Australia (New Zealand-Fiji) or Bust!

Right now I’m in the throes of prepping for a month-long assignment that will take me to Australia, Fiji, and New Zealand, three places on my bucket list that I’ve never visited before. As with my recent Canadian Rockies adventure, I plan to blog my way through this.

First, if any of you have favorite photo spots in any of these places, please let me know. Our plan is to fly to Sydney and spend several days driving along the coast to Brisbane and back, writing and photographing along the way. Then we’ll cruise from Sydney to Fiji and back, while I teach aboard ship. Next we’ll fly to Melbourne, where I’ll focus (get the bad pun?) on photography along the coast. Finally, we’ll fly to New Zealand’s South Island and spend two weeks photographing, mostly along the southwestern coast in Fjordland National Park and other locations.

As a travel and nature photojournalist, the biggest ordeal for me is the preparation. I dread having to make all the flight arrangements, constructing each leg so that it dovetails with the next and often finding that “I can’t get there from here.” Then it’s write down the times and connections, rework it to synch with a flight that only happens twice a week, then rework again because you can’t get back in time for the return flight. There have been times I’ve had to cancel an entire destination because I knew that spending only a day or two would have been too harried and frustrating.

As of now I’ve got our flights on Air Canada arranged. That’s one area of prep I don’t have to agonize over. Air Canada is my little secret. If they fly to where I’m going, I’m usually on one of their planes. Since I’ve been photographing a lot in Canada, I’ve gotten to know them. The flight attendants are friendly and efficient, the planes are clean and I love the fact that every seat on their big jets has a 120-volt receptacle. I can get tons of work done, especially on cross country or international flights.

I’m just six weeks out from the start of the journey and I still haven’t: booked my domestic Australian flights, my flight from Australia to New Zealand, any guides I might hire to get to great photo spots, lodging, or car rentals. I haven’t even finalized the list of places I want to visit for travel writing and/or photography. Damn! Stay tuned.

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