October 8 & 9, ’04 – Abi and I rented a car and quickly learned to drive on the “wrong” side of the road. Actually, it wasn’t the driving that was the hard part, it was turning on the blinker when you wanted the windshield wiper! Everything is opposite of what you know, that’s the challenge! Oh, and driving round-abouts when you’re on the wrong side of the road, those are tough. We drove our rental to the Tongariro National Park, the land of the Lord of the Rings.
October 8, ’04 – Our friend, LeRyna, was living in New Zealand for two years while studying for her Masters Degree. She drove north and we drove south, or vice versa, and we met in the middle at Tongariro. Later that evening we had at “The Station” and it was surprisingly fine dining and we had a grand time, especially when the train roared by and the whole building quivered just a bit.
October 9, ’04 – We originally made reservations to take the train from Auckland to the national park. The owner of the lodge where we stayed overnight suggested we drive instead. Although we lost our train ticket deposit, and the train trip would have been fun, we were so thankful we drove. We would have missed so much!
October 10, ’04 – Pretty much whenever we were in Auckland it was raining and we learned that NZ weather is completely unpredictable. Even the locals don’t attempt it.
October 6, ’04 – Abi and I said farewell to Australia and boarded our flight to Auckland, New Zealand. We arrived in the early evening and took a cab to our hotel, and when I say cab I mean a mini-van with a trailer attached which holds all of the luggage and you kind of hope your luggage doesn’t get unloaded at the wrong stop.
October 4, ’04 – We said good-bye to Dustin as he winged back to Melbourne, the night before Abi and I took a full day tour of the local wine country.
Sunday, October 3, ’04. Always a chicken when it comes to extreme heights (well, actually most heights) I took a pass on the next adventure but Abi and Dustin shared a once in a lifetime adventure by climbing to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
October 2, ’04 – After a 2 1/2 hour delay out of Melbourne, due to nasty weather in Sydney, our flight took off and the three of us bumpity, bump, bumped our way to Sydney; arriving to torrential rains. Sydney is an awesome city, very cosmopolitan. So much to see, so much to do.
We hired a private guide, Gary, who along with his young son, Jamie, took us on a 12-hour drive. We experienced the beautiful coastline, The Twelve Apostles, kangaroos hanging out on a golf course fairway and Koala Bears in their natural environment.
In the fall of 2004, our son was an exchange student at the University of Melbourne for a semester, during his junior year at Georgetown University. Of course, we had to go visit and help him celebrate his 21st birthday, right?