“No worries – she’ll be right, mate!”
Welcome to New Zealand, the Land of the Long White Cloud. Yes, the Kiwis (New Zealanders) speak English, but there are certain local phrases you won’t hear in any other English-speaking country….and Bro, it’s time to learn the lingo.
And what could be a better way to do that than on Fantasy’s 2020 39-Day Australia & New Zealand Caravan? The best way to travel “Down Under” is by RV, where you can explore the amazing environment up close and really get to know those elusive Aussies and Kiwis. To start you off, check out Fantasy’s Guide to Aussie and New Zealand Language below the article to see a few examples of what you'll need to know!
It all begins when we gather in Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island, where we spend two nights in a first-class hotel – just in case we’re a bit knackered from the long flights. While we’re in town, we experience more of this English-themed city on our bus tour and visit the International Antarctica Center.
The adventure begins the next day when we pick up our mini-motorhomes, stock them up with groceries and head south to Oamaru – all the while mastering the art of driving on that “other” side of the road – yes, they drive on the left down here. Next stop is Dunedin – a city built and influenced by early Scottish settlers. We enjoy another city tour here, and visit Lanarch Castle and Gardens, the only castle in New Zealand.
Next stop is Queenstown, one of the country’s most famous and picturesque destinations. Located on the shore of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the Remarkables mountains, it’s breathtakingly beautiful. There’s also lots to do here – we ride a gondola up the mountain and then luge back down. We visit nearby Arrowtown, built by Chinese gold miners who settled here in the late 19th century. And then we arrive in Wanaka – another charming small town and the gateway to the South Island’s rugged west coast.
Our first west coast stop is Franz Josef Glacier, where we can choose to drive or walk right up to the glacier itself. There’s even plenty of time for an optional helicopter flight above the glaciers and around Mt. Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain. As we continue up the coast, we can stop in Hokitika to visit pounamu (New Zealand’s iconic greenstone) being carved by Maori craftsmen; take a short walk to the Punakaiki Rocks, aka the Pancake Rocks, (as they resemble stacked pancakes;) and the not to be missed seal colony at Tauranga Bay.
After camping in Westport and then spending a night in Picton, we drive our rigs on to the local ferry, which will take us to Wellington, the beginning of our adventures on the North Island.
We journey up the east coast to Napier. A massive earthquake totaled this town in 1931, and it was rebuilt in that period’s Art Deco style. Then it’s on to Lake Taupo – New Zealand’s biggest lake – and north to the geothermal wonderland of bubbling mud pools, hissing fumaroles and volcanic lakes in Rotorua. We learn about New Zealand’s working sheep dogs at the Agrodome Farm Show and enjoy a traditional Maori Hangi feast and cultural show in the evening.
We leave Rotorua’s bubbling pools behind and continue to Waitomo where we board small boats to tour Ruakuri Glow Worm Cave, a vast underground cavern. Glow worms are actually beetles, and the females light up in order to attract a mate.
The climate is becoming more tropical as we continue north. We stop to camp right next to the three kilometers of golden sand at Orewa Beach. In Paihia, we visit the Maori Treaty House, where the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document was signed in 1840.
Next, it’s south to Auckland, the country’s largest city. Here, we return our rigs and spend two nights in a first-class hotel. We marvel at the views as we have lunch at the famed Sky Tower and then experience this dynamic city from the water on a harbor dinner cruise.
G’day! Just when we thought we were all good on Kiwi slang, we move on to Australia, where they speak a completely different language. Here, we don’t wear jandals, we wear thongs. A chilly bin is an esky. Aussies don’t go tramping, they go bush-whacking.
We fly from Auckland to Cairns, the home of the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral bar. We’ve got two nights in a beach-front hotel, a cruise with lunch on the reef and plenty of time for swimming and snorkeling. And if we don’t want to get wet, we board a semi-submersible submarine and cruise at fish-level just below the water’s surface. We head inland aboard the Koranda Scenic Railway to The Wet Tropics rain forest, and there ride the Sky Rail gondola above the trees, enjoying the magnificent views.
Next, we fly to Brisbane, and pick up our Aussie motorhomes and shop for supplies. First stop is the Australia Zoo, founded by the late Steve Irwin and still inhabited by some of Australia’s unique wildlife – koalas, wombats, kangaroos and of course those famous crocodiles. After a relaxing evening in our RVs, we begin our drive down the Gold Coast, with koala and wombat visits along the way.
As we journey south, the Gold Coast becomes the fabled Sunshine Coast with even more beautiful beaches. Briefly leaving the shoreline, we head inland to the magnificent Blue Mountains where we ride the world’s steepest passenger incline railway into an ancient rain forest and step into a glass-floored gondola suspended over a steep gorge.
Our final stop is Sydney, Australia’s largest city. We return our RVs and have three nights in a hotel. Fantasy pulls out all the stops here with a guided city tour, including visits to Bondi Beach and the Sydney Harbor bridge. We view the city’s dynamic skyline from the water on our harbor cruise and tour the Sydney Opera House. We’re left with free time on our last day to further explore the city or (only for the brave) to climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Then it’s our Farewell Dinner before we catch our flights home.
But it doesn’t have to end here. We can opt to take Fantasy’s 6-day Aboriginal Outback Tour, first flying to Alice Springs and a visit to the School of Air – which has been providing education via radio communications to children living in remote outback areas of the country for 70+ years. Alice is a true outback town – and home to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), which consists of doctors on call who can reach any patient within two hours in 80 percent of the country, again using radio communications.
Boomerangs anyone? We learn how the Aboriginal people live in the wild, their native food sources and experience their artwork. In the evening, we enjoy an authentic Aboriginal bush dinner and cultural show while watching an incredible sunset. Then it’s off to Ayers Rock, known as Uluru by the native Aboriginies. We experience this amazing landmark during both sunrise and sunset. It rises more than 1,150 feet from the ground, but even more striking is it extends even further below the surface.
The next morning, we fly back to Sydney, where we have yet another free day to explore this incredible booming city. Then, it’s homeward bound.
Fantasy’s 2020 Australia and New Zealand tour takes place March 24 through May 1 and with such an exciting itinerary, there are only a few remaining spaces. In 2021, it is scheduled to depart on March 23. And for those adventurers interested in the Real Outback Add-on, it takes place May 1 through 6, 2020. These are corkers, mate – a once in a lifetime adventure!
Fantasy’s Guide to Aussie and New Zealand Language
“Very well, thank you”
“Box of Birds”
Everything will be OK
She’ll be right, mate
Remote rural area
Holiday Park/ Campervan Park
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