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The Goodheart and Whitecorn Adventures "I see my path, but I don't know where it leads. Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires me to travel it." Rosalia de Castro

But seriously...a dingo is just a dog right?

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 29 December 2014 | Views [550]

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder- so I am sure you are all madly in love with us now. I believe I left you all in Franz Josef. We moved from there to Fox Glacier. Both places had amazing hiking despite the horrendous weather that left us in the TV room watching movies one day. We did make two wonderful new friends in Fox Glacier whose travels are similar to ours.

We moved on to Queenstown, which is quite possibly the most beautiful city in New Zealand. (Sadly we missed Wanaka in our planning and based on the reactions of New Zealanders when we told them, we missed out on some real beauty.) Queenstown is lovely though with a gorgeous lake and a sunset of 9pm or so. In addition it was the warmest place we visited in NZ despite being the farthest south. We rode the gondola for stunning views of the city and surrounding area and managed to explore the entire city in one day. Ooops. With our extra day we went on an incredible 30k walk/hike to a place called Bob’s Cove taking a few hiking trails on the way. We were exhausted but it was well worth it.

Christchurch was our last stop in New Zealand. We stayed in a room found on Air BnB as the price was pretty much the same as a hostel and it was AMAZING. We had a private bedroom in a four bedroom flat that was inhabited by three wonderful people. Kelsey, our contact, is actually from the states teaching in NZ for a year. They invited us to share in their pre-Christmas dinner the night before we left which helped take away any feelings of homesickness and prepped us for reentry into hostel life. Christchurch itself is an interesting city. It made us feel very ignorant so, for those who don’t know, Christchurch suffered from 2 large earthquakes approximately 5 months apart in 2010-2011. These quakes pretty much destroyed the city. Much of it is still under construction, but it is uplifting to see how much has been accomplished in 3 short years. You can really feel the whole city pushing to move forward. Unfortunately, the rebuild period did affect our trip as many things were difficult to do/there wasn’t much life in the CBD. We did take a day trip to a fishing town called Lyttleton, which was quiet and sweet, but overall our last stop was not our favorite. I hope in a few years the city will be back on its feet and able to offer more…maybe it will call for another visit…?

NZ in one word:

Scenic

 

Now, here we are in the land down under. Wow. What an amazing country. We are completely in love. Sydney blew us away. Naturally our visit consisted of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. We had to pinch ourselves as we stood outside the Opera House because we couldn’t believe we were actually there. The city has a real life/spunk to it, which drew us in immediately. Our first meal came from Chinatown and while I know we’ll be getting amazing food in SE Asia it was hands down the most amazing meal Whitecorn has had on the trip.

Thanks to Soph’s amazing investigative powers we were privileged to meet a cousin of hers and his wife. They were able to give us a tour of neighborhoods we wouldn’t have seen on our own and we shared a great meal with them that included a family history we were unfamiliar with. What a treat!

No trip to Sydney is complete without a trip to Manly Beach and so we spent a full day there contentedly playing in the water and lounging on the beach.

Our final day in Sydney calls for a special shout-out. We would like to thank Richard Stanley for telling us about the Hawkesbury River. This river is located about an hour train ride north of Sydney and is absolutely stunning. We took a river cruise..aboard a mail boat! This boat delivers the mail to all water-access only towns along the river. The largest had a population of 45! It was not only beautiful, but a really cool experience to see a way of life we have been completely separated from.

From Sydney we flew up to Brisbane and immediately bused down to Byron Bay where we spent Christmas on the beach. Not a bad alternative! We went back up to Brisbane for a couple days where we held koalas, fed kangaroos and wallabys, and saw a platypus for the first time. We also took a day trip to North Stradbroke Island, which we had originally crossed off the list and are so glad we put back on! The definite highlights from that excursion were seeing koalas in the wild and dolphins riding a wave as well as swimming in Brown Lake. Brown Lake is really cool. It is named such because…it’s brown. Whoa. But, the reason it is brown is what makes it cool. The lake is surrounded by tea trees which drop their leaves in the lake. The leaves essentially steep in the lake and turn it tea colored! The lake is freshwater and wonderful to swim in- warm, clear, and tasty. Yes, Whitecorn took a tiny sip.

Now, we are in Rainbow Beach winding down after a day on Fraser Island- another place with an amazing lake to swim in (top 10 according to Lonely Planet…and rightfully so) and the location that inspired my title. Dingos live freely on Fraser and we came across a number of them today. One passed less than a foot from Whitecorn which was a strange experience. She thought it was someone’s pet, it didn’t even acknowledge her, all is well. It’s hard to put into words how much Dingo safety the tour guides and park signs continue to emphasize. You can’t go anywhere without seeing the slogan “Be Dingo Safe!” Tomorrow we jump on an overnight bus to Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays where we will spend New Years Eve missing our traditional NYC party but thrilled at the same time.

No one is far from our minds on this trip, particularly during the holidays. We miss you all very much and love you even more. Thank you for making 2014 so special and for joining us as we step into a new year.

WG

 
 

 

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