Ten favourite photos

I could have agonised over this selection for much longer, but I’ve given myself the length of the train journey from Newcastle to Grantham to choose my ten favourite photos from our year away.

There were a few points where I wondered whether we should have bought a fancy camera but our pocket Kodak served us pretty well.

Our stops in China and the (rainy, rainy) Cook islands did not make the cut, but NZ, USA and Oz are represented.

So, in no particular order (but with some logic applied)…

1. The Robs by the Lake

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A couple of our friends came over from the UK to tour around the south island with us. Halfway through our time away it was lovely to see some familiar faces and we had a fantastic time together.

This was taken at one of many scenic photo stops, I think around the lakes in Otago. It’s one of the most stunning parts of NZ, with its combination of mountains and light blue water. Right after this we were attacked by vicious sand flies.

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Melbourne #3 – St Kilda, exhibitions and the city from above

On Saturday we took a walk from our accommodation in South Yarra to the suburb of St Kilda. It was a pretty long walk that took us through Albert Park as we dodged the droves of weekend joggers.

Once in St Kilda we rested our feet and enjoyed cake on Acland Street, which was once lined with cake shops but now only a handful remain. Those that are still there have huge display windows full of an array of tasty cakes.

We also visited Luna Park, an amusement park opened in 1912. Wandering around the traditional carousel, rollercoaster and arcades felt like being in a time warp. There were some great family photos on display from locals’ parents and grandparents that had come to the park as children.

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Melbourne #2 – tramcar dining, rooftop drinking and Aussie wildlife

One of our trip highlights was dining on the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. I’d booked for their ‘early dinner’ sitting well in advance as I read it was pretty popular.

We approached the stop behind a young couple dressed to the nines, the woman in sky-high stilettos. We were seated in a carriage with them and three other couples but our booth felt quite private. The experience was everything I’d hoped; we had a delicious 3 courses with fillet of beef, a double dessert and unlimited booze! The soft burgundy surroundings felt authentic and it was a novel way to see the city at night.

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Melbourne #1 – visa, jail and a pizzeria fail

We almost didn’t make it to Melbourne. As I attempted to check on my newly-installed Air NZ app a message told me to check that my passport/visa was valid for my journey. Oh f*ck.

When we were booking our flights we’d thought to check that our NZ working holiday visa would also grant us access to Aussie and then completely forgotten about it. All non Australians/Kiwis need a visitor visa even for a short stay. Luckily, I frantically filled in a form online for our eVisitor visa that afternoon and the approvals came through the next day – Rob’s only arrived at Wellington airport!

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