G'DAY, MATE! (I regret that.)
It goes without saying that two weeks in New Zealand barely scratches its beautiful surface, but we're off to Australia. Paul's wonderful map to the right illustrates the highlights of our itinerary, and if you've got a kindergarten geography education, you can see we're scratching even less of it.
Here are the facts: New Zealand and Australia are two of the most expensive places in the world and while we could spend months in each, we wouldn't have a thin dime to spend anywhere else. And so we will dip a toe, get a taste of these places and perhaps make a return trip someday. We can't blow the budget in the first month - We are, after all, on the Great All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Trip of a Lifetime. (Hashtag that.)
So I'm writing from another airplane, heading west, from Christchurch to Australia's Gold Coast. Not only will we move closer to yesterday (time zones!), we'll gain a few degrees of warmth and sun. At an average of 20°C on New Zealand's South Island, we were starting to worry we'd need a sweater!
And much to Jeff's relief, after driving almost 2000 kilometres between two glorious islands in 14 days, we're done with the road trip portion of the adventure, this time using airplanes to get between each of three cities: Gold Coast (beaches, surfing, hot dudes) Melbourne (food, culture, hot dudes) and Sydney (apparently the greatest city in the world, and hot dudes). We'll also make a stop in Newcastle where my Dad's cousin lives with her husband. It's not often family makes it all the way Down Under, so we wouldn't miss a chance to visit. And when Brenda suggested they take us sailing, Jeff nearly lost his pure-bred Anglo mind, so it's officially on the itinerary, weather permitting.
But trust me, it was tough to pare a place like Australia down, to nix places like Uluru. Aside from reenacting every scene in Priscilla, it's got a reputation for changing your entire life. But it would cost us more than a month in Bali to fly out there, stay and tramp around for a just couple of days, so it wasn't in the cards.
Australia will get 27 days, which translates to approximately 250 Instagram posts. (Oh god.) It also means over 400 glorious, daylight hours and more than 40 000 hot dude sightings. We'll make every second count. I'm quite sure I'll keep you posted.
(MAP, PART OF AN ONGOING SERIES, BY PAUL DOTEY.)
LOCATION: Somewhere over the Tasman Sea between Christchurch and Australia's Gold Coast
DATE AND TIME: February 19, 2013 4:00PM Norfolk Islands Standard Time/February 18, 2013 10:00PM EST