I started the New Zealand and Australia part of my trip in Auckland, which was cold and grey, bit of a shock after Hawaii. I decided to head north to where it was slightly warmer, and went to the Bay of Islands area for a few days, where I went to the beach in Russell for a couple of days and went on a day trip to Cape Reinga, the most northerly part of New Zealand. After that it was to Wellington to stay with cousin Tracey for a few days of drinking related activity, including a ceilidh in a wee draughty hall, complete with very cheap alcohol and halloween celebrations a couple of weeks early. After Wellington we went to the north of the south island by ferry and spent a couple of days around Pickton and a twisty road to remote Punga cove, my first experience of car sickness in about 30 years. I had planned to stay longer in New Zealand, but Tracey already had a weekend in Sydney planned, so it was only right that I anoyed her by going with her and her friends. We had a day out in Sydney then headed for a night
in Pittwater where a wallaby was bounding around the grounds of the hostel. After Sydney, I headed for the Outback, not so easy due to it being very far away. A 16 hour bus and train journey from Sydney took me to Broken Hill, still in New South Wales but almost on the border with South Australia. I spent a few days there doing a couple of day trips to different areas, but it worked out pretty expensive to do much more. Still, I got to see red earth, kangaroos and emus which was what I'd gone for.
After the journey back (leaving at a convenient 3.30am) I spent a couple of days in the Blue Mountains and then headed back for Sydney where I met up with a couple of people I'd met in South America (hi Belinda and Kirsten!). A very big thank you to Amanda and Danny who let me stay with them in Sydney. And then I flew to Tokyo.
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