Trip 1 - NZ, Aust, SE Asia 2012-13

November 2012 to October 2013

Map overview of trip:


Our first trip was, in total, a year, leaving the UK at the beginning of November 2012.

We started in Bangkok in Thailand, travelled west by train to Kanchanaburi and surroundings, then train to Chiang Mai before returning to Bangkok and flying on to Auckland in New Zealand.

In New Zealand we had six months, travelling round in a small campervan which we hired in Christchurch, after flying there from Auckland. Over Christmas we had a housesit, looking after 4 cats and changed the campervan for a car for three weeks, returning to the campervan in January. We finished NZ in the North Island dropping the campervan off at Auckland. We had another housesit in the North Island for a week and stayed with relatives for a couple of weeks, but other than that we stayed mainly on campsites with kitchen facilities, a few without facilities and, on a few occasions, free campsites in remote places.

In May 2013 we flew to Sydney and had three months on the East coast of Australia, where we rented another old, small campervan travelling from Sydney to Cooktown, with a couple of weeks with friends in Brisbane. We basically followed the coast but had a couple of excursions into the Outback. We finally flew from Cairns to Melbourne to go skiing with a friend and then stayed with other friends for a week .

Our final leg was a flight to Singapore, where we left some of our luggage, before flying to Bangkok and making a slow journey back down through the southern part of Thailand and Malaysia to finish back in Singapore, collecting our luggage and flying back home. We wanted to do the whole journey by train, but were advised the southern part of Thailand was unsafe, so we flew from Surat Thani to Kuala Lumpur, caught the train back up to the north of Malaysia and then continued by train.We eventually ditched the train in favour of the busses due to the unreliability of the trains, one broke down on us, another was cancelled due to a derailment. Bus travel is much better!

For more details of each part of this trip see below, it's divided into the following:
  1. Thailand, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi and Sangkhlaburi
  2. New Zealand, Part 1, North of South Island
  3. New Zealand, Part 2, East and SE of South Island
  4. New Zealand, Part 3, East, SE, SW, West and North coastal tour of South Island
  5. New Zealand, Part 4, South of North Island
  6. New Zealand, Part 5, West to Bay of Plenty, North Island
  7. New Zealand, Part 6, Midlands to East, North Island
  8. New Zealand, Part 7, Northland, North Island
  9. New Zealand, Part 8, Bay of Plenty and East Cape, North Island
  10. Australia East coast, New South Wales
  11. Australia East Coast, Queensland Part 1. Brisbane to Winton
  12. Australia East Coast, Queensland Part 2. Winton to Cooktown
  13. Australia East Coast, Queensland Part 3. Forsayth to Daintree & Great Barrier Reef
  14. Australia South Coast, Victoria
  15. Singapore & South Thailand, Part 1
  16. Singapore, South Thailand & Malaysia, Part 2
  17. Details of the costs of this entire trip. It includes all expenditure of our year away and can act as a guide should you be planning a similar trip. If you would like further details please insert a comment at the end and we will post a reply below your question. 

Thailand: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi and Sangkhlaburi:

  1. Arrive Bangkok from Heathrow UK: Bangkok
  2. Train journey to Kanchanaburi, Bridge on the River Kwai and Death Railway: Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, Bridge on the River Kwai & Death Railway, Kanchanaburi to Sangkhlaburi
  3. Bus journey to Sangkhlaburi: Sangkhlaburi
  4. Bus journey to Kanchanaburi, train journey to Bangkok, sleeper train to Chiang Mai: Kanchanaburi to Chiang Mai
  5. Chiang Mai tiger sanctuary, rock climbing, jungle trek: Chiang Mai 1, Chiang Mai 2, Chiang Mai 3, Chiang Mai 4, Chiang Mai 5
  6. Overnight bus journey to Bangkok, flight to Auckland, New Zealand: Bangkok 2

