3/10/10: Australia and New Zealand
Top Five To-Dos
- View New Zealand while in free fall thousands of feet above the clouds
- Catch a sunset from the beautiful beach at Byron Bay
- Slowly raft under millions of tiny glowworms in the caves of Waitomo
- Relax at one of the many great viewpoints of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House
- Hike the Routeburn, one of New Zealand’s 11 Great Walks
Top Five Don’t-Dos
- Trek the Routeburn without a bowl to eat your food out of
- Expect constant sunshine
- Visit without saving up first – these countries are expensive!
- Spend multiple nights in the uncomfortable Auckland airport
- Turn down an opportunity to experience either of these countries
Top Five Things We Learned
- We graduated college three years ago and thought our days of dirty dishes piled in the sink were over. How wrong we were. Having done mostly all of our own cooking for the past month, we’ve learned that backpackers are terrible at washing dishes.
- I had incredibly high expectations for New Zealand before the trip started and assumed that there was no way for the country to live up to them. It did, and more. New Zealand might just be the nicest country in the world.
- Australia does not have a large population, but don’t confuse that with saying it’s not large. The cities are further apart than you’d think, and it takes a lot of money and time to travel from one to the next. If you want to thoroughly explore this diverse country, make sure you plan for more time – a lot more time – than you think you need.
- There may be no such thing as Australian cuisine, but don’t visit without trying some kangaroo. Zhou said this before and it’s probably not good enough to mention twice but I’m going to do it anyway: roo is yummy.
- We rented a car on the north island of New Zealand, and bought a lot of bus tickets on the south island. The more we talked to other backpackers though, the more we realized that this was unnecessary. We ended up chickening out in the end, but don’t be afraid to hitchhike in New Zealand. It’s a very safe and easy way to get around.
Kevin’s Top Five Favorite Pictures
Zhou’s Top Five Favorite Pictures
- Total days: 34
- Days over budget: 12
- Days under budget: 22
- Total dollars under budget: $365.74
- Number of dinners eaten out (that we paid for): 6
- Minutes spent narrowing down our favorite pictures for this post: 37
- Money spent in New Zealand after we originally planned to leave: $487.23
- Best guess on money LAN spent for our food and accommodation for one day: $175
- Percentage of nights spent in our own private room: 29%
- Kevin pushups per day: 40
- Elevation of our summit in Nepal minus altitude at which I jumped out of a plane in New Zealand (in feet): 5,769
- Hours spent trekking: 14
- Average daily spend on internet in New Zealand: $1.28
- Money accidentally wasted while failing to download an episode of Wait Wait: $1.18
- Number of viewings of Cool Runnings: 1
Picture of the Day: Somehow no pictures of the incredible Byron Bay sunset didn’t make either of our Top Fives. This one will serve as our parting shot from this great continent.