In case you lose track and want to check back to see where we are, where we’ve been and where we’re heading, the broad outline is this: a tour in Vietnam first — heading from north to south with few days in Cambodia in the middle. Next, it’s Australia’s Gold Coast for a few days, then about 3 weeks in 6 spots throughout New Zealand, heading south to north. Then 12 days in Melbourne and 7 days in Sydney, then home. 4 of us (Tim, Rebecca, Genevieve, Jonah) are together the whole time. Hannah joins us just for Asia. Claire joins us for NZ with a bit of Australia on each side of that.
Here are the details:
- T, R, G, J head to Vietnam on Feb. 7. Our flight stops briefly in Hong Kong. We arrive on the morning of the 8th and spend two nights in Hanoi .
- The nights of Feb 10 and 11 we will sleeping on a boat in Halong Bay and hopefully kayaking in caves. We’ve been warned it will be cold, then checked — seasonal temperatures are in the 18-23 degree C range — I think these Canucks will be fine.
- We return to Hanoi on Sunday Feb 12. Hannah flies in from Toronto that night to meet us.
- It’s then time to begin the trek south. We fly to Hue on Feb. 13 then drive to Hoi An. We’re there Feb 15-17.
- Feb. 17 we fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia to visit the temples of Angkor Wat for a couple of days.
- On Feb. 20 we fly to Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon) and tour the tunnels there on the 21st.
- On the 22nd we go to the Mekong Delta for one night. Floating markets here we come!
- Then it’s back to HCM for a crazy travel weekend. Feb 24/25 sees H flying from HCM to Toronto via Seoul, C flying from Toronto to Brisbane via Hong Kong, and the other 4 flying HCM to Brisbane via Bangkok.
- We spend one night near the Brisbane airport since we arrive late, then 4 nights in a town called Uki, near Murwillumbah, near the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia. (Home swap #1)
- Then it’s on to NZ on March 2. First stop is Queenstown, where we’ve “booked a bach” for 4 nights and are excited to visit Milford Sound.
- We drive north from there, stopping for one night near Fox Glacier to break up the trip.
- Next is 4 nights near Abel Tasman Park (Home swap #2), in the northwest corner of the south island.
- We were then going to go across the south island to Kaikoura, but the road into the area from the north sustained earthquake damage in November so is closed. The detour would have added many hours to our trip in both directions, so we adjusted our itinerary less than a month before our departure. We’ll take the ferry to the north island on March 11, enjoy an afternoon in Wellington, then stay 3 nights at a farm in Greytown (Home swap #3). We’ve heard there may also be a beach house available.
- Next is Hawke’s Bay/Nelson for 5 nights, where home swap #4 is in home #2 of home swapper #1 — she’ll be staying at our place in Canada for a week or so in late February in exchange.
- We continue the drive north toward Lake Tarawera (near Rotorua) for 5 nights in an area that looks like it has lots to do (Home swap #5).
- We then fly out of Auckland on March 24 for Melbourne. 5 nights near the CBD there (Home swap #6), followed by a week at Mill Valley Ranch (we hope!) which is about an hour out of town. Claire flies home just before we go to MVR — she never did like camp.
- On April 5 we fly to Sydney, to wrap up the trip with home swap #7 for a week before arriving back in Toronto on April 12, just in time to celebrate Easter with the whole family.