Australia had never been in the original plan for the trip. The reason being that it is so huge we figured the short time we could give wouldn’t do it justice, and being a more expensive part of the world we didn’t think the budget would stretch to being there very long, but when we started looking at flights to SE Asia from New Zealand it became clear very quickly that most of them go via Brisbane or Sydney. Given that I have relatives in Brisbane and an old school friend in Melbourne we decided to give it 3 weeks. Brisbane is beautiful with a great river running through it which is actively used for public transport. The City Cats run up and down all day and are a great way to get around. The climate is sub-tropical so generally warmer than we are used to but still really pleasant after having recently done 4 weeks in Belize! We had lots of fun in the parks and being guided round by my cousin. Getting out on the bus to experience the unique Australian wildlife.
Seeing my friend in Melbourne was great. They live just out of the city so didn’t see much of it, but had some great times at the lovely local beaches and wine country. While I was doing this the rest of the family tried to go Dolphin swimming near Soldiers Point. This didn’t work as planned as the right kind of dolphins were not available, however they still had a lovely time.
We all then met up in Sydney where we enjoyed the typically sights of the harbour bridge and opera house. Went to Taronga Zoo, and had an interactive day at Hyde Park Barracks, learning about the experience of the first convict arrivals. The walking tour of the Rocks area was also excellent and gave us an insight into more of this recent history.