Welcome to Post Number 131!

I’m writing this some four weeks after we landed back in Blighty, a) because I’ve been too lazy to write it b) because I have genuinely needed some time to let it sink in. I still hark back to it, much more than any of the other foreign travel trips that I have been fortunate enough to enjoy. This is mainly because of the amazing range of experiences; on most “holidays”, you might remember one or two of these, but on this one, there were so many that it is almost overwhelming to try and summarise, even now.

Two questions which we have both been asked:

“Which do you prefer, Australia or New Zealand”?

Our answer – neither, really. They are so different. For the weather, variety of environments, and people – Australia. For the scenery and the volcanic activity – New Zealand.

When we asked this question before we went, most people we have spoken to tended to prefer New Zealand. We were disappointed/unlucky with the weather in New Zealand, which did take the gloss off, it has to be said.

Second question:

“What was the highlight of the whole trip”?

Our answer – impossible to answer. If I had to specify one particular excursion, I suppose it would have to be walking on the Franz Josef Glacier – see here for details. But then – how about the 10-day cruise around the north-west coast of Australia right at the beginning of the adventure? We were truly privileged to be able to do that – we learned so much. And then – and then…… I just go around in circles.

I suppose the best I can do is to try and categorise a few things.

Favourite places, in no particular order:

  • Perth
  • Adelaide
  • Cairns
  • Port Stephens
  • Nelson
  • Napier
  • Queenstown
  • Freycinet, Tasmania
  • Arthur’s Pass
  • Lake Tekapo
  • Stewart Island
  • Hunter Valley
  • Cradle Mountain
  • Exmouth
  • Waimangu

Favourite hotels/places to stay:

  • Shangri-La, Singapore
  • Shangri-La, Hong Kong
  • Playford, Adelaide
  • Freycinet Lodge, Tasmania
  • Wilderness Lodge, Arthur’s Pass, New Zealand
  • Anchorage, Port Stephens, Australia
  • Cradle Mountain Hotel, Tasmania
  • Byron at Byron Resort and Spa, Australia
  • Mantarays Resort, Exmouth, Australia
  • Cable Beach Resort, Broome, Australia
  • Sails Resort, Port MacQuarie, Australia
  • Spicers Vineyards Estate, Hunter Valley, Australia
  • Brenton Lodge B&B, Whangamata, New Zealand
  • St Moritz Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand

Most Memorable moments:

  • Seeing Uluru at sunrise and sunset
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Walking on the Franz Josef Glacier
  • View from the Gan Gan lookout over Port Stephens
  • Walking on the fringing reef of Hidden Island
  • Seeing the kiwi on Ulva Island
  • Walking down the Waimangu Volcanic Valley
  • Night time round the geysir in Rotorua
  • Laser light show at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay
  • Loch Ard Gorge on the Great Ocean Road
  • West Coast Heritage Centre, Zeehan, Tasmania
  • Pinnacles Desert, Cervantes
  • Kayaking on Lake Pearson, New Zealand
  • Zip wiring in Queenstown
  • View from Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

Miscellaneous observations:

Both Australia and New Zealand are expensive countries
Using packing cubes to separate clothes inside a suitcase is a brilliant idea
Neither of us lost a single sock. Not one. That’s a real result. Lost a hat, two phones, about three pairs of sunglasses, but no socks. How good is that??
We stayed in 53 different beds in all. Bloody hell…..


Writing a blog like this has been a first-class way of keeping a reasonably detailed daily record. I will continue to do this for all future trips, and it became something of a mission to complete it every day.

However, I have no doubt that thoughts will continue to pop into my mind and will be updating this summary page for some while to come!

Thanks also to everybody who has taken the trouble to read parts of this, and even to comment! Nice to know that my work has not been all in vain…..

Anyway, must go and do the washing. These things are important, you know!

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