I guess you could say that I have a bit of an unusual “commute” to work. Typically, I make a trip to New Zealand to work with my Operations Team four times per year, spending more time in the New Zealand summer for our honey cropping operations. New Zealand has their summer when we have winter here in the states.
I’m often asked how long it takes. My simple answer is about 30 hours, door –to-door. Let me break that down for you:
Home in Atlanta – I leave about three hours before boarding the flight, Atlanta is the busiest airport in the world, so you need to allow plenty of time for parking, checking in, getting through security, taking the tram to the terminal, and moving through a crowded airport.
Boarding the flight – This is usually to Los Angles on either Delta or Southwest Airlines. The flight usually leaves between 2p - 3p Eastern time. Atlanta to Los Angles is 4 ½ hours.
Total time = 7.5 hours
My connection time in Los Angeles is usually about four hours. Air New Zealand’s departure lounge in L.A. is very nice, so I am able to have a good meal before boarding the long flight.
Total time = 11.5 hours
The flight to New Zealand goes by surprisingly well for a 13 hour flight. Usually I have a dinner meal, watch a movie, get about five hours sleep, read a bit, and do a bit of work. This is such a long flight that by now it’s time for another meal - breakfast - and then we’ve reached Auckland, New Zealand.
Total time = 24.5 hours
Now, believe it or not, I have to take another flight to reach as close as possible to my final destination. The connection time in Auckland is about two hours, and the flight is an hour.
Total time = 27.5 hours
This gets me to our place of business in Stratford where I’ll usually spend a few nights prior to going out to the area where our hives are kept. The area is very remote, so I have a small hut where I stay while working in the field. On occasion, I’ll head more directly out to the hut to rest up, especially if I arrive on a weekend. The travel time to Stratford is 45 minutes. Then I stop to pick up groceries for about an hour. From there I take a 4 wheel drive utility vehicle to Takou, which takes 1.5 hours, transfer my bags and groceries to a quad bike, and ride the quad bike to the hut for 30 minutes.
Total time = 31.5 hours give or take
It's quite a long time, but it’s worth the trip. This is a place you can really relax and rest up after a long journey. New Zealand is a country so diverse and so beautiful, from the majestic mountains and spectacular landscapes, from volcanos to primeval forests, stunning snow-capped mountains to sub-tropical beaches. And on top of all that, I have the privilege of working with some of Nature’s most fascinating creatures – bees – to produce one of Nature’s most special foods – Manuka honey.
I hope you enjoy our honey as much as I enjoy producing it for you.
Bees & Trees Founder