Tom and I arrived in 2016 before most of you! We spent three weeks over the New Year in Sydney and New Zealand. How un-American of us to take such a leisurely vacation, but when you go that far it makes sense to stay as long as you can and to see and do as much as you can.

Our first week was spent exploring Sydney. I faced my fear of heights and white-knuckled the Sydney Harbor Bridge climb. Don’t let the pic on this post fool you  — I am shaking in my boots!  But, I put on a good face, tried NOT to look down and enjoyed the climb down the most.  Actually, it was  more terrifying watching other people do the climb while on the ground. But when in Rome…. I am glad I did it and have the pics for proof.

The rest of our time in Sydney was occupied by La Boheme at the Sydney Opera House, seeing Geoffrey Rush as King Lear in the Sydney Theatre Co.’s production, touring the Blue Mountains and enjoying the summer weather in the Southern Hemisphere.

sydney summer     After a week in Sydney we were off for two weeks of driving on both the north and south islands of New Zealand. The second badge of honor was earned driving on the LEFT!!! Mind you, it took me a good two days before I got behind the wheel. It took a lot of concentration and Tom’s shrieks of horror and pleads of “keep left, KEEP LEFT!!!!” were most helpful.

We drove the entire north island, crossing mountain ranges, visiting some of the most stunning seaside resorts and marveling at the acres and acres of timber plantations.  new zealnd 2

Crossing from the north island to the south island was a ferry zealnd  3 ferry

And to cross the width of the south island we boarded the Tranz Alpine Railway from Greymouth in the west to Christchurch in the east making it a perfect trifecta! Planes, Trains and Automobiles!!