We enjoyed a habit of once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences, and our retirement kickoff to the South Pacific was no exception, as we visited Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands per the path and locations highlighted in orange boxes on the two maps below. To see photos and videos from the various parts of the trip, you can click on either the boxes on the map or use the navigation panel at left. (Note that there is one link on the navigation panel that you cannot get to from the map, but which you can click either right here or on the panel: Rich's travel blog.
We also took about a dozen short (1-3 minutes) videos at some of the destinations. Those are listed immediately below the maps; you can click on the thumbnails to watch them.
The links in the nav panel and the arrows in the maps below reflect the order of the trip, Port Douglas (jumping-off point for the Great Barrier Reef) having been our first stop and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands our last. We spent two weeks each in Australia and New Zealand and 5 days on Rarotonga. The itinerary was long and complex and we were very greatly aided by a fantastic travel agent which we hereby plug: "About Australia". If you're ever planning a trip to that part of the world, by all means look them up.
|Silky Oaks Rainforest Lodge. A brief walking tour of our idyll in the rainforest.|
|Didgeridoo player. (What is doing with his hands?)|
|Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta helicopter ride.|
|Panorama of Queenstown from 1500' above the town||Craters of the Moon thermal park near Taupo|
|A rain-swept boat ride on Doubtful Sound||Waiotapu thermal park near Rotorua, complete with geyser|
|Fox Glacier hike||Jetboat ride, a slot canyon squeeze, and a wonderful geothermal waterfall frolic|
|The beautiful Pillars B&B in Taupo|