Australia - October and November, 2019
After we left Washington, Mary and I drove back to Minnesota (making pit stops in Utah and Colorado because we are bad at driving in a straight line). Last year during our fateful trip to Laos, we had met Harvey - an incredibly nice and helpful and worldy gentleman from Australia. He had invited us to stay with him if we were ever in the area and, after a year and a bit, we decided to be in the area!
Mary had some time off between assignments and my class that semester was shaping up to be pretty straightforward, or at least, doable on the road. We had our eye on Tasmania and New Zealand as a good destination to see some beautiful nature without the stress that comes from traveling in Asia.
We devided on a five week trip. The five week mark seems to be a good amount of time - long enough to feel unhurried but short enough that we don’t get too tired of the road. Our trip would be in a few legs - Australia to Tasmania to New Zealand then back to Australia. This was partially because it was cheaper to circle back to Sydney to fly out rather than fly from New Zealand and partially so we could see Harvey and Polly in Sydney on our way out (they’d both be traveling abroad when we arrived).
We flew into Sydney and spent a few days exploring the city. We saw some amazing beaches, the botanical gardens, went to a symphony at the Sydney Opera House, and drank tons of coffee.
From Sydney, we flew to Hobart, Tasmania and rented a car. Tasmania is really fun to drive around - small enough that you can see tons of the state without feeling overwhelmed, still off the beaten path so there aren’t hoards of tourists, AND you can park and sleep in your car pretty much anywhere!
From Tasmania we flew on to Christchurch then returned to Sydney to meet up with Harvey and Polly before flying back home.
Check out Part II for a recap of the New Zealand leg of our trip.