Northland, North Island, New Zealand…Say That Three Times Fast!

The 19th was not a typical Saturday,
as we arrived in Auckland where it is fall in May!

We headed north with Josh’s parents to Paihia (Pie Here),
and explored neighboring towns far and near.

We celebrated Josh’s birthday by taking a ferry to Russell,
a town no longer full of the hustle and bustle.

That night we feasted on fancy birthday dinners.
Josh’s parents treated so we felt like winners.

The next day we drove 200 kms to the edge of the Northland
where we discovered beaches, a lighthouse and dunes made of sand.

The Tasman Sea and Pacific became one ocean.
We stared in awe of the water’s motion.

We spent Thursday in a kayak exploring the sea.
That day there was no better place to be.

Australia was fun because we had friends to party with,
but being able to travel to the North Island of New Zealand was truly a gift!

We are off the South Island for the next 3 weeks,
in search of mountains, adventure or whatever our heart seeks.

Now we raise up our ice-cold beers
and thank you for following us with one great big CHEERS!
Leanne & Josh

P.S. Josh says “Go Spurs Go!”

The World's Largest Reef and Rock!

How ya goin’? It’s May 18th and we are packing our bags to head to New Zealand. We can’t believe our month in Australia is over.

The last time we left off we were heading to Uluru. We are about 2 weeks behind in our blogging so you may want to make yourself a snack before you start reading this entry.

We arrived in Cairns around midnight on May 3rd. Our lovely friend, Lesley, greeted us at the bus stop and took us to what would be our home for the next week. Lesley’s parents were gracious enough to let us stay in one of their bungalows.

We caught up until around 2:30 am before hitting the sack for the night. We had a wonderful night’s sleep on a real mattress and room with our own bathroom for the first time in 2 weeks. It’s the little things that make you happy when you are traveling.  We spent the day enjoying a nice lunch and exploring the esplanade.

That night we knew we were going to go out big because it was Lesley’s birthday.  Well, Josh and Lesley went out big and Leanne enjoyed being the DD for the night whilst driving on the other side of the road.

What a fun night! Leanne got up and sang at an open mic night. An Aussie bloke was kind enough to play the guitar while she sang.

Click on the link below to check out the video:

Leanne Singing in Cairns

Leanne had to crack the whip on Josh because he was blowing through our allotted budget for the night.

Poor Josh:

At 3:00 am we decided to call it a night. We were so happy that we were able to spend Lesley’s birthday with her.

The next day was a slower start than intended. Imagine that? We headed to Kuranda and the Bebinda Boulders for a day of exploring.

We closed out the night with some amazing fish and chips from Davinda’s in Freshwater (just outside of Cairns). We got up and at ‘em the next morning. Destination: Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest.

We were so excited when we saw this guy during our drive:

We can’t believe we saw a croc in the wild!!! What an amazing experience. Lesley has lived in Australia her entire life and this was the first time she saw one in the wild so we felt extremely fortunate.

We motored onto Port Douglas and walked around the pretty town for a little while. Many people have told us that this is one of their favorite places so we were sad that we only had an hour to check it out. For us, it was Cape Tribulation or bust!!

Along the way we made a few stops:

Cape Kimberly

Daintree River

Hiking through the Daintree Rainforest

Lesley told us that we had to lick a green ant’s bum because it tasted sour. We both experienced the sour taste of the bum. That’s right, we licked an ant’s butt.  Click on the link below to check out the video of Josh’s green ant bum licking experience.

Sunset hike at Cape Tribulation

What a jammed packed day of beauty!

Sunday we went to the farmer’s market and walked around Cairns.

That night we drove Lesley to the airport so she could make her way back home to Melbourne. We made plans to stay with her for one more night when we returned to Melbourne after our Uluru trip. We used our “selfy stick” to take one more picture with Lesley and Nathan (Lesley’s friend that lives in one of the bungalows) before she headed off.

Monday, May 7th was an exciting day for us because we took a tour of the Great Barrier Reef! We had to wear ridiculous looking stinger suits because of the poisonous jellyfish. Apparently, there are jellyfish the size of your fingernail that can kill you. We erred on the side of safety rather than fashion.

