New Zealand, Australia, & Fiji! SCUBA, sailing, home exchanges…
Here We Go “Down Under”!
Have you been down under? Is Australia, New Zealand or Fiji on your bucket list? They are on ours! We’ve dreamed of diving the Great Barrier Reef, wandering the lands of The Lord of The Rings, exploring the rainforests and reefs, plus seeing koalas, kangaroos, penguins and Tasmanian devils. Our five month, twelve home exchange adventure begins in just a few weeks!!
Don’t pinch us – if this is a dream we don’t want to wake up!
Tom and Sheila’s magical New Zealand / Australia / Fiji odyssey
1) Sydney home exchange (AUS) – Jan 5-19
2) Christchurch home exchange (NZ) – Jan 19-25
Queenstown /Doubtful Sound /Fiordland south island road trip (NZ) – Jan 25-Feb 1
3) Taranaki home exchange (NZ) – Feb 1-8
4) Taupo home exchange (NZ) – Feb 8-18
Sailing charter, Auckland (NZ) – Feb 19-26
5) Gulf Harbour home exchange (Auckland, NZ) – Feb 26-Mar 5
6) Hobart home exchange (Tasmania, AUS) – Mar 5-17
7) Torquay home exchange (Melbourne, AUS) – Mar 17-26
8) Perth home exchange (AUS) – Mar 26-Apr 8
9) Clear Island Waters home exchange (Brisbane, AUS) – Apr 8-22
10) Redland Bay home exchange (Brisbane, AUS) – Apr 22-29
Drive coastal road Brisbane to Cairns, stopping in Whitsundays (AUS) – April 29-May 2
Liveaboard scuba dive boat, Great Barrier Reef (from Cairns, AUS) – May 3-6
11) Innisfail home exchange (Cairns, AUS) – May 7-17
12) Savusavu home exchange (Fiji) – May 17 – Jun 2
How did we organize a five month trip with twelve homes in different cities in three countries?
Our odyssey evolved through luck, good timing, and using the many tools available on homeexchange.com. It started with one offer from Brisbane, then a couple more from other Aussie cities wanting the same timeframe. As our dream of spending 4 – 6 weeks in Australia became a real plan for 2017, we happily accepted those offers and decided to try to add Tasmania and New Zealand by sending out offers of our own. Success! Just when we thought we were all set, a family from Sydney wrote that they needed an emergency replacement exchange for their Colorado ski trip. Their airfare was already purchased and could we help? Sure! For a grand finale, a couple from Fiji was looking for a last-minute exchange at the exact same time that we were going to be away at a non-simultaneous exchange in Norway last summer. That was the perfect icing on our multi-layered Oceanic cake.
So, for 4 1/2 months of our 5 month adventure we will stay in a local’s home in exchange for them staying in our home. The other 2 1/2 weeks we’ll be staying on a scuba diving live-aboard, chartering a sailboat and staying at bed and breakfast inns on various road trips.
The real topper has been how genuinely friendly ALL the people have been! And remarkably, not only those we’re exchanging homes with. Several who weren’t interested in exchanging have offered local advice and even dinner invitations! We’re betting that time with locals will be as memorable as the penguins, koalas, kangaroos and scuba diving!
How can we afford this?!?
The only way we could possibly manage this five month / three country / 8 flight adventure financially is via home exchange. Everyone understands the dramatic cost savings for lodging (and usually car rental too), but we love the additional benefits: a kitchen, washer/dryer, entertainment systems, wi-fi and space for both of us to work, sightseeing advice, and living like a local in a home with personality. Tom is even exchanging golf clubs at several homes! Lifelong friendships are an additional bonus! It will be a fantastic journey and would not have come together without homeexchange.com.
Home exchange logistics
We’ve had 20 home exchange experiences so far and this will be the first time we’ve organized so many on one trip. These exchanges will be a mix of simultaneous, non-simultaneous, and hospitality. Some are in the heart of cities or suburbs; others are along beaches or rural settings. Most include a car and we include our car for their stay in Colorado. You wouldn’t believe the spreadsheets we have created to track all the details, including phone numbers, addresses, directions, special requests, and when they will be visiting our home. Are you curious about how home exchange works? Read our stories here.
Remember that our home in Colorado has the opposite seasons to all these “down under” locations which added a challenge for scheduling. Most don’t want to come to Colorado in our winter unless they are skiers. So that is why most of the exchanges are non-simultaneous. Two of the homeowners have already stayed in our home while we were in Scandinavia, some will be here while we’re in their homes and others will schedule their Colorado visit later. Pretty cool, eh? For our trip, we are hitting the southern locations in January through early March and then moving north later in the trip to follow the best weather.
We’ll share fun photos, videos, stories and reviews along the way, so please join us on your favorite social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and here at Romancing the Globe Travel Blog. Add your suggestions!
Your advice, please!
Suggestions for excursions or experiences?
National Parks, Tours, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Museums, Coastal small towns, Great Ocean Road, Beach cafes, Wineries, lodging in Whitsundays, Australia and lodging near Queenstown/Fiordland, New Zealand.
Suggestions for golf courses?
Especially in the Brisbane, Sydney and Perth areas where we have the most time. New Zealand, too!
Suggestions for SCUBA diving?
Great Barrier Reef, outer islands and also the west coast north of Perth, Ningaloo Coast. Live-aboards?
What local non-profit organizations do you know about?
We’ve been invited to be Ambassadors for Visit.org so we keep our eyes open for non-profits that have a good reputation for doing great work in the community and allow visitors or volunteers, but don’t exploit children or animals.
We’re interested in visiting or learning about animal rescues / nature conservations, etc. and local non-profit organizations that support animals, humans, nature, or indigenous culture awareness.
Please, let us know if you’re aware of any.
What lesser known areas should we visit?
Your suggestions changed our plans to include Tasmania and fly to/from Perth rather than drive. Thanks!
New Zealand, Australia, Fiji images
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