The crazy side of travel: Unfortunate happenings during our round-the-world trip!

Massive puking, motorcycle accident, torrential rain, horrible allergic reactions, and lost luggage: there are quite a few unfortunate events and happenings that we encountered on our round-the-world trip!  When you travel in foreign countries, you are constantly experiencing  strange food, different climates and insects, transportation schedules, and very different cultures… so it’s very likely that many unfortunate happenings may and WILL occur, especially in the span of an entire year!  Of course at the time these happenings occurred, the situation was usually distressing, sad, exhausting, or humiliating… but looking back, some of these stories (and photos from the happenings) sure are FUNNY!

Here is a listing of crazy, horrible, and WEIRD stuff that happened to James and I during our year traveling through 17 different countries:

 

Starting the trip off on the wrong foot
February 26, 2013: On the very FIRST legs of our round-the-world trip, we had issues every step of the way:  Our first Milwaukee flight was delayed because of snow, and then because of the delay we barely made our Minneapolis flight to Los Angeles!  Next, after having dinner with friends in LA during our 5-hour layover,  they dropped us off at the wrong terminal (our mistake, actually!) and we had to RUN through several terminals to get to the right place, then wait FOREVER through security, and then BARELY made it to the gate on time… just to find out the flight was DELAYED 3 hours!  Oh yea… AND I just then discovered I LEFT MY NEW RAINCOAT AT OUR FRIENDS’ APARTMENT!!   Fortunately, because of the flight delay, there was extra time and our friends so GRACIOUSLY came back to the airport to return my jacket I left at their place!!

 

Waiting in the pouring rain for a bus that would never come…

Tropical downpours: Not fun when you’re outdoors
March  4, 2013: While traveling by foot on the main island of Tahiti with all of our luggage in tow, we got caught in incredible POURING RAIN!!  I’m talking drenching buckets of rain here!  So then we spent almost an hour (in the rain) waiting at a bus stop for a bus that never came (see a funny video of James in the rain here)… and then when we finally found a bus to jump on, we were DRENCHED, the bus was SUPER FULL, and we had to sit in wet and humid misery for 30+ minutes until we got to our next hotel. Yikes!

 

Arriving in Japan with NO luggage!
March 14, 2013: On our flights from Tahiti to Los Angeles to Tokyo, the airline lost all of our luggage at LAX, and we didn’t receive our stuff until 24 hours later! SO upon arriving in Tokyo after 33 hours of traveling, we had to wear our same gross clothes to bed and around town the next day with only a few toiletries!

 

Ummm…. why is the top of my ear TWICE the size it should be!???

Gigantic ear!?
April 14, 2013: One night while in Guangzhou, China, my right ear randomly started to feel WARM and itchy. At the time, James and I were just watching a movie in our hostel on our laptop, and I ignored the feeling for a couple hours, assuming it was nothing. When I finally looked in the mirror, to my horror I saw that the top part of my ear was INFLATED—like twice the normal size!!  (it kind of looked like Will Smith’s ear in the movie hitch!) It was late at night at that point and we weren’t sure what to do, so I put hydrocortisone cream on my ear and took some benedryl. Fortunately, the swelling went down within a few days, but it gave us quite a scare at first! (side note: I woke up the next day with four HUGE welts on my arm… so I assume whatever bug bit my arm must have also been the culprit of my blow-up ear!)

 

Hiking, food poisoning, and FOG!
April 20, 2013: In Guilin, China, I got a HORRIBLE stomach sickness the day before my birthday, and to make a long, crazy story short: we spent the entire day hiking up a mountain as I was suffering with crazy stomach pain, using disgusting floor-hole-toilets along the way, just to finally reach the summit—which was SUPPOSED to be one of the most incredible views!—but instead it was FAR too foggy to see more than five feet in front of us! This story is still probably one of the most silly and ridiculous stories we tell people about our travels. Read the whole absurd story here.

