The end of the year marked the final phase of our trip (the international part of it anyway), and it also raised some key questions like: where would we be for New Year’s, and what should we do? Given our proximity to the Pacific islands from New Zealand, we figured that Fiji would be a good way to close out 2011. And the prospect of returning to New York in the dead of winter just reinforced the notion that one last hit in the tropics would be necessary. Continue reading
With 3 days left in New Zealand, we headed further north towards Auckland for another urban experience. The metropolis is the country’s largest (population 1.4 million), and served as its capital for years (prior to moving to Wellington). The city’s defining feature as seen even from miles away is the 1,076-foot tall Sky Tower, which we noticed on our approach from the highway. Also notable was the elevation of the sprawled out city as it’s situated amongst dozens of volcanoes (many of which are still active). Continue reading
Coming to New Zealand was an easy decision. Picking the North Island was not so easy, especially after hearing from everyone that the South Island was more beautiful. But with only 11 days at our disposal we put our money on the North and chose to make the best of this hyper-volcanic island.
After 4 days in the capital, we headed towards the Tongariro National Park (the oldest park in New Zealand), which is located in the middle of the North Island. Continue reading
It’s always fun to visit a country right after they’ve achieved a noteworthy feat. The 2011 Rugby World Cup was won by New Zealand (in New Zealand), and so this was the next stop and 25th country on our trip. We had a feeling the nation would still be buzzing from its achievement and the numerous All Blacks flags/banners displayed in various parts of Wellington confirmed this. We planned for 4 nights in the capital which is home to about 400,000 people. It’s definitely on the smaller side but its character clocks in at heavy-weight. Continue reading
With 4 remaining days in Australia we popped into Melbourne, another impressively modern and large metropolis (Australia’s second largest city). Melbourne has a population of 4+ million and has one of the largest ports in the Southern Hemisphere. Thousands of early immigrants passed through here as they made their way into Australia. Today the city is very diverse and our plan was to immerse ourselves in its prominent cultural, social and food scene. Continue reading
One of the things we really wanted to do in Australia was rent a car and hit the road. With about 600+ miles between Sydney and Melbourne, we figured this was a perfect opportunity. But what really fueled our motivation was to drive The Great Ocean Road, Australia’s most scenic road and arguably the most beautiful in the world. In doing so we would also pile on another few hundred miles to our trip, so good thing for unlimited miles! Continue reading
Sydney, capital-grade city but not exactly Australia’s capital. The coastal sprawling metropolis is home to 4.5 million people and was the next stop on our trip. We planned for 4 nights there and were excited to see the city that’s always “first” to ring in the new year. Continue reading
At last, Australia! It was only fitting that we reached the “final frontier” in the last (official) month of our journey. We had always dreamed about coming here and this was it!
We planned to start off with a week in and around Cairns as it’s the most popular launch point to the Great Barrier Reef. Our first glimpse of the incredible natural wonder was from the plane on approach for landing. From the right side we could see the lush mountainous coastline and from the left window we saw the endless beautiful blue Coral Sea. Continue reading