Having finally landed New Zealand's holy grail, McCaw is hoping to play at the next World Cup in England in 2015, when he'll be 35.
But after a long career as one of the most dynamic and influential forwards in rugby, it's time to take a break -- a six-month sabbatical in which he plans to get away from it all.
He has plenty of incentive to come back stronger -- his last match was a shock defeat to England last month which ended the All Blacks' 20-match unbeaten run.
"I hope having the time off will make me play a bit longer. So I'm taking it before I desperately need it, with the hope I'll come back fresh mentally and physically," he said.
"I'm pretty keen to get away and have a look at places I've haven't been before and where rugby is not something people know too much about. That's part of what wears you down a little bit, when you are living in fishbowl like you do in New Zealand, and it's just nice to have a bit of time to be anonymous."
McCaw has hinted that he will head to the U.S. and indulge his other passion -- flying.
His grandfather was a fighter pilot during World War Two, and he has continued the family interest, being named an honorary squadron leader in the New Zealand Air Force.
He flies planes, helicopters and gliders, and has even narrated an aviation TV program.
"Dad flies, his brothers fly, a couple of my cousins fly, my aunty flies. We've got flying in common. When I go home to the old man we sit and talk way more about flying than rugby," McCaw says in "The Open Side."
"Gliding teaches you that you've got to be prepared as you possibly can for whatever contingencies of terrain and weather might eventuate when you're up there. At the same time, you have to acknowledge that no matter how much you prepare, no matter how thorough you are, you can't anticipate everything that Nature and Fate throw at you."
When he returns from his sabbatical in mid-2013, McCaw knows that the rugby world will be trying to knock him and the All Blacks off their pedestal.
"A lot of people ask me what's left to achieve or why do you still want to play. I guess you readjust the challenges," he told CNN.
"You have the tag of world champions for four years -- you try to live up to that every time. I know what it's like, I've tried to knock off the world champs the following year.
"If we have that sort of goal, that sort of attitude, hopefully we will keep that level where it needs to be."