Lee Atkinson’s definitive Australia and New Zealand bucket list

We ask Lee for her ultimate bucket list experiences – most of which she’s already ticked off!

Lee Atkinson’s definitive Australia and New Zealand bucket list

The term ‘bucket list’ was coined in the hit 2007 movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman about two men determined to get the most out of life with a wish list of things they want to see or do before they ‘kick the bucket’, but you’d be mad to wait until things get that dire.

From seeing the Southern Lights to singing onstage at the Sydney Opera House, Lee Atkinson, author of The Definitive Bucket List: Travel Experiences in Australia and New Zealand, has put together 11 great I’ve-always-wanted-to-do-that adventures that prove you’re never too old to try something new and there’s always a first time for everything.


See the Southern Lights, Tekapo, South Island, New Zealand
The Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve near Mt Cook National Park and Lake Tekapo is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest dark sky reserve, and when conditions are right – clear skies, no moon and strong solar activity – the high altitude offers spectacular aurora viewing.  

southern lights seen from dunedin

Sleep underground, Coober Pedy, South Australia
The Desert Cave Hotel is dug into the hillside in the main street of Coober Pedy. As long as you’re not claustrophobic, a good night’s sleep is pretty much guaranteed – rooms are very quiet and pitch black when you turn off the light. 

coober pedy pub

Climb the Harbour Bridge (Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland)
Sydney BridgeClimb leads guided tours onto, and over, the upper arches of Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is an easy walk, just lots of steps – so you do need to have decent knees – and you’re always attached to a safety line.  If you can’t make it to Sydney, you can also climb the Story Bridge in Brisbane and the Auckland Harbour Bridge – bungy jumping off the edge is entirely optional.

sydney harbour bridge climb

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    14th Dec 2019
    Anywhere non-tropical... I'll egro non troppo, thanks... might still move to Tasmania ..
    14th Dec 2019
    Wyndjana Gorge and nearby Tunnel Creek in the Kimberleys, W.A. offer unique opportunities to view towering ancient reef, forming the gorge wall, spectacular colours and the chance to wade or swim through Tunnel Creek' s cave before emerging into the Australian bush. Oh, and not to forget the quiet freshwater crocs sunning themselves on the sand.
    14th Dec 2019
    The February Art Deco festival in Napier, New Zealand is a very enjoyable winner in this category for me. Would dearly love to go again. Great weather, beautiful city, friendly people and excellent wineries. And art deco architecture that is only approached by such cities as Miami.
    15th Dec 2019
    Good that you are going to the south island for the lights. Make sure take plenty of money with you to get you to the lights.
    Costs in NZ are way over the top. Fuel is $2.42 a litre, food is approx 40% higher than Australia.
    If you wanted to go anywhere else I would pick Canada West Coast in stead of the South Island around Queenstown area.
    16th Dec 2019
    We went to New Zealand a few years ago and did coach tours so I don't know fuel costs compared then.
    I can tell you that even now it is cheaper to go to NZ than it is to go from Brisbane to Cairns for a shorter length of time.
    A few years ago a friend of ours had to go to Darwin for a special conference for his company. It was cheaper for him to fly to Bali, stay overnight and fly to Darwin the next day than it was to fly straight to Darwin. It was still cheaper when he paid one of his employees Manager's wages instead of Assistant Manager for 3 days. The price to fly direct to Darwin is ridiculous. No wonder so many people are going to cheap or reasonably priced places overseas.
    15th Dec 2019
    Road trip from Chicago to New Orleans, has just about everything you could want!
    15th Dec 2019
    Go to a Port Adelaide home game at Adelaide Oval
    16th Dec 2019
    The Desert Cave Hotel is well worth the experience. For those who are claustrophobic there is a few above ground units. The Resteruant is not claustrophobic at all. We didn't go in the other part at all but we were told it was well worth the effort. There is a few other underground places to can visit in the town. It has skylights and it is very large so it definitely is not claustrophic at all

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