A Travellerspoint blog

How Much Does it Cost to Travel Around the World?

Prior to our trip, we read several books and reviewed dozens of websites on the cost of traveling around the world in order to come up with our budget. In the end, the trip proved to be a little bit more expensive than we expected and as a result, we had to work extra hard to keep our costs down while still having fun and seeing the world. There was not a day that went by where we did not write down everything we spent money on that day and then evaluate the cost of the day against our daily budget and trip budget overall. We hope that this blog posting will be a useful and current resource for future travelers.

As a couple (i.e., for two people), it cost us an average of $148 per day to travel around the world. Or, to be more specific, an average of:

  • $131 per day in South America (we spent 40-days traveling through Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Bolivia)
  • $153 per day in Africa (we spent 94-days traveling through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya)
  • $128 per day in the Middle East (we spent 48-days traveling through Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Turkey)
  • $109 per day in Southeast Asia (we spent 89-days traveling through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippians and Indonesia)
  • $233 per day in Australia (31-days)
  • $219 per day in New Zealand (30-days)

What do these numbers include?

  • Accommodations (mostly dorm beds in recommended hostels, occasional camping and basic campervans in Australia and New Zealand)
  • Ground transportation costs (with the exception of a few rental cars, we always took public transportation and even hitchhiked a few times)
  • Domestic plane tickets
  • Food (a basic breakfast was generally provided at the hostels and we bought groceries to cover us for most lunches and dinners – we ate out about five meals per week, with the exception of Southeast Asia, where we ate out about two meals per day)
  • Drinks (we had a couple of alcoholic drinks every week and a soda or coffee just about every day)
  • Activities
  • Admission prices
  • Tours (see below for more information)
  • Visas
  • Internet time (free some places, but upwards of $5 per hour other places)
  • Toiletries
  • Laundry
  • And any other travel related costs incurred while on the road

What do these numbers NOT include?

  • International plane tickets (we bought a majority of our international plane tickets using airline miles)
  • Travel gear and clothing (other than a few replacement items bought while traveling)
  • Costs related to our lives back home (such as storage costs for our possessions, student loans, and the difference between the cost of our home every month and the rent we were able to collect)
  • Travel and medical insurance (we spent about $1,000 each on our insurance policies, but, thankfully, never had to make a claim)
  • Vaccinations and travel medicine (we went to a travelers clinic to get updated on our shots and took almost a year’s supply of anti-malarial medicine)

As to travel gear and clothing, we bought a lot of the latest and greatest stuff before we left, but, in truth, you probably already own most of what you really need to travel. At the end of the page please find our packing list. We would highly encourage you to pack as little as possible because you can buy almost anything you need on the road, you will have less to worry about, and traveling light makes walking around with your stuff so much easier.

What did we budget per day?

Our general goal as a couple (i.e., for two people) was to spend an average of $100 per day in South America, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and $200 per day in Australia and New Zealand. We also set aside additional money to cover items that we knew would blow our daily budget, such as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and skydiving.

Is it possible to do a similar trip cheaper?

Yes! You could probably do a trip similar to ours for about 25% less if you (i) passed on the few luxuries we allowed ourselves and (ii) skipped out on the more expensive activities.

So, for example, as to luxuries, you could do a similar trip to ours cheaper if you stayed exclusively in hostel dorm beds (in Southeast Asia we frequently stayed in private rooms and over the rest of our trip we occasionally stayed in private rooms – you could also couch surf or camp), avoided hostels recommended by Lonely Planet, Hostel World and similar resources (lesser known hostels are generally cheaper, but it is harder to know what you are going to get for your money), always took public transportation (we rented a car for varying lengths of time in South Africa, Namibia, Israel, Turkey, Australia and New Zealand), consistently ate groceries (in Southeast Asia we ate out about two meals per day and in the rest of the world we ate out about five meals per week), stuck to water (we had a couple of alcoholic drinks every week and a soda or coffee just about every day), traveled slower (we averaged about 12-days per country and transportation costs can really add up), and skipped Australia, New Zealand and other first-world countries (if we take out Australia and New Zealand, as a couple, the average per day cost of our trip was just $131, as oppose to $148).

