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7 months in Australia and New Zealand

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My wife and I are retired archaeologists spending our retirement traveling. We spend 7-8 months a year on the road and the remaining 4 months at our home in Peru. We enjoy beach combing, bird watching, archaeology, museums, festivals, all kinds of cultural events, cooking. We do not camp, nor is a camper van an option for us. Our usual plan is we rent a house or apartment for a month, rent a car and explore the surrounding area in some depth. We eat virtually all of our meals at home.
Australia and New Zealand are on our agenda for 2018, starting in April and going through October. While exploring various possibilities, we have tentatively decided to fly from one place to another, stay for a month, and then move on. Our plan is to spend April and May in New Zealand and the remaining 5 months in Australia. We are open to almost any options for where to put down our shallow roots and do our exploring. Options we are considering include Christchurch and Auckland in New Zealand (one month each) and then a scattering around Australia, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Cairns.
We are feeling a little lost as to whether our plan is feasible, how to set priorities, what we should definitely include and what we might exclude. The only absolutes on our list are one of the opal festivals, and snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef.

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