 

Held up with sickness in Huế
June 5, 2013:  James came down with the flu—or something pretty horrible like the flu—when we were in Huế, Vietnam. He was TOTALLY knocked out and in a lot of pain, it was pretty horrible. On the first night of his sickness, I decided there was NO WAY I was going to make him suffer on a train the next morning as planned… so then I spent a few hours rebooking trains, planes, and hostels that we had scheduled for the next week and arranged for us to stay put in Huế a few extra days so James could recover and take antibiotics (which TOTALLY helped!) Fortunately, we were at a REALLY nice–and cheap–hostel, so it was a very pleasant place to be held up for some extra time.

 

The scariest experience during our travels…

The Vietnamese tour from hell
June 20, 2013: We booked a 3 day, 2 night tour from Vietnam through the Mekong Delta, ending in Cambodia. This was one of the only times we just randomly booked something without researching first. In short, the tour was boring and had poor tour guides, almost every detail of the trip was completely misrepresented in the tour description, we were dropped off at random villages (in the middle of nowhere) without directions, our hotel room on the last night had a RAT scurrying around under our beds, and at the border crossing our tour guide got CRAZY aggressive, told us he could throw us in jail, and almost assaulted James!!  If you want to read the whole story, including photos and videos, click here.

 

Puke-fest in Siem Reap
June 29, 2103: In Siem Reap, Cambodia, after a day or two of exploring gorgeous temples, James caught some kind of stomach bug and ended up puking SEVEN+ times throughout the night!  It took over a day and a half for him to recover from it all, so we didn’t end up exploring as many of the temples as we expected!… but he did eventually recover and then we were on our way to the next city.

 

Road rash! 🙁

Thailand Motorbike Spill!
July 8, 2013: One day while James and I were exploring our new little Thai island home, Koh Phangan, James took a turn on a sandy area of the road on the motorbike (not even going all that fast) and he took a minor spill!!  The bike basically turned out to the side and slid across the sandy asphalt. Luckily, I wasn’t on the bike with him at the time, nor was James injured all that much: he only suffered a little bit of road rash (his hands got scraped up)… but the rented motorbike got quite banged up!  Fortunately, since Thailand is SO CHEAP, it only cost an extra $100 or so for the mishap, and James’ hands healed up in a few weeks.

 

Our South Africa welcome gift: diarrhea & vomiting!
October 6, 2013: Pretty much upon my arrival to Cape Town, South Africa, both James and I came down with some crazy stomach bug and spent a good 24+ hours of puking, diarrhea, and overall nausea. James actually had to call in sick at work for the day because of it. Fun fun!

 

What do you do when you wake up to your lip looking like THIS!??

Lip injection gone wrong!?
October 27, 2013: One morning in Cape Town I woke up with a strange feeling in my lip.  When I looked into the mirror in the bathroom I saw that my upper lip on the right side was completely blown up! It seriously looked like I had gotten a lip injection or something and it had gone horribly wrong! I was SUPER freaked out so we rushed over to the urgent care at a local clinic to get it looked at.  In the end, they couldn’t quite explain the problem other than a strange allergic reaction, so the doctor gave me benadryl for a few days and said I should just wait for it to go down… which it did after a day or so. Meanwhile, James commented that he actually heard a mosquito buzzing around in his ear earlier–in the middle of the night– and sleepily thought, “I should probably get up and kill that mosquito or it may bite BreAnn!” and rolled back over in bed. Yup, James, assuming that damn little pest may have been the reason for my crazy lip, you might have done me a solid if you had just killed it! 🙂

 

Stolen from right under my nose
November 2013: The apartment we were living in while James worked in Cape Town had a weekly maid-cleaning service… and for a couple weeks there was a different cleaning woman coming in to clean. Well yea… at one point we discovered that she stole 10 bucks from my purse!!  Of course, it was only $10, but we were upset and astonished that she actually had the guts to steal from me while I was in the same apartment!! (she was upstairs and I was downstairs.)  Oh well… could’ve been worse!

