Monday, 9 January 2012

Around the World with Jane Caryer

Trip of a lifetime, Round the World, The Big Trip. We’d talked about it for years, now it was a reality. Where would we go? How long for? What were our priorities?

Sydney for New Year’s Eve!
Tennis fans, so the Australian Open in Melbourne was a must.
New Zealand, San Francisco, home.

The itinerary was taking shape. Leave in November, return in March —
19 weeks travelling
Singapore: Stopover, a great start to the trip. The city bus tour is a good way to get around and see lots. A harbour boat trip shows the contrast between new and old.
Australia: Cairns, then north to the Daintree Rain Forest. Clue in the name, it really did rain! Snorkelled the Great Barrier Reef, travelled along the Eastern Coast. Fantastic beaches and a sense of the space and emptiness of Australia.

Kayaked with dolphins in Byron Bay, sailed around the Whit Sundays and went for a 4 wheel drive on Fraser Island.

Where to go for Christmas?
Uluru, the Red Centre.
A night at Kings Canyon Wilderness Lodge. Luxury in the desert. Sound of Silence dinner, star gazing, dawn at Uluru and 40°. Not a Christmas we usually have.

Sydney, amazing city. Bars along the harbour have great views and good atmosphere. Near the Hunter Valley for wine tasting and walking in the Blue Mountains. Tour of the Opera House a highlight. New Year’s Eve joined a party at the Opera House. Best fireworks view in Sydney.

A few days in Melbourne, then we headed west to Port Fairy, and drove back along the Great Ocean Road, spectacular views all the way.
Seats in the Rod Laver Arena, Federer, Sharapova, Wozniaki, a great day’s tennis. Next a day trip to Philip Island to see the penguins before our time in Australia is over.

New Zealand: Auckland, collected campervan and headed north to Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga. Body boarding on sand dunes, a drive along 90 mile beach and fantastic fish and chips.

Historic Russell, Paihia and the Waitangi Treaty grounds. Excellent Maori guide. Coromandel Peninsula spectacular scenery, crystal clear waters and Hot Water Beach.
Rotorua geothermal geysers and Maori cultural experiences.
Wellington, leave the campervan and catch the ferry to South Island.

North Island is beautiful but South Island is spectacular. Nelson, then the Abel Tasman National Park. Sandy beaches, clear water, seals, stingrays, superb! Wine tasting in Marlborough. Kaikora swam with dolphins and enjoyed the seafood.

Arthur’s Pass, the scenery is getting better and better. West Coast, onto Franz Joseph and the glacier. Helicopter to the top, climbed down ice holes, through tunnels and walked across the glacier.

Lake Wanaka and Hawea, beautiful. Next stop Queenstown “Adrenaline Capitol of the World” Bungy jumping, sky diving and enough to keep us entertained as well.

Doubtful Sound, overnight on a ship. My favourite part of the whole trip. Unspoilt, amazing scenery, mountains, waterfalls.

North to Mount Cook and the observatory at Lake Tekapo. Back to Auckland, Waiheke Island, Stunning scenery, restaurants and wine. Homeward bound now.
Hawaii: Great beaches, surf and shopping. Spotted three whales off Diamond Head, and found the visit to Pearl Harbour emotional.

San Francisco:
The end of our trip. The Golden Gate Bridge. Cable Car rides, sealions at Fisherman’s Wharf and another highlight - Alcatraz.

Home: Missed the winter, had a great time, amazing experiences.
Where next?

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