The last week has definitely been focused on settling back into Toronto and home, renewing relationships and routines. The weather has thrown a bit of a curve ball since it feels more like mid-June than early May, so we’ve had to concentrate on remembering what season it really is here at home, plus hustle to get the lawn and garden caught up with the weather!
The trip was such an all-encompassing experience that I have had some trouble organizing my thoughts. Truthfully, it all feels like a dream at this point! As time passes, it starts to become more real so here are some initial conclusions.
- The scenery generally
- The Alpine Crossing hike
- Mount Taranaki hike through rain forest into the clouds
- Kayaking and hiking in Abel Tasman National Park
- Hiking and climbing in Mount Cook
- Boat cruises in Milford and Doubtful Sounds
- Christchurch, and seeing firsthand the earthquake devastation and reconstruction
- Hiking and flying over the Tasman Peninsula
- The Bungles in Purnulula
- Kayaking, snorkelling and boat cruise in Great Barrier Reef/Hamilton Island
- The scenery generally – it was visually stunning
- Kayaking, swimming and snorkelling (and of course the over-ocean bungalow!)
Reviewing my highlights, I realize most of them have to do with physical activity outdoors! So clearly it’s more impactful for me to be participating in the landscape than merely viewing it.
Are very few and far between but definitely the major one was the 4WD camper van in the Kimberley.
How did the trip compare with our expectations?
- How much went right!
- How well Peter and I got along – incredibly well for being together 24/7 for 9 weeks in a lot of challenging circumstances.
Didn’t meet expectations:
- The Driving – it was a lot more tiring and took up much more time and energy than we had anticipated
- Australia Itinerary – it did not show us as much of the country as it could have. With hindsight, we’d have done a lot less driving and a lot more flying.
I’m very grateful that:
- Peter and I have the ability to have planned and completed this trip so successfully.
- neither of us got sick before or during the trip.
- my brother and sister were able to care for my parents while we were gone.
- my parents remained hale and hearty while we were away.
- we were able to maintain connectivity with home through Facebook, email and Skype.
- we did so much planning and strategizing early on, including packing lists and acquiring the right gear a few months in advance.
- all our flights and hotel reservations proceeded without any issues.
- we used a travel agent as little as possible (and next time will not use one at all!)
- any mistakes we made could only have been identified with hindsight.
Generally, we did this trip the right way for the two of us – with 8 of 9 weeks under our own steam – despite the extra effort it required. Neither of us enjoys being shuttled around, waiting for slow or late people, getting to airports or ferry terminals hours in advance of when it’s actually necessary. Plus even though we were often overwhelmed by busloads of tourists at different tourist attractions, it was nice to know we could get in our own car and leave whenever we wanted.
As a little more time passes, I hope I will have more insight and be able to more creatively sum up such a unique and remarkable experience!