Similarly, if you skipped out on some of the following expensive activities that we did, you could bring down the cost of a trip noticeably: safaris, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, a hot air balloon ride, zip lining, scuba diving, touring Fraser Island, Australia, zorbing, skydiving, bungee jumping and flying in a helicopter. After all, with the exception of a safari or two, you can still see the world without doing any of these activities.

What about tours?

The longest tour we took was a six-day guided climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro. We also took a five-day tour through southwestern Bolivia, two-day tours through the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Wadi Musa Desert in Jordan, Bokeo Nature Reserve in Laos, and Halong Bay in Vietnam, and about ten one-day tours. We generally found that the cost of a tour was more expensive than the cost of seeing most of the same sights on our own. As a result, we rarely signed up for a tour unless we were required to (such as with climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro), the tour allowed us to see what we wanted to see materially faster than what we could do on our own, or the cost of a tour appeared to be cheaper than the cost of doing it on our own (very rare).

Resources

We used many resources before and during our trip to give us information about what to do and where to stay, and these are the ones we found to be the most useful:

  • We used Lonely Planet for our guide books as they tend to be more targeted towards the budget traveler
  • Before we left I found “Lonely Planet’s Gap Year” book to be extremely helpful with pre-trip planning (clothing, where to go, round the world tickets, vaccinations, travel insurance, medical insurance, etc)
  • Hostelworld.com and Hostelbookers.com were amazing to get up to date reviews on hostels (hostel reviews in guidebooks tend to be outdated) and can even be used to book hostels online

As a final parting thought: “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half your clothes and twice the money.” Good luck!

  • For anyone reading this outside the United States, when we refer to dollars ($), we are referring to US Dollars.
  • Please remember that costs are constantly increasing. As such, for every year that goes by from when we traveled, you should expect prices to increase by a few percent per year.
  • If you are reading this blog posting and are going to travel by yourself, you unfortunately cannot simply divide our numbers in half. Instead, you should divide our numbers in half and add upwards of ten to twenty percent. When traveling alone you do not have the ability to share certain costs with others like we did, such as private rooms, rental cars, restaurant meals, etc.

Packing List
1. Passport
2. Visas
3. Immunization Card
4. Travel confirmations/itineraries
5. Driver’s Licenses
6. Credit and debits cards
7. Cash (both dollars and local currency) (spread cash, credit cards and debit cards around)
8. Reading material (we also took a kindle)
9. Passport size headshot photos (will need several for visas and border crossings)
10. Copy of wallet contents & passports
11. Money belts (2)
12. Wallet (carry some cash and an expired credit card or two)
13. Health and insurance documents
14. Contact/glasses prescription
15. List of important numbers (emergency, phone, frequent flyer, etc.)
16. Guide Books and Maps
17. Document Organizer
18. Main Bag (with cover) (2)
19. Daypack (with cover) (2)
20. Collapsible Extra Bag
21. Packing cubes/dividers
22. Wax ear plugs (several sets)- would highly recommend the wax, foam do very little
23. Eye shade (2)
24. Headlamp (2)
25. Basic Calculator
26. Towel (2)
27. Sleeping Sack (2)
28. IPod (with charger)
29. Laptop (with charger and case)
30. E-Book Reader (with charger and case)
31. Umbrella (2)
32. Poncho (2)- we didn't bring but wish we had
33. Pillow (2)
34. Ziploc bags (several)
35. Rubber Bands
36. Twist Ties
37. Sandwich Tupperware (2)- if you're going to make your own food they're good to have for leftovers or to pack a lunch
38. Plate/bowl (2)- they sell ones that collapse at most outdoor stores
39. Spork (2)
40. Playing cards
41. Camera (with battery, charger, memory, extra memory, stand and case)
42. Power adapters
43. Travel alarm (2)
44. Pen and paper
45. Water bottle (2)
46. Water Purifier- we used a steri-pen and would highly recommend it
47. Sewing/repair kit
48. Sink stopper- in case you want to wash some clothes in the sink
49. TSA approved Locks (4 – one for each bag)
50. Security Cables (2)
51. Extra Batteries (for camera, headlamps, water purifier, etc.)
52. Binoculars

