I was in New Zealand for the month of November and Australia for December. This is the longest I have been away from home, but there has been little stress - travel feels quite natural.
Ok, that's a bit of a lie. There has been terrible stress at a few points. It hasn't been travel related so much as brought on by the emotional freedom of my day to day life on the road. Maybe, if you're unlucky, you'll get a diary on that at some point in the future.
My mind is at ease. During the flight to Singapore there were a number of unruly children and crying babies. I didn't care about any of it. It was completely irrelevant. The crying didn't harm my mood, I didn't want to lecture the parents of the poorly reared children, I didn't want to put duct tape over the mouths of the screaming kids. I just read my book with a smile on my face. In a sense I wasn't even on the flight. On the first flight of the trip from San Francisco to Auckland, my take was quite the opposite.
While my primary daily activity is leisure, I've made photography into my job. In a sense. So here we go.
[all of these photos can be found on my flickr page in full res, which is much nicer for the landscape photos]
My first big activity was the Tongariro Crossing hike on New Zealand's north island. The hike is around 20km with 1000m of elevation gain. The first photo is a picture of me.
trail to myself:
Vertical icicles, created the day prior:
A few days later I hopped in a rental car and headed off counter-clockwise from Christchurch, starting with a stunning drive through pastoral New Zealand:
there was a seal:
and some mountains:
and some sheep:
and a glacial fed river on the west coast:
I stopped off for a few days to do a hike of Franz Josef glacier. It was as amazing as the Tongariro crossing hike.
Then there was a very blue lake:
and a bird on my car:
and Milford Sound, which upon viewing I declared "there is nothing left to see."
Then more sheep:
and even some penguins.
I headed back to the north island for a week before heading to Australia. I got a tour of Wellington from a local who I had met on the south island a few weeks prior.
Then it was off to Rotorua for a walk around a steamy volcanic valley:
Then onward to Melbourne for a week:
and a drive along the great ocean road.
I drove inland, taking in an endless expanse of Australia's doomed agricultural lands:
I arrived in Mildura and took a tour of Mungo National Park given by a local aboriginal. The park contains ancient lake beds whose water disappeared during the last ice age. The oldest known human remains have been found in this park - over 40 thousand years old. The sand left from the lakes has been carved by the wind and rain through the years.
We got a move on shortly after I took this photo as the storm was rapidly approaching:
but we were rewarded later.
I took several days driving to Sydney. I stayed in the blue mountains, just west of Sydney, for four days, the highlight of which was a tour of the Jenolan Caves:
and I hiked this valley as well.
I spent two weeks in Sydney. Met some great people, whose photos I am not posting. heh. I tend to not have my camera out when socializing anyway.
The opera house gives a lot of opportunities for interesting compositions which escaped me before I saw it in person as I've seen the same shot of it one hundred thousand times in my life.
can't leave out the ubiquitous harbour bridge:
And I'll be back in a few months with more.