Merry Christmas from Sydney

The Armidale airport was tiny! It had a small check-in area which was not open yet when we arrived, a small cafeteria, two gates, and no metal detectors. The same person who checked us in also checked our boarding passes at the gate. There were so few passengers he welcomed us each by name without even looking at the boarding passes! The plane was small, our flight was uneventful, and we landed in Sydney a short time later.

We had roughly $800 left in the budget to spend over three days when we arrived in Sydney. This was a dramatic increase from our normal $100 per day spend, so we might have gone a little crazy with our spending.

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Dog Sitting in Armidale, Australia

Since the Asia phase of our trip was considerably more expensive than either of the other two phases, we knew we would need to find opportunities to save money. We loved WWOOFing, but we wanted a more relaxing experience to finish off the year. Rory and Gen, the friends we made in Korea, told us about TrustedHousesitters which they had used in many countries during their travels. When we saw them in Tokyo, they were spending a week in an amazing apartment looking after some cats. They raved about their experiences so much, we decided to give it a shot. We signed up for an annual sitter plan which would allow us to do house sits anywhere in the world for a year. Rory and Gen got us a referral discount, vouched for us on the site, and supported us through our first few rejections. We were thrilled when Helen and Mike accepted us as house sitters for their brand new four-bedroom house and eleven-year old Golden Labrador, Billy!

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Gold Coast and Brisbane

Surfing Part One

This post actually covers two separate parts of our trip, because we stopped by the Gold Coast twice. The first time, an extended stop over in the Gold Coast saved us a bundle on flights from Tokyo to New Zealand. Then, the Gold Coast turned out to be a very convenient airport to fly back to Australia as we prepared to explore the final country on our trip. The Gold Coast was also where Eric made some career moves, a stark reminder that the end of our adventure was not far off.

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#VanLife on New Zealand’s South Island

We had rented a camper van through a website called Mighway, which is like Airbnb for camper vans; people use it to rent their personal campers when they are not using them. We could not pick up the camper van until 5pm, so after saying “goodbye” to Jess’s family, we went to a nearby coffee shop to do some planning. Since we only had five days, we wanted to give some thought to where we could go without spending the entire time driving. When we had a reasonable plan to go in a loop from Christchurch to the West Coast through Arthur’s Pass, past Franz Joseph Glacier, through Wanaka, and back to Christchurch, we left to meet Kim to pick up our camper.

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