Days away: 190
Miles travelled: over 49,988
Countries visited: 11
Beds slept in: 101
Flights taken: 15
Boats taken: 28
Things we noticed about..
The most common English phrase is ‘Lovely Jubley’
They’re genuinely intrigued by white people
You have to take your shoes off to go into most buildings and some bridges
The men wear long towel skirts
Most old people have no teeth
All the food (and some drinks) taste of barbeque
They love Durian but its banned on public transport
The start of the squat toilets
The start of a side of soup with everything
Anything and everything on a moped
They offer open cans of Fanta to their gods (with straws)
They say ‘same same but different’ but who knows what they mean
Their helmets have bun holes
Pyjama two-pieces are very in fashion
The men walk around with their shirts pulled up and their bellies out
They have two currencies (Riel and Dollars)
Untrimmed mole hair
A town of no-man’s land at the Thai border
Fireworks are illegal
Lots of people don’t wear shoes
Everyone is genuinely friendly
Thousands of Privias
You often see old microwaves as letterboxes
They only sell pre-peeled onions
Public transport is horrendous
They can’t understand our accent
It’s exactly how it’s portrayed in the movies
Our final country before returning to the mother land. Unfortunately our excitement was dampened slightly by the 12 hour flight with no sleep but by the time we had got to LA, and to our kind host Chelsea’s house for a nap, we were ready to at least celebrate the last part of Emma’s double birthday with some Mexican vibes.
We were here for Halloween which we were slightly dreading because we had no idea what to expect. We spent the day soaking up our last bit of sun on the beach and wandering to the shops in the early evening to find it heaving with children, parents and dogs in all kinds of fancy dress. The shops had people outside handing out sweets, the road was closed, there was bouncy castles, games, and popcorn. It’s basically just a carnival.
On Sunday we hung out with Chelsea who helped us tick off another couple of things on our American to do’s off our list; we went for bacon and pancakes at a diner for breakfast, searched a warehouse sized thrift shop for some bargains and after church headed to in ‘n’ out burger for the full works. Yes, our to do list is mainly food.
We ventured to downtown LA for the day and did some classic tourist things like walk along the Hollywood boulevard with our heads down staring at the stars trying to find all the ones we knew and then ventured off piste to try and get a good picture of the Hollywood sign. It was still insanely far away. The rest of the day was spent aimlessly wandering the massive streets and waiting for public transport which is next level shocking. We eventually made it to Venice beach just in time to catch the sunset and hit up a few cool shops. Doughnuts (tick) and the most interesting uber driver telling us his life story on the way home and we felt we had had our fill of downtown life.
On our final full day of this insane adventure we have spent our time making a rap video on a windy Newport beach.
We both have mini freak outs at how quickly 6 months has gone. We are insanely thankful we made it, still alive and still just about friends. We’ve had the most amazing time, met some amazing people and done some crazy things and then blogged about most of it. So thanks for reading.
Everyone told us the South Island would be better and (sorry North Island) but it really is. After getting the ferry over we were instantly welcomed with what was the start of many, many mountains.
Our first stop was Kaikoura. We ended up staying a few days as we loved it so much. There’s seal colonies everywhere, dusky dolphins, sperm whales, albatross – we made friends with many animals… All with the backdrop of snow peaked mountains.
We drove down from there along the east coast passing Christchurch and Dunedin enroute. To add to the wildlife tick list we saw a little yellow eyed penguin coming back home for the evening, apparently they’re the rarest penguin in the world but we haven’t verified that fact with wikipedia yet.
We drove down to the bottom of the island and started working our way back up the west coast. The next place we stopped for a few days was Te Anau which is the part of the Fiordland. We took an evening dip in the freezing glacier lake and drove to Milford Sound for the most insane kayak trip ever. On the still clear waters with towering mountain faces all around, we fell in love with New Zealand all over again.
Continuing northbound we stumbled across a secluded little opening to a huge beach- the perfect free camping spot. The beach was blustery to say the least; a slightly haunting landscape of sand and huge tree debris that had been washed up. We made the most of it though and scavenged for fire wood and even found all the components for a home made grill.
Franz Josef was our next impressive stop, our first ever glacier, we walked up and marvelled at how big and icy it was and then later googled what a glacier is.
Lots of windy mountain drives, far too many sand flies and a single glow worm cave later and we’re back up north, heading to Auckland for the final leg of our big trip.
We flew into Auckland and had a bit of a God send in our friend Rupert who picked us up from the airport, ferried us around to find a van and let us stay over. By the next day, we had a van kitted out with a bed, a make shift kitchen section and a name – Lucy.
Lucy has taken us up to the top of New Zealand to 90 mile beach which had masses of sand dunes and literally no-one around. On our way down we stayed in Waipoua Forest, went for a swim in the freezing river and lived the real camping life with a fire and marshmallows under the incredible stars.
The next few days brought us volcanic scenes with eggy smells, a hot spring bathe, an eventful fishing trip (involving dates for bait and Emma diving in after her fishing equipment, which she threw in) and a sand mountain. We spend most of our time marvelling at the rolling hills of farmland and pushing Lucy to her limits up winding mountain roads and gravel tracks – and usually turning round to come back down as our satnav has taken us the wrong way, thanks Lee. Our first sighting of snowy peak mountains came as we drove into Taupo, we joyously exclaimed. Stumbling upon a sweet free camping set up we spent the night by a giant lake with a view of the sun setting over the mountains.
We like New Zealand we do.