 

Photo of infant James with his grandfather

Heartbreaking family emergency
November-December 2013: While we were living (and James was working) in Cape Town, we got the worst news possible: James’ grandfather, who he is very close with, had fallen ill and was given only a few months left to live! We immediately rebooked all our flights and changed all plans so that we could head back to the US for Christmas in a few weeks to spend some quality time with his grandfather and the family. Then, not too long thereafter (maybe one week or so) we THEN got word that his grandfather had unexpectedly taken a turn for the worse and may not even make it another day or two at most!   We were absolutely devastated!!!  But we acted quickly and swiftly, and within a couple hours I had rebooked James’ flights again, helped him pack up, and got him on a plane THE NEXT MORNING back to Sacramento, California! (I stayed behind to wrap up the apartment and take care of everything else meantime.) It took over 24 hours of traveling, but James made it JUST IN TIME to spend valuable time with his grandfather (who kept asking about his whereabouts as James was in an airplane somewhere over the Atlantic), and he was actually there that night with his grandfather when he passed away. We were both so happy that James made it just in time and was able to communicate with and hug his grandfather before he passed, but overall it was just such a heartbreaking time for both of us. 🙁  (If you want to read the full story, click here.)

 

Stupid rookie travel mistake
January 8, 2014:  When we flew from California to South Korea, we made the BIGGEST “rookie” travel mistake by not remembering/realizing: When you travel WEST from the U.S. over the Pacific, you are arriving 1-2 days AFTER you departed!  We were actually only stopping in Seoul for one day (or so we thought), so we had booked a hostel and ongoing flights for what we thought was the next day. In short, the hostel and flights were, in reality, booked for the same & previous day!!! And we only realized that upon arrival at our hostel, when the owner exclaimed that we hadn’t shown up last night for our reservation! We were HIGHLY confused at first, but then got on the phone immediately to rebook everything, and were SUPER LUCKY that it all worked out in the end (after spending $300 in change fees)!!  Read about the whole ridiculous story here.

 

Victory! We set up our tent for the first night! Now ONLY if we had remembered to close the window flaps…

Soggy sleeping bags
January 21, 2014: On our FIRST NIGHT of our 20-day camping tour through Africa, it started to rain in the early evening. We happened to be at the campground bar at the time it started raining (yes, they actually had a bar—with cold beers!), and it didn’t occur to us that we SHOULD CLOSE THE TENT WINDOWS!!… and by the time we DID remember, our sleeping bags and some of our belongings were DRENCHED! Ugh!  Talk about a “fun” first night for sleeping in a tent!!  🙁

 

Sad stolen pants
February 4, 2014: During the three days we were camping out at Lake Malawi, we had hung our laundry out to dry… and somebody stole James’ zip-up cargo pants overnight RIGHT OFF THE LINE!  Sure, you may think, “But it’s only pants!?” But to James, it was one of only 3 pair that he had for the whole year!… oh yea, and this particular pair of pants also converted into his only pair of shorts. Sad!
Sad stolen pants!

 

Such an “ideal” situation: Setting up tents in the mud IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ANT HILL!!

Fire ant attack!!
February 6, 2014: After a painstaking 10+ hour trip sitting in THE BACK of a hot, sweaty bus (bumpy and miserable), we arrived at our campsite in Zambia, which was completely FLOODED. Yay… so we get to set up tents in the mud. Anyway, so while we were setting up our tent, we didn’t realize we were building it ON TOP OF AN ANT’S NEST/TRAIL, and I suddenly felt a bunch of sensations like pin pricks on my ankles and up my legs! I jumped around, confused, and thought I was going crazy or just being paranoid until I ran across the campsite, around the corner, and pulled my pants down, just to find I was completely covered from ankles to neck with biting fire ants!!! In case you are unfamiliar with these type of ants, when they bite you their pinchers go into your skin and when you try to remove or kill them, their pinchers and head stays in your skin and the rest of the body is ripped out! Oh my god, I was downright freaking out, completely itchy, and in total pain as I slapped my body everywhere trying to kill the hundreds of the ants that had attacked my body!!

