To date, we’ve posted 74 blogs highlighting the beautiful landscapes, exciting excursions, magnificent wildlife, and delicious food of Australia and New Zealand. Thus, we figured it’s about time to change it up a bit, and shed some light on what goes on behind the scenes of this crazy trip we are on. So, without further ado, here are some of the less glamorous parts of our journey thus far…
My amazing blisters in New Zealand (3 of the 9 total). To answer the question that most of you probably have – yes, I did break in the stupid boots in before we left. They were still wreaking havoc on my feet after a solid 80 miles of hiking. I know Salomon is a beloved brand, but frankly, they can suck it; these are by far the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever had on my feet. I am so disappointed that Montrail discontinued my faithful vegan trail shoes… sigh.
Our MacGyver-esque cooling system in our campervan. Once we got to the northern parts of the North Island, it got pretty stinkin’ hot at night in that van with only two, small, screened windows. We finally found a fan buried away in one of the cabinets, but the narrow windowsill didn’t provide a useful support for getting some air circulating. After enjoying a local brew, Stephan ingeniously found the solution for propping up the fan. Classy digs, right?
Scenery schmenery. Here’s what I really enjoy photographing – adorable Australian signage:
Our rental car… after 6 days navigating the red dirt roads of Kangaroo Island:
How we enjoyed our nice Hugh Hamilton shiraz blend on Kangaroo Island. No wine glasses, no worries! A juice glass with a cartoon koala track star and a pimp chalice will get the job done (sorry, Hugh).
A memento from our two-night stay at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. Our AirBnB host was an “artist,” and a certifiable nut-job who lived in a dilapidated shanty about 40 minutes outside the national park. She greeted us at the door with an overwhelming verbal barrage of, ‘Hi, nice to meet you. AirBnB is trying to screw me, so can you just leave a donation instead? I’ve had two attempted arsons and two robberies, and my neighbors aren’t very nice. Oh, here, meet Tibo – he’s a couch-surfer from France.’ She then showed us to our room as we stood their stunned, trying desperately to keep our jaws from dropping open in astonishment.
This is one of the centerpieces of the room. Positioned carefully on Stephan’s small nightstand was a blindfolded bust, his final image before going to sleep at night and the first thing he saw waking up in the morning. I’d say the piece was very tasteful… and not at all creepy.
How we really ate the majority of the time. I probably describe my chocolate cakes and vegetable delights with such lust because they’re so few and far between (I swear, if I see another PB&J sandwich…). Here are a few of our finer dining experiences:
- Sandwiches and dry muesli while parked in the welcome shade of a free public parking garage (a rare find), desperate to escape the hot Sydney sun.
- Leftover rice in a bag – with a wooden coffee stirrer as a fork. Everyone’s favorite treat!
- Our attempted ‘solar oven.’ We had nowhere to heat our food and, honestly, cold rice and beans is not delicious (see above). And as one would imagine, room temperature rice and beans is not significantly better.
And speaking of trying to evade the hot, New South Wales sun, who among us hasn’t parked beneath the shade of a giant sheep ass for a lunch break?
My one great indulgence every night as we sit up going through photos and writing blogs – a cup of tea and a piece of dark chocolate. Cheap, simple, easy to come by, and a little piece of home on the road.
Sadly, we now must bid a tearful farewell to the South Pacific. But we leave Australia and New Zealand with so much love and gratitude in our hearts for all the amazing places we’ve seen and people we’ve met… cheers!