Stop Over Down Under : Part 1
Following a rather prolonged blog black out here's a round-up of we’ve been up to during our 5 'land-bound' months waiting for the cyclone season to pass.
While Meteorite under went her 10,000 mile FULL service (thank you Mike and Charlie), the 4 of us took a 6 week trip to the UK then set about a 4 month land tour of NZ, Aus and Tasmania.
First up was a lovely Xmas with all the kids, staying in Omaha (NZ North Island) and being royally entertained by our wonderful friends Andy and Fiona. From there we travelled to Lake Taupo and threw ourselves into some traditional adrenalin-filled NZ adventures..whitewater rafting, jet boating, bungy jumping (...Matt, Ellie, Jake!), mountain biking, trekking...and of course a 7 hour pilgrimage to worship NZ demi-God and Hugh's hero Peter Jackson in “the Shires” aka Hobbiton.
Then it was a tearful goodbye to the kids and off to Australia we went....first stop Sydney; 25 years since we were there last and it was even more vibrant, interesting and iconic than we remembered. We lived like locals in Woolloomoolloo and Surry Hills and literally ticked off all the sights. We loved every minute of it – climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge (Hugh/Janice not so much!), seeing an opera at the Opera House, watching a Riot at the Sydney Festival and a film at the most amazing outdoor cinema EVER (see photos!), sipping cocktails at The Iceberg Cafe on Bondi Beach and taking the Manly Ferry to Balmoral...oh and a trek to see the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains (invisible last time we went). Phew..!!!
All a bit exhausting so next up we headed along the coast to Byron Bay for some chillin’ with the local surfer dudes on the beautiful Belongil Beach ( a 2 minute walk from our Airbnb Beach Hut). Suitably relaxed it was off to Brisbane to watch England v the Aussies at the Gabba in the one dayer..a little tense after the Ashes defeat but ultimately a fine victory, albeit a little disappointing for our hosts The Tiggies!! Our final stop of Part 1 was the fashionable beach resort of Noosa where as well as some seriously good eating, drinking and sunbathing we went on a very cool 4WD excursion along a 40km beach! Then it was back to Fiona and Andy’s Auckland apartment to re-pack for Part 2...what would we have done without them!
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The Meteorite Crew
Debbie, Hugh, Janice and Andy