I shared the worse parts in an earlier post. Without doubt the best parts greatly outweighed the worse parts. I had an absolutely amazing time. So much so that when people say “that must have been a trip of a lifetime” my response is always “I hope not…I hope to do many more similar trips in the future”.
I’m still in the process of writing about all of my adventures, but most of these were so amazing that I’ve already written about them and will include links. So, without further ado…
I took some time on this trip to look at property and dream. I’m not ready to move to Belize, but I might be ready to own property there. I found a great condo with an amazing rooftop area. It had nearly 360 degree views of the Caribbean Sea and the island of Caye Caulker.
I also took a photograph of stars that I’m incredibly proud of. There is a lot of beautiful people, creatures, landscapes, and things to photograph in Belize and I’m glad I got to not only capture this photograph but I got to witness nature producing it for me.
Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre – Holding a Kiwi Bird and listening to the Tui Birds singing “Pop Goes the Weasel” were two things I will never forget.
Waitomo Glow Worm Caves – The glow worms were just ok, but abseiling (repelling) down waterfalls inside a cave put the experience over the top for me. I would do it again 1,000 times over.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing – I thought this crossing would be a test of my knee post surgery. Instead it turned into a test of my will. We were given a timeline to get it complete and I worried constantly that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Turns out all the worry was for nothing…I made it in plenty of time. Had I decided to skip it because of my worry, I would have missed some of the most amazing views of the trip.
Jade Carving – It’s not like this was the most exciting activity, but I was so proud of the outcome. I love my necklace and am reminded of that day every time I wear it.
Kayaking in Doubtful Sound – Words cannot do it justice. Being paired up with a strong 20 something young man was nerve wracking. I figured he’d be ready to dump me over board within the first five minutes. He didn’t. We had a great day and it turns out that I kept up with him pretty well. And, oh the beauty…only photographs will help explain…but, even they can’t replace being there.
My Fellow Travelers – On this trip, more than any other I have done, I met some amazing people. Many of them will be friends for a very long time. We discussed frequently during the trip that we were like family…both the good and the bad. It was a sad day when we had to say good-bye.
Acting Like a Local (kind of) – I mentioned the amazing people I traveled with in New Zealand…one of them was a gal named Ebony from Australia. Without giving it a second thought, she volunteered to tour me around Sydney. We visited the zoo, many of the famous beaches (Manley, Bondi, Coogee), both Sydney and Darling harbors, and Exxopolis. She made me feel very welcome in her country and city.
Dag Sheep Station – Shearing sheep, bottle feeding a wallaby, eating an amazing lamb dinner, taking photos of stars and it was just day two of my tour.
Byron Bay – It’s a bit of a hippie surf town and not the type I expected to love, but we surfed and kayaked…and, I was in true bliss. I had tried surfing in Ragland, New Zealand but my attempts ended up with me standing twice and getting battered by the surf the rest of the time. Maybe my surfing there set me up for better success in Byron Bay. I still got fairly battered, but I actually got up on the board so many times that I stopped counting. I never imaged surfing would be enjoyable. And, oh the kayaking. It was supposed to be a dolphin and turtle watching trip but we didn’t see any (they have a guarantee, so if I ever go back I get a free trip). Even without any sightings I LOVED it. We launched straight into the surf and got to play around in the rolling waves most of the day. And, we rode the surf in as well. So amazing.
Tweed Heads – Another new friend, Isabel, I met in New Zealand is from Germany, but was living in Brisbane. Unfortunately, I would be Byron Bay while she was in Brisbane and she would be in Byron Bay while I was in Brisbane. With the help of our guide, we got to see each other for about ten minutes right between the two places. I was glad that we could arrange it.
Holding a Koala – I’m torn on this one. I’ve always wanted to hold a koala and I enjoyed it, but it felt really commercial. On my next trip, I’m going to seek out a location where I can spend more time with the koalas…maybe a rescue center.
Cairns Skydiving – Oh my gosh…I did it. This was mostly about facing a fear. I’d love to say I conquered the fear, but that would not be truthful. I might do it again someday, but I can’t say for certain.
Cape Tribulation – I didn’t expect to go snorkeling at Cape Tribulation, but it was offered and up to that point I had felt cheated on the Great Barrier Reef. This trip was amazing. It’s a location that only one company visits and there were only 23 snorkelers on the boat (the trip I took from Cains later was also amazing, but there were several boats in the area and about 60 people per boat). The water was crystal clear. Unfortunately, my underwater camera broke, so I had to rely on a disposable camera and photos from a fellow traveler (a blog post and more/better photos to come soon).
My Fellow Travelers – Again, I met a few people that will be friends for a long time. I can’t say there was as strong as a “family feel” as my group in New Zealand, but most of the people were great.