Didn’t get picked for the Tourism Queensland’s Best Job in the World. Perhaps I’ll check if there is an opening in New Zealand?
I’ve traveled to Australia twice now. My first trip was before the internet so the only journal and memories of the trip are on paper and film (if you can imagine). I travelled from Sydney to Melbourne, across to Tasmania. Seeing as I was so close I took a jaunt to Australia’s cousin country New Zealand where I had a great time touring the south island, before flying back to Queensland, and visiting Fraser Island, Rockhampton and Kepple Island in the Great Barrier Reef.
But back to New Zealand, this is a wonderful country made up of two major islands. Appropriately called North Island and South Island. There are other smaller islands, but I haven’t travel to these and have little knowledge of them. The South island of New Zealand is spectacular. In a 1000 km drive, I saw beautiful beaches, swam with dolphins, went whale watching (even spotted a Blue Whale), trekked from desert to rainforest to fjords to glaciers. The Island has mountains to climb and vineyards too.
North Island has its attractions, from Wellington the capital nestled in the hilltop, to Rotorua in the center with sulphur hot springs, 100 mile beach and the bay of islands. Auckland, the largest city is cosmopolitan yet also inviting. And the people are friendly and just as inviting. I recall in Dunedin while listening to a local band I requested a Jim Buffet song; Mother Ocean. The drummer from the band after the set came over to introduce himself and bought us a round. Turns out he was a session musician back in the US and had played on a number of Jimmy Buffet’s albums. He invited us to his house the next day. Great people and a great country.
Scuba diving is a passion of mine and in 2004, my wife and I returned to Australia as newly certified divers. We started our trip on New Years Eve in Perth, visiting some ex-pats. Then travelled to the Red Center to see Uluru and camp out in the bush. Our destination was Cairns and Queensland. We flew to Rockhampton to visit friends, learned to play diggerdoo and throw a boomerang at the Aboriginal centre. From Rocky we drove up the coast to Cairns, stopping in MacKay to go Platypus spotting, Arlie Beach to sail the Whitsundays and scuba dive. In Cairns we went out on a live-aboard to see the Great Barrier Reef way out and up close. From Cod Hole to Ribbon reef and pinnacles along the way we discovered the magic that is one of seven natural wonders of the world. The Great Barrier Reef is a place I most definitely want to return to and see again and again.
Queensland has attractions other than the reef. There is Milla Milla falls, rainforests and trekking trails. Only in upper Queensland will you be able to find the elusive and shy platypus. We came very close on this trip to chucking it all and moving downunder. And according to Australian immigration they would gladly have us. But alas it was not to be.
We left Australia and before coming home made a quick visit to New Zealand. Even with only a 23 hour stopover in Auckland we were amazed at what we could see and do. We took a ferry over to Devon, and the beach of course, then toured the city. The public bus driver took us on a private tour to show us spots off his route that we must see before we leave. Again this younger cousin of Australia welcomed us and impressed us enough to make us want to return.