So our fabulous trip was punctuated by a medical emergency, which doesn't happen to everyone, but is certainly worth planning for. Our trip to a remote farmhouse in Akaroa to see the penguins and hike part of the Banks Great Walk was interrupted by a case of appendicitis in our 12 year old.
Alls well that ends well, and she got thru her surgery and is recouperating well, but a few things made it easier.
We had copies of all our medical cards and the relevant overseas phone numbers.
We had checked what our coverage was beforehand, and were aware of the requirements for authorization.
We weren't afraid to ask for help when we needed it.
We had a credit card with a large limit on it in case of such an emergency.
One factor that could have been disastrous: driving to Christchurch at 10pm on a Saturday from Akaroa, the fuel light came on. We were fortunate to find an open gas station before we ran out of gas.In NZ, I suggest keeping a bit more gas in the tank than you might at home.
I can't give enough praise to the kindness and professionalism of everyone we met in the NZ health care system. Everyone was primarily concerned with my daughter's welfare, and while we had to put a $400 Emergency Room visit on a credit card, it didn't hold up her treatment at all. The nurses and doctors at the Public Hospital in Christchurch provided excellent and personal care, answered all questions, and went out of their way to make our emergency as untraumatic as possible.
We also experienced kindness and assistance from Shireen and Francis at the Pohatu Penguin tour, and the owners of the City Centre Motel and Belmont Motor Inn, who helped us extend our stay in a crowded Christchurch.
To me this was another example of why you might want to consider service as well as price when making travel arrangements.Having hosts who genuinely want to help you experience the best of New Zealand or, in case of an untoward event, will go out of their way to help you are worth much more than the small amount of money saved on rock bottom accommodation and services.