could fly from Auckland to Melbourne with Emirates, and amazingly the 4¼ hour flight was just over £100. We opted to start in Melbourne because it would already be autumn. So flight #2 was booked: Auckland > Melbourne on 23rd March. We now wouldn’t have time to visit Mexico, oh well.
The next problem was what to do from Brisbane. Qantas and Virgin Australian both offer a direct service from Brisbane to Los Angeles, which were round £530. That still didn’t solve the issue of riding northwards into the wind. Hmm. We went to bed on Sunday pondering these issues, and Philippa couldn’t sleep. At 11 pm we were researching options from our phones and found out Air Canada are starting a Brisbane > Vancouver service on 3rd June. This sounded perfect. It was was more expensive than the flights to Los Angeles, but would solve the worries about riding into the winds along the Pacific coast. We went to sleep and in the cold light of day it still made sense, so Philippa booked us onto the inaugural Air Canada service from Brisbane to Vancouver. We suddenly had a plan!
Before we enter North America we will need evidence that we plan to leave the USA, but we will book that flight in April or May when we have a clearer idea about when we need to back in London. For now it’s a relief to have the flights sorted.