My favourite photo from our travels. Taken on an incredible hike up to the foot of Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand.
In September 2014 myself and my girlfriend travelled a full lap of the world. Driving 10,968 miles across 5 countries, 21 states, 22 cities and 28 national parks. An adventure I consider to be the best 4 months of my life.
We spent over a year planning our route and preparing for the trip. Pre-booking 9 Flights, 112 nights accommodation and 6 car hires. Having a well prepared itinerary helped us to relax, sit back and enjoy the experience. With no fee cancellations on our bookings we could still be flexible, spontaneous and deviate from the plan along the way.
Our journey started in Halifax, Nova Scotia and ended 28,750 miles later with Christmas in Sydney, Australia.
The contents of my backpacks… We travelled extremely light!
Our flight route around the world.
At Heathrow airport about to board our first flight.
To sample a variety of Canadian life we divided our time there across 3 smaller trips: driving east coast Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Short city breaks in Québec City, Montreal & Vancouver. And finally, hiking in the Canadian Rockies. We were overwhelmed by the kind, friendly and incredibly welcoming Canadians on the East Coast. We ate quality, local, fresh seafood most evenings and saw a our first wild moose while hiking on the Cabot trail.
Québec City quickly became one of our favourite cities and we timed our visit perfectly catching the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec. Equally well timed for me was Comiccon Montreal the following weekend!
We drove Highway 1 from Vancouver along Frazor Canyon to Banff, the most scenic days driving i’ve ever experienced. That was until we drove the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper! While hiking in the Rockies we encountered countless wildlife including elk, chipmunks, peka, big horn sheep & mule deer.
Taken from the top of Sulphur mountain, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.
Taken on a road trip from Jasper to Banff, driving along the Icefield Parkway.
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City, Canada.
Taken on a road trip from Vancover, Bristish Columbia to Jasper, Alberta in the Canadian Rockies.
Wapta mountain taken while hiking around Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada.
Peggy’s Cove was a lovely, quite fishing village with the famous Peggy’s Point Lighthouse.
A starfish spotted while paddling in the bath warm shallows on Victoria-by-the-Sea beach.
Peggy’s Point Lighthouse at the fishing village of Peggy’s Cove
West Coast America
We flew into San Francisco, California to start the America leg of our trip. We’d planned an ambitious 3.5 week road trip from San Francisco to LA crossing 4 states (Nevada, Utah, Arizona & California) and 6 National Parks (Yosemite, Death Valley, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon & Joshua Tree).
Our wildlife encounters continued with black bear sightings in Yosemite, coyotes in Death Valley & some minions in Universal, LA!
The diversity of the American national parks blew us away. One memorable road trip took us from the cold (32°f), rainy, green mountains and forests of Yosemite to the hot (109°f) sand dunes, salt planes and desert of Death Valley in just 7 hours. The giant Hoodoo amphitheatres of Bryce Canyon were also like nothing we’d ever seen before.
Hiking from the rim of the Grand Canyon down to the Colorado River was probably the most difficult day hike of our trip but an unforgettable experience.
Hoodoo and tree at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.
A Joshua Tree in Lost Horse Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave Desert.
Horseshoe bend on the Colorado river.
Mojave Desert, Death Valley National Park
Half Dome in the Yosemite Valley, Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite National Park, California.
The Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River, Page, Arizona.
Bryce Canyon, my favourite of the American National Parks.
Fiji & Australia
Two months into our trip we had a holiday, 11 nights all-inclusive on Naukacuvu Island, Fiji. At the time of booking it was hard to justify the cost of a luxury holiday in the middle of our trip, but after two months of travelling we were exhausted and Fiji-time was just what we needed. It was worth every penny.
The happy, generous, friendly Fijian people made us feel very welcome on their island and it was paradise. I learnt to scuba dive in the warm, clear waters around the island and saw manta ray, sting ray, sea snakes, lobster and every type and colour of fish imaginable.
After Fiji we got back on the road driving from Brisbane down the the gold coast to Sydney. On the way we saw lightning strike the Q1 building in Surfers Paradise, hand glided over Byron Bay & surfed in Manly.
We then continued along the coast driving to Melbourne. Australia was our favourite country for beaches and wild life encounters. We saw little blue penguins on Phillip Island, wombats in Wilson’s Prom and echidnas, kangaroos, possum, wallaby, red bellied black snakes & koala bears all over!
Taken from the Manley ferry at sea looking towards the Sydney Opera House.
The Twelve Apostles in Port Campbell National Park, Victoria.
Tasmanian devil taken at at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Surfers Paradise.
The eastern grey kangaroo is a marsupial found in southern and eastern Australia.
A wild lizard basking in the sun at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Surfers Paradise.
Bondi baths, taken while hiking along the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk.
Hang gliding over Tallows Beach, Cape Byron
New Zealand’s South Island
The final month of our trip was spent on the South Island of New Zealand. Our route started in Christchurch, we hired a car and drove the full length of the Island exploring Abel Tasman, Golden Bay, Arthur’s Pass, Mt. Cook, Lake Tekapo, Lake Hāwea, Fiordland, Dunedin and Queenstown.
We saved our favourite country for last and felt so at home while in New Zealand. The Kiwi’s are warm, welcoming, respectful and proud, the food world class and affordable, and the landscape is diverse and inspiring.
Some of my highlights include: the Nevis Bungy in Queenstown, visiting the Otago Penisula wild Albatross colony, seeing an avalanche while hiking the icefield to Muller Hut in Mt Cook national park, seeing Jupiter and it’s moons on a tour of the Mt John Observatory, playing Curling in Naseby, and cruising in the fjords of Milford Sounds.
Mackenzie Church, a place of prayer, reflection and worship on the shores of Lake Tekapo.
Colourful wild Lupin flowers growing at the shore of Lake Tekapo.
Queenstown on the shore of Lake Wakatipu and set against the dramatic Southern Alps.
Pink, white and purple, wild lupin flowers on the shores of Lake Tekapo.
A wild Kea providing some entertainment in a car park at Te Anau, Fiordland National Park.
Mt Cook national park was my most photographed location. A stunning place for hiking, surrounded by glaciers, snow capped mountains, glacial lakes and rivers and of course New Zealand’s largest peak.
A coastal walk from Farewell Spit in Golden Bay was one of my favourite hikes. Walking from the South Islands most northern tip, across the rolling hills and rugged coast line takes you to the sand dues and dramatic rock island arches of Wharariki Beach.
The unique turquoise waters, wild colourful flowers and remote mountain surroundings of Lake Tekapo made it our favourite place on the trip. It was the perfect place to relax and left us feeling inspired and energised.
These giant ocean rocks are on Wharariki Beach, Golden Bay, South Island.
Nugget Point is one of the most iconic landforms on the Otago coast.
A Scenic mountain view of Aoraki Mount Cook.
3 Sheep, seen while hiking a coastal route from Farewell Spit to Whariki Beach Golden Bay.