Clothes – Elizabeth
54. Rain jacket
55. Fleece
56. Vest
57. Sneakers (1)- get a good pair preferably one that's water proof
58. Sandals (1)
59. Shower shoes (1)
60. Socks (8) (4 short, 2 mid, 2 long)
61. Underwear (8)
62. Undershirts (2)
63. Bras (3)
64. Long underwear
65. Short sleeve shirts (5)
66. Long sleeve shirts (4)
67. Pants (3)
68. Jeans (1)
69. Shorts (1)
70. Dress
71. Sleeping pants (1)
72. Bathing suit
73. Baseball hat
74. Winter hat
75. Gloves (1)
76. Sunglasses (plus case) (1)- I went through about 8 pairs and you can definitely buy them wherever
77. Belt
78. Workout pants (1)

Clothes – Jeff
79. Rain jacket
80. Fleece
81. Sneakers (1)
82. Sandals (1)
83. Shower shoes (1)
84. Socks (7) (3-long and 4-short)
85. Underwear (7)
86. Undershirts (2)
87. Long underwear
88. T-shirts (4)
89. Golf shirt
90. Long sleeve shirts (3)
91. Pants (2)
92. Shorts (2)
93. Convertible pants (1)
94. Bathing Suit
95. Baseball hat
96. Winter hat
97. Gloves (1)
98. Sunglasses (plus case) (1)
99. Glasses (plus case) (1)
100. Belt
101. Sport shorts (1)

Toiletres
102. Sunscreen
103. Insect repellent
104. Tissues
105. Toilet paper
106. Wet wipes
107. Hand sanitizer
108. Contact lens
109. Contact solution
110. Rewetting drops
111. Any personal persciptions
112. Comb
113. Brush
114. Toothbrush (2)
115. Toothpaste (2)
116. Dental floss
117. Deodorant (2)
118. Makeup
119. Mirror
120. Lip balm
121. Hairspray
122. Razor with extra blades
123. Shaving cream
124. Hairdryer- I did carry a mini one with me
125. Flat Iron
126. Shampoo (2)
127. Conditioner
128. Body wash (2)- after this ran out I just used shampoo
129. Laundry detergent
130. Stain removing wipes
131. Go Tubes (7)
132. Cuticle cutter
133. Nail file

First Aid Kit
134. Pain relievers
135. Cold medicines
136. Diarrhea medicine
137. Laxative
138. Sting relief
139. Antibiotics
140. Antibiotic cream
141. Moleskin
142. Malaria medication
143. Motion sickness medication
144. Tweezers
145. Band-aids
146. Thermometer
147. Throat lozenges

Posted by geldere 11:27 Comments (2)

Five continents, 27 countries, 23 flights, 331 days later...

Like the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. If I had a dollar for every time I said that it has gone by fast, I would be rich by now. But, that is the way all good things go I suppose. What started as a crazy idea – quit our jobs and travel the world – initially seemed so out of reach and far away, but now, here we are almost one year later with the dream having become a reality.

Whenever you feel the end of something coming it makes you feel pretty reflective about what it meant to you and what you have learned along the way. Summing it up with just a few words is near impossible – it is either inadequate or cheesy. So, instead, we have made a list of our “biggest travel lessons” which sums up a lot of what we have learned. Hope you enjoy it :)

TOP 10 LESSONS FROM TRAVELING AROUND THE WORLD (in no particular order)

1) Most people are normal.

Watching the news anymore makes people feel like there is no safe place left in this world to visit, especially for Americans. The news makes us worry that we will be kidnapped, robbed or worse. It leaves us with a guarded and often mistrustful demeanor towards foreigners. But, the more we get out there, the more we see that the vast majority of the people in this world are just like you and me. They may dress differently and speak a different language, but in the end, they are just trying to live their lives as best they can. Overwhelmingly, they are kind folks who are proud to show off their country and are interested to learn about ours. And while we may feel like there is a lot of anti-American sentiment out there, most foreigners are pretty good at separating ones government from its citizens.

2) A little goes a long way with locals.

The world seems to be getting smaller as we globalize and it sometimes feels like we are all melding together. However, there are still cultural nuances in many countries and places in this world where we can feel the clash of old and new, east verse west, coming together. In Asia, raising your voice or wearing shoes inside is generally considered rude. In the Middle East, dressing modestly is expected, even for men (despite the heat, local men rarely wear shorts in public). Nothing makes me more uncomfortable as a foreign tourist than seeing a fellow traveler walking around a religious site without a shirt on or wearing booty shorts to the Pyramids of Giza. Though we may not understand or even agree with some of it, by following cultural nuances it sends the message – “I respect your culture” – and people appreciate these small gestures enormously.

