My husband and I are thinking about taking a winter trip in January or February. I want somewhere warm where I can lay on the beach and hopefully close enough to town to spend a couple of days shopping. He wants somewhere where he can do some surf fishing (not charters) and actually catch fish (not catch and release). I've been wondering about the South Pacific -- New Zealand and the various islands in Polynesia, Indonesia, and Melanesia. Is there anywhere in the area that would satisfy both of us?
January and February are in the middle of cyclone season for much of the South Pacific.
Sydney - the most beautiful city in the world (IMHO).
Beaches that stretch to forever - try both Manly and Bondi for starters. Ride the ferries to all of the little Harborside neighborhoods. World class shopping in the Rocks and Darling Harbor.
Sure, Australia (and maybe New Zealand) have nice beaches, shopping and (I suppose fishing). But sheesh...that is a LONG way to go for those things! It takes almost 2 days to get there, and 2 more to get back (that's elapsed time, although the miracle of the International Date Line makes it seem confusing both ways).
Now, don't get me wrong: that is an amazing and wonderful part of the world. But getting there is expensive and time-consuming, and - frankly - if your list of requirements is just what you posted above, I think you can find all of that easily in a thousand destinations that are much closer to home, less expensive and less complicated. Much of Mexico (both coasts) and the Caribbean comes to mind.
Regardless, if you are thinking about any of these destinations for "January or February" do you mean 2016 - like, 5 weeks from now? Hoo-boy, prepare for extreme sticker shock and very limited availability when you're booking on such short notice. OTOH, if you're thinking about 2017, then you're fine.
No matter which year you're thinking about, my advice would be to better define your priorities. New Zealand would be awesome, but a trip there less from 2 months from now seems like 1) complete overkill, based on your stated interests; 2) unnecessary; and 3) probably way too complicated to do it justice given the short time available to research, plan and book.
Honestly, I can think of many great reasons to go to all of the places you mention, but I'm not sure your list matches up with those places any better than would Baja or Belize, and you can get to those in a just a few hours, and spend a fraction of the money you would for a trip to, say, Brisbane or Bali. Personally, I've been to (and love) Baja, Belize, Brisbane and Bali, but if my list was just "someplace warm, a town with some shopping, and fishing" I wouldn't cross the Pacific Ocean for that.
Hope that helps.
Thanks for the input. Yeah, we've been talking it over and decided to save the S. Pacific trip for sometime when we can spend a whole month there. Plus you are right about not having much time to plan. We were considering the Caribbean, but my husband went on fishing forums and it seems fishing there is dismal unless you want to do a charter, plus the surf fishing is pretty much catch and release. Soooo, we are now planning to forego the winter trip entirely this year and instead take a spring/early summer trip to the Pacific Northwest -- Washington, San Juan Islands, Vancouver, and possibly the Alaskan Riviera. How's that for a total u-turn? It's somewhere we have both wanted to go for awhile and it gives us some time to plan.
Thanks everyone for you input. Hopefully we'll get to do the S. Pacific trip sometime in the future.