Australia & New Zealand 2014


Basic allocation of days: Auckland (4 Nights), Queenstown (3 Nights), Sydney (7 Nights), Port Douglas (4 Nights)

Day 1, June 23rd:

  •  AUS-LAX – 3:50-5:06p (Delta)
  • LAX-Auckland – 10:30p-6:30a (Air NZ)

Day 2, June 25th:

  • Arrive Auckland
  • Accommodation: Waldorf Stadium Apartment Hotel
  • Rental Car pick up at airport

Day 3, June 25th:

  •  Free day

Day 4, June 26th:

  •  Taste of Auckland – City and Wine Tour

Day 5, June 27th:

  •  Waitomo Caves & Hobbiton

Day 6, June 28th:

  • Auckland Zoo
  • Queenstown: June 29th-July 1st

Day 7, June 29th:

  • Flight Auckland to Queenstown – 8:45a – 10:30a (Air NZ)
  • Accommodation: St. James Apartment
  • Shuttle Service to Hotel
  • Check-in & walk to Gondola Ride & luge on top of Bob’s peak
  • Shotover Jet tour

Day 8, June 30th:

  • Doubtful Sound Tour

Day 9, July 1st:

  • Walter Peak Farm Tour

Day 10, July 2nd:

  • Flight from Queenstown to Sydney – 4p-5:15p (Air NZ) (Bev 9a-10:30a)
  • Rental Car Pick up at airport

Day 11, July 3rd:

  • Sydney Harbour Cruise, Taronga Zoo & Sky Safari car
  • Sydney Opera House Tour

Day 12, July 4th:

  • Blue Mountains & Wildlife Featherdale Tour – full day

Day 13, July 5th:

  • Free Day

Day 14, July 6th:

  • Hunter Valley Wine Tour – full day – (Jerretta & Bryan only)

Day 15, July 7th:

  • Aquarium

Day 16, July 8th:

  • Free day

Day 17, July 9th:

  • Flight from Sydney to Cairns – 9:15a – 12:20p
  • Shuttle to Port Douglas – arrive hotel 2pm
  • Accommodations: A Tropical Nite Holiday Townhouses

Day 18, July 10th:

  • Great Barrier Reef & Glass bottom boat tour with adventure snorkeling

Day 19, July 11th:

  • Kuranda Rainforest with Gondola Ride & Rail ride (possible)

Day 20, July 12th:

  • Free day – Cairns Night Zoo BBQ and Evening Tour

Day 21, July 13th:

  • Home


Download Packing List (pdf)



  • Each person had a backpack – even the 4yr old. Most of them we had already, but I did splurge on one larger backpack for myself:
  • eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible. This bag was great for the whole trip and could handle whatever I threw at it. However, the flights outside of the US have weight restrictions for carry-ons. I knew the dimensions were fine, but most of the time the weight was too much. The limits were 7kg (15lbs). In fact, most of our packs were over the limit on the first leg. We had to shift some items around to balance out. So, even though it meets the size requirements, it is easy to pack it to beyond international weight restrictions.
  • I also purchased several different packing cubes – color coordinated for each person. The packing cubes were awesome, and I think will be a regular addition to all of our trips.
  • Some completely clear cubes for toiletries and snacks for the flight. The clear cubes were great because you could see what was in them. However, the one I used for toiletries did not hold up – the plastic pulled away from the zipper. I tried to repair with duct tape, but it still fell apart. It was pretty useful for the snacks though. Suggestion – do not overfill – even slightly.
  • I also got flat toiletry bags for myself and my husband (color coded as well). The flat toiletry bag worked well for my husband, but it was less effective for me on this trip. I put my makeup in it as well as some other items, but it was pretty small for a long trip. I used it for a shorter trip and it was useful.
  • We already had our checked luggage – 1 roller bag/person – 4 carry-on size and 2 larger pieces.
  • I did purchase a new purse – mostly because I already needed one! The purse was awesome and just want I needed!


Kindle, Tablet, Laptop, DVD player, iPhones/touch/shuffle, headphones, camera – all with appropriate cables & chargers!

We used everything we took multiple times. The portable DVD player, tablet & Kindle were good for the longer bus rides. We also ended up watching some movies at night in the apartments when the kids were too tired to do anything else. I was against taking the DVD player, but I’m glad we did now.


I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what snacks to pack for our long haul flights. They had to be packable, some nutritious, some fun, some that could be used as a meal if we had trouble with GF options. So, here’s what I came up with:

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced yellow bell peppers
  • sliced cucumbers
  • celery with peanut butter
  • grapes
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • pretzels
  • almond butter power balls
  • salted mixed nuts
  • salt & vinegar chips
  • cliff protein bars
  • granola bars
  • organic lolly pops
  • organic gummy worms
  • organic gummy bears
  • gum
  • chocolate covered coconut
  • chocolate turtles
  • trail mix

Follow-up note: We ate most of the items throughout the entire trip and added some other things along the way. For other parts I made peanut butter crackers and hard-boiled eggs, too. So glad we had them. I ate a ton of the veggies & fruit during the first long haul as the GF option was terrible!  One note – when we landed in NZ,  we had to dump out all of the fresh fruit & veggie due to the bio laws there. Just something to keep in mind…