We’re back!!! And we had the most incredible vacation. I’m going to do my best to give you a short recap of our trip with a few pictures from each city. Ready, set, GO!
First, when booking flights for this trip, the least expensive flights went through Dubai or Hong Kong. We decided that if we were going to have to take a kind of indirect route to Sydney, we should try to see as much as we could. I found a flight that had a 14-hour layover in Hong Kong, from 7:00 am until 9:25 pm, so we booked it. Our flight arrived in Hong Kong a little late, so we ended having about 8 hours in the city (after immigration, customs and getting back to the airport in time for our next flight).
It was actually enough time to see a lot and we even made it to the beach.
That’s the South China Sea! Pretty cool. After spending a day in Hong Kong, we boarded our flight to Sydney. After 10 hours, we arrived in Sydney and went straight to the cruise ship!
We took a two week cruise from Sydney to Auckland. It was raining so hard when we got to Sydney, but this was our view when we got to our room on the ship:
Whenever we cruised before, we had inside rooms so it was pretty cool to (1) have a balcony and (2) see the Sydney Opera House outside. It may not have been the most beautiful day, but having the opera sitting outside our window was pretty cool.
After one day at sea, we made it to Melbourne.
After another day at sea, we were in Hobart, Tasmania! We went to one of my favorite places during the trip…the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.
I really wanted to take a kangaroo home with us. They were hilarious.
This is our friend, Bert:
He wanted us to pet him and then he agreed to take a picture with us. He thought we were pretty stupid.
After two days at sea, we made it to New Zealand!! After two days, we spent another day, we traveling into and out of Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound.
The pictures really don’t do them justice, it was pretty spectacular out there.
And cold. We had to pack quite a variety of clothing for this trip!
The next day we made it to Dunedin for our third stop. One of the highlights was hiking to the top of the steepest residential street in the world
and almost having a heart attack: Baldwin Street!
The views in New Zealand are incredible.
Also, I was unaware that New Zealand is basically just a bunch of really steep hills. It’s okay, though, because we were eating about a billion pounds of food every day on the ship. Go us.
Fourth stop: Akaroa and Christchurch. On our way to Christchurch, we stopped at a sheep farm. Mary and Ross have owned this farm for 40 years and they still do all the work themselves. Ross sheared a sheep and showed us how he uses his dogs to herd the sheep. It was beautiful and just fascinating. Also, I wanted to steal his dogs.
This is Ross giving commands to one of his dogs:
The dog was a million miles away bossing the sheep around:
The dog and the sheep are just up and to the right of that single tree on the hill. It was incredible how quickly the dog ran up there to get them. He was so excited. Here are a couple of pictures later when the dog had moved the sheep almost to the bottom of the hill. Pretty impressive!
After Ross showed us all the fun sheep stuff, Mary had shortbread, sausage rolls, coffee and tea ready for us. We got to enjoy everything while sitting in their beautiful backyard.
I wanted to move in.
Fifth stop: Windy Wellington. When I say windy, I mean you-might-f*cking-blow-over-and-fly-away windy. Even Mr. Chicago, G, said it was the windiest place he’s ever been. It was so windy, I couldn’t stop laughing. I loved it.
Did you know that Wellington is New Zealand’s version of Hollywood? Well, it is…thanks to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. It’s also where we found George’s twin!
Aren’t they so cute together?!
We had another day at sea after Wellington and then landed in Tauranga. George was really excited about this stop because we had a private tour booked to go to HOBBITON! Hobbiton is a living set where The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies were filmed. They have full-time gardeners working to keep everything looking beautiful and I think our tour guide said that 4,000 people visit every day. Also, the set is something like 90% real. There’s even a garden that has real fruit and vegetables growing. The gardeners get to take the ripe stuff home with them. Pretty cool. Oh and did I mention that it’s beautiful?
They made us do this:
I apologize. Gross.
Oh and here’s a favorite, Bilbo Baggins’ house at Bag End!
I think there are 44 hobbit holes at Hobbiton, all of varying sizes. It is pretty amazing.
We took something like 500 pictures at Hobbiton so apparently we though it was cool.
Next stop: Bay of Islands
Last stop: Auckland
We disembarked the ship in Auckland and spent the day there. That night we flew back to Sydney for four nights. Fortunately, the weather was much more like summer!
Bondi Icebergs Pool at Bondi Beach
That’s G walking on the right. We both went swimming here because it was so f*cking hot I thought I was going to die. The humidity was crazy. So crazy.
The next day we went surfing at Manly Beach!
I’m a horrible surfer, but we had so much fun and the water felt so good.
We also had plans to climb this little bridge:
We spent our last night in Sydney at the opera watching La Boheme.
It was a beautiful opera and a great way to spend our last night of vacation. We took over 5,000 pictures on this trip so yeah, this is just a taste of it. I will probably do a few more posts about our trip and the cruise ship. Needless to say, we had a fabulous vacation and it was a great way to celebrate our 10th anniversary (6 months early)!