3) Travel is an individual experience.

We have met a lot of fellow travelers on our trip, from people in their 70’s staying in hostels to young couples traveling with small kids, to people riding bikes across countries. In the process, we saw that while most of us are on the “tourist trail”, there are a lot of different ways to experience the trail. Some travelers spend all their time in one place or one country, while others quickly jump around from place to place, country to country. Certainly, there is a balance somewhere between stamp collecting and getting to know a place in depth, but the balance is for you to decide.

4) Take the news with a grain of salt.

It rarely seems like anything positive is reported in the news these days and it makes us especially wary of places like Africa and the Middle East. But now having spent time in both of those places, we learned that the news only covers a small fraction of what is actually going on. In Cairo, for example, while protesting was going on in Tahir Square, when we stepped just one block off the square, it was business as usual – folks out taking their kids for a stroll and drinking tea in street side cafes. I like to say that “things are fine until they’re not” – and determining when they are “not” is difficult. You never know where or when the next tsunami, earthquake, or protest will occur, but using the “what if” scenario as an excuse can be just as tragic if you are missing out on an otherwise great place to visit.

5) There is a big difference between being uncomfortable and being in danger.

This was a big one for me. I cannot tell you the number of times I felt uncomfortable on this trip… being swarmed by kids in Africa, unable to communicate in Brazil, held up at a checkpoint in Tanzania, telling our taxicab driver in the Middle East we were American, the list goes on and on… But what I have realized in all of these situations is that I was never really in danger – I was just uncomfortable. Though I was out of my element and feeling uneasy, getting out of our comfort zones gave us a great opportunity to learn about ourselves and to really see what the world is like. Some of the best moments of our trip occurred when we initially felt WAY out there and, because of it, got some amazing cultural experiences in return.

6) Most people in the world are poor.

How many times as a kid did you hear your mom say: “Don’t waste food; there are starving kids in Africa!”? Though we saw rich people in all parts of the world, most of the people we saw were poor on a level that we will never understand or appreciate. Making just $30,000 per year puts a person in the top 1% of income earners in the world. Contrast that to the fact that the average family in Africa lives on just $1 per day. With this poverty comes inconceivable challenges and limitations that are, in most cases, passed down from generation to generation. I will never pretend to understand what it must be like, but once you see it on a large scale, not just a pocket here or there, but globally, it is hard to turn your back on it. Which leads me to my next lesson learned…

7) Appreciate what you have.

I have learned to appreciate a long list of things I took for granted at home – running water, toilets, toilet paper, hot showers, good roads, fixed prices, air conditioning, and cleanliness. Moreover, being born female in the US makes me one of the luckiest girls in the world – hands down. Most women in the world fight tooth and nail to hold themselves and their families together. At home I find myself complaining that the line in Target is too long, or that they are out of avocados at Publix, but when you see how much enthusiasm you can get out of a kid in Africa by giving him a pen – it would blow your mind. While everything is relative and we do have a right to complain about things now and then, it seems so trivial when you meet a smart, young man in Tanzania who can no longer attend college because the tuition is unaffordable – just $800 per year. With lessons like this, I hope to always keep things in perspective before I go blowing my top about gas prices and the myriad of other non-life threatening things we complain about it.

8) American culture is everywhere.

How many times did we walk into a restaurant where they were playing Michael Jackson music nonstop? Too many to count. We saw a dozen plus movies in multiple countries and they were almost always American made. People love American culture, from music to movies, clothing, food and TV. Seeing the enjoyment people get from American culture around the world made me feel a sense of pride. And, it came as a shock to me to find out how insanely popular KFC is around the world – even more so than the golden arches. The debate rages on whether it is a good thing or bad thing, but it seems that for now, it’s here to stay.

9) You can get by almost anywhere with English.

I think people feel intimidated to travel abroad because they are afraid of not being able to communicate. But, like it or not, English is truly the universal travel language. It is hard to find a restaurant, hotel or tourist attraction where an employee does not speak at least a little bit of English. We had dinner in Mozambique (where the main language is Portuguese) with people from South Korea and Switzerland and we were all communicating in English – it is amazing! That being said, learning a few phrases in the local language – especially hello and thank you – will get you huge points (see #2 above). You will crack a few smiles just for trying and people are sympathetic enough to help you out if you are really struggling.

