we made it!

Home sweet home... we made it! After many many delays with our silly airplane, we finally went back in time to the good ol' US of A! We are currently in LA with some dear friends of ours... Mr. Joey and Miss (soon to be MRS!) Lindsey. We've slept about 10-12 hours each night we've been home and have eaten all our long lost friends (Mexican! BJ's Pizza!). We make our way up the coast, through Santa Barbara and then up to the Bay Area... which will be our home for the foreseeable future... more on that to come. Ok - off for frozen yogurt... man... it's good to be back. :)


t minus 30 hours to departure...

So we've made it to the end... we leave tomorrow afternoon for LAX. I think we're both ready to make it home but it will definitely be a crazy transition for us. Not only will we have to get used to driving on the right side of the road (and by right I mean both the directional sense of the word and that it is indeed the correct side of the road to be driving on...), but we'll have to get used to living in one place for an extended period of time instead of traveling from hostel to hostel, working (what??), setting alarm clocks, and really just getting used to the day to day activities of living and working in the states. Bring it on US of A... bring it on.

A couple neat facts about our trip...

We drove over 15,000kms in New Zealand. That is enough to drive from Auckland to New York City. Yikes!

We swam with dolphins, skydove (twice), took surfing lessons, rode in a helicopter, explored through caves, and sea kayaked our way through NZ.

We really learned A LOT about each other - even the random things. For example. Did you know that if Josh could have any super power he would choose to teleport?? Now - that is what you call KNOWING your husband.

We were able to celebrate Australia Day in Australia (Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! oi! oi!) - lots of fireworks, beer, and barbeques.

We had a true adventure. From the people we met, the tramping and camping we did, and the things we saw - it was all a grand and thrilling adventure that we both wouldn't trade for the world. We'll see you state side in just a few days!!


time to catch up...

I'm going to do my best to keep you entertained and interested in what I'm about to tell you... normally Audrey is the mastermind behind writing these... well it's my turn. So here goes.

The last time that you heard from us we were riding out the biggest cyclone in Australia's history (ok maybe I'm exaggerating). In the end we were able to go diving and most importantly Audrey was able to hold her beloved Koala. At 3:30AM last Thursday Audrey and I, groggy from lack of sleep, stumbled out to the street and caught a shuttle ride out to the airport to catch our flight to Sydney which left at 5AM! It was an early morning but we made it to Sydney and were picked up by our dear friend Meg. After dropping our stuff off at her apartment, we got down to business. We went straight to downtown Sydney for a close up of the opera house, harbor bridge, and the city center. Such a cool city. From there we caught a ferry to Manly Beach where we were going to have a BBQ but the rain washed out that idea... so wet and frustrated we made our way back to the apartment and had our indoor bbq dinner there with Meg and Benn.

Our time in Sydney has been very busy, no sitting around for us. The next day I flew out to Perth which is the most isolated city in the world. It's over on the western side of Australia. I headed out there to visit an old friend of mine. Meanwhile Audrey and Meg had an adventure of their own. Meg's aunt had rented a beach house north of Sydney so they went up there for the weekend. On their way back they stopped in the Hunter Valley which is Australia's prime wine growing region.

I made it back on Monday night and then on Tuesday we made out way back down to the opera house for a proper tour. It is the coolest building that I've been to. The architectural details are amazing. The interior of the concert hall is incredible. The design of everything in there, floor, walls, roof they are all so cool.

After our tour we took a water taxi over to Darling Harbour for dinner. It's such a neat area, so many shops and restaurants - there are also alot of really cool fountains and water displays. It's one of the neatest urban parks I've ever been to.

All in all, we've had a wonderful time in Sydney with Meg... she's a gracious host and has packed our time here with the locals' ins and outs of the city. Tonight we go to a tapas cooking class on the harbor and then tomorrow onto the beach and apparently the best breakfast ever at the Greedy Goat. We head home on Wednesday -- THIS Wednesday. Believe it or not our time here is coming to an end... crazy.


cream of the crop...

We've made it. And we've held koalas, crocs, and have dove in the Great Barrier Reef... much more to do and see, but we'll have to update you later when we have more time... until then, here's a few pics to tide you over...


cyclone'd out...

So no Scuba Steve moments for us on this trip... there was a cyclone ripping through the Cairns area and they cancelled all the dives. Of course, today we woke up to blue skies but I promise - it was raining cats and dogs and windy as yesterday!! (PS - "windy as" is a kiwi phrase. I'm gonna bring it stateside with me...) So today we're going to go hold ourself a koala and watch crocs attack things. Then tomorrow we're going snorkeling. Cairns ain't looking so bad today... more updates (and pics!) to come...


g'day mate!

