A Holiday to Remember

Christmas Vacation in New Zealand and Australia

Back to the land down under? Traveling at one of the busiest times of the year? Paying more for the privilege of traveling in the Southern Hemisphere's "high" season? Enduring nonstop flights of twelve to fourteen hours? Arriving at an airport after a fourteen hour flight only to be told that there is still a plane at your assigned gate and it will be at least 45 minutes before you can get off the plane (and then have less than two hours to get through customs and to another terminal for your connecting flight)? Finally getting to the Birmingham International Airport after 22 hours on planes and in airports only to find that the jetway is broken and everyone has to deplane by the back stairs (and you're sitting in the front of the airplane)? Getting home on Friday night and going back to school on Monday morning with your body still thinking it is midnight? We sure didn't have these problems on our first trip in June of 1996. (Of course it was in our summer and I was on vacation from school.)

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?

New Zealand Adventures

Australian Adventures


Click here to read about our first trip to Australia and New Zealand in June of 1996.


For more personal accounts of Australian travel, please go to this site:

Charles Buchanan's Australian Expedition. My son loves to travel as much as I do and has been to Australia twice.


If you have any questions or comments, please send a message to Madeline Buchanan.

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