10) Don't let fear hold you back.

This trip is something we wanted to do for years, but we were always a little scared: what if we get sick…or injured…lost…or robbed…or don’t like spending so much time together…is it a bad financial move... the list goes on and on. But in the end, most of things we spent time worrying about did not happen, and if we had let fear hold us back, we would have missed out on a great experience and a lifetime of memories. I feel like too often we put goals and dreams on the back burner, or shelve them completely, mainly out of fear. You do not have to travel the world or jump out of a plane – everyone’s dreams are different – but whatever it is that you want out of life – don’t let doubt get the best of you. Go for it.

If you have any interest in traveling around the world with us in four minutes, we have put some of our best photos together with music and made it into a video. Click below:

Elizabeth and Jeff's Round the World Trip

Thank you so much for sharing in the journey with us and taking the time to read along! We received so much support and encouragement from our friends and family along the way, and in a way we couldn’t have done it without you :) Until the next adventure...

Posted by geldere 15:04 Tagged jeff elizabeth jeffrey sirolly gelder Comments (4)

The Final Week

After leaving behind Milford Sound, we headed to the southernmost portion of the South Island. On the way, we made an overnight pit stop in the impossibly small fishing village of Colac Bay. We hunkered down in a campervan site for the night right next to the local pub. Since it was Easter Weekend the bar was packed with enthusiastic beer drinking rugby fans, so we shared in the excitement of the game with the locals. Turns out I know very little about rugby, but enjoyed it nonetheless.

From Colac Bay we stopped at the Anderson Park Art Gallery in the town of Invercargill, the biggest small town in the area. The gallery is in an old mansion on beautiful grounds and exhibits New Zealand art – it was just as nice exploring the old house and grounds as it was checking out the art.
7086101653_f225ea2378.jpgThe Anderson mansion

The Catlins is an area located in the far south of the South Island and is made up of farmlands, forests and windy bays. While there we observed several fur seal colonies, wandered around the grounds of two old lighthouses, stood on the southern most point of the South Island, walked along a few desolate beaches, and stopped off at a petrified forest only visible at low tide (the petrified trees are apparently Jurassic age). The Catlins is really diverse and worth a side trip – it is especially glorious if you luck out with fine weather.
7086101751_2efac794b3.jpg Some sea lions mulling about
6940029192_f83ff6b612.jpg The old lighthouse
6940029270_7eb2b8d37d.jpgAt a crossroads in the Catlins
6940029338_c751127b09.jpgOur "bedroom view" from the Jucy
7086102055_76cbaa4613.jpgThe petrified forest
7086102103_5bec9c840f.jpgA view from one of the caves only accessible at low tide

Jeff has been talking about Dunedin, our next stop-off, for some time as it is home to New Zealand’s Cadbury Factory and Speight’s Brewery, New Zealand’s most popular beer chain. Since it was just post-Easter, he was hoping to score some big deals on Easter candy. We signed up for a “double tour” – the Cadbury Factory Tour in the morning and the Speight’s Brewery Tour in the afternoon. Being from “Chocolatetown, USA”, we are a bit partial to our own chocolate company and factory tour, but they still managed to lure us in with Cadbury Easter Eggs :) It was onto the brewery next and I knew I was going to be the DD as I have never cared much for beer. The tour was surprisingly interesting thanks in large part to our excellent tour guide – he really knew his beer, I’ll give him that. I had never heard of Speight’s before arriving in New Zealand, but their Gold Medal Ale is apparently the biggest seller in New Zealand and is also available at Trader Joe’s in the US. At this particular factory, they still make all of their beer the old fashioned way, in wooden barrels and copper boilers.
6940029604_de13a8e643.jpgAt the Speight's factory
7086102379_43f0fcea51.jpgA sample of the beers made at Speight's
7086102271_cf61ef9048.jpgDunedin's histortic train station
6940029712_bd990e7eea.jpgBaldwin Street- apparently holds the world record for being the steepest street in the world at 19 degrees

After a generous free-tasting session at the brewery, we headed off to see if we could spot penguins in the wild. Penguins are especially tricky to spot because they hunt in the open ocean all day long and then only come back to shore around sunset to feed their young. We headed out to a hide located along a desolate beach to see if any would show (they will stay offshore and neglect their young if people or other predators are too close) and were ecstatic to finally see three little guys walking up a steep sand dune. For a species that lacks solid legs, they can move shockingly fast. Then, on our walk back to the car, we spotted another three making their way up a sandbank on the opposite end of the beach. Mission accomplished.
7086102457_72d40d8df6.jpgPenguins!

