Getting lost down under

elgauchogrubelgauchogrub Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins
edited September 23, 2014 in Journeys
About two years ago we started talking about taking an extended vacation to explore Australia and New Zealand "sometime" in the future. Right around that same time my travel schedule for work ramped way up and I found myself flying off all over the world and racking up air miles and hotel points along the way. Lo and behold in much less time than anticipated we had free plane tickets for what turned into a six week trip earlier this year.

We took off from Seattle on Christmas day and after a quick layover at LAX jetted off and arrived in Brisbane a fairly quick 12 or so hours later. Immediately transferred to another flight and headed a couple hours north up to Cairns for our first stop.

Not surprisingly we passed out so I was up early the next day to catch the sunrise before we headed out to the Great Barrier Reef


Here's me the optomist thinking all that sunscreen would be enough (it wasn't, and ouch!)


Some really amazing fish, coral and more

Here's a video I shot of a "swim over" of the reef


The next day we went to Rain forest and saw some more local residents

Then back to reef one more time, but we were smart enough to actually use the stinger suits which are also SPF 50 this time around and avoid further damage to already crispy skin.


Leaving Cairns behind we spent part of New Years Eve flying south to Melbourne and celebrating the the new year by falling asleep pretty early since we had a trip to the Great Ocean road early the next morning.

Saw these guys on the way to Bell's Beach

Then onward up the coast to the Twelve Apostles and London Bridge formations


Another couple days in Melbourne involved a bike tour that was the two us and the family of former Seattle Mariner, Jamie Moyer and a couple dinners at some pretty good Greek places. Then it was off to New Zealand and we arrived in Christchurch on a sunny afternoon for a long walk around town.


Then we picked our car and headed south for Dunedin and stopped off at the Moraki Boulders along the way.


Onward to Milford sound and some hiking, just incredible.




Wrapping up one of our hikes we came back to the car to find several of these local ground parrots had taken up residence on the car looking for food


Next up was Queenstown and we did some of the crazy things that people do in Queenstown

A long day of driving and a night on the west coast led us to Abel Tasman National Park where we spent the night at this great little cabin and I had some time to mess around with some longer exposure night shots, results were so so but fun to play with


A beautiful hike back out to the car the next day was delayed for about 30 minutes by this family we ran into on the trail

Fast forward past a couple days where a memory card incident erased the inter-island ferry crossing and a night in Wellington and we were staying on the North Island of New Zealand near Taupo and of course just had to go see Hobbitton.




Leaving the sunny weather behind for couple days we ended our roadtrip in Auckland where it was nice to have a few days of walking around and not worrying about making right turns into oncoming traffic! We took a cooking class, wandered aimlessly and took a ferry ride across the bay to one of the many islands


Coming home that afternoon it seemed like every sailboat in the harbor was out


We were so sad to leave New Zealand, but still had one final stop over for six days in Sydney before heading back to reality (and winter) in Seattle.


We took the ferry to Manly beach, took the bus and a coastal walk to Bondi Beach


Celebrated Australia day boat races from one of the harbor bridge pylons

Watched cruise ships come and go every night


Had some fantastic meals, found great bars, met lots of interesting people and no matter how many times we saw it, never got tired of the harbor.


It was an epic, adventure of a lifetime (so far) and I only wish I was leaving to do it all again soon. If you're interested in seeing more, the full gallery is here http://thebriankdotnet.smugmug.com/BPKphoto/Travel/Land-down-under/

Oh, and just to ease us back into normal life the Sehawks go and win the Super Bowl the day after we get home!



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    ian408ian408 Administrators Posts: 21,917 moderator
    edited September 17, 2014
    Looks and sounds like an excellent trip!
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
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    captnemocaptnemo Registered Users Posts: 186 Major grins
    edited September 18, 2014
    Wonderful pics- had to read your blog to see the trip to the glow worm caves as well :) Too bad they wouldn't let you take your camera in, but at least they took shots of you enjoying the cave.
    I hope to reach Australia and possibly New Zealand for the International congress of Speleology in 2016 so this is inspiring. Thanks for posting.
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    StueveShotsStueveShots Registered Users Posts: 544 Major grins
    edited September 23, 2014
    This is one of my dream vacations! Thank you for sharing!

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