 

Using a kettle lid to “protect” myself from the swooping bats!

Romantic Valentine’s dinner gone chaotic
February 14, 2014:  In Kruger Park, South Africa, we were staying overnight in a “luxury” canvas tent and had splurged for our romantic dinner by buying nice steaks and corn on the cob for a lovely meal together.  However, the electricity (that fired up the stove burners) kept tripping the circuit breakers, so we had to improvise and use a frying pan over a grill fire flame: which resulted in burnt corn on the cob and very chewy steak!  As we laughed and gulped down the food anyway in disappointment, a FROG randomly jumped into my lap at the same time that a bunch of BATS swooped down, narrowly missing my head!  Just imagine me screaming, throwing the frog, and ducking down as bats careened towards my face!!  At that point, we decided to just call it a night and escape back into our tent to hide from the crazy, swooping bats!

 

Scary driving conditions in Iceland!

Blasted off the icy road in Iceland
February 19, 2014:  While we were driving around Iceland in our dinky rental car (with James at the wheel), we encountered some pretty heavy winds on our second day.  At one point in our journey, in a remote area of the island and on a very icy section of the road, there was a sudden BLAST of incredible wind that completely knocked the car from one side of the road to the other… and we were suddenly on a VERY scary, swerving path of danger!!  If it wasn’t for James’ teenage experience with lots of fish-tailing in his 1969 (rear wheel drive) Mustang, we TOTALLY would have spun out, launched ourselves in the ditch, or even worse!  Fortunately, we made it safely to our hostel that night, and the rest of our time in Iceland was relatively calm!

 

So… there you have it. Of course there are a hundred more stories to tell from our travels, but these were the worst and/or most memorable. Which one(s) was your favorite?  Do you have a crazy traveling story to share with us as well? Please comment below and share!

 

MEANWHILE… here are two funny videos from our travels with us in UNFORTUNATE situations!—both which happen to actually be in French Polynesia!!

Our fun (and free) Australia campervan adventure!

Voila! It’s free! But how?

Free? Huh? I bet you saw this post title and wondered how it was possible that we got a FREE campervan rental!?  Well… let me go back to August 29th. So there we were in Cairns, Australia, saying goodbye to our good friends, Marty and Ann, and totally unsure of what was next to come.  James and I didn’t have any upcoming plans set in stone, but we were thinking of heading down to Brisbane at some point soon, and we were trying to do it as cheaply as possible.

Fortunately, we had heard from some fellow travelers back in China (in April) about getting FREE campervan rentals all over Australia and New Zealand, so we spent some time thoroughly researching these options and closely following rental websites. To our surprise, there actually are quite a few websites and companies that offer FREE CAMPERVAN AND MOTOR HOME RENTALS!  Awesome! Why are they “free” you may be wondering? Well, technically these rentals are actually “relocations” – where the company has an excess of cars/vans/motorhomes in one city, but is lacking vehicles in other cities. Believe it or not, it is actually more cost effective for the company to have a resident or tourist drive their vehicles from point A to B then if they had to ship or drive the vehicles themselves. Some companies also offer free insurance, gas, and some even offer travel expenses as well!  Incredible, right?

The catch: only certain cities and routes are offered on pretty sporadic dates, so you have to be flexible and/or not completely rely on getting a free rental. In addition, you often get a limited time period to deliver the car… so you mostly are go-go-go on the road and don’t have a lot of extra time for longer stops in any of the cities along the way. Also, the petrol (gas) in Australia is pretty expensive, so it’s often more cost effective to just take a quick flight instead.

[**SIDE NOTE** I realized that some of these websites actually offer TRANSFERS IN THE UNITED STATES AS WELL!! Most of the routes are from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Arizona. I was surprised I had never heard of this before, and I think we’ll definitely have to look into it in the future!]

Watching the websites like CRAZY. Could there be a free campervan available on the dates we needed?

