So this 30 Before 30 item was totally a given since we had already booked the trip before I made my list, but visiting Australia and New Zealand before I turn 30 would have still been on my list no matter what.
We went through the travel company About Australia, and they were fantastic. Like with most travel companies, we were able to set a budget, tell them the length of trip we wanted, the time of year, and what we wanted to see and do while on our trip. They compiled an itinerary based on our wish list and their recommendations. From there, we were able to change and add anything to the itinerary. Our contact at About Australia is a native Australian, so he was super helpful and honest when it came to everything.
Waiting a year to take this trip as our honeymoon/1 year wedding anniversary was so worth it. It was nice to be able to spread out two really big events so we had something to look forward to. I wrote a post for each major excursion and the cities we visited—hopefully they’ll be of use to someone!
• Auckland, New Zealand
• Day trip between Auckland and Rotorua: Agrodome, Waitomo Glow Worm Caves & Te Puia
• Rotorua, New Zealand
• White Island helicopter ride & tour
• Queenstown, New Zealand
• Doubtful Sound
• Sydney, Australia
• Sydney Opera House tour
• Cairns, Australia
• Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef
• Cape Tribulation & the Daintree Rainforest
Things we learned while on this trip…
• A trip of this size really needs more than 2 weeks! We squeezed five cities and several excursions into this trip. We knew that we would be traveling quite a bit while down there, but I don’t think either one of us fully realized how much. I calculated that we spent 48 hours in the air on planes, and that doesn’t even include airport time! The flight between LAX and Auckland is 12 hours—so we had two of those!
• Alcohol is ridiculously expensive. The taxes are to thank for this.
• There is very little airport security (to go through) in Australia and next to none in New Zealand. We were shocked at this. At one of the airports in New Zealand, we walked in, checked into our flight, and walked directly over the gate where we would departing from. This airport was one big room. No metal detectors, scanners, pat downs…nothing. At another airport, we weren’t required to take off our shoes or jackets when going through security. It was also a bit of a reality check of how the airports are here in the US.
Things we didn’t do while on our trip…
• We didn’t see any kangaroos or koalas. About the only place to see those animals while in Australia are at zoos or animal attractions, but we didn’t want to spend hours in a zoo when there was so much else to see and explore.
• We didn’t try vegemite. The stuff looks gross…I mean a brown paste you spread on your toast? No thanks. We had the option to try it while on one of our excursions, but we both passed on it. We were told that it can be delicious if it’s eaten correctly. Still…no thanks.
If we ever get to go back…
• We would most likely spend our entire trip in ONLY New Zealand. While I would love to go back and spend more time in Sydney, we were won over by New Zealand. The two islands are much bigger than you would think and the landscape of the two islands are so different from each other. It’s gorgeous, the people are incredibly nice, and there’s so much do to and see. Wellington and Christchurch are on our list, along with going back to the Queenstown area.
• Air New Zealand is definitely the airline to fly. We were so impressed with the crew on all of our ANZ flights. Plus, all alcoholic beverages are included with the price of your ticket. On our way back to LAX, the flight wasn’t full and we lucked out getting the four middle seats to ourselves. We were able to really spread out and even lay down to sleep.
Big thanks to Paul at About Australia for helping us with amazing trip!