A Travellerspoint blog

February 2019


What can we say about Melbourne. Everybody raves about the eateries, coffee shops and the shopping. Our experience? Well the coffee has been good, both hot and cold versions. The shopping has been fruitful, yes we did get a couple of banana's, milk & yoghurt. Deborah gave some bananas to a homeless person to help them out. And the food, when you can get it, has been good.
The downside has been trying to find a restaurant open on Sunday night near where we, and our Wagga friends, are staying. But the worst was the Japanese restaurant, Niku Niku, for our Saturday night's dinner where we were to meet some of our new Cruise buddies (coming in all the way from Blackburn), who were missing us. We booked for 8.30pm, arrived and we're told we needed to order immediately, as they were closing before 9pm. Not told this when we booked, and website and door times state 10pm close. So we upped chopsticks and headed down the road for a great meal at a Chinese restaurant named Red Cliff. We had a lovely fun filled evening with Michael & Julie.

We took a walk earlier to Queen Victoria Markets, and found a shop where you can refill your wine bottle at a discount, a very ethical and wastage friendly idea. And then headed down to Woolies at QV Centre on Lonsdale Street.
Lonsdale Street was buzzing.
It is the Lonsdale St. Greek Festival, but it was all Greek to us. Literally.

Another walk around on Sunday found Ian discovering even more libraries. The State Library of Victoria,
And a quaint 'Little Library' in a shopping centre, which is like a book exchange.
We had a lovely lunch in Melbourne in a quaint little cafe in Royal Arcade. We then saw this lovely little shop, Hoot

Of course, as we walked around Deborah did discover the Nespresso shop, and we popped in for a free sample or 2. She also hit the Pandora shop! Then it was time for a circle ride on the free tram.

Now it's time for some dinner, prepared in our Inner City apartment, and a Glass or 2 of the best NZ wine.

Posted by iandeborah 00:37 Comments (2)

The sounds- Dusky, Doubtful & Milford

We have New Zealanders on board who have tried to visit & see the Sounds who have never really seen them because of poor weather. As we cruised into the Sounds the clouds & the mist lifted & the Sun shone through.

The previous night there had been a huge rainfall. So the many of the waterfalls were running. Magical experience is the only way we can describe it.
Here are some seals sunning themselves on the rocks.
Two rocks named the hares ears

We had a New Zealand expert on board providing background history & information about the fiords/sounds over the ship's PA. Even he was amazed with the weather.

Our Captain Marek did a 360 degree turn in front of one of the largest waterfalls for the photographer's onboard to try and capture a rainbow in the falling water.

Our second and last formal nights dinner was tonight. Here are our table buddies. Tian & John from London, Julie & Michael from Blackburn Melbourne & us.

We sailed toward Melbourne with over 4 metre waves on occasions, we all looked like drunken sailors as we walked the corridors. But it didn't stop Deborah trying to channel her inner gambler.

Here are our friends from Marylyn & Dave, from Wagga Wagga NSW, after winning a progressive trivia.

To round out the night & the cruise Captain Marek again took the microphone & blasted out a few rock tunes. He was the most visual Captain we have ever seen on a ship. He and his team new how to float a boat.

We arrived in Melbourne today for the next 2 days. Scheduled to be home late Monday.

Posted by iandeborah 21:01 Comments (1)

Dunedin delights - walking the art trail

Tuesday finds us in Dunedin, near the bottom of the south island.

We took the shuttle bus from Port Chalmers to central Dunedin and immediately Ian found the library.

Our first stop was at The Kitchen Table a quaint spot where enjoyed a lovely coffee.

We commenced the street art trail. Artists from all around the world have contributed

The First Church on Otago

All rounded out with a drink at The Craic, next to the Library.

Heading back to the ship Ian discovered another library.

Posted by iandeborah 18:56 Comments (0)

Akaroa kayaking wild life adventure

We arrived just before 7 am at this tendering port called Akaroa, New Zealand.

A small sleepy little village that has only recently become a cruise ship destination since the Christchurch earthquake. After a short walk down town we had a refreshing ice cream. As usual Ian was able to persue his hobby of Library spotting.

We hopped into our mini bus with 6 others. It was a scenic drive up a very steep mountain goat track into the next bay which is called Flea Bay. We geared up and paddled out in our 2 person sea kayaks into the bay. There is a colony of small penguins on the bay some of which we were very privileged to see on the rocks, in caves and swimming around us. The bay is also home to a nursery of sea lions. Just had some new pups which we also got to see play. It was a fantastic nature site. We spent a lovely afternoon with them. We thoroughly recommend it. It was one of those treasured experiences.