The reef was unbelievable with turtles, fish and giant clams.

We took our tour with Pleasure Adventures (don’t mind the name) and had a truly memorable experience.

That night we had a date night at the food court.  We could pile as much food on the plate for $14 so we loaded up and shared the plate.

After our romantic dinner we watched the huge bats in the esplanade. These were not your average American bats. These bats weighed as much as Leanne. Josh was infatuated with the bats. 

Our time in Cairns was truly special but we were being summoned by the world’s largest rock and it was time to move on.

Uluru, a.k.a Ayers Rock

We made a commitment to make the trip to Uluru. Because of it’s remote location the trip involved flights, buses and a camping tour group. Josh had dreamed of visiting Uluru since he was 7 years old. Uluru is the world’s largest monolith with only 10% of the rock above ground.

We flew into Alice Springs and spent the night in a dorm room before heading out on our tour with The Rock Tour at 6:00 am the next morning. Josh was very proud of Leanne because she only packed her small backpack for the 3-day camping trip. This time we remembered to bring our head torches!

For the next 3 days the open road would take us to some of the most beautiful places we have seen. Our tour included stops at Uluru, Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and Kings Canyon. There were 22 tour members including our guide, Ally. We were by far the oldest members of the tour but age doesn’t matter when you are as cool as we are.

Our Bus:

Our Tour Group:

Camping – we camped on the ground with our swag and sleeping bag. The view of the stars was unimaginable.

We hiked around Uluru

Caught the sunset

Caught the sunrise

Hiked Kata Tjuta

Hiked Kings Canyon

Much to our surprise, wild single-humped camels roamed freely throughout Central Australia. Australia is the only country with wild single-humped camels. Leanne rode a camel!

We made heaps of new friends!

Wouter from Holland a.k.a Walter White

Jarvis from Hong Kong

Alice and Lucy from the U.K.

We weren’t able to take pictures with everyone. If some of our new friends are reading this and have pictures with us please send them our way so we can post them to the blog

We drove 1,500 kms, hike 25 kms, made countless new friends and left a piece of our heart with the dusty road.

We spent another night in Alice Springs before hopping a flight back to Melbourne.

Back in Melbourne

Josh’s parents picked us up from the airport that night in Melbourne. We couldn’t wait to spend the next few days with them at their bush land resort in Kyneton (Northwest of Melbourne).

It was our mission to show Mom a kangaroo. We made our way to Philip Island (90 minutes southeast of Melbourne). The mission was a success!

On Tuesday, we tackled The Great Ocean Road.

We drove 700 kms through the windy streets of beautiful sights and sounds.

Bells Beach – Josh was really excited about this stop because it was the location of the final scene in Point Break. For those of you that don’t know, Point Break is one of Josh’s favorite movies and he can quote the entire movie. Check out our video tab for a reenactment of his favorite lines.

Cruising through the rainforest

Koalas in Otway National Park – Leanne was thrilled to see these cuties

12 Apostles

Sunset at London Bridge

Even though the drive was long it was definitely worth the experience. 

The next few days were spent back in Melbourne.  Josh’s parents dropped us off at Lesley’s house for one last slumber party. Lesley made Pavlova (an Australian dessert created for Anna Pavlova the Russian ballerina).  Five of us devoured the entire dessert and enjoyed lengthy conversations at the kitchen table.

Great job on the Pavlova, Lesley!

We spent Friday night watching the Footie match and saying goodbye to our wonderful friends. Collingwood and Geelong were opponents in the match.  While we were in Cairns, Josh decided that Collingwood would be his favorite Footie team because their mascot is a magpie. We later found out that most people consider Collingwood fans to be “Bogans”. A bogan is basically an Australian redneck. Josh reckons he is part bogan anyways because he is from Texas and married to Leanne who is from Georgia.

We feel that we did as much as we possibly could in the month that we visited Australia. Much like North America it would be quite easy to spend 18 months exploring Australia. Despite the fact that we are extremely sad to leave we feel fortunate to have met so many fantastic people.

Next on the agenda: New Zealand for 26 days!

Is anyone reading this? Please leave a comment, as we would love to hear from you all!

Thanks for following.

Leanne & Josh