P.S. The internet is rubbish though so blogs are gonna be late, like this one already is.
We spent our final few Australian days in Melbourne, roaming the city’s endless vintage and coffee shops. It’s a super eclectic place with all sorts of interesting markets, galleries and eateries. We swung from inspired to depressed in equal measure as we realised we couldn’t buy everything we saw even though we loved it all.
One thing we did not love however, was our hostel for the first couple of nights. A big converted house with the definite feel of university halls and a constant smell of urine and weed. We had our own private room (aka a shed in the garden) and the hundreds of people who seemed to be staying there were friendly enough but it just wasn’t quite our vibe. Luckily, we had previously tried to sort out an Air bnb place which turned out to be available for the last few days of our trip, so we made the trek across town with our rucksacks but were more than glad we did. The home of two lovely artists with great style (we want everything in their house), this place was so perfect for us to do our own thing and explore the other end of the city.
Despite getting lost, a lot, and our initial bad housing situation, Melbourne has been an arty haven and we definitely see the appeal of the city.
We decided to rent a car to get down to Melbourne as it’s a fairly long way and we’d heard great things about the coastal drives; and we weren’t disappointed. Following a vague plan we’d found online, which highlighted good places to stop and where to spend the night, we had a rough route. However, we quickly went off track as little towns or beaches caught our eye – or if the satnav decided to take us somewhere entirely different which often meant dirt tracks or dead-ends. Literally the worst satnav.
On the first day we drove out of the city and onto the Grand Pacific Drive, weaving around mountains and beaches with the most insane views of the crystal clear waters and white sand. We stopped along the way for photos and coffee and spent the night in a classic Motel in Nowra.
The next day we drove through a beautiful national park where we very excitedly stopped for a snack with a group of kangaroos, some even had various Joey limbs sticking out of their pouches which we greatly enjoyed. One inquisitive little fellow came close enough that Emma offered out a little bit of her blueberry muffin to him. The situation quickly escalated and ended up with us standing atop a picnic table surrounded by muffin hungry kangaroos at our feet. We also nearly ran over a huge snake, spotted a little porcupine and whale watched (unsuccessfully).
Trying to be savvy we thought camping would be a good money saver. Unfortunately we had no camping gear at all so we decided to make do with the car. We unintentionally stumbled across a near empty campsite by a river with the loveliest owner who, when we explained our plan to sleep in the car without blankets, sourced 2 double duvets and a sleeping bag for us. Even with our two burning candles and plethora of blankets our excitement dwindled when we realised how uncomfortable the seats were. Minimal sleep that night for sure.
The next few days were mainly spent driving through forested roads, dairy farms and vineyards. We would stop at tiny villages when we could find them to source some food and an opp shop or two for bargains. After a massive detour through the Baw Baw rainforest we were back along the coast to stock up on our windy coastal walks. On the long drive down to Torquay we did a quick stop on Phillip Island which is home to some pixie penguins. We only saw one and did some potential illegal moves to try and snap a good photo which ended up not even working.
The last day of our trip was on the Great Ocean Road which is one of Australia’s most famous drives. It again weaves along the coast and through mountains and forest. The views are insane and roads are amazing to drive if you don’t get stuck behind a camper van. We stopped along the way to enjoy the last of the white sand and blue sea before heading to Melbourne. By this time we’d had 8 days with no issues and we nearly ruined it on the last evening as we realised too late we had no petrol left. Stuck in the middle of nowhere with the satnav telling us the nearest pump was nearly 30 km away, we swiftly drove some bumpy back routes to get some petrol. We filled up at the dodgy looking pump only to find the gauge was still stuck on empty. Without knowing if there was actually any petrol in the car we risked the long drive back and were rewarded with an insane sunset and the gauge gradually moved up to half by the time we got home. Even with an hours detour we made it back in time to watch the Bachelorette with dinner (Australias favourite programme and we are definitely hooked).
We were offered another few days of free accommodation up in Cairns, so we rocked up at Grandma Faye’s house to stay in the caravan under her house, pure 1960’s equipped with everything, ever, including a fridge full of towels.
Everyone lives on the flats in Cairns but the whole town is surrounded by mountains.
We journeyed up the mountains through the supposed oldest rainforest in the world
(we thought we’d already been to that in Malaysia – controversial) and came down over
a sick waterfall on the skytrain which is a faster, higher, luxury cable car. Lex took us up the mountains again the next day to a series of waterfall/creeks. We swam in the freezing water and slid down the natural slides in the waterfalls. Literally so much fun. Our last day was spent out on the Great Barrier Reef. The coral and the fish were next level but the sea was rather choppy making it not quite as relaxing as some other snorkels we’ve done. The currents were so strong we kept loosing each other and could only be re-uinited was to look for the others bobbing bun. Our last evening was spent having fish and chips on the esplanade donning hairband hats to play some hilarious games of celebrity… something with grandma Faye and the Norrie’s.
We flew down to Sydney and spent our days sitting in Hyde Park, walking to Kings Cross and going through Paddington- they’re very unoriginal with their place names. We day tripped to Manly beach and regretted our clothes choice as we lay on the beach in the wind. The next day we vowed not to over estimate the temperature so wore jeans to Bondi and ended up regretting that too, it was flipping hot. Sydney’s weather is hard to judge. We met up with Roseanna’s uni friend Jem by the harbour with a view of the opera house and harbour bridge and wandered round Sydney all evening discussing all of Australia’s weird traits.