Below is a very quick summary of what Tiffany and I have been up to since May 2015 which was my last post. I'm terrible I know, i'll keep up with future posts i promise.
At the end of June, we quit our jobs in Wellington where I worked for New Zealand Rent-a-Car and Tiffany worked for the Frogurt Store in the CBD. It was hard to say goodbye to all our friends in Wellington but we knew we'd go back (and we did in October!). We took the Interislander ferry from Wellington to Picton and made our way to Christchurch where I worked an extra two weeks to make some extra cash for traveling. We lived with my boss James and his wonderful family on their farm out of town, and had some great times with the kids and seeing the surrounding area. In early July, we drove up to Picton again, and started on one of the Stray Bus south island tours all around the island. We hiked glaciers, visited Milford Sound, ate many Ferg Burgers in Queenstown, and chased the Milky Way and Auroras all over whenever a clear night was had. I even had a group from the bus come out in the freezing -18 degree temps in Mt. Cook National Park and we got this selfie under the stars. We met some lifelong friends on Stray and I look forward to visiting them someday. It gives us some really good reasons to go to the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, and Spain, among others. :)
After Stray ended, Jon on of the guys we met on the bus joined us and our great friend Carmen who we met in Wellington while working at Nomads Hostel for a road trip to Oamaru and the Moeraki Boulders. We all got sick at the beginning but we still made the most of it and it was nice to get some downtime before Carmen, Tiffany and myself flew to Australia. We stayed in the Capital Canberra (who knew that was the capital and not Sydney?) with Carmens sister for a couple weeks (THANK YOU CANDACE AND JO FOR ALL YOU DID FOR US) before heading to Melbourne on an overpriced Greyhound night bus.
Melbourne went a little different for us because we felt like New Zealand in a lot of ways was pretty hard to make work. It took us ages to find jobs in Wellington, and we didn't make tons of money, just enough to keep traveling. When we arrived in Melbourne, the hostel we had planned to work at was across the street from Southern Cross Station where we got off the Greyhound bus, we started working at the hostel the next day, and found jobs within a week and made killer money. If you have a chance to work in Australia, you should do it because many jobs pay $20 an hour. $20 an HOUR!
I worked as a kitchen hand for a wonderful Aussie named Matt and his wife Georgie and I would love to go back someday. We made more friends in Melbourne, went to St. Kilda beach many times, and ate too much Dominos pizza for one life time. They were across the street from our Hostel and had $5 medium pizzas all day, every day. Also the Kebab shop under the bridge on the corner of Flinders and Spencer street has the best kebabs on planet earth. Trust me. I don't lie.
While in Melbourne, we planned a trip with my family around the south island, but before we left Tiffany and I made it to the south coast and were able to spend a week camping at the 12 Apostles National Park. There was one morning where I woke up and peek out of our tent and across the field there was a flock of at least 100 cockatoos intermingled with dozens of kangaroos. Such a cool memory of the south.
After we arrived back in Christchurch we picked up a Subaru from the company i worked for and started making our way around New Zealand with my parents. It was such a fantastic trip, we visited just about everywhere we wanted in that almost full month of travel. I didn't realize it but I hadn't really traveled with both my parents since I was a teenager during a summer break. I hope we can do another trip in Europe or somewhere else a few years from now, now that I think they both have the slight travel bug.
After that fantastic trip we parted ways and after a short visit to Wellington to see some friends, Tiffany went home for the holidays and I flew into the Northeast coast of Australia to learn to dive in Cairns. I made a short solo road trip around the Atherton Plateau and up to Daintree national park to see some wildlife and the crazy amount of wild birds before I decided on a company to dive with. I ended up choosing Cairns Dive Center over ProDive because of the massive difference in price but also because they seemed to go a few better places over ProDive. My instructor Chris was fantastic and really had an edge over some instructors as he had dived all over the world. I finished with my Advanced Open Water Certification but have decided to go back to get my Divemaster this June. After spending a week on their live aboard the Kangaroo Explorer (which was one of the best things i've ever done) I decided to come home for the holidays as well. The original plan was to meet up in Townsville on New Years Eve but we decided some family time was more important for now.
Now that we are back, we both have some part time jobs to save some money for more travel soon. :) Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks and months!