South Island, NZ: Part 1

After spending half of our time on the North Island in New Zealand we took the Interislander Ferry over to the South Island for another four weeks of epic road trippin’.

In our opinion, the Interisland Ferry should not be missed when taking an extended trip to NZ. Although it was outrageously expensive, it was the only way to get our beloved home-on-wheels from one island to the other. Thankfully, the 3-hour journey was both relaxing and beautiful, redeeming itself for the high cost. It’s also remarkably convenient. You drive on, spend a few hours taking in the stunning cook straight waterway, and then drive off.

The Interislander Ferry
The Interislander Ferry

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Soul Searchin’ in the Land of the Long White Cloud

New Zealand packs a lot into a tiny corner of our universe. Because it is so geographically remote it offers such an array of wonderful diversity.  It’s a rather new country, comparatively speaking. America was fighting the Revolutionary War around the same time that Europeans were discovering New Zealand. The late discovery combined with the geographical remoteness means that nature has taken the front seat. There are less people living in the entire country of New Zealand than there are in the state of Florida alone.

Glenorchy, South Island
Glenorchy, South Island

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Our Top 5 Day Hikes in New Zealand

You might have picked up on the fact that we’re nearly obsessed with New Zealand. This is because it is basically God’s gift to nature lovers. The Department of Conservation (DOC) manages about 30% of the land in NZ (don’t quote me on that, I stole that tidbit from wikipedia). That’s a lot of land! They have done an excellent job of preserving and protecting the natural habitat yet still making it accessible to hikers.

Kaikoura Coastal Walk
Kaikoura Coastal Walk

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The North Island, NZ: Part 2

We spent a total of 4 weeks in the North Island of New Zealand. After touching down in Auckland and getting our bearings we hit the ground running driving through the island and seeing as much as we could squeeze in during our four weeks. We didn’t see it all; we had to cut out both the west and east coast of the central section due to a cyclone that hit New Zealand while we were there. While this put a damper on things (no pun intended) it didn’t hold us back too much.

Here is Part 2 of our time spent in the North Island. Click here to read about the first half of our North Island adventures.

Continue reading “The North Island, NZ: Part 2”

North Island, NZ: Part 1

We spent a total of 4 weeks in the North Island of New Zealand. After touching down in Auckland and getting our bearings we hit the ground running driving through the island and seeing as much as we could squeeze in during our four weeks. We didn’t see it all; we had to cut out both the west and east coast of the central section due to a cyclone that hit New Zealand while we were there. While this put a damper on things (no pun intended) it didn’t hold us back too much.

Continue reading “North Island, NZ: Part 1”

Our Favorite New Zealand Wildlife Encounters

In New Zealand it seems that you are never far off from a wildlife encounter. While New Zealand has no native land mammals (besides two species of bats, which I don’t count because they fly), it has more than enough birds and sea animals to make up for it. The lack of native land mammals is actually pretty cool…. there are no predators for humans. While over in neighboring Australia it seems that everything is out to eat you or sting you, New Zealand only has animals whose greatest threats are humans.

One of our favorite hikes in NZ... we saw seals and dolphins and the scenery was just stunning.
One of our favorite hikes in NZ… we saw seals and dolphins and the scenery was just stunning.

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Oh, We Have a Blog?

We seemed to have forgotten that we manage a blog to keep our devoted readers (all three of you) up to date on our lives and where we currently are in the world.

Fear not fellow friends, because we are back in the land of decent wifi and might actually be able to post more frequently. But first, let’s get you caught up on our latest travel adventures.

Beautiful Mai Tai Bay in the North Island, NZ
Beautiful Mai Tai Bay in the North Island, NZ

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Budget Recap: Australia

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As you may have read in an earlier blog post, we came in amazingly under budget for our two awesome weeks in New Zealand. We spent most of that time in a small van, eating ramen and campground meals. Would Australia be the same? Would road tripping up the eastern coast of one of the largest countries in the world break the budget and ruin our hopes of a $100/day average? Lets find out!

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Australia: Wrap Up

We spent a total of 26 days in Australia— some bad, some outstanding, most of them pretty good. Australia toyed with our emotions quite a lot, it was a constant up, down, up, down, as we adjusted to long-term travel and learned how to get into the groove of living on the road. The first Kangaroo we saw in the wild was roadkill, and we thought it might be a bad omen for the rest of our trip.

We entered Sydney with mixed emotions; we were excited because we were in a new place, we were sad to say goodbye to New Zealand, we were frustrated as I had recently sprained my ankle. After spending five days in Sydney we left to begin our great road trip along the east coast of Australia. We pictured stunning beaches, lots of amazing wildlife, cool surfer dudes, and overall a chilled-out vibe from the whole country. We did get some of that, but not until later on, as we made our way further north.

The beautiful Sydney Harbor
The beautiful Sydney Harbor

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Snorkeling The Great Barrier Reef

We ended our great Aussie road trip in Cairns, the biggest gateway city to the Great Barrier Reef. Like everyone else in the world, the reef had been on both of our bucket lists since forever.  It was a no-brainer that we were going to spend a day out there.

Disclaimer: We were way too busy enjoying ourselves and wrapped up in the moment that we didn’t take any photos ourselves. Sometimes you just gotta live without a camera in your hand and enjoy the moment in the present. The pretty photos below we did not take. They came with the photos we ordered of the two of us, (which are pretty ugly but we still wanted them to remember the day) and we didn’t steal the off the internet.

Choosing a Tour Operator

I once thought that it was overwhelming simply to chose what company to cruise with for our Milford Sound cruise in New Zealand and our Halong Bay Cruise in Vietnam. Psh, the number of cruise companies in those places pale in comparison to the number of operators running tours on the Great Barrier Reef! There was a myriad of options for us to choose from, all offering their own unique tour of the reef.

The maximizer in me was starting to get stressed! We were going to be spending a lot of money on this day-long trip, way more than our daily budget. We obviously wanted to get the most bang for our buck and not be stuck on a boat with 300+ people all trying to swim over one shallow reef.

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