We then drove to Capertee valley and stayed there two nights at a wonderful bed and breakfast out in the middle of nowhere. (Nearest tiny town = 20 minutes away!) My only bad experience there was trying Vegemite. If you enjoy eating extremely salty, sticky black tar, you will LOVE Vegemite! On the second day we went out looking for birds for 6 hours with a guide. We saw 60 new birds (new for us) just in that trip. (Below is the sunset from the back porch of the B&B.)
After we drove back to Sydney, we went to the Sydney aquarium for one reason - to see a platypus. I have been a tad bit obsessed with platypii for a while, and I was REALLY, REALLY, REALLY hoping I could see a live one. We waited like 2 hours - no platypus. We had told the woman at the front desk that I really wanted to see a platypus, so they let us stay after the aquarium closed! At exactly 10:00 on my watch, the platypus suddenly appeared. It was tiny! I had always imagined them to be two to three feet long or something, but they're only about a foot long! It was so funny the way it shoved its "bill" all around the bottom of its little pond, like a hyper vacuum cleaner. I have to say seeing the platypus was my favorite part of the trip.
After spending a week in Australia, we flew to New Zealand. We rented an RV and started driving. (Hah, the way I wrote that it makes it sound so easy and quick... But it was not at all! We even had to go back the next day to get about 7 things fixed because stuff was broken!) We drove down and back up the south island of NZ. One of my favorite parts of the south island was going to a town called Oamaru, where we got 4 kinds of cheese from a cheese factory and then made cheese sandwiches and ate them by the beach. We then walked around this old part of the town, where they've made it look like it was a couple hundred years ago! Complete with stables and a man dressed up in old fashioned clothes, singing amid a collection of ancient bicycles.
That same day we saw these round rocks on a beach that were really cool. They look like a giant dropped his set of stone marbles randomly by the ocean!
We took a ferry over to the north island, taking our RV with us. (There they call them campervans.) We took a ferry that had a mini movie theater, so I went and saw a movie. The water was pretty choppy on the way over, though, and the boy directly behind me threw up. Luckily he missed me.
On the north island one of the first things we did was visit Te Papa, this GIANT museum. It's HUGE, and awesome too, with all these high tech displays and interactive things - basically everything you'd want in a museum - but you get in for free! We didn't even see all the floors, and we went there twice. I think we only got to the 4th floor or something, out of like 7. The coolest thing for me was seeing a dead giant squid - a real one! Te Papa is the only museum to ever have displayed a giant squid before. (Giant squid are another one of those things I'm a tad bit obsessed about.)
I think the best part about the north island was visiting Hobbiton. Well, the place where they filmed Hobbiton, anyway! Almost everything is completely gone from the set now. The hobbit holes that you see there aren't even original, because the ones they built for the set were only supposed to last a few months.. The only thing left that they made for the set was one hobbit hole, which they left to show people how it's fallen apart. We got to see the party tree though, and the lake, the path where Gandalf walks, the stepping stones near the hobbit holes, and we even went inside a hobbit hole!
Overall the trip was very fun, but I got a bit tired of having to be near my brother 24/7, and I think I've decided I don't really like driving around in RVs. I loved staying the bed & breakfast most of all - it was really relaxing and a beautiful house.
It was great to go to Oz and NZ, but it's also great to be home!
The voice behind Inky Paws is Chloe, one of our younger Owls. In addition to such talents as freehanding delightful knitted foods, her Etsy shop is full of cute little felted animals, greeting cards, and more. See her previous Owl Spotlights here To find out more about Chloe, you can also visit her blog at knitonequilttoo.typepad.com/chloe/