For weeks before we even entered Australia, I was stalking the website www.transfercar.com.au, watching the different routes we thought we might want to take throughout Australia: Cairns to Brisbane. Brisbane to Sydney. Sydney to Melbourne. Melbourne to Adelaide. To my excitement, there were actually a LOT of cars available on many different dates for these routes!  I was told by several Australian residents that most tourists tend to drive from southern to northern Australia, so the fact we were doing the opposite meant there were a lot of cars “stranded” in the north that needed to be driven to the south. Perfect for us!

Driving from Cairns to Brisbane

We applied for a campervan online at one of these websites for the Cairns to Brisbane route, which was a bit over 1,000 miles. Surprisingly, only hours later we received a phone call from the rental company asking us for more details about ourselves and what our plans were for the rental… and we were very quickly approved!  But we said we needed a little time to think about it, and IT WAS GOOD THAT WE WAITED, as we soon realized we totally pulled a ROOKIE MOVE: We applied for—and almost accepted—a rental that included NOTHING for free: no insurance and no gas! We did the math and calculated that it would cost us around $300 in gas for the Cairns-to-Brisbane route, plus who knows how much more in insurance. No wonder the woman called us right away: I’m sure nobody else wanted to pay to relocate that particular van!

We scoured the websites looking for other possibilities, and got turned down for the next van we applied for—darn! We spent an extra day or two in Cairns, waiting around for another company to get back to us, and we began to think that we might end up just having to splurge on flights instead. But then— a bite!  The rental company, Apollo, had a campervan that needed to be driven to Brisbane from Cairns in four days and included insurance AND $250 of gas!!  We were accepted, picked up the van on the morning of September 1st, and were on our way!  Weeee!

We were both SO PLEASED, also, that the van seemed very new, clean, and had a lot of amenities in it! We had totally expected to get some kind of old junker van, or maybe a barely-running “hippie camper.”  NOPE! Instead, we had a two-person campervan with an amazing back area which included: a sink with running water, a gas stovetop, a refrigerator, decent quality dishes, utensils, and pots, a cushioned seating area with table, an extended ceiling top (so you could actually fully stand up in the back area of the van!), and the ability to convert the whole seating area into a bed!

We set off from Cairns in the morning, after filling up our fridge with a ton of healthy foods for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for our driving and camping adventure ahead. We basically had three and a half days to cover 1,050 miles on mostly two-lane highways down the coast of eastern Australia. As a comparison, that distance is about the same as the distance from Milwaukee, WI to Denver, CO, and pretty much the same as Los Angeles to Denver as well.

 

James driving on the right side of the car!

DAY ONE, September 1st: Cairns to Airlie Beach

We both were riding pretty “high” our first day, excited that we were on the open road, driving in a foreign country, bound for who knows where!  [See a video of our excitement, driving on the open road here.] James quickly eased into driving our huge van, along with adjusting to driving on the RIGHT side of the car, on the LEFT side of the road!  Yea… pretty fun 🙂  We plugged in my ipod to the stereo (what a treat!!) and cruised along to some lovely music and chatted about life and our grand adventure.

Cassowary crossing? What the HECK is a cassowary??

We whizzed by Kangaroo, Koala, and Cassowary crossing signs and pondered how strange it would be to see any of these creatures in person, on the road.  Pretty much this whole route down through Queensland is all a basic, two-lane highway… one lane going either direction on each side. There are occasional passing lanes, but it’s not like the grand 2-3 lane freeways we have in the U.S. Because of this, we knew that the journey would take a bit longer… about 20 hours over 3 1/2 days to be exact.  And keep in mind: we didn’t have any internet on our phones on the road; no google maps, no browsing web pages for information of places to visit. I was just us, the van, a road map, and the open road.

