G'day from Australia and NZ

Trip Start Nov 01, 2006
Trip End Dec 18, 2006

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

We are nearing the end of our trip and it has been a whirlwind of adventure. I will start with where I left off. We left Brisbane and flew to Christchurch where we met up with 11 people from all over the world. People from Montreal, Nova Scotia, Colorado, Hawaii, Sun Valley, the Bay Area, Ireland and Sydney. We also had two guides one from Vancouver and the other from Auckland (North Island). The guides were great - they cooked the best food and were very thorough with everything if you ever want to take a trip to NZ I would highly recommend this trip. These people were so much fun and it helped make our trip to the South Island of New Zealand one of the best parts of the our travels. We spent 14 days touring around the South Island in "Doris," our bus. Each stop we either hiked, mountain biked or sea kayaked sometimes we did both. It was fun and although Justin and I were in pretty good shape the rest of the group were animals and in terrific shape.
We traveled the southern route from Mt Cook towards Milford Sound, through Queenstown (the adrenaline city). Where we boogie boarded down our way down some whitewater rapids. It was a quite a rush but fun!!
We then headed up north and spent three days mountain biking on the charlotte track, which is a single track at the northern point of the South Island.
Our accommodations were cool. Some very rustic but with great views, other accommodations were more modern but with their own unique settings. We came back to Christchurch and departed from the group. Justin and I spent two more days in Christchurch doing laundry (it was very much needed) and relaxing.
From Christchurch we headed to Sydney Australia. We spent the next two days touring the city. We walked through the Botanical gardens; saw the opera house visited the aquarium. We met up with one of the guys from the trip Daniel from Sydney. He took us to a great restaurant. He also showed us around the Suburbs of Sydney and then we all went to the Taronga zoo, which we thought was better than the San Diego zoo. You can get closer to the animals!!! We also met up with Court's friends from when she went to University in Australia Tim and Croz.
From Sydney we drove down south to check out the University of Wollongong - Court's university she went to. It was fun to see and hear all her stories ? we also went to Jervis Bay and saw some kangaroos.
We then headed back up to Sydney and spent a couple more days touring the city. From Sydney we flew back to Cairns where we spent 2 nights in the Daintree rainforest. We went to a crocodile farm and saw some crocs as well as many other Australian animals.
Cairns was very hot and humid and the sun was strong!!

Our trip back was quite interesting. We left Cairns at 1:30am and flew to Guam arriving at 6:30 am. We then got a room and slept for a couple of hours and then got back on the plane had a stop over in Japan and then arrived in Hawaii for 24hours where we tried to get used to the time difference and enjoyed the last warm days of our trip. We took our 3rd red eye to Los Angeles then to Cleveland and finally home. We both had a wonderful time but are exhausted and are having trouble adjusting back to EST. We slept an hour last night but ended up staying up to 5 am. ?
One interesting thing that occurred to us on our travels was that we ended up on a flight with the Amazing race. They were taping the next season and it was cool to see what was going on behind the scenes.
Our trip was awesome. We met some amazing people on our way and hand some wonderful experiences.
Now that we are back we are looking forward to spending the holidays with our family. We wash everyone a wonderful holiday season and thanks for reading about our travels.
Happy holidays and Best wished to you and your family.
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