We stopped for the night at a roadside rest area (classy stuff) and headed the next day for the Banks Peninsula and Christchurch. The drive was beautiful but took longer than anticipated due to windy mountain roads. The Banks Peninsula is a gorgeous piece of land that was formed by two volcanoes. It actually used to be an island, but over thousands of years has grown together with the mainland. We spent the day there walking around Akaroa, a former French colonial town and whaling station, and checking out the cheese shop and local museum. That night we stayed at a working farm up in the hills with the best views around.
6940030494_353344b355.jpgOne of the many sheep encountered during the day
7086102517_79a0682cf1.jpgAt the stinky cheese shop
6940030024_bf3dfcb4e3.jpgDriving into the Banks Peninsula
6940030080_b2dc8298be.jpgBest campervan park views!

Christchurch, the final stop off of on our trip, was up next and we blazed into town for some sightseeing. We were totally blown away to see massive city blocks still cornered off after the earthquake that struck in February 2011. It has taken them a long time to get back on their feet and it must have been tragic for a lot of residents and businesses – literally most of the downtown has been closed for over a year and parts of it will remain closed for some time to come. We walked around the barriers surrounding the downtown, wandered through the impressive botanical gardens, and checked out the well done museum. Our guide book had a walking tour for the city, but more than half of the highlights were now off limits or closed.
6940030452_de3bc7c6b1.jpgThe "punting" canal
7086102795_536bb1c6d0.jpgSome of the buildings post-earthquake
6940030400_e5cc304c8d.jpgMost businesses had to move shop

To top off our time in New Zealand we decided to watch a rugby match between the home town Crusaders and the undefeated South African Stormers. The main stadium in town was also damaged by the earthquake, so an impressive temporary stadium has been built to host matches. We headed to the sold-out stadium with hoards of paraphernalia wearing fans and sat on the home team side. It turned out to be a lot of fun, even though we had no idea what half of the penalties were for, and it was nice to see other folks get just as crazy about their sports as we do. Though we did hear one Kiwi fan remark that their attempt at the “wave” was sad in comparison to 100,000 baseball fans doing the same feat in the US :) Filled to the brim with a bratwurst, meat pie and chips, we left the stadium with all of the other Crusader fans high off an upset win over the Stormers – I just might have become a rugby fan in the process.
6940030346_f111a93eaa.jpgGetting in a ruck
7086102735_ab08266b4c.jpgAhhh, bratwurst
7086102819_edd51eae75.jpgLast official night in NZ!

After one month of hopping around New Zealand, our time here has drawn to an end. It has been an amazing stay and the scenery was absolutely fantastic! We leave with some great memories (skydiving, bungee jumping, zorbing, etc.) and hope to be back some day. For our marathon trip home, we head now to Auckland for the day, then Hong Kong, and finally Newark. We are currently at the Auckland Airport as I type this and are going to head out to the mall and catch some movies during our outrageously long layover. We will make a last posting or two on our trip as a whole in the next few days, so until then… :)

Posted by geldere 04.16.2012 20:24 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

The Wet Coast?

After kayaking and hiking in Abel Tasman National Park, we started our journey to the southern portion of the South Island. Ironically, the west coast of the South Island is also known as the “wet coast” due to its heavy rainfall, but we have not had a drop of rain and the weather has been spectacular. We continue to keep our fingers crossed that the rain will hold off.

