Last day of cruising…

Tauranga PC 005

The last day of cruising and the sun rises in a huge ball of fire over the port of Tauranga.

Tauranga PC 028

The morning sun highlights Mount Maunganui as the tug boats gently nudge the Oosterdam into the dock. Tauranga is the home of my daughter and we will be meeting her later today.

Tauranga PC 033

Look at that blue sky it is a perfect Easter Saturday and we walk along the wharf and notice the cherry picker with a crew cleaning the outside windows. It certainly is a ship-shape ship. Only a 15 minute walk to the centre of Mount Maunganui and time for a short look around down town.

Tauranga PC 049

The local art group have a display in the park. The standard is high and we admire the paintings.

Then Jackie picks us up and we go for a coffee, then on to her place.

I’ve developed a sore throat and a slight cough, I’m not feeling 100%. There has been a lot of coughs and colds going through the passengers and I hoped I had escaped it, but it seems to have caught up with me on the very last day. So far Jack is OK.

Being Easter it is the Annual Tauranga Jazz Festival. 3 years ago we were here and enjoyed the music and dancing in the streets (Take a look at that post here) So after lunch we walked the short distance to the Esplanade to join the crowds enjoying the music.

Tauranga PC 057

Tauranga PC 055

Jack soon found a willing young woman to dance with him.

Then he found another willing person. I was fascinated with the dancing style of the bloke in blue behind Jack. What would you call his style?

We only had a couple of hours before it was time to head back to the boat. It was good to catch up with Jackie and Greg, even though it was only for such a short time. But we will be coming back again in a couple of weeks to stay longer.

So now it was time to pack our bags. The organisation of every thing on board is immaculate and the routine for the bags and leaving tomorrow morning is all orchestrated to the last detail. The bags must be outside our cabin door by 11pm with colour coded and numbered labels. Then some one will whisk them away ready for us to pick up as we leave. Tomorrow they have almost 2000 people to collect luggage and disembark. Without the organisation it could be chaos. I’m impressed.

Just a couple more details to tidy up, take the books back to the library and the video back to the front desk and at the same time check our account. There has been a couple of things I have to pay for but only expecting approx. $150 on our account. BUT it is just over $300… I scan the account. How can it be!!! Then I found it, “service charge”, Each day I had put the “service please” sign on the door, thinking, in my innocence, that was in the price of the cruise. The sign was to let them know we were not there and it was free for them to go in… Well I guess it must be some where in the small print that room service is an extra. Oh well I did enjoy not having to do any thing for 14 days and having clean towels, beds made. But it had gone through my mind that not many doors had the service sign out, I thought maybe they were all sleeping in….

Next morning we docked at Auckland the final destination.

Arrived Auckland PC 003

I had requested a 9am departure as my son and partner would be picking us up. So we had time for one last delicious breakfast. The intercom started calling the colour codes and numbers at 7-30am. It was just after 9 when I heard our “yellow 5″ called. The bags were all lined up near the exit. We soon found ours and headed down the gang-plank with a group of the friendly staff waiting to wave us good-bye.

Arrived Auckland PC 025

So what was my final impression of the cruising lifestyle?

For a totally relaxing holiday I would rate it a 5 out of 5. The food was excellent, plenty of variety and choice of restaurants. Immaculate presentation, well organised. Friendly, helpful staff. Good variety of entertainment every night. Plenty of space to, surprisingly, find quiet spots to be on my own. The cabin had a window and was larger than I expected, another plus.

Value for money, definitely. The extras were there to pay for, if you needed them ie. alcohol, spa treatment, personal trainer, casino. But the basic fare covered all you needed for life on board. ( We could’ve made our own beds!!!)

On the minus side, the tours were expensive and only having a few hours in each port it is very restricting for actually getting to see and appreciate each place. I like to take my time exploring new places and do not like moving around to a time frame with a crowd. But I knew New Zealand so the reason for this trip was not to see the country or go on the tours, but to experience a cruise. So on that basis I thoroughly enjoyed the journey.

Would I do another cruise? I’m not sure… I certainly would not take a cruise to a country I had never been to before, preferring to fly there and take my time exploring and travelling on land to my itinerary.

A few days after we settled in with my son, Jack developed the cold. We both had a very bad dose. Maybe because we had not been able to have the flu injections before we left Australia. The weather also was dismal. So we just relaxed enjoying life with Laurie and Kerry. And unfortunately sharing our cold with them…

We had another 4 weeks in New Zealand and have now been home in Australia for 3 weeks. My how time flies…

Categories: cruise, Jazz festival, Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, Oosterdam, photos, Tauranga | Tags: , , , | 24 Comments

A Walk in Windy Wellington…

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and is at the southern end of the North Island. The cruise ship terminal was only a 20 minute walk from the CBD area. This was one of the only ports that we could actually walk off the port. Mostly we had to be taken in a bus as the port authority does not allow people to wander willy nilly due to security…

It was an overcast, cool sort of day but, unusually, only a slight breeze blowing. My plan was to wander around and see where it took me.

Wellington PC 023

The buildings of the CBD loomed around me and I passed a couple of sculptures with no explanations.

Wellington PC 025

Rounding a corner I walked past a very large, what looked like a sandstone building. I had to have a closer look when I read the information board and discovered it was built from wood.

Wellington PC 018

Wellington PC 005

Wellington PC 008

It was originally planned to have the building constructed in concrete and timber, but the cost of concrete at the time led to a decision to build in timber alone. The Italianate, Neo-Renaissance style was usually the domain of stone buildings, thus the building is designed to mimic stone. As an important symbol of nationhood the building was constructed to resemble an Italian stone palace to help convey its strength and stability in the expanding empire.[1] The timber is native kauri, which could not be replicated because New Zealand’s remaining public kauri forests are permanently protected. If the building had been constructed out of stone as planned, it may not have survived subsequent earthquakes, as it is situated near a major fault line.[3] The architect was William Clayton (information from Wikipedia)

Wellington PC 010

It is now the Wellington Law School but the public are allowed to look into the foyer area, so in I went through these ornate doors.

Wellington PC 013

A very grand staircase but I could not go upstairs, this was only for students use.

Wellington PC 015

Looking out through the window I could see the distinctive shape of the Parliament House, referred to as the “Beehive”.

Wellington PC 003

There it is, New Zealand’s seat of power. No time today to go inside.

So I walked on past the shops, restaurants and office buildings. All looking much the same as in Australia. Then I spotted a sign pointing down a narrow lane to the cable car and Botanic Gardens. This is more in my interest. I am not a shopping type of person…

Wellington PC 028

Here it comes.

The Cable Car has been in operation since 1902 and carries in excess of 1,000,000 passengers a year and runs every ten minutes between Lambton Quay and Kelburn, for the benefit of local residents and tourists alike.

 Only $4 for a one way ticket the cable car allows easy access from its terminal on Lambton Quay in the CBD to the top entrance of the Botanic Garden and the Kelburn lookout. Three intermediate stops allow for easy access to local residential and business addresses and at Salamanca access to the Kelburn campus of Victoria University.

Wellington PC 033

From the top I looked out across Wellington Harbour and the distant hills the city is built on.

Wellington PC 032

 Wellington PC 035

Directly opposite the cable car terminus is the entry to the Botanic Gardens. The brochure tells me it is a 40 minute down hill stroll back to the CBD. So in I went with camera at the ready.

Wellington PC 041

As I would expect in New Zealand it is very lush and green.

Wellington PC 056

With the tree ferns popping up every where.

Wellington PC 051

Wellington PC 048

Morton Bay pine, Hoop Pine

At this time of the year, in fact most of the year, the New Zealand bush is not a colourful place, but the myriad shades of green are so peaceful. But I did spot some colour…

 

Wellington PC 054

These aloes were such a vivid contrast to the surrounding green.

Wellington PC 086

Here a lone tree flaunts its autumn foliage. (I spy a bench too)

Wellington PC 057

Nearing the bottom now as I walk down these steps.

Wellington PC 090

Wellington PC 098

As I leave the Botanic Gardens behind I follow the path and then round a corner I come across a quite different garden.

Wellington PC 102

The Lady Norwood Rose Garden. They are at the end of the season but still putting on a colourful display.

Wellington PC 104

Wellington PC 108

I see a begonia house and a café across the other side of the rose beds. But did you notice those 3 coaches in the top photo of the rose gardens? Yes it is the passengers from Oosterdam on their conducted tour and the café is full. So I wander round the tropical display in the green house.

Wellington PC 136

Peace Garden

This is just outside the rose garden.

The Peace Garden’s flame comes from fire created by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II.

The flame was presented by the people of Japan to New Zealand in recognition of their efforts against atomic weapons.

The flame is in the Japanese Pagoda and there were many Asian people here taking each others photos in front of this idyllic scene.

Not exactly sure which way to go next I asked a local and he pointed me through an old historic cemetery, which would take me across a bridge over the motorway…

 

Wellington PC 151

This is the bridge over the motorway and it was very controversial when it was built as it cut right through the centre of the cemetery.

Wellington PC 149

Wellington PC 155

This is the remaining cemetery on the other side of the motorway.

It is a peaceful sanctuary of cultivated and forested open space. Over 1,300 carved and worn monuments are distributed throughout the Cemetery that straddles the motorway. A nationally important collection of heritage roses, some dating from the colonial era, inter-twine with other early plantings amongst picket fences and wrought iron surrounds. Walkways offer a unique stroll between the city centre and the formal Rose Garden of the Botanic Gardens.

Time had passed and now I had to walk briskly to be back at the cruise liner before it sailed. So it was back past Parliament and the old wooden Government House and then I caught up with a steady stream of other passengers heading the same way. The wind had picked up and it was a frisky head wind that we all battled into. Windy Wellington was running true to form.

***************************

“Restless Jo” leads a dedicated group of cyber walkers. They take us on walks all over the world. Go across and see where in the world they all are this week.

 

Categories: cruise, Jo's Monday walks, New Zealand, Oosterdam, photos, travel, Wellington | Tags: , , , , | 32 Comments

The day I met a fellow blogger Jill…

There are some days during a trip that stand out above all others, as a highlight, a memorable occasion. Our day in Napier was one of those days. It was the day we met fellow blogger Jill and her husband John.

They are intrepid travellers and Jill’s blog has been on my list of must reads since she recently started taking us on journeys around her world in New Zealand and beyond. She has a way with words that describe her travels so well they make me get itchy feet and want, no yearn, to visit the locations and adventures she shares. In fact her descriptions are so good she has been asked to write a guest post on “Travel Gumbo” Take a look, you will be entranced with the country of Laos that Jill and John recently visited.

So when I asked Jill what she could recommend for us to see in her home town of Napier for the few hours the cruise ship docked there. I received a very special reply from Jill.

 “How would you like a chauffeur named John and a map reader called Jill?”

Wow, would I ever. I immediately replied and that set in motion a very special day.

I have been to Napier several times (take a look here for the last time we visited)

The Oosterdam docked in Napier on Good Friday. A perfect Autumn day, warm and sunny and when we met it was like greeting long time friends. That sort of instant rapport. We never stopped chatting. 

They took us on a half hour drive into the countryside around Napier to Te Mata Peak.

Napiar Jill and John PC 022_4000x3000
John was the ideal chauffeur, patient and accommodating of 3 photography tragics. Obligingly stopping as we ohhed and ahhed at the green lush scenery so we could hop out cameras at the ready.
Then we reached the narrow winding road seemingly reaching to the sky.
A straggly line of people appeared, trudging toward the summit. It was a poignant reminder that this is Good Friday as they paused to let us by.
Napiar Jill and John PC 019_2341x1913
Then we were at the top…
Napier Jill John JC 018_4000x3000
Look carefully you will see the narrow road with a vehicle like a matchbox toy coming up. The Heretaunga Plain stretches to the ocean.
Napier Jill John JC 012_4000x3000
What a view it is breathtaking. But Jack is busy with his own version.
“Look at me” he calls…
Napier Jill John JC 013_4000x3000
“Got ya'”…
As well as the road there are also walking/running tracks crisscrossing the slopes.
Dog walkers

Dog walkers

Napiar Jill and John PC 016_4000x3000Napiar Jill and John PC 018_4000x3000

I could feel her exhilaration at making it to the top.

Napiar Jill and John PC 007_4000x3000

We had this magic place almost to ourselves with only a few other runners and walkers and another couple of cars. But time to move on. As John carefully backed out he is stopped and told to wait as 3 tourist buses are on the way up. We wait for one, then they let us go before the other 2 come up.

I  thank Jill and John and the wonderful connecting world of WordPress. Those 3 buses are bringing fellow passengers from the Oosterdam. Imagine 3 x approximately 40 on each bus milling around…

Napier Jill John JC 072_4000x3000

Back down we look back to the formidable Te Mata Peak towering 399 metres above us.

Napiar Jill and John PC 027_4000x3000

The scenery changes to lush green and the sheep are scattered across the paddocks.

Napiar Jill and John PC 029_4000x3000

Napiar Jill and John PC 025_4000x3000

On the way back to Napier Jill and John still have a couple of surprise to show us.

Napiar Jill and John PC 033_4000x3000

Te Awanga Beach, hopefully for a coffee, but being Good Friday it was shut. No worries Jack is still talking, maybe telling about the one that got away!!!

Napiar Jill and John PC 038_3832x2799

One last place was up to Bluff Hill Lookout where we gazed down on the Oosterdam seeming to take up the whole harbour, dwarfing the tiny tugboat waiting to guide us out.

Napiar Jill and John PC 040_3512x2661

As we walked toward the shuttle bus that would take us back to the Oosterdam these characters approached us asking if we would take their photo on their cell phones. Of course we took their photo on our cameras too.

Napiar Jill and John PC 043_4000x3000

Just what were they doing we asked. Just having fun and making people smile they said…

What a great ending, the whole day has been about connecting and smiling. The few hours we spent together with Jill and John is a tribute to the strength of the WordPress community in sharing and connecting world-wide and is one of the aspects of this media that is so appealing.

A very big THANK YOU Jill and John for your generosity and giving us an unforgettable tour of your beautiful part of New Zealand.

Jill posted about our visit shortly after the event. It is written in Jill’s inimitable style, take a look here. 

But wait there’s more…Napier Jill John JC 104_2292x1832

Napier Jill John JC 098_4000x3000

As we arrived back a 4 piece Dixie jazz band greeted us and a row of vintage cars with their owners dressed in the style of the era gathered to wish us “Bon Voyage” 

Napier Jill John JC 114_4000x3000

It was a very appropriate and emotional farewell to Napier, the Art Deco capital of New Zealand. I had a lump in my throat as they played “Now is the hour” and waved goodbye as the cruise liner slowly pulled away from the port.

I took a rather shaky video of the moment. There is rather a lot of back ground noise as the tour director on board welcomed us back and started to tell us what we had in store for the evenings entertainment.

 

Categories: cruise, Napier, New Zealand, Oosterdam, photos | Tags: , , , | 54 Comments

The Giant’s House in Akaroa

 

Akaroa is a charming small town of only 567 residents and the harbour is small. So small the cruise liner has to anchor in the bay and we are ferried ashore in the life boats.

Akaroa Giart house garden PC 074_4000x3000

Can you see our ship?

In 1838 a French whaler, Captain Langlois, decided that Akaroa was an ideal location for a town that could service the whaling ships. He subsequently acquired the peninsula in a dubious land deal with the local Maori. He then returned to France and arranged for a group of French and German families to sail to New Zealand, with the intention of forming a French colony.

After constantly refusing to recognise New Zealand as a British colony the Crown issued an Imperial Proclamation on 15 June 1839, which cited New Zealand as part of the British Realm.

After being informed of the French intent to colonise Akaroa and use further as a whaling port, the English ship the “Britomart” was despatched in order to proclaim sovereignty for the Crown. The “Britomart” arrived in Akaroa on 16 August (although the captain’s log shows this arrival date as 11 August 1840[5]), Captain Stanley raised the British flag and held a court at each of the occupied settlements.

The French arrived on  11 July 1840, where they discovered that the Banks Peninsula had been claimed by the British. But they still established a settlement and many street names still bare reference to these French beginnings.

This is the closest port to Christchurch and many of the passengers took a bus tour there. We stayed to explore this fascinating town, and what a gem we found.

 

Look what Jack found in a garden and couldn't resist taking a photo

Look what Jack found in a garden and couldn’t resist taking a photo

Benches where every where…

(These are for you Jude)

What a delightful place, I was entranced with its historic buildings and appealing, photogenic homes and gardens.

After wandering around the village we walked up a rather steep street to find the “Giant’s House”

Akaroa Giart house garden PC 110_3000x4000

What we discovered up this drive is the most amazing garden I have ever seen.

Created by Josie Martin an artist, painter and sculptor. When she began 15 years ago there was no garden so she had a blank canvas to work with. Digging the garden she found shards of pottery and lovely old china from the days when there was no rubbish collection. Saving them all, she felt it belonged to the history of the old house. That was the beginning of this magnificent, glorious garden – mosaic steps, an extraordinary sculptural wall mosaic, welded steel sculptures and other creations. Colourful gardens of roses vegetables, citrus, flowers. Very unique. 

I took hundreds of photos of those captivating, quirky, mosaic sculptures. The flower beds where a riot of colour, they demanded my attention. I had a silly grin on my face all the way round and came away hoping that some day I will go back to revisit this very special place.

As we entered the tour bus from the cruise ship also pulled in. “How long will you be here” I asked. “Only 20 minutes” I was told. So we sat in the garden café with a cuppa waiting for the 40+ tourists to move on, then we could savour this amazing place in relative peace.

I hope you enjoy this walk around. I am putting more photos in this post than I have ever done before. I just found them all so fascinating…

 

Akaroa Giart house garden PC 267_3000x4000

The house was given the name of “Giant’s House” by a girl looking up at it from the valley below who said it is so big it must be the house of a giant. It was built-in 1880. It took 5 years to build using hardwoods of the local Totara and Kauri trees.

Akaroa Giart house garden PC 271_4000x3000

The first thing you see on the front lawn are these larger than life mosaic musicians and the grand piano. Drifting through the air and setting the scene is the soft sound of French accordion music mixing with the singing of birds and trickling of water from a fountain.

Jack gets into the act

Jack gets into the act

Notice the succulents growing in the piano and the mirror under the lid…

The perennial border is a riot of colour

The perennial border is a riot of colour

Akaroa Giart house garden PC 190_2825x2509

The King and Queen

On the top of the hill the King and Queen survey their kingdom, but watch for that suspicious cat-like character lurking behind them in the bushes…

Akaroa Giart house garden PC 205_4000x3000

What are those yellow things above these acrobats?

Akaroa Giart house garden PC 231_4000x3000

Did you see they are waving arms?

Akaroa Giart house garden PC 222_4000x3000

Akaroa Giart house garden PC 172_4000x3000

Do you recognise this character?

Do you recognise this character?

Another path, let's see where this one goes

Another path, let’s see where this one goes

Watch out for the wild animals

Watch out for the wild animals

Phew, time for a sit down

Phew, time for a sit down

There's even a very healthy and flourishing veggie garden

There’s even a very healthy and flourishing veggie garden

Akaroa Giart house garden PC 236_3000x4000Akaroa Giart house garden PC 181_4000x3000

Akaroa Giart house garden PC 233_3000x4000

These are just a few of the beautiful flowers in the garden.

This is an amazingly life-like sculpture that Josie has done of herself.

We spent over 2 hours wandering around and could’ve stayed longer. Every where I looked I kept seeing another fascinating sculpture or more beautiful garden beds. It is a tribute to one woman’s energy and imagination.

If you are in New Zealand this is a place you must not miss. I would like to come again and next time stay in the Giant’s House as a guest and totally immerse myself in the magic.

“The house has many extraordinary features – a grand entrance hall with mahogany staircase imported from France, original open fireplaces, beautifully proportioned rooms, a conservatory with mosaic floor, a large sunny sheltered verandah, quirky bathrooms, bright yellow farmhouse kitchen, comfortable large bedrooms with unique artistic features and artwork throughout.

At The Giant’s House you will be pampered, and stimulated, in surroundings that will uplift your soul!- a very special experience, quite ‘out of this world’.” (to book a room and find out more click here)

*****************************

I’d also like to join in with Restless Jo’s walking group this week…

Categories: Akaroa, bench series, cruise, Giant's House garden, Jo's Monday walks, New Zealand, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 57 Comments

Right Steps.

pommepal:

I’m so pleased that Jack has posted his version of Dunedin and the Chinese Garden and I’m sure you will find it interesting to see his version of our day in Dunedin

Originally posted on jacksjottings:

Dunedin from the deck of the Oosterdan. Dunedin from the deck of the Oosterdam

Right Steps.

I would like to be playing their game. I would like to be playing their game.

This post has more links than a chain letter.

Also a few pictures. Also a few pictures.

My pommepal did a couple of splendid posts on Dunedin and the Chinese Gardens. There are a few photos I would like to add to supplement hers. Also even if I sometimes fail I never fail to try.  That is the main reason why these photos needed to be posted.

This is the fantastic entrance. This is the fantastic entrance.

I often say things without thinking that is something I will have to be mindful of, I am always quoting the Buddha’s Eight Fold Path but this does not stop me from wandering off the path when I am enjoying myself.  Unmindful of all the consequences I burble on and then have to follow up with Right Effort.

II will send this charming lady her FANtastic photos. I will send this charming lady her…

View original 310 more words

Categories: travel | 6 Comments

Dunedin Chinese Garden

Dunedin PC 061

 

 

The traditional shapes and colours of the entrance to the Chinese Garden beckons to us and we enter a place of beauty and tranquillity.

Dunedin PC 143_4000x3000

The garden was prefabricated and assembled in Shanghai on a site identical in size and shape to that in Dunedin. Then they dismantled it and transported it to Dunedin where it was reconstructed on site using artisans and supervisors from Shanghai. It was opened in 2008.

Dunedin PC 155_4000x3000

It is the only authentic Chinese Garden in New Zealand. It is the first in the southern hemisphere and one of only a handful outside China. I checked these facts in Wikipedia…

The garden is an authentic Chinese Garden, having been created with the support of the Dunedin City Council and the Shanghai Municipal Government. It cost $7 million to construct. The garden is New Zealand’s only authentic Chinese Garden and one of only three outside China – the first of its kind to be built in the southern hemisphere. The only other two authentic Chinese Gardens outside of China at the time are in Portland, USA, and Vancouver, Canada.

Dunedin PC 164_4000x3000

Dunedin PC 078

Dunedin PC 141_4000x3000

Dunedin PC 115_3000x4000

Dunedin PC 136_4000x3000

Dunedin PC 140_4000x3000

All the buildings are intricately constructed in the style that has been used in China since the 4th century BC using no nails. All the rocks and granite also came from China in 100 20ft containers. That attention to detail is what makes this garden authentic and so beautiful.

Dunedin PC 153_3676x2567

Dunedin PC 133_4000x3000

These rocks represent the mountains. To see the real thing take a trip over to “catbird in china”. Cathy has recently been exploring China and her photos of the Stone Forest are stunning.

Dunedin PC 127_4000x3000

Walkways meander around the outside of the gardens and intricate windows give tantalising views of the gardens.

A teahouse looks very tempting and the sweet sound of chinese music drifts out, but we have a ship to catch…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So we walk slowly on. This is a place I would like to spend longer in. This is definitely the downside of a cruise. Time on shore is very limited…

But still time to see more, so follow me…

Shades of Autumn

Shades of Autumn

This looks like a dragon to me.

This looks like a dragon to me, or a prehistoric monster.

Dunedin PC 152_4000x3000

Dunedin PC 093_4000x3000

Time to go back over the curved bridge and out into the bustling world of modern-day Dunedin after a tranquil retreat of one hour in ancient China.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Chinese Garden, cruise, Dunedin, New Zealand, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , | 32 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Motion of the Ocean…

Having recently spent 14 days on a cruise ship sailing across the Tasman Sea from Australia to New Zealand the motion of the ocean has become a constant steady heart beat to life on board.

I also live near one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia and I have many photos of the sea in all its moods. The motion of the waves as they swell and crash  is mesmerising. So I went back through my collection of images to share the turbulence of the ocean with you…

Burleigh beach sat morn after storm pc sx40 024

Burleigh beach sat morn after storm pc sx40 025

ocean and experimental shots 043

Burleigh beach sat morn after storm surfer 2 jc sx40 067

Categories: motion, Ocean, post-a-day, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 29 Comments

Dunedin

Dunedin PC 010_4000x3000

It was 7am and we ate breakfast and watched as the Oosterdam was slowly manipulated into the port of Dunedin by busy little tug boats.

Known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand, Dunedin is the country’s city of the south, wearing its Scottish heritage with pride. Surrounded by dramatic hills and at the foot of a long, picturesque harbour, Dunedin is one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Cruise liners organise many tours at each port, but I consider them overpriced. Now the downside, for me, of cruising, is the short amount of time that is available to explore each port stop. If you have never visited a country  possibly the best option is to take a tour. After all you may never be back this way again…

It is many years since I last visited Dunedin so our decision was to take the shuttle bus, organised by the Oosterdam, at the cost of US$20 return, which took us downtown.

So come with me, the weather is perfect, and gaze at the magnificent Edwardian style buildings built-in the late 1880’s when, due to the discovery of gold, Dunedin became the largest city, by population in New Zealand.

Dunedin PC 019_3000x4000

Dunedin PC 041_4000x3000

Time to stop for lunch, but still much more to see.

Dunedin PC 207_3179x2133

Now this is the jewel in the crown of the buildings in Dunedin. It is reported to be the most photographed building in New Zealand.

Dunedin PC 184_4000x3000

Dunedin PC 053_4000x3000

What a magnificent building, and it is still used as a train station. Admire the detail.

Dunedin PC 205_4000x3000 Dunedin PC 202_3000x4000

The inside is also very impressive.

Benches for Jude

Benches for Jude

Dunedin was built on the remnants of an extinct volcano. The city suburbs extend out into the surrounding valleys and hills. One very little known fact is that the steepest street in the world can be found tucked away in these suburbs. We went to have a look at it…

Dunedin JC 152_4000x3000Dunedin PC 233_3000x4000

No we didn’t walk up, just took the photo then caught the local bus back to town…

The final place I left till last was the Chinese Gardens and they are so charming and exquisite that they deserve a post of their own.

To be continued…

  

Categories: cruise, Dunedin, New Zealand, Oosterdam, photos | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments

Majestic Milford Sounds

 

During the 14 days cruise we called into 10 ports including Sydney, the starting point, and Auckland the disembark port. So almost every day we had a different place to explore.

From Sydney and along the coast of Australia it was a full day sailing and then a stop at Melbourne. Then another full day sailing to Hobart, before leaving Australia behind and taking 2 days sailing across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand. So 4 full days at sea gave us time to explore all the Oosterdam had to offer on board.

Milford Sounds was to be our first sight of New Zealand, or as the Māori name it, Aotearoa, “land of the long white cloud”. These large liners could not go into the Sounds unless the weather was calm. Two of our friends had been on recent cruises that had missed the spectacular cruise through this World Heritage area due to wild weather.

But we were lucky…

cruise ship Milford Sounds pc 056_4000x3000

At 7am we rushed out to the Promenade Deck to see the misty, majestic cliffs of Milford Sounds slowly floating by.

We had been here before, but on a smaller boat. It was raining that day and the waterfalls were cascading down the sheer rock face. A very different experience to today. (Go here to see it)

“Milford Sounds has been judged the world’s top travel destination in an international survey (the 2008 Travelers’ Choice Destinations Awards by TripAdvisor)[1][2] and is acclaimed as New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination.[3] Rudyard Kipling had previously called it the eighth Wonder of the World.[4]“(Wikipedia)

cruise ship Milford Sounds pc 005_4000x3000

cruise ship Milford Sounds pc 012_4000x3000

This was the small boat we went in last time and quite a number of passengers had booked to take this tour which would take them closer to the waterfalls and further into the fiord.

cruise ship Milford Sounds jc 2 046_4000x2664

I took so many photos, it is mesmerizing.

cruise ship Milford Sounds jc 008_4000x2664

See how every one is dressed? It was very chilly on deck.

cruise ship Milford Sounds pc 024_3000x4000

cruise ship Milford Sounds pc 051_4000x3000

By 11am we had moved through this fiord and could go inside and warm up with a cuppa and some food. But we still had 2 more fiords to cruise through. At 1pm we would be in Doubtful Sound

Dusky sound PC 044_4000x3000

By 1pm, as we sailed into Doubtful Sound, the mist had cleared and it can be seen why this land is called “the land of the long white cloud”

But the day is not over yet. At 3pm we sailed into Dusky Sound.

Slowly the mountain profile of this magical land disappears over the horizon and everyone on board is delighted that this time this huge liner was able to cruise through this very special place.