So we made it to Australia!! Hooray! Currently at the airport getting ready to head to Cairns for scuba diving... BUT... heard there's a cyclone warning up in Cairns. Great. Just great. So we're going to go and assess the situation but COME ON AUSTRALIA! Throw us a frickin bone here!

Anyway - LOVED Brisbane. Only here for like 18 hours in total but went on a walk last night and this morning and just a really clean city with a beach looking swimming pool open to the public along the river, a gorgeous park in the middle of the city, a fun downtown, and a really cool atmosphere... would love to spend more time here, but alas, we have to head into cyclone land. Great... But just wanted to let you all know we made it! G'day mates!


ozzie ozzie ozzie!! oi! oi! oi!



So tomorrow's the end of our journey here in New Zealand. We will be jumping on a plane and heading west across the Tasman to Australia... We will have been in New Zealand a full 5 months, almost to the day! Like we've said a gazillion times, we've had an incredible adventure here but I think we're both ready to move on. We will be in Australia for about 3 weeks and then we will be on our way home... so much more to see and experience and cuddle (koalas that is) before we take that LONG plane ride home. First stop - Brisbane/Cairns to go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef!!


there's no place like home...

So we've made it back to Auckland, sold our precious Cleo (the mighty Chariot), and have gotten all our gifts and tshirts... now we're just waiting for our precious time to tick away as we await our flight to Australia. We fly out on Saturday for Oz and then go scuba diving in the great barrier reef! From there we travel down to Sydney to meet up with our dear Meg and Benn and Josh even gets a side trip over to the West Coast (Perth) to visit an old DTS friend. So we have much to do with these next 3 weeks or so, but are actually excited to get back to the good ol' northern hemisphere. We miss our families. We miss our friends. We miss driving on the right side of the road. We miss Trader Joe's. We even miss the ins and outs of "normal" days...

In this last week here in New Zealand, we've had the chance to look back on our trip and really just sit in awe of everything we've done. We've had a once in a lifetime adventure and we've loved every minute of it... well, ALMOST every minute... and we're truly thankful that our friends and families let us go off and enjoy ourselves for 6 months or so. We've missed you all and are very excited to share memories (and hugs) with all of you... so T minus 23 days until we're home, but more short term -- T minus 5 days until the great land of OZ...



from best hostel to worst new years... boo!

So we decided long ago to come back to Wellington for New Years - why? Because its their capital and they are bound to have fireworks - I mean, come on. Well, if you were on the same page as us you would be wrong as well...

We ended up staying 45 minutes north of Wellington because parking down there is chaotic... so we took the train in on New Years Eve and spent our time walking around, checking out their fabulous (and free!) museum and then ended up going to a movie to kill some time... Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler... pretty cute - predictable - but a lighthearted way to end 2008. Anyway - after the movie we grabbed dinner and then went to this ice cream place we had been once before... yum! At this time it's about 10PM - T minus 2 hours and counting.

From ice cream we made our way down to the Civic Hall park for live music and what we expected and anticipated- a fireworks show. At this point it's raining and windy and cloudy and cold. We asked the security guards where the fireworks would be shot off from and he replied "Fireworks? There won't be fireworks. At least they've never done them in the past and I haven't heard anything different for this year." GRRRR. So at about 11PM we hopped on our train to go home because it was freaking freezing and raining and there were all these little 18 year olds wearing way too much make-up with way too little clothing everywhere we looked. Boo! So, we were on the train/getting off the train come midnight - Happy New Year! Silly Wellington - the CAPITAL of New Zealand - and no fireworks...

BUT - they do have the nicest Burger King we've ever seen... so I guess that makes up for it, right?

best hostel EVER!

So in between Christmas and New Years we spent a few VERY relaxing days in a hostel way up on the northern part of the South Island... these were our last few days on the South Island and we ended up not even taking a picture... we were just so freaking relaxed. We spent all 3 days soaking in their many garden and shaded hammocks, eating fresh croissants, homemade pizzas and carrot cake, used their kayaks on site, had the chance for biking, golf, hot tubbing, or fishing... we collected mussels for dinner and enjoyed fresh baked bread to order. A very well thought through hostel - from the linens to the location to the bathrooms... it was just beautiful. Right on the water with sunshine sunshine sunshine.

We didn't take a picture the whole time but Josh did manage a Flip before we loaded up the car to leave... that will come later on -