Here We Go “Down Under”! 5 Months, 12 Home Exchanges, 3 Countries

tom sheila down under

Tom and Sheila (aka Romancing the Globe) are about to embark on a trip of a lifetime. A five-month, twelve home exchange adventure to explore New Zealand, Australia and Fiji!

Have you been Down Under? Is Australia, New Zealand or Fiji on your bucket list? They are on ours! We’ve dreamed of diving the Great Barrier Reef, wandering the lands of The Lord of The Rings, and exploring the rainforests and reefs, plus seeing koalas, kangaroos, penguins and Tasmanian devils. Our five-month, twelve home exchange adventure begins in just a few weeks!! Don’t pinch us, because if this is a dream we don’t want to wake up!

Tom and Sheila’s Magical New Zealand / Australia / Fiji Odyssey

1) Sydney home exchange (AUS) – Jan 5-19
2) Christchurch home exchange (NZ) – Jan 19-25
Queenstown / South Island roadtrip (NZ) – Jan 25-Feb 1
3) Taranaki home exchange (NZ) – Feb 1-8
4) Taupo home exchange (NZ) – Feb 8-18
Sailing charter, Auckland (NZ) – Feb 19-26
5) Gulf Harbour home exchange (Auckland, NZ) – Feb 26-Mar 5
6) Hobart, Tasmania, home exchange (AUS) – Mar 5-17
7) Torquay home exchange (Melbourne, AUS) – Mar 17-26
8) Perth home exchange (AUS) – Mar 26-Apr 8
9 Clear Island Waters home exchange (Brisbane, AUS) – Apr 8-22
10 Redland Bay home exchange (Brisbane, AUS) – Apr 22-29
Drive coastal road Brisbane to Cairns (AUS) – April 29-May 2
Liveaboard scuba dive boat, Cairns (AUS) – May 3-6
11) Innisfail home exchange (Cairns, AUS) – May 7-17
12) Savusavu home exchange (Fiji) – May 17 – Jun 2


How Did We Organize a Five-Month Trip with 12 Homes in Different Cities in Three Countries?

Our odyssey evolved through luck, good timing, and using the many tools available on

It started with one offer from Brisbane, then a couple more from other Australian cities wanting the same timeframe. As our dream of spending a month or two in Australia became a real plan for 2017, we happily accepted those offers and decided to try to add Tasmania and New Zealand by sending out offers of our own. Success!

Then, just when we thought we were all set, a family from Sydney wrote that they needed an emergency replacement exchange for their Colorado ski trip. Their airfare was already purchased and could we help? Sure! For a grand finale, a couple from Fiji was looking for a last-minute exchange at the exact same time that we were going to be away at a non-simultaneous exchange in Norway last summer. That was the perfect icing on our multi-layered Oceanic cake.


The real topper has been how genuinely friendly ALL the people have been! And, remarkably, not only those we’re exchanging homes with. Several who weren’t interested in exchanging have offered local advice and even dinner invitations! We’re betting that time with locals will be as memorable as the penguins, koalas, kangaroos and scuba diving!

These exchanges will be a mix of simultaneous, non-simultaneous, and hospitality. Some are in the heart of cities or suburbs; others are along beaches or rural settings. Most include a car, as we include our car for their stay in Colorado. You wouldn’t believe the spreadsheets we have created to track all the details, including phone numbers, addresses, directions, special requests, and when they will be visiting our home.

Remember that our home in Colorado has the opposite seasons to all these southern hemisphere locations, which added a challenge for scheduling. Most Aussies don’t want to come to Colorado in our winter unless they are skiers. So that is why most of the exchanges are non-simultaneous. For our trip, we are hitting the southern locations in January through early March and then moving north later in the trip to follow the best weather.

The only way we could possibly manage this five-month / three-country / eight-flight adventure financially is via HomeExchange. Everyone understands the dramatic cost savings for lodging (and usually car rental too), but we love the additional benefits: a kitchen, washer/dryer, entertainment systems, wi-fi and space for both of us to work, sightseeing advice, and living like a local in a home with personality. Tom is even exchanging golf clubs at several homes! Lifelong friendships are an additional bonus!

It will be a fantastic journey and would not have come together without


We’ll share fun photos, videos, stories and reviews along the way, so please join us on your favorite social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Romancing the Globe Travel Blog. Add your suggestions!


About the author

Tom & Sheila are Romancing the Globe! Their adventures began when they met on Christmas Eve of 2007, fell crazy in love, and discovered their mutual travel addiction! They’re empty nesters and enjoy home exchanges to interesting corners of the globe (21 so far). Whether it’s weeks abroad or a weekend road trip in the Colorado mountains, they can create a romantic adventure just about anywhere! Preferred activities include water, nature, wildlife, bare boat sailing, relaxing at a beach, snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, golf, outdoor concerts, exploring local culture and festivals, volunteering for nonprofits and finding at least one Christmas ornament for their travel tree. See their stories at and share yours!

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