A Travellerspoint blog

In Auckland!

New Zealand, finally!

overcast 68 °F

We have officially arrived in New Zealand! After yesterday's long layover in Sydney, we got into Auckland after midnight last night. We were all close to collapsing by the time we got to our downtown hotel on Hobson Street and we definitely slept well last night! I am currently sitting at a coffee shop sipping a "flat white" (like a latte but thicker) and taking advantage of their free wifi.

Sydney was wonderful yesterday. We were so lucky that Rick's friend Kylie was willing to act as chauffeur and tour guide for the day. Our flight landed close to 7am and after a brief freshening up, we were off. We took the bus to central Sydney and proceeded to walk for hours! And we saw A LOT. We walked through Chinatown to Darling Harbor and then to Circular Quay (pronounced "key"). We saw the famous Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. We also walked throughout the Rocks, which is the old city section of town and also the location of a really adorable street market with local craft-makers and the like. We also found some time on the way back to the airport to visit Coogee beach, which was beautiful.

The weather did not exactly cooperate - it was almost to the point of being unbearably hot. It was around 90 degrees and really muggy. We weren't exactly at our picture-taking best, but I'll post some anyway :). Apparently the city was in the middle of a heat wave, so this was pretty unusual. But we made the best of it, even if we are suffering with some blisters and sunburn today.

All in all, I really loved Sydney and it's definitely on my list of places to return to. One day was not near enough. But now I turn my attention to NZ. Today we'll explore Auckland and tomorrow we head toward Taupo, with a stop to see the glow worms along the way!

Cheers!

Posted by aweinstein 14:54 Archived in New Zealand Comments (3)

In Sydney!

13 hours on an airplane later ...

sunny 85 °F

We're in Sydney! Our flight over here took 13 hours but we made it. The ride here was pretty uneventful, which was great. I did manage to get some sleep, so I am feeling good. We're off to check out the city on a quick 9-hour tour, thanks to Rick's friend Kylie. It's really hot here today. Muggy, too, just like the East Coast.

More later!

Posted by aweinstein 12:54 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Itinerary

24 hours until departure! Ahhhh!!

rain 57 °F
View New Zealand 2/18-3/5/11 on aweinstein's travel map.

nz-flag.jpg

Our itinerary for the two weeks:

Feb. 18 Depart SFO, make connection at LAX

Feb. 20 Arrive in Sydney, 6:00 am, Flight departs at 6:45 pm
Spend layover doing whirl-wind tour of Sydney

Feb. 20 Arrive in Auckland at 11:50 pm
Spend the night in Auckland

Feb. 21 Auckland
Explore city, spend the night in Auckland

Feb. 22 Auckland to Waitomo Caves to Taupo
Leave Auckland, drive to Waitomo Caves. See glow worms!
Drive to Taupo, spend the night

Feb. 23 Tongariro Alpine Crossing hike
12-mile hike (supposed to be amazing!).
Spend the night in Taupo

Feb. 24 Taupo to Wellington
Spend the night in Wellington

Feb. 25 Wellington
Explore Wellington. Spend the night

Feb. 26 Wellington
Explore Wellington. Spend the night

Feb. 27 Wellington to Picton (over the Cook Strait by small plane) to Christchurch (by TranzCoastal train)
Pick up campervan! Spend the night in Christchurch

Feb. 28 Christchurch to Franz Josef Glacier
Spend the night near the glacier in campervan

Mar. 1 Franz Josef to Queenstown (4 hrs.)
Half Day Glacier Hike!
Spend the night in campsite near Queenstown

Mar. 2 Queenstown
Milford Sound Cruise!
Spend the night in Queenstown

Mar. 3 Queenstown
Visit sheep shearing farm!
Spend the night in Queenstown

Mar. 4 Queenstown to Christchurch
Drop off campervan and spend the night in an airport hotel

Mar. 5 Fly from Christchurch to Home

Posted by aweinstein 16:23 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Packing

T-minus one week!

overcast 60 °F

Packing_for_NZ.jpg

It's just about time for me to start packing for the trip! Departure day is exactly one week away.

In the photo above are some of the goodies I've collected to take along: a Gregory backpack, a pocket towel (yes, it really is that small) and a merino long-sleeved shirt (won't wrinkle). Hard to believe, but my goal is to make that backpack my only piece of luggage! Anyone who's travelled with me and my typical overstuffed, about-to-explode, biggest-model-on-the-market suitcase knows that this will be no small feat. But Kim and Rick are serious about their light traveling and I refuse to be the one who bogs us down.

Before you get the wrong idea, we're not actually backpacking. But we are traveling to a different city about every two days, so the less stuff to drag with us, the better. We're staying in a combination of hotels, backpacker hostels and campervan. Easy transport will definitely be key.

The biggest challenge of all will be managing to keep my backpack to carry-on size. I'm not so much worried about the size of the bag (it's not that big to begin with), but the liquids restrictions is what'll get me. How am I supposed to fit all my girly toiletries into 3 oz. bottles that can all fit in a Ziplock bag and that will last me two whole weeks?? To quote Jake -- upon seeing the backpack that will be my lone piece of luggage -- I'm likely to be a "whole new person" after this trip!

Posted by aweinstein 11:47 Archived in USA Comments (1)

The countdown has begun!

So we leave for New Zealand in 10 days and I can't wait! I'm hoping my back pack, trail running sneakers and all the other items that I'm intending to get for the trip make it here in time. And there's also that little matter of making everything FIT once I start to pack!

I'll be attempting to blog my way through the trip on here, so check back if you're interested. I'm hoping I'll be able to find plenty of WiFi spots so I can update as we go with recaps, pictures and videos. I've already populated the map feature on this blog so you can check out our itinerary. If you've been to NZ before, please feel free to point out any 'can't miss' spots!

Woo-hoo!

Posted by aweinstein 17:18 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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