  • New Zealand Part 1:
  1.  Arrive Auckland, North Island on flight from Bangkok: Auckland, Auckland 2
  2. Arrive Christchurch, South Island on flight from Auckland, collect campervan, camp in Balmoral, visit Hanmer Springs, drive to Kaikoura: Christchurch to Kaikoura
  3. Whale watching, Kaikoura: Whales
  4. Kaikoura to Whites Bay: Marlborough
  5. Whites Bay to Picton & Queen Charlotte Sound: Picton
  6. Nelson, Motueka, Able Tasman NP: Nelson, Able TasmanAble TasmanAble Tasman 2 
  7.  Pohara, Paynes Ford, Farewell Spit, Kawatiri Junction, Lake Rotoiti, Greymouth: Pohara to Greymouth
  8. Arthurs Pass, Cave Stream: Arthurs Pass
  9. To Irwell, Christchurch for Christmas and New Year: Irwell, Christchurch, Irwell 2, Irwell 3, Rakaia Gorge, Irwell 4, Banks Peninsular
  •  New Zealand Part 2:

  1. Irwell to Wanaka via Lake Tekapo & Lake Ohau: Irwell, Lake Ohau, Wanaka
  2. Wanaka to Invercargill: Roys PeakInvercargill 
  3. The Catlin Coast: Catlin Coast, Catlin Coast 2 
  4. Otago railway line cycle way, Naesby, Danzy's Pass, Duntroon, Omarama: Otago cyclewayDanzy's Pass 
  5. Aoraki Mount Cook: Mount OlivierMount Cook 
  6. Peel forest to Christchurch: Peel Forest
  • New Zealand Part 3:
  1. Christchurch, Akaroa (Banks Peninsular), Irwell: Akaroa
  2. Oamaru, Moeraki Boulders: Oamaru, Moeraki Boulders
  3. Dunedin, Otago Peninsular, Balclutha: Dunedin
  4. Te Anau, Milford Sound: Milford Sound
  5. Queenstown, Remarkable Mountains: Queenstown
  6. Fox Glaciers, Kiwi's at Otariko, Arthurs Pass: Otariko, Fox Glacier
  7. Karamea: Karamea
  8. Murchison, Lake Rotoiti, Marlborough, Picton, Queen Charlotte Track: Karamea to Picton
  • New Zealand Part 4:
  1. Ferry from Picton to Wellington: Wellington
  2. Martinborough, Cape Palliser, Ngawi, Greytown: Wellington to Greytown
  3. Holdsworth & Taumatawhakatangihanga koauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu: Holdsworth
  4. Cape Kidnappers, Napier, Te Mata Peak, Taihape: Cape Kidnappers 
  5. Manawatu Gorge, Palmerston North, Levin: Manawatu Gorge 
  6. Otaki Forks, Foxton, Bulls, Wanganui: Otaki ForksWanganuiWanganui 2Whanganui River Road 
  • New Zealand Part 5:
  1. Wanganui, New Plymouth, Mount Taranaki: New Plymouth 
  2. Froggat Edge: Froggat Edge 
  3. Otorahanga, Waitomo: Otorahanga, Waitomo 
  4. Te Awamautu, Cambridge, Matamata: Cambridge 
  5.  Rotorua: Rotorua
  6. Okere Falls, Mount Maunganui, Katikati: Katikati
  • New Zealand Part 6:
  1. Katikati, Coromandel Peninsular (Hot Water Beach, Cathedral Cove, Cooks Beach, Thames, Route 309): Hot Water Beach, Coromandel
  2. Whakatane, Waiokea Gorge: Whakatane 
  3. Gisborne: Gisborne, Gisborne 2, Gisborne 3
  4. Wairoa, Lake Waitaremoana: Wairoa
  5. Napier: Napier
  6. Lake Taupo, Tongaririo National Park: Taupo
  7. Whakapappa, Aratiatia rapids, Rotorua: Tongariro

  • New Zealand Part 7:
  1. Orewa, Wenderholm Regional Park, Scandrett RP, Leigh, Pakiri Beach, Mangewhai Head, Whangarei: Northland
  2. Abbey Caves, Whananaki, Russel, Opua, Kawakawa, Paihia: Northland 2 
  3. Haruru Falls, Waitangi, Kerikeri, Matauri Bay, Matai Bay: Matai Bay 
  4. 90 mile beach, Cape Reinga, Rarawa beach, Rawene: 90 mile beach 
  5. Koutu boulders, Dargerville: Koutu boulders 
  6. Kauri museum: Kauri museum 
  7. Helensville, Waihi, Katikati, Maketu: Katikati
  • New Zealand Part 8:
  1. East Cape: Opotiki, Gisborne, Tolaga Bay, Cook Cove walkway, Anaura Bay: East Cape
  2. Te Araroa, East Cape Lighthouse, Te Kaha: East Cape 2
  3. Matata, Maketu, Katikati, Auckland: Maketu

