Australia / New Zealand (January - March 2014)

As an American, Australia is a wild experience.  In many ways, it is quite similar to the US: It has a comparable history and an equally diverse terrain, yet it is about as far as a landmass can be.  But it is what sets Australia apart that I love the most.  On this trip, I visited Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Ballaraat, Perth, and Cairns where I was able to dive the Reef and see giant clams large enough to sit inside (I did not try this since the clams were home).  In my third visit to Sydney, I happened across a modest little beach road called Marlo Road before moving on to New Zealand in the midst of the cicada apocalypse.  Queenstown, New Zealand is a powerful place.  It is an alpine town rich with Maori history and young adventurists.  I dodged insane downhillers while hiking the Tiki trail and toured Glenorchy (where Lord of the Rings was filmed).  New Zealand is pure beauty.