Finally, the engine on N9953H was repaired and back on the airframe. The first thing to do was test it properly and break it in, before setting out across any long water crossings, and to this end I was able to arrive back in Australia several days early and put about 25 flight hours on the new engine. I also installed a long range, HF radio required for some of the Pacific legs. Mechanical work complete, I set out across the Tasman Sea for a few weeks of exploring beautiful New Zealand.
The day by day write-up of the New Zealand section of the trip can be found below.