The Dream Vacation

There is such an ache in my heart for travel and adventure. It’s a difficult hobby to have when you’re a newlywed, and even though I feel like Andrew and I are just a year or so away from not being able to call ourselves newlyweds anymore (*cue sad violin music*), we still feel like it most days. Traveling can get so expensive so quickly, but we have been blessed to go on some wonderful trips in our first few years of marriage. (We’ve become quite skilled in the tricks of cash-back credit cards and online flight deals.) The trip we never in a million years thought we would be able to pull off in our 20s is now a reality, and I can’t even begin to tell you how pumped we are. :D

My freak-show planning skills have served me well. Thanks to some amazing deals, some serious self-control, and lots of obsessive research and price checking, I’ve found a way to make our dream vacation work for an affordable price. And fun fact – we were literally a few hours away from booking a totally different vacation when I had a sudden urge to check some other deals, and I am quite certain the Lord dropped everything in my lap to make it all possible. In late September of this year, Andrew and I will be headed to the two places that we have forever desperately longed to visit – Australia & New Zealand. :D

 I am still a little bit in the surreal stage, but the flights are booked and there’s no turning back now. ;) We’ll mostly be staying in Brisbane, Australia and Queenstown, New Zealand (any readers out there live close-by?). We are currently trying to plan our sight-seeing and activities without going insane. Turns out we could be in Australia & New Zealand for a month each and still not see everything I’d like to, but we’re working on narrowing down the excursions. ;)

Here are a few things we’ve got on our list so far.

Byron Bay is about an hour away from where we plan to stay in Australia, and it’s home to some gorgeous ocean views and this adorable little lighthouse.

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Apparently, they have an excursion that lets you kayak with wild dolphins, so I’m completely on board for that. ;)

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And the beach looks rather fabulous too. :)

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We’re trying to decide between a few national parks, but the Glass House Mountains and Lamington National Park are definitely contenders.

003953	Glass House Mountains	View to Glass House Mountains

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The spot I think I’m most looking forward to visiting is Fraser Island – home of a 75-mile beach, turquoise waters, and a bunch of wild dingoes!

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Australia Zoo is also near the top of my list. We’ll pay our respects to precious Steve Irwin and maybe even hold a koala. :)

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After four days in Australia, we’ll be headed to the south island of New Zealand, because it’s so close and fantastic that we felt it was necessary.

Lake Tekapo is one of the first places we want to see. LOOK AT THAT WATER.

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There’s a cute little chapel nearby that we hope to visit called the Church of the Good Shepherd.

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We’re guessing Milford Sound will likely be the craziest and most awestruck day of our lives. It’s a 3-hour drive to get there, but we’ve read the road is absolutely fantastic. And it might as well be called Neverland. PERFECTION.

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We’re hoping to go on a sight-seeing cruise and maybe go kayaking as well.

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The weather in Milford is supposed to be a little unpredictable, but even if it’s foggy, it still should look pretty epic.

Mountain Reveal In Milford Sound 2

We’re praying for blue skies like these though. ;)

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Hobbiton will be one of our last spots to visit in New Zealand when we have an 11-hour layover in Auckland. I searched flights for quite a while to try to find a long enough layover, because I knew it would be Andrew’s favorite. We’re not crazy nerds, but we are super fond of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. ;)

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Aerial view of 'The Hobbit' film set, Matamata, Waikato, New Zealand - 04 May 2012

I’m sure we’ll have a hundred other things to see and do by the time it gets here, but those are most of the highlights so far. Anybody been to Australia or New Zealand recently and have advice for us? :)

~Cait

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