The OzNzOdyssey: Top 10 Experiences

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Full of culture and physical activities, both New Zealand and Australia taught me to leave my comfort zone and live life actively. With so many amazing things to do, I have compiled my top ten experiences Down Under!

New Zealand


Blackwater raftinging in New Zealand

1.) Auckland 

I absolutely fell in love with this city. The most populated city in New Zealand, it’s unique for so many reasons. My favorite sights included the Wintergardens, The Viaducts, Sky Tower and Queen Street. I spent an entire day just wandering around the city and seeing where it would take me. Needless to say, I never got bored.

2.) Blackwater Rafting

I never would have thought that I would find myself rafting, in the dark, on the other side of the world! It was the most challenging activity but also the most exhilarating. I plunged a couple hundred meters down a cave and then rafted in the dark! THIS is why New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world! 

3.) CanyonSwing

One of the most terrifying bungee jumps in the world, I chose to do “The Chair,” which was a 109 meter fall and a 200 meter swing. With more than 70 jump styles, the Canyon Swing in Queenstown rivals other bungee jumping places around the world as the scariest plunge! Tipping over backwards on a lawn chair, this was the most thrilling thing I have done Down Under.

4.) Hobbiton

I got on my inner nerd at this beautiful movie set in Waitomo. I walked around on a guided tour where Frodo and his friends lived from the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series. Many working holiday participants serving as tour guides, and it’s no wonder why! Hobbiton, also serving as a farm for sheep, is a popular choice for both work and holiday. It’s beautiful and super relaxed, who would want this as their ‘office?!’ 

5.) Queenstown

When I arrived, it was the beginning of the Winter Festival and fireworks went off just as I was pulling in to the city. Activities took place all over town including: street acts, snow sport competitions, art galleries, and music concerts. This little town packed a big punch with things to do and breathtaking scenery to compliment! Loads of backpackers filtered in and out of this town, making it incredibly easy to grab a beverage and make new friends along the way!

Australia


Sydney

6.) Sydney

One of the most beautiful cities in Australia, Sydney is the center of business, nightlife, and tourism. It had long been a dream of mine to visit and I quickly learned there is so much more to Sydney than meets the eye! I walked the Harbor Bridge through its cabling, visited Madame Tussauds wax museum, and shopped around Paddy’s market in Newtown, Sydney’s alternative artsy center! 

7.) Surfing

Another challenging activity, I surfed for the first time at Byron Bay, and left feeling so satisfied! Having never tried to surf before just the opportunity to learn was amazing. Turns out that it’s just a challenging as it looks! Whether or not you succeed, a chance to catch some sun on the beach and say that you gave it your best shot is good enough for me.

8.) Whitsundays

Where do I even start, this place blew me away! As an added plus to my trip here we sailed on one of the fastest ships on the east coast. Located at uninhabited Whitehaven Beach a couple kilometers away from Airlie Beach, the Whitsunday channel hosts a plethora of marine life including sea turtles, whales, and dolphins. The cherry on top? The Great Barrier Reef reaches down there as well, which allowed for awe-inspiring snorkeling opportunities. This cruise had many options to hop around this beach as well as Hook Island. You CANNOT visit Australia and not go to Whitsundays! 

9.) Snorkeling

I have snorkeled before, but how can anything compare to what you see at the Great Barrier Reef. The array of species that you see here is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. Luckily I didn’t see any sharks, because I’m not gonna lie, I was mildly terrified of that. Invest in an underwater camera and maybe you’ll even get to take a selfie with Nemo and Dori!

10.) Fraser Island

Best things about Fraser Island: Dingos, shipwrecks, and high altitude lookouts. I went on the Cool Dingo Tour and experienced it all. I left feeling adventurous and yearning for more extreme trails and hiking! 

As my Australian tour guide told me, all you need is “A sense of adventure and a sense of humor, and you are already ¾ of the way into your experience here down under!” I’ve got to say, he’s completely right. Australia is one of the best places to backpack around. It’s got loads to see, super safe and friendly!  

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