After a day and a half of driving through gorgeous countryside, we were in glacier country. The area is famous for two glaciers in particular - Franz Joseph and Fox. They both flow down from Mt. Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak, and over thousands of years have carved the mountain valleys they now sit in. We hiked to both glaciers to get a better look, but because of safety concerns, we were never closer than 200 yards. They were still impressive, even from a distance.
IMG_5427.jpgAt the pancake rocks on our drive (wind and water have carved out the rock so they now look like pancake stacks
IMG_5472.jpgEven the view in your rearview mirror is pretty amazing
IMG_5431.jpgViews along our drive of the west coast
IMG_5468.jpgA view of Fox Glacier in the background

At Fox Glacier we decided to partake in a pricey but well worth it helicopter ride. Neither of us had ever flown in a helicopter before, so we were both pretty excited. When we arrived our pilot looked to be about 20-years old and, although I am irritated at the youth discrimination I receive at my own job, I found myself questioning his experience level. But, in the end, our child-pilot got us up and around safely and gave us a great tour – so now I chide myself for my doubt. After experiencing the glacier from the air, I now feel like there is no better way to see it – you can really appreciate the grandeur of it all. Jeff’s enthusiasm for the helicopter ride continues on and now he has another expensive hobby he’d like to learn :)
IMG_5492.jpgA bird's eye view of the glacier
IMG_5498.jpgThe majority of the glacier (at the top)- it's over 100 meters deep in parts
IMG_5512.jpg
IMG_5518.jpgPost ride!
IMG_5528.jpgA view of the glacier from below at its base

After sleeping at a sea side campervan site just south of Fox Glacier, we started the drive to Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world and our next destination. After more mind blowing scenery in route (New Zealand is truly up there with the most beautiful places I have ever seen), Jeff casually mentions that we are driving past the spot where commercial bungee jumping was born - Kawarau Bridge.
IMG_5550.jpgSome of the great scenery we were alluding to
IMG_5576.jpg
IMG_5595.jpgLife in the Jucy

Bungee jumping has been on our to-do lists for some time, but I don’t like heights (skydiving was a major accomplishment for me), so I was never sure that I was going to cross this one off my list. But, since we were driving by, I did agree to stop and check it out. After seeing a woman my mom’s age (which is quite young :)) take the plunge, I blurted out “I’m in” and quickly signed up before I could change my mind.

Between the two of us, I volunteered to go first and was feeling pretty good while making small talk with the man who was tying my feet together. But, even though I thought I had it all together, once my toes were over the edge of the platform and I could see how far I was suppose to fall, I said: “I don’t think I can do this”. My very encouraging bungee jump attendant informed me that yes, I can in fact do this. So, before I tried to talk myself out of it, I sucked it up, leaned forward, and jumped. At first, the sensation was the same as skydiving – stomach falling 1000 miles a minute – but once the bungee caught, I just felt like I was floating. There was no whip lash like you might think. Once I was back on solid ground, it was Jeff’s turn. He, of course, just walked over and jumped like it was no big deal – one of these days I am going to find something that really freaks him out! Bungee Jumping: Glad I did it, but I doubt I’ll get into it recreationally :)
If you want to check out the video of us taking the plunge you can click below:
Elizabeth's Jump & Jeff's Jump
IMG_5647.jpgAbout to take a leap of faith
IMG_5653.jpgQuite the head-rush hanging upside down like that!
IMG_5682.jpgA view of the bungee bridge

We decided to stop for the night just outside of Queenstown in Arrowtown, an impossibly picturesque little town – I completely fell in love with it. It might have had something to do with the magic of fall – red, yellow, and orange trees were everywhere. We did eventually make it to Queenstown, a pretty cute town itself. While no Arrowtown, it definitely has an “Aspen or Breckenridge” feel and we enjoyed checking out the downtown and shops.
IMG_5718.jpgThe fall colors in Arrowtown
IMG_5726.jpgDowntown Queenstown

After two days in and around Queenstown, we moved on to our last stop on the wet coast – the Milford Sound. We actually got to the harbor just in the nick of time for the last tour boat of the day. While the views from the tour boat were nice, the drive up was just as gorgeous with tons of mountains and rolling hills dotted with sheep. Apparently, the “sound” in Milford Sound is actually a misnomer – it’s a fjord. A fjord is carved out by glaciers while a sound is carved out by a river – learn something new everyday!
IMG_5787.jpgA view of Milford Sound
IMG_5805.jpgOne of the waterfalls in the area
IMG_5821.jpg
IMG_5862.jpgThe scenery driving to the Sound

For the next few days we are going to explore the southern tip of the South Island and then head up to Christchurch for what will be – gasp – the last week of our trip! We’ll write more soon!

Posted by geldere 04.10.2012 15:45 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 4 of 52) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »