Singapore, New Zealand & Australia: By the Numbers


R&R, by the numbers, australia, new zealand, singapore, south island, campervanIn November, Kail and I took a monthlong R&R to Singapore, New Zealand and Australia (not to be confused with our three-week R&R to Australia, New Zealand and Singapore in 2015). I plan to make annual excursions to New Zealand. Kail disagrees — something about it being “too expensive” and “bank-account-draining.” Pffft.We’ll just have to move there. Because it’s the most beautiful place in the world.Overlooking Glendhu Bay from the Rocky Mountain Loop zealand, south island, lake tekapo, freedom campingRainbow over Lake Tekapo.This trip was longer — 27 days versus 21 days the previous year — and we had a full two weeks to explore New Zealand’s South Island only (whereas in 2015 we spent 10 days on both the North and South Islands). We heard from locals and other travelers alike that 10 days was absolutely not enough time, and many were even skeptical about two zealand, south island, franz josef glacierAt Franz Josef Glacier.milford sound, new zealand, milford sound cruise, south islandMilford Sound.The truth is, you could spend an endless amount of time camping (OK — “glamping”), hiking and appreciating New Zealand’s breathtaking beauty. Which, again, is why I need to live zealand, south island, hiking, diamond lake, rocky mountain loop trackWanaka and Glendhu Bay from the Rocky Mountain Loop zealand, south island, hiking, benmore lake lookout loopBenmore Lake Lookout Loop.We once again rented a campervan from Wilderness Motorhomes, which has a large selection of high-quality vehicles and excellent customer service. Wilderness provides customers copies of the NZ Frenzy guidebooks (PDFs to download and hard copies to use for the duration of your rental), as well as the company’s own freedom camping guide, the WilderNessts Camping Directory. Both guides were updated in 2016 with new/different zealand, south island, rippon vineyard, wanaka, wilderness campervanRippon Vineyard in Wanaka.We visited some of the same places from our previous trip — favorites including Glenorchy and Lake Tekapo (although this time we got stuck in the mud and reversed into a tree while being towed) — but, since we had more time and it was New Zealand’s spring instead of winter — we were able to make it to many more places this time around. Some new sites included the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, Wanaka, Milford Sound and the Fortrose zealand, south island, glenorchy, freedom camping, wilderness campervanFreedom camping at zealand, south island, glenorchy, freedom camping, wilderness campervanWe also “freedom camped” more nights (nine) on this trip and only stayed in holiday parks four nights. In New Zealand, self-contained vehicles are permitted to camp in designated zones — at beautiful sites along lakeshores, cliffs, beaches and other locations. The Department of Conservation also has campsites where vehicles (self-contained and not, depending on the site) can camp for nominal fees. And then there are holiday parks, which have power, freshwater, dump stations, showers, kitchens, laundry facilities and other zealand, south island, freedom camping, catlins national park, fortrose cliffsFreedom camping at the Fortrose Cliffs.This trip was the reverse order from 2015: We flew first to Singapore and spent three nights there, then headed to Christchurch for two weeks in New Zealand, ending with a week in Sydney, where we again stayed with my best friend from high school, Vicky, and her husband, David. We got to spend Thanksgiving with them, which was really nice, as they hosted a big dinner for about 20 people (and we got to cook too!).sydney, australia, sydney opera houseSydney Opera House.In Sydney, in addition to catching up with friends, we toured the Sydney Opera House, walked/ran the 11-km Coogee-Bondi trail and just enjoyed being at the beach/on the water. On our third annual trip (see what I did there?) we’re definitely planning to explore different parts of Australia.singapore, marina bay sands, gardens by the bayView of Marina Bay Sands from Gardens by the Bay.We mainly stopped in Singapore because 1) it’s a cool city and 2) New Zealand is so far away that you have to fly through Southeast Asia (coming from the Middle East) so it made sense to stop somewhere to break up the trip. (On the way back we did fly directly from Sydney to Dubai, which was 14 hours.) But also, I love Singapore and realistically would live there, if Kail or I had a job that could take us there. (I fully admit living in New Zealand is total fantasy.)We did a lot of eating, shopping and sleeping. And some running (though not nearly enough to undo all the dim sum and noodle soup). I’ll write more about each part of our trip in future posts.Of all the places you’ve traveled, where would you like to visit again?

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

3 thoughts on “Singapore, New Zealand & Australia: By the Numbers

  1. Wow wow wow! Kail should know happy wife, happy life! I bet you all will be going back. Too bad I will have two kids and you won’t be able to pack me in your suitcase. Looks amazing. NZ is so laid back and wonderful. One of my friends from law school actually lives there. She married a Kiwi 🙂


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