  • Australia East Coast - New South Wales:
  1.  Sydney, Blue mountains: Penrith, Glenbrook, Wentworth Falls: Sydney, Sydney 2, Blue Mountains
  2. Three Sisters, Tuggerah Lake, Karuah: Blue Mountains 2
  3. Cape Hawke, Seal Rocks, wingham Brush Nature Reserve, Harrington: Cape Hawke
  4. Crowdy Head, Diamond Head: Crowdy Head
  5. Port Macquarie, Smoky Cape Lighthouse, Nambucca Head: Port Macquarie
  6. Dorrigo, Urunga, Coffs Harbour, Woombah, Lismore: Dorrigo
  7. Cape Byron: Cape Byron
  • Australia East Coast - Queensland Part 1:
  1. Brisbane, Mount Barney: Brisbane, Brisbane 2, Mount Barney
  2. Brisbane, Glasshouse Mountains, Giraween NP: Brisbane 3, Giraween NP
  3. Roma, Carnarvon NP: Carnarvon NP
  4. Sapphire: Carnarvon to Sapphire, Sapphire
  5. Ilfracombe: Ilfracombe
  6. Winton, Larks Quarry: Winton

  • Australia East Coast - Queensland Part 2:
  1.  Corfield, Hughenden, Porcupine Gorge: Corfield
  2. Charters Towers, Townsville: Charters Towers
  3. Billabong Wildlife Sanctuary: Billabong
  4. Mount Stuart, Wallaman Falls, el Arish, Mission Beach: El Arish
  5. Paronella Park: Paronella Park
  6. Malanda, Atherton Tablelands, Palmer River Roadhouse, Cooktown: Malanda
  7. Cooktown: Cooktown, Cooktown to Daintree
  • Australia East Coast - Queensland Part 3:
  1.  Mossman, Daintree, Cape Tribulation: Daintree 
  2. Mossman, Granite Canyon Park: Mossman 
  3. Mount Surprise, Georgetown, Forsayth: Mt Surprise 
  4. Atherton, Granite Canyon Park: Granite Gorge 
  5. Port Douglas, Great Barrier Reef, Cairns: Great Barrier Reef 

  • Australia South Coast - Victoria:
  1. Arrive Melbourne on flight from Cairns, Mount Buller skiing: Cairns to Melbourne
  2. Melbourne, Sorrento, Olinda, Belgrave: Melbourne, Melbourne 2

  • Singapore, South Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore Part 1: 
  1. Arrive Singapore on flight from Melbourne
  2. Singapore: Singapore, Singapore 2
  3. Arrive Bangkok on flight from Singapore: Bangkok, Bangkok 2, Bangkok 3
  4. Train to Petchaburi: Petchaburi, Petchaburi 2, Petchaburi 3
  5. Bus to Prachuap Khiri Khan: Prachuap Khiri Khan, Prachuap Khiri Khan 2
  6. Bus to Chumphon: Chumphon
  7. Bus & Catamaran to Koh Tao: Koh Tao, Koh Tao 2
  8. Catamaran to Koh Phangan: Koh Phangan, Koh Phangan 2
  9. Koh Phangan to Surat Thani then flight to Kuala Lumpur: Surat Thani
  • Singapore, South Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore Part 2:
  1. Train to Butterwoth, ferry to Penang, bus to Georgetown: Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur 2, Penang, Penang 2, Penang 3
  2. Bus to Taiping: Taiping
  3. Bus to Ipoh & Gua Temperung Caves: Ipoh, Ipoh 2
  4. Bus to Cameron Highlands: Cameron Highlands, Cameron Highlands 2
  5. Cameron Highlands to KL and on to Malacca: Malacca, Malacca 2, Malacca 3, Malacca 4
  6. Malacca to KL by bus, sleeper train to Kota Bharu: Kota Bharu, Kota Bharu 2
  7. Bus to Gua Musang: Gua Musang
  8. Train to Kuala Lipis: Kuala Lipis
  9. Bus to KL: Kuala Lipis 2
  10. Bus to Johor Bahru, taxi to Singapore: Johor Bahru
  11. Flight from Singapore to London Heathrow

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