“Just as free… free as we’ll ever be…”

The song “Free” by Zac Brown Band came on my ipod as the sun was setting and the sky began to turn a pretty yellow and pink color. The whole experience of all these senses at once TOTALLY summed up our feeling the day: truly amazing. You MUST listen to the song now… even when I listen to it now, I can feel myself back there again… http://youtu.be/KZKaD6Gn9cc

Anyway, so we “hustled” to try to make the seven-hour drive that day to reach Airlie Beach; a cute little beach town where backpackers often hang out. It’s also the launching point for any Whitsunday Island cruises. Back in 2010, my friend Julie and I stayed in Airlie beach and really loved it!… hence the reason I wanted to come back through the cute little

The back area of the van was SO convenient! Especially for making food!

town with James. We arrived around 7:30pm, and I got to work in the back of the van, chopping up ingredients for a lovely salad. We found a nice picnic table area right down by the water, and enjoyed our dinner as we listened on to LIVE MUSIC that was playing in the area. We were so fortunate to actually have a small band playing outside near us that night!  The UNfortunate part of this story, however, is that we hadn’t really secured a place to camp for the night. We had searched online ahead of time for FREE camping areas along our route (which there are quite a few of them—but they are usually in more secluded “in the middle of nowhere” areas), but we hadn’t found anything for free or cheap in Airlie Beach. We ended up spending a great deal of time trying to figure out if we could just park along the road somewhere, and we even drove a little out of town to see if we could just park in a lot in an industrial park area… but we were WAY too worried about getting in trouble with the police for “camping” in an area that we weren’t supposed to. After a bit of struggle, we finally gave up and paid a damn 25 DOLLARS!? just to park our van in a loud, crowded back lot area of a special car/hotel park–which is honestly a ridiculous price, because this GEM of a place was in the middle of a bunch of bars and didn’t even include ANYTHING—no electricity, water, food, or internet.   We could have just stayed at a hostel for a little more money!  *SIGH* Oh well… that’s what happens when you don’t PLAN!

 

The beautiful “lagoon” in Airlie Beach

DAY TWO, September 2nd: Airlie Beach to Somewhere?

We woke up after a surprisingly RESTFUL night’s rest… the fold out bed in the back of the van was actually very comfortable!! And with our eye masks and ear plugs, we slept like babies. We had our breakfast in the van and then set out to walk around town and explore Airlie Beach a little. We admired the town’s amazing man-made “lagoon” and then laid on the beach for awhile and enjoyed the sun while we could.  Then it was back on the road!

At some point along our route, we stopped at a McDonald’s to attempt to get free WIFI. Something to know about Australia: good and free WIFI is astonishingly hard to come by, and most of the time it hardly works! McDonald’s is pretty much the ONLY chain company that always has free WIFI in Australia, so it often became our go-to place to try to hook into the internet.

We searched online for campsites for the night, and then set out on a HUGE drive for the day, hoping to arrive to a free camping area we found that was close to Hervey Bay.  I was really interested in visiting Fraser Island, so we figured if we could get as CLOSE to Hervey Bay (one of the main launching points to get to Fraser) as possible, then we would have less driving in the morning. We had a very non-eventful drive down the coast that day, stopping only for dinner in a gas station parking lot (again, having that back area of the van was priceless!)  As before, we admired all the scenery along the way, which was mainly open plains, some mountains, and a lot of bush fields.  We never DID see a Kangaroo in the wild, but we sadly saw some on the side of the highway as roadkill 🙁

We managed to cover TEN HOURS of driving that day!.. and arrived to the free campsite close to midnight. We were very pleased the parking/camping area wasn’t too hard to find, but we felt a little bad rolling into the lot with our BRIGHT headlights flashing onto all the other campers so late at night!

 

DAY THREE, September 3rd, Hervey Bay area

Since we covered SO much ground our first two days of driving, we established a whole extra day to explore! Again, we had hoped to visit Fraser Island, so we got up early from our free campsite and drove the hour or so to Hervey Bay and began to search for an information office to find out more details. To my complete dismay, we were quickly informed that THE LAST TOURS TO FRASER ISLAND FOR THE DAY JUST LEFT FIFTEEN MINUTES AGO!!… AND, it really was NOT recommend to visit the Island on our own without an all-terrain vehicle (which was incredibly expensive and fairly dangerous). Doh!!  I was crushed.  We weren’t sure what else to do for the day, since we had nothing else planned and no easy access to internet. Once again, due to lack of planning (which is not normally “me”), we were disappointed and left with nothing to do.

