(Bert) This is the point when I usually give out a lot of statistics. However, I don’t have all the numbers yet. You would think in six months of travel I would have had time to enter bird and animal sightings data into my computer and edit my photos. We were so busy sightseeing and I was so anxious to see another bird or take another photo or visit another natural wonder, that I’m way behind in the computer stuff.

Here is a quick list of what I do know:

RV travel = 19,360 miles (includes 4571 during caravans)
Air travel = 23,410 miles
While calculating the last number I noticed that the distance between New Zealand and Australia is about the same as between Los Angeles and Houston, both around 1370 mi.

For photos, I’ve edited and culled up to mid October, producing 5750 saved photos. I still have about 4000 more to edit.

In the area we traveled in Queensland, we had the potential of finding 446 bird species, some of which are quite localized or rare. We found 63% of those during our 1 mo. visit.
Birds seen during Queensland caravan = 280 species
Birds seen during New Zealand caravan = 112 species

There is overlap between Australia and New Zealand species lists, although it will take a bit of research (or data entry) to calculate the total species found, since some of birds are the same species but have different names in the two countries. Nonetheless, I am quite surprised at the large number of species we found in New Zealand, especially since we only visited one off-shore island. Of the mainland inland species, we only missed four endemic species: Great Spotted Kiwi, Blue Duck, Yellow-fronted Parakeet and Brown Creeper.

The total number of species seen in the whole 6 mo. is much larger, but again, since I haven’t entered the sightings into my computer, I don’t know what that is. I do know that the vast majority were birds I had never seen before.

(Shari) After six months on the road in a strange country, you can imagine how anxious I was to get home. It has been a wonderful trip but the USA is still the best country in the world to live. We have been blessed to see some fantastic sights and have had many wonderful experiences. Highlights are many but here are a few in no particular order: driving the Outback, seeing Uluru, viewing the march of the Little Penguins on two occasions, experiencing a flooded river crossing in the Outback, living with kangaroos and wallabies all over the place, fossicking for precious stones, eating kangaroo meat, meeting many wonderful friendly people, traveling to the Barrier Reef, boating in the rainforest, seeing Frazier Island in a small 4-wheel-drive bus, feeding many types of colorful birds by hand, eating tasty oranges, meat pies, pavlova, and great breads, learning two very different cultures, hearing new phrases (e.g., no drama, no worries), hearing new words for common things (e.g., torch for flashlight, punet for a pint-like measure, bum nuts for eggs), viewing the fantastic scenery throughout Australia and New Zealand, and last but not least viewing the Yellow-eyed Penguins up close and personal. All of this I got to share with my soul mate Bert and later with special friends. As my granddaughter once said “Granny you have the best job in the whole world”. I tend to agree with her. Nevertheless I am ready to come home. In one of my past homesick moments, I made a list of what I missed. Again in no particular order: Wal-Mart, gas stations that use credit cards at the pump, grocery stores that have a huge variety of choices (especially in salad dressings), real baked beans, tasty sausages of any kind, real pizza, real Mexican food, using the same toilet twice in a row, heated restrooms, heated/air-conditioned churches, Bisquick, U.S. low-cost pricing, foods like green chilies, dry drink mixes like crystal light lemonade, dry stir fry seasonings, cinnamon rolls, peanut butter oatmeal cookies, fruit pies other than apple, and Cool Whip. Did I mention Wal-Mart? I am also ready to wear something other than black pants and a black shirt. I hope our visit increased some Australians and New Zealanders views to the better of the USA. I know I understand them better. Would I do this trip again? You betcha!

Appendices  Photo Books  Table of Contents