J and I decided to hire a camper as it was the easiest and cheapest way to see the country. Despite the freezing cold nights in the South Island, wearing socks, jumpers, jeans and hoodies to bed and hip pains from sleeping in the back of van, they do not take away from the fantastic experience travelling around in it was. The 'Super Tui' became our mucky friend.
As promised to a friend a few weeks ago, this is the rundown of what we did in our two weeks in New Zealand. Be prepared to break the speed limit and have a numb bum from so much driving:
In the North-Mount Mauganui, Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Tongariro National Park and volcano, Wellington, Martinborough; in the South-Marlbrough Sounds, Kaikoura, Franz Josef Glacier, Tekapo, Twizel, Queenstown, Dunedin, Otago Peninsula and Christchurch!!! Our favourite bit of the whole trip was walking up and through the volcanoes at Tongariro-amazing. Thanks to Rochelle for making our trip that little bit more special.
After such a good time in New Zealand, I wasn't all that keen on going to Australia. J may have had a few choice words to say about the Aussie officials, but my opinion was much worse. I was actually cursing the day Jon convinced me we ought to at least drop into Australia seeing as we had to fly there. However, I'm pleased to say that my first impression of the country was wrong. Sydney was a lot nicer than I thought.
There's a nice atmosphere to the place and I can see why so many people want to settle there. Possibly not for me but there's definitely a lot going on.
We did the usual: Botanical gardens, the harbour bridge, the harbour, the Opera House (all of which are located around the harbour) and wandered around the districts of the centre. We also took a day trip to Manley Beach (nice but flaming freezing. No sunbathing to be had there) and an hours drive up to the Blue Mountains with a stop off at the zoo first.
As you can see, we didn't spend our 5 days doing an awful lot. The harbour sights took half a day and we didn't do a fat lot at the beach either. We had spent 14 nights in the back of a Toyota van with plywood and 2 inch foam sponge mattress as a bed. We ate beans, toast and more beans and toast from our camp stove. We did nothing but relax in Sydney and it's a good place to do it. Besides, we'd had to sell a kidney each to pay for New Zealand-Australia is also not cheap.
The highlight of our trip to Oz was not our meeting with Clint the Koala or seeing the view of the Blue Mountains but meeting Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet in a very nice Italian cafe. He was sitting there eating, minding his own business with his wife, kids and mother-in-law. And I got J to pester him for a photo. Poor bloke. Never mind, at least I now have a picture that could make me £50 in 'Take A Break'.