Welcome to Melbourne

My flight from New Zealand got me into Australia fairly late in the evening, around 8pm or so. After clearing customs and retrieving my baggage, I made it to my hostel by 9pm (actually 11pm for me, on NZ time). So pretty much all I did that night was I found my room and jumped into bed.

The next day however, I was up and eager to explore. The morning rains cleared quickly and I found myself in the downtown core. The central spot would probably be Federation Square. It had the visitor’s center and several large convention/exhibition/gallery type places, and it was pretty neat looking to boot, so I figured it would be as good a spot as any to start at!

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Flying with Style

My flight over to Australia was with an airline I had never flown with before, but had heard about. I wasn’t really prepared for it though. Living in North American had gotten me used to tiny chairs, limited entertainment (Air Canada is great, though US carriers are terrible), and non-existent food options. My flight down to New Zealand on Air New Zealand was a great joy, but that was partly buoyed by using points to bump me into getting a lie-flat seat. It was back to cattle-class for my 4 hour flight across the Tasman sea on my way to Melbourne.

The check-in was auspicious and easy enough. No waits, as there were about 20 check-in agents working hard. Which was good, Emirates had all 3 of their flights that left Auckland (going to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, before all heading onwards to Dubai) within an hour window. So, lots of people at the airport. No worries, I had dropped off my bag and headed towards security within minutes.

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So Long, New Zealand

51 weeks later, I’ve packed my things and should now be at Auckland Airport, awaiting my departure from New Zealand. Australia is next on the docket. I’ll be landing in Melbourne and finding my way from there. I don’t have a specific plan or itinerary for when I get there. I’ll just figure it out as I go.

New Zealand has been a great home for the past year. There are quite a few things I’ll miss about it. But, my desire to keep travelling is still strong, so I’ll keep on going.

Here are some of the things I’ll miss when I leave New Zealand:

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Trials and Tribulations

With no more travel in New Zealand to look forward to, I set my sights instead on Australia and getting down to organizing my necessary paperwork.

The Working Holiday Visa was the easy part – I’ve had that since December. Much like New Zealand, the WHV for Australia is done solely online and I received instant approval. It costs a bit more money (~$280 vs $100) but otherwise is nearly identical. Australia also has a provision that allows people on a WHV to stay for a second year if they choose, and have met certain qualifications (working in agriculture for a certain amount of time is the main one, I believe). I don’t plan on spending more than 12 months in Australia though, so I just considered it an interesting point and didn’t pay much more attention than that.

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The Long Road Back

Upon reaching Taumaranui, my ‘travels’ in New Zealand were officially complete – I had gotten back into familiar territory and had no plans to see or go anywhere I hadn’t already been before. But that isn’t to say my time in New Zealand was done just yet. Oh no, I still had several weeks to fill, so I did something akin to a ‘highlights’ tour on my way back to Auckland.

First, was a visit to one of my former WWOOF hosts, Rosemary, who had moved from Helensville to a new plot of land in the Whanganui/Tongariro area. She had just finished building a brand new home on a big plot of land, so I detoured out there to spend a few days helping around the house.

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The Forgotten World

Having finished my time in New Plymouth, I headed back towards the interior of the North Island, via Highway 43, or the ‘Forgotten World Highway’. H43 runs from Stratford, near Taranaki, to the interior town of Taumaranui, lying on the northern stretch of the Whanganui River.

The Forgotten World is known as one of the quietest stretches of main highway in New Zealand, winding it’s way through a remote, very sparsely populated stretch of land.

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Mount Taranaki

Given that the ocean is just a short drive away, Mt. Taranaki’s presence is quite awe-inspiring. At slightly more than 2,500 meters, it rears up quickly and sharply to one of the most conical peaks in the world. All of it makes for a great scene, if the weather allows you to see it. Thankfully for me, I got one day in New Plymouth that I could see everything clearly.

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