Got up close & personal with one of the locals.

This is one of the tiny penguin nesting boxes where the penguins hide out for a couple of weeks while they are moulting for a couple of weeks as they feel quite bare, naked & unprotected from other wild life.
The school children have also made different penguin houses for the penguin. They are all individual.

Tomorrow we wake up in Duneden.

Posted by iandeborah 14:08 Comments (0)

The Capital of New Zealand, Wellington

As we arrived.

Look who we caught up with today. My Sister Caroline drove to meet us as we docked at Wellington.

A big Happy Birthday message is sent to my Mum today, we hope you have a lovely day.
Monday 18th February.

A little bus ride into town, a tour of the Parliament, yes we saw the library. A ride up the funicular railway and then a lovely scenic walk through the Botanical Gardens.

Finally, we had a quick walk over to Te Papa Tongarewa museum.

We say farewell to Caroline for now.

Sail away was just before 6 pm.

Posted by iandeborah 12:47 Comments (0)

In the art deco capital of Napier

Napia put on the Art Deco Festival for our arrival.

With a population of 60,000. It's renound for viticulture, horticulture, logs & cruises.

An aerobatic display was seen as part of the celebration.

We went out on a private wine tour today
1.Beach House @ Hawkes Bay
A fabulous little Boutique winery that produces 6000 cartons a year.
Our recommendation try 2015 Cabinet Sauvignon, Cabinet Franc Malbec

2. Craggy Range
An Australian owned fancy set up.
Wine maker Julian Grounds
Our recommendation was the 2016 Pinot.

Views from Te Mata Hill

3. Askerne Winery
Another small boutique winery but with 10 different grape varieties.
Up to 14 different wine styles. Very informative tasting.

The motorhomes lined up along the foreshore for the yearly event seemed neverending.
All onboard for 5pm sail away.

Posted by iandeborah 14:10 Comments (0)

Scenic Tauranga

Here's a photo from our formal night last night of our friends Marylyn & Dave from Wagga Wagga NSW.

Ship docked early. A beautiful fine sunny day. Low 30s. We decided we would explore on our own today. We strolled along the boardwalk adjacent to the beach & then took the base track around Mount Maunganui which is an extinct volcano. It was a nice 3.9 km walk with many shady spots along the walk. The view was exceptional.

At the end of this walk we came through the beachside holiday park where many Kombi's were beginning to gather for one of there regular gatherings over the weekend. The red & white Kombi was purchased from the original owner of 49 years in California.

The black & white one which has safari windows in the front to let air inside, in hot climates was purchased from the Sunshine Coast, QLD.

We managed to find some of the local creamy fruit ice cream, it was delicious.

We off sailing towards Napier now.IMG_20190215_171216148_BURST001.jpgIMG_20190215_171228864.jpg

Posted by iandeborah 15:11 Comments (0)

Bay of Islands - Paihia

Today was a tendering prospect, but we got on land by just after 10am, after a slight blockage. Not on the gang plank, but in the loo. Maintenance quickly fixed it and we were away.
Into Paihia, definitely a tourist town. Population usually 1800, and there are 2 cruise ships in today. The helicopter lands right next to you on the beach...

Picked up our tour, the V8 Thunder Trike! Wee Hee. Air in the hair - no helmets required, but seatbelts a definite necessity.


Up into the hills a a view of the Haruru Falls, where fresh water meets the sea.
A walk through the markets had Deborah picking up a locally handcrafted item to bring home.

Next stop was the local public library, where half the ship passengers were hanging around for the free wifi!

Posted by iandeborah 12:45 Comments (1)

Haere (Farewell) Auckland and Kia Ora to the wide open seas

In the mid morning we left the Auckland accommodation and strolled down (literally down the hill) to the Wharf to checkin to the Radiance of the Seas.

Here are our neighbours this afternoon.

A view from the ship.

A walk around the ship on our recanoyta revealed the Library & many other wonders.
We had a small bite to eat.

Sailing away from Auckland now. We wake up tomorrow in Bay of Islands.

Posted by iandeborah 13:44 Comments (0)

Farewell Lake Taupo, hello Auckland

Last morning at Lake Taupo, and we can say it was a relaxing and enlightening stay. Well worth the visit.
We arrived in Auckland mid afternoon and quickly found our accommodation on Queen Street, spitting distance to the wharf where we catch the Radiance of the Seas in the morning.

Our apartment building

Off for a walk down to the Wharf to check out what ships are in dock, here they are:

When we checked later in the evening Celebrity Solstice had already gone & Albatross was just leaving.

