A Travellerspoint blog

Waroona & beyond with a small hiccup

Yesterday evening Annette went into Waroona to fill up with diesel before 4zies. Unfortunately the South Perth engine light came on & she had to limp back to the caravan park. After group discussions it was decided to call the RAC Man. Jacob from Hollow Auto & Towing in Harvey swiftly arrived at the campsite. After checking the computer readout he confirmed the worst suspicions. The throttle sensor unit was cactus. He went above & beyond and got out the "Start ya bastard" spray and cleaned a sensor. But alas the error code was persistent.

Today after visiting the local mechanic at 8am as they opened the doors, Annette was given the dire news, that her beloved Colarado could only be resurrected in Perth. This meant a further RAC call to order the tow truck. After an estimated & actual 2 hour wait the driver arrived from Australind. The beloved Colarado was loaded on the tilt tray, the van towed behind back to Perth.

After waving Annette off in the tow truck, prior to heading home we popped into Waroona to the Pinjarra bakehouse for lunch. We chanced upon some lovely old cars being driven or towed by their owners to Donnybrook who were also stopped at the bakery.
We arrived home safely and took a short walk down to the local....26th April, and people enjoying fishing and swimming in late autumn.

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Waroona day 2

A late morning start found us heading out to Lake Navarino to see the caravan park (where we stayed with a couple of New Age vans last October), and a look at the free (paid) camping on the other side of the dam. This area was very busy with campers and speed boats.
Also a few muddy cars...

Back into Waroona for a pie n coffee at the Pinjarra Bakehouse, Waroona style. The 2 cheese makers had a chat with a local, and picked up some weather tips.

After crossing the street Ian picked up some new information re 24hr camping spots. Preston Beach, the Showgrounds, and Drakesbrook Weir....

The girls were rather taken by this house in Waroona.

Another beautiful sunset in Waroona.

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Our next destination at Waroona

The days are lovely & warm on our trip. The nights are cool.

We walked into Balingup to hand the amenities key into the information centre after meeting a new neighbouring camper. An antique shop, which had previously been open on our last visit but which is now closed. This is where we saw a lovely lady waving her hand at us all.

We had a stroll across the field to a wonderful gate.

Ian's sister Lynne phoned as she intended to drop around for a cuppa, Alas we were on our holiday travels in Balingup. Maybe next time.

We say goodbye to the lovely trees with branches falling from the trees.

Off on our drive to our next destination we pass Harvey Cheese & stop off for a cheese tasting of course & an ice cream.
Here we see the 2 cheese makers, one of them on the phone to daughter Colleen.

Not long after our drive we arrived at our next destination Waroona
This is Annette's van set up after backing into a tight little spot amongst the weeping willows. Great driving Annette IMG_20190424_153428469_HDR.jpg

Here's our set up after Deborah too, jumped into the drivers seat and backed into our tight little spot. You will see the sky changed dramatically in a short period of time. We found out it was a prescribed burn in the distance The sun looked red.

We enjoyed a drive into town, where we again find the 2 cheese makers enjoying a sit down on some local artwork, in front of the 'historic' Waroona Hotel.
It was then back to the campsite for 4zies happy hour & dinner for the night. It was a still night & not cold as our previous nights.IMG_20190424_172700472.jpg

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Another lovely evening in Balingup....

Was followed by a walk and then drive around the town.
We visited the Old Butter Factory...and took in some of the historical artefacts of the town

Here is a view from the surrounding hills...looking down towards the town.

We woke up to another beautiful morning with a clear blue sky with a few whispy clouds. Looks like an amazing day ahead. The view from the skylight inside our van.


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Donnybrook Applefest and beyond - 2019

It's Easter again, and we head over to Donnybrook for the Applefest, and another birthday celebration, this time it was Annette Smith celebrating 55 years.
We had 3 caravans this year, Annette's Jayco, Andrew and MargĂ´t's Franklin 'Arrow', and our mighty New Age 'Bilby'.

The new addition to our travelling menagerie, the Easter Bunny

Annette is not quite sure it could tow her van but it could lay some rubber. One of the veteran and vintage cars and tractors on display.
Here's a lovely salad dressing recipe we picked up from Anna Gare at one of the Applefest presentations. It's called 4, 3, 2, 1. In a recycled glass jar, ( you will have in your cupboard) make up this recipe. Use 4 tablespoons of the first ingredient ( left to right) 3 of the next & so on. Pop the lid on & give it a shake. Tastes delicious.

Ian at Golden Valley Tree Park, just out of Balingup. Suberb autumn colours.
The girls were also enjoying the walk
And then a short rest at the top of the hill.

Annette under the Poplar tree (tree circa 1930's, Annette is a little younger).
We ventured through the Oak trail. Who would have thought there were so many varieties of oak tree.
Turkey oak acorn

Holm oak acorn

Oak acorn

Liquid Amber Tree

Our setup at Balingup gave us a clear misty morning.
And then a gorgeous sunny day.

Posted by iandeborah 20:41 Comments (3)


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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)

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