We set out to search for a McDonalds so we could get free WIFI. Fortunately, we found a HUGE location with decent internet, and then ended up spending almost THREE HOURS doing research!  We realized we needed to figure out where we were dropping the van off tomorrow in Brisbane, we needed to find a hotel or hostel in Brisbane, James needed to send emails regarding his upcoming job in South Africa, we needed to figure out where we were camping for the night, and of course—what were we going to do for today!?  Tell me: HOW IN THE WORLD did people travel before the internet!??

I was bummed that we got SO wrapped up in the internet for so many hours, as we now didn’t have much time to do anything else that afternoon. The sun would be setting around 5:30pm, and we wanted to try to reach our next campsite before it got too dark.

After randomly driving around, we managed to find the site we were looking for, paid our $15 entry free, plugged in our van to electricity, which we NEEDED (both of our laptops were dead and our cellphones pretty low), and decided to just try to stay positive for the night in order to “wipe away” the disappointment of the lack of activities and excitement from earlier in the day. We cooked up a nice meal together and shared a bottle of wine, and just celebrated our fun little camping adventure together. It actually was a great end to a somewhat crappy day.

 

We saw lots of Australian animals at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

DAY FOUR, September 4th, Brisbane

We only had a couple hours driving to reach Brisbane, so it was a very easy driving day. We managed to find the Apollo van drop-off location, went through the return process, and got $250 of gas from our trip refunded back to us from the company. Since James was leaving the next day for South Africa, we decided to visit an Australian animal sanctuary in Brisbane, not only so we could have a nice last day experience together, but also so that James could actually SEE native Australian animals in person!  We went to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, and it was truly wonderful! We talked to many interesting birds including Kookaburras, watched Tasmanian devils being fed [see the video here], watched Koalas SUPER close up [see a video of Koalas here], and we even got to HOLD a Koala!  We ended our zoo experience in a HUGE field of Kangaroos, petting and playing with them, which was a really cool experience.

Overall, it was a lovely day, and a lovely three-day driving and camping adventure together!

 

In total, we had spent around $350 in gas for our little camping adventure and got $250 refunded from the van company (we were mostly over in price because we took side trips and such), and then spent $25 for the initial van booking fee, $17 in extra insurance, and $40 for campsites. That brings our 3 1/2 day and 3 night camping adventure to a “whopping” total of $182 AUD!  That comes out to $164 USD, which is $28/per person per day. NOT BAD for a fun little driving and camping adventure together down the Australian coast!  Not bad at all!

 

To see a fun video of us driving our campervan in Australia, click here.

To see photos from our camping adventure, click here.

To see photos from the Brisbane animal sanctuary (and other photos from Brisbane), click here.


 

If you are interested in knowing more about car/van/motorhome relocation, here are a few websites/companies I found:

Transfer car (this is the main site I followed like crazy! No booking fees associated with this site.)
Australia: https://www.transfercar.com.au/
New Zealand: http://www.transfercar.co.nz/

 

Imoova.com (this is the site we actually booked our van through… we had to pay a $25 booking fee though. bummer.)
http://www.imoova.com/

 

Apollo (this is a rental company that we actually got our van through, and apparently they have their OWN page for relocations. Guess we could have booked through here to avoid the darn $25 fee on Imoova.com)
http://www.apollocamper.com/reloc.aspx

 

Drivenow (another car relocation site. never used them, but they look good)
http://www.drivenow.com.au/onewayrentals.jspc#/relocations/AU

 

Vroom Vroom Vroom (a website that finds car rentals from various companies… we used this to book any rental cars we needed in Australia. Apparently they have their own page for relocations… although it seemed a bit outdated.)
http://deals.vroomvroomvroom.com.au/