In June/July 2002, I spent six weeks in New Zealand and Australia. The idea for the trip was sparked by the fact that the Australia and New Zealand national science fiction conventions were scheduled a week apart. (Although both on long Queens Birthday weekends, the Queen's birthday being different in New Zealand and Australia and, evidently, in different states in Australia). The financial justification was a combination of a $600 bump voucher from United Airlines earlier in the year, and worldcon being local, thus lowering my usual annual airfare costs.
The final capper was a simultaneous idea by Stephen Boucher and my brother Jerry that I try to work at the Melbourne office of my employer, Sun Microsystems, during the three weeks between the end of the Australian Natcon and the forced July 4 shutdown week at Sun. This was made possible by Stephen's connections at Sun, for whom he is a steady client and by his willingness to have a guest in his spare room for three weeks! Not to mention the flexibility of my manager at Sun.
The entire six-week trip only cost me two weeks of vacation time and three days of unpaid leave. Plus I got to hang out in Melbourne instead of scurrying across the country as I had on my DUFF trip, scrambling to fit everyone in. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to come back to Australia, and to finally see New Zealand.
If these pictures spark your interest, you may want to read the (somewhat lengthy) report of my trip.