Trip planning, part II

A few posts ago, I laid out a plan for the places we’re going to go on our journey. In that itinerary I was doing my best to follow good weather since it’s no fun if everyone is freezing cold. After talking to some people and reviewing our plans, I’ve changed them around a bit to be a bit more linear.

So, to start:

First stop North Island, New Zealand. We’ll be doing a fairly typical tourist circuit there. I’ve ditched the option of going to South Island – that is truly cold and most places don’t have central heating! I have no intention of willingly spending  a good degree of time waking up in a 40 degree room. North island: Glow-worm caves, maori carvings, mountain biking in redwood forests, hot beach, wineries and of course, Hobbiton.

Then we’re off to Sydney for doing Sydney things! No real plans here – the opera house, the aquarium are on the list but we’ll figure this out when we get there.

Then to Cairns for Barrier Reef snorkelling. The 2 Australians I’ve spoken to about this both turned up their nose at Cairns for being ridiculously touristy. They also told me they’ve never been there. I’m not worrying about it too much given that we are tourists, and I still want to go to the Reef. I only hope it’s not too bleached before we’re there.

From Cairns to Alice Springs and a drive and camping at Uluru, or Ayer’s Rock, in the center of the country, which is one of the wonders of the world, depending on what site you read.

From there to Darwin in the north of Australia, which is tropical – rainforests, crocodiles. There’s also a festival while we’re there, and supposedly a great water park.

From there we go to Bali for a bit. I’m thinking this will be a good relaxation point for us to have some beach and down time after being on the move during the last 2 weeks. There’s amazing dance and culture there as well, so it won’t be all sitting on the beach…or maybe it will.

From there to Cambodia where we’ll again most likely do the traditional tourist route of going from Phnom Penh to the beaches to the southwest to Siem Reap. From there we have to get to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam do fly out to Japan, but that we’ll figure out when we get there.

Then to Japan for 3 full weeks. Starting in Tokyo and making our way southward to eventually fly out of Osaka is the current plan, though again this part needs a bit of planning too. The only thing I have booked so far is our tickets to the Studio Ghibli Museum, because they sell out fast! Tickets for September went on sale June 1st and my first choice date was sold out by June 2nd!

From Japan we have to make our way to Romania somehow. I’m thinking most likely this will involve a stopover in Doha or Dubai, depending on which airline we end up taking.

I cut out short stopovers in Singapore (from Bali to Siem Reap, now flying directly to Phnom Penh) and also a stopover somewhere between Vietnam and Japan (cheaper flights to stop in Taipei). I think we’ll all be happier to be on fewer plane flights and don’t necessarily want to be in a place for just 2 days anyway.

So that’s the plan for the first part of the trip! Next step is planning out what we do once we get to Romania and also a place to stay for when we arrive in New Zealand. The rest of the time I think we can book as we go, with the exception of North Australia where it’s high tourist season and we’ll want to book a bit in advance.

I just cannot wait to get going.


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