Grabbed a bite to eat.
DSCN4781.JPG 20190212_221733.jpg

On our stroll home we discovered this little bar called The Jefferson. It's a whiskey bar with over 600 whiskey. They had run out of Scapa. Ian has a taste & sniffed a few.
That's it for now, it's off to bed.

Posted by iandeborah 13:09 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Day 3 Mud, mud, glorious mud

A visit to Kerosene Creek for a dip in the geothermal water. The toastiest creek in the region. It is a hot stream creates multiple small natural pools lodged between the rocks. Boy was this water hot. Even hotter than yesterday's option. The only way to cool down was to stand up out of the water and feel the breeze cool you down.

We passed a green pool on our travels. How glorious is this? Still steam seaping out of the edges around the lake.

We stopped off at Murupara at a bakehouse cafe and headed off to a park with lunch by Rangitaki River at a rest area. Ian dipped his toe in the river to find it was cool. A very nice change.

While exploring the Waiotapu Loop Road we had a chance find and stumbled upon the Mud Pools at Waiotapu to our delight. We found much joy in watching the gurgling/explosive geysers erupting with mud.

The science of mud
There are two distinctive geothermal features at each end: One is pools & vents fed by deep primary geothermal fluids which basically ascend directly to the surface (e.g. Champagne Pool)
The other are pools fed from steam & gas that result from boiling deep under the earth at 10-100 m. These interact with geothermal fluid & ground water to form discoloured pools & mudpots.
With a continuum between these two end features, many intermediate forms of surface features & effects can result well.

The hydrothermal clays present include alunite, kaolinite, silica residue, mantmorilonite, cristobolite, pyrite & sulphur.

Driving around Kinloch to find another of Ian's favourite places, a lake library. It was a lovely small village which we visited late in the afternoon and there were a few families relaxing or swimming in the cool lake water. The beach area was stoney, a bit like England at the beach, but this was a lovely lake. So relaxing.

Home to do the washing as tomorrow we catch the bus to Auckland & say Cheerio to my sister Caroline for now.

Of course we decided fish & chips were on our dinner menu tonight by the Lake, at Lake Taupo.

Posted by iandeborah 00:35 Comments (0)

Taupo day 2

After the Friday to Auckland, and 24 hours awake, we had a good nights sleep before heading off for a big day out.
First stop was the Lava Glass studio. A wonderful place with such beautiful works of art.

Craters of the moon.

We found a lovely shade spot to have an old fashioned family picnic.

Time to visit the free thermal hot pools close to the town centre. Imagine a hot day, you are in your togs (swim suit) and walk down to the waters edge. You see this beautiful shallow waterfalls. You step in slowly imagining it will be freezing cold, well it was actually thermal water, it was hot. The waterfall hot water feeds into a fast running cold stream. So like chess you position yourself in a position in the water where you are not hot and not cold, but just right temperature. As people walk around in the pool either the hot water or cold passes you and you find yourself adjusting to be in the water the right temperature for you.

We headed to the boat harbour to board a sailing boat. We sailed for about 2 and a half hours with Sail Barbary. It is an eco sailing ship. The company uses an electric motor in & out of the harbour & then set sail for a taste of adventure. We had a wonderful time on the water. Temperature was a sunny 25 degrees.

The destination was the Maori rock carvings I created from a rock face at Mine Bay by carving students over 20 years ago. 20190211_001655.jpg50062d20-2d26-11e9-9a5d-637c29a62384.JPG

This was another sail boat on the water this afternoon.

Another amazing day in Taupo.

Posted by iandeborah 12:26 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Tiki Tour commences

The flight from Perth to Auckland, via Melbourne, went smoothly and on time. Even arrived at Auckland airport a few minutes early, just after 5 in the morning 😊
A quick bag collection and a nice coffee to kick-start the New Zealand experience.

Off to catch the Inter City bus to our first few nights, at Taupo.
As with any longer bus trip there was a wee and food stop. Ours was at Tokoroa, sandwich and drink with the Pine Man.

Picked up by Caroline, Deborahs sister, and taken to our AirBnB for 3 nights. On the way Ian got side tracked seeking more information about the area & we visited the iSite.

Saw some of the local Graffiato along the street.

Time in the afternoon to see the Aratiatra dam and Huka falls.

Afterwards a walk around the townsite to look at a whole bunch of Graffiato, artist's work on the walls around the town.

The stormwater grates in the centre of town are even a bit fishy, in a great way.

Posted by iandeborah 01:09 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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