Why is this post called “Hayden and Rachel’s ‘Motor Trend Recap'”? Because when I tried to explain to Hayden what I was going for with this post — basically a summary of the highlights and final impressions of our trip — Hayden said, “Oh! Like how, at the end of ‘Motor Trend’s Top 10 Best Driver’s Car’ video, they have a recap about all the cars. Like that???” I thought it was really funny that he had selected such a specific example. Thus, this is our “Motor Trend Recap.” The title is for us to understand, and for you to be vaguely confused about.
At the end of the trip, we were both getting pretty tired and ready to go home, but satisfied with what the places we had gone and things we had done. We were happy with the number of countries and cities we had gone to, because we had gotten a good feel for the places we liked the best and would return to for a longer period of time on the next trip. Before the trip, we had planned so meticulously that we had worried that if we had problems getting from one place to another, all of our non-refundable bookings would lose us a lot of money. Our plans went, well, just as planned. Pretty much without a hitch. So in the end, our compulsive detailed planning made the actual trip a lot easier, since we didn’t have to worry about booking anything while on the road.
The first time around, we really needed the rental cars (which were fun) to see everything and easily haul our stuff. If we did it again, we would try to stay at places longer to avoid spending money on the rental car and below 25 fees. Oh, and because this is a Motor Trend Recap, we have to say that the fan favorite rental car was the Holden Barina RS. You go, Chevy!
We wouldn’t do Great Ocean Road again. It was overrated compared to the incredible west coast of the south island in New Zealand, which I wouldn’t mind driving again. Tasmania, by comparison, had wildly windy roads EVERYWHERE, which required constant attention and were a little too dangerous for a pleasant cruise.
In Australia, our favorite place was Cradle Mountain National Park. In the future, I would definitely do the Overland Track and explore the national park some more. Though we hadn’t initially planned on seeing Launceston, we ended up liking it better than Hobart. Launceston has an airport and it’s closer to Cradle Mountain than Hobart is, making Launceston a great home base for Tasmania backpacking activities and the like. If someone were going to Hobart, however, the highlight for us was the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, which we would highly recommend.
The highlight of New Zealand was… most of New Zealand. The Queenstown/Glenorchy area, in particular Glenorchy, was probably our favorite populated area of the country. Staying in a farm cottage in Glenorchy and at Peppers in Queenstown is part of our dream future trip! My #1 favorite of everything that we did in the whole of 1.5 months of travel was our ride at Dart Stables in Glenorchy. The ride was absolutely incredible and a must-do for me in Queenstown. We loved the Routeburn Track and really want to try more Great Walks — collect them all! There are a few on the north island that look very interesting…
Miyajima was the favorite of Japan. Hayden was surprised that a tourist location could be so peaceful and wonderful. I LOVE JAPANESE PEOPLE!!! Hayden found another, longer hike on Miyajima, so some trip in the distant future might include real hiking in Japan. We also both enjoyed seeing my Japanese relatives in Tokyo, and would incorporate that into future trips. I’m thinking we might stick around Tokyo longer and take day trips to Mount Fuji or Nasu or elsewhere.
We had an amazing time and have no regrets about our trip itinerary. Flying home through Canada was the cheapest and least sketchy option, but it also made customs a lot easier and I’d definitely consider purposefully buying a connecting flight through Canada next time.
This has been Hayden and Rachel’s Motor Trend Recap. Thanks for reading!
> Please note that the featured image is taken from a previous post.