It is a 30 hour trip from NYC to Perth, Australia—probably the farthest that you could go from one place to another and one of the most difficult places to reach. Once you set foot in Perth, you’ll feel like you’re in California but the air, breeze, sky is somehow different, and wonderfully so. Olive groves, eucalyptus trees and kangaroos surround you as you drive down the main highway south to Bunker Bay. Splurge and stay at your own private beach house, like the Bunker Bay Beach House, or stay at the Yallingup Caves House Hotel nearby in Margaret River – there’s prime wine country and a beautiful botanic garden attached as well. The beach is amazing, if you’re not too afraid of great whites!
Spend your days visiting neighboring wineries and olive groves. Everything is at a tranquil pace, so take your time to enjoy the warm weather and sunshine. The best place for dinner is definitely at the Wise Vineyard Restaurant and a chic place to get some lunch is the Bunker’s Beach Cafe. If you have it in you, go to the nearby grocery, try some Vegemite and grill your own kangaroo at your rental – barbecue is the real spirit of Western Australia! The city of Perth is also amazing, visit the yummy brewery/restaurant of Little Creatures and take a walk around downtown Freemantle before heading back to the airport.
From Perth it is a four hour flight to Cairns, on the north east coast of Australia. When I travel I like to skip the big cities and go straight for something off the beaten bath. Cairns is by no means small, but it’s a lovely hub for those wishing to visit the great barrier reef. Snorkeling and diving is amazing off the coast, and you can book a trip to fish with the local Aboriginal tribes. We caught crabs, sting rays and fish for an authentic dinner right next door to the lush mangrove forests—bug spray is a must!
New Zealand is just a three hour flight from Australia, much closer than it seems! We skipped Auckland, and started our trip in Rotorua. The city of Rotorua is a lush, green, happy landscape. Experience the traditional Maori dinner and dance at Rotorua’s natural springs and sample delicious New Zealand beef and lamb at all the local restaurants.
Fly from Rotorua to Christchurch, stay at a local B&B and visit the beautiful bay before heading on the Alpine Express to Greymouth.
The Alpine Express is a train that goes through some of the most amazing parts of NZ otherwise inaccessible by cars. Freezing temperatures outside the Alpine Express train cars make it difficult to click a shutter, but all the passengers stand outside anyway to get the beautiful shots of swiftly changing landscape all around. At Greymouth, stop for a flight of local beers and delicious burgers at Speight’s Ale House before picking up a rental car.
Drive to Franz Josef Glacier, and along the route, admire the beautiful Tasman Sea, stop at Hokitika for some coffee and antiquing before arriving in Franz Josef. Stay at the Westwood Lodge for amazing view of the glacier. The next day, take a helicopter tour of Franz Josef, or do some ice climbing! The glacier is gorgeous, and slowly receding and huge! In the afternoon, warm up by taking a quick trip to the hot springs, where you can choose from three different temperatures.
After getting your fill of glacier, head to the car again and drive along the most scenic route I have ever seen in my life, to Queenstown. Queenstown is beautiful, but the route there is even more so, beginning with gorgeous Lake Wanaka and then rolling hills and vineyards that make you feel like you’re in Tuscany. Along the way, take winery tours, stop at fruit stands, and take photographs of the adorable sheep. Once in Queenstown, you can take day trips back out to see wine country or go to the top of the mountain and luge! Luging is one of the most fun family friendly sports, there are various cement tracks along the side of a hill, and participants can race down the tracks in little rubber sleds on wheels – lots of fun! If you have more time, visit Dunedin, I did not have a chance to see it, but there’s a beautiful Albatross Colony there and it resembles Ireland I hear… something to save for my next trip!
Yallingup Caves House Hotel
18, Yallingup Beach Road
Yallingup WA 6282 Australia
+61 8 9750 1888
Special Thanks to Honeymoon/Travel Agent Cory Orchin at Frosch Travel
Jen Huang approaches weddings and lifestyle photography with a romantic, fine art sensibility. Known for her fresh, luminous portraits, Jen crafts thoughtful, simple images that evoke the look of water colors and oil paintings. Her passion for photography is heightened by her continued dedication to medium format film, and her work has appeared in editorial all over the country.