Yes, it is worth it!!!
Less than a year after arriving home from the first Australian trip, plans were being made to return, this time during the traditional American two-week Christmas holiday. Snow and ice wouldn't be a problem in New Zealand and we would arrive back in Birmingham tanned after enjoying a brief summer in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere winter. Just six days before we left, Birmingham had snow and ice that kept schools closed for a day. And while we were away, winter weather made its threat to the Birmingham area again. It was really nice sitting on a balcony overlooking Sydney's beautiful Pittwater in summer clothes while reading Birmingham's weather forecast of snow showers on the Internet.
Thanks go to Mrs. Meredith Price, Vice President, Vacation Department of All-Seasons Travel of Birmingham (and the parent of two of my former students at W. J. Christian School) and Mount Cook Line of Christchurch, New Zealand, for their help in putting together a trip designed to meet our specific needs.
We really enjoyed being with old friends including Ian White, Grade 4 teacher at Avalon Public School in Sydney and his family and Jenny and David Griffiths who accompanied us to Kings Cross and Manly and introduced us to the famous Possum Magic lamingtons. The exchange rate was great in both New Zealand and Australia so we ended up buying more than we could put in our two small suitcases and carry-on bags (we had been determined to travel light after taking everything in the house on the last trip). We even got to feed and pet kangaroos, but stayed clear of the emus as they looked rather mean. I have a hat on in the above picture because we were told to always put on sunscreen and wear a hat going outside in the summer since Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Don't I look beautiful?
Click here to read about our first trip to Australia and New Zealand in June of 1996.