Now it was back to ship board life, as over night we sail to the next port of call. Tomorrow we wake up to Dunedin…

To be continued… 

 

Categories: cruise, Milford Sounds, New Zealand, Oosterdam, photos | Tags: , , , | 37 Comments

Fun and Games on Board…

Finding quiet moments on board a cruise liner are an option, but they have so many other options to keep every one amused that it is almost impossible to fit every thing into the day.

Here are a few of the things I enjoyed.

cruise day 4 pc 037_4000x3000

Each day a computer workshop would be held to show how to do various things, usually quite basic. BUT they did not include any use of the internet. If you wanted to use internet connection it would cost US$55 for 100 minutes. The connection was very slow and unreliable so we all know how frustrating that would be… I didn’t connect with the internet for 14 days!!!!

The class is waiting for the tutor to arrive, notice what some are doing to fill in time????

*************************

Watson Bay cruise day 1 pc 063_3000x4000

As I’ve mentioned the food was very good, and varied and regular cooking demonstrations were held. I went to a couple of them. After the demonstration we had samples to try. Yummy…

***********************

Watson Bay cruise day 1 pc 081_4000x3000

This is the start of a dance class. The dance teachers, on the stage, very patiently took us through the basic steps of the samba, again and again. I have to admit that we just couldn’t get it. So when they had taken us through all the steps and then turned on the music we admitted defeat and just did our own bit of a boogie in the corner.

It was a competition and each session the best dancers, chosen by audience clapping, went on to the next round. On the last evening the finalists competed and the best couple won a cruise.

***************

Watson Bay cruise day 1 pc 038_4000x3000

If cards were your thing you could go along to this room and join in all different sessions.

***************

cruise day 4 pc 039_4000x3000

Are you a shopaholic? Then this is the place. A small shopping arcade and every time you bought any thing you received a raffle ticket. This is the scene at the big raffle draw…

Watson Bay cruise day 1 pc 037_4000x3000

*****************

One of my favourites was the art auction.

Given a glass of bubbly and 20 minutes to wander round looking at the art. Any that interested you put a sticker on.

Just a small selection here. Then the auction began…

Watson Bay cruise day 1 pc 076_4000x3000

It was a quick fire auction and some did get sold. I kept my hands firmly in my lap…

*****************

In the evenings the pace picked up with a choice of classical music played on the piano and violin.

Jack did this drawing of the pianist as I did not take a photo

Jack did this drawing of the pianist as I did not take a photo

There was also a piano bar playing popular tunes from the shows. A dance band in another area to dance the night away to. And BB King’s blues club.

 

Every night a different show was performed in the grand 3 level showroom. Singing, dancing, illusionist and my favourite was when our happy Indonesian staff performed a selection of songs and dances from their home country.

I did not take any photos of the showroom as the light was very dim, but Jack busily sketched away while we waited for the show to start.

These are just a small sample of the things to do.

Other things included an indoor and outdoor pool both heated with hot spars to soothe the aching muscles. The green room for massage, facials, hair care and all other things to pamper you (at a cost). The gym equipped with all modern equipment to keep you fit. And don’t forget we had to walk 3 times a day to the restaurant of choice for our meals.

 

Wellington on board Jc 024_4000x3000

If it all became a bit too much you could just laze around and read a book on your Kindle.

But that’s not all… Most days we woke up to find we had docked at another port to explore…

Whew….

To be continued….

Categories: cruise, Oosterdam, travel | Tags: , , | 33 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Postcards from Ian and Margaret

We are a couple of retirees with a caravan. From our home in Sydney we are exploring Australia with short trips of 4-8 weeks. Our posts let friends and family know we are not lost and will come home when the fun stops.

Zeebra Designs & Destinations

An Artist's Eyes Never Rest

suesilver

poems and some photographs

The Sacred Cave

Slowing down to notice the present moment...

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Where's my backpack?

Romancing the planet; a love affair with travel.

fulltimelayabout

Photos of my home town

Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast

Birthplace of James Madison and Southern Plantation

ishooteditnblog

Every picture has a story to tell

jacksjottings

Try even if you fail but never fail to try.

Memories are made of this

I need photos to keep my memories alive

soitgoes1

Just another WordPress.com site

the vibes

Dreams of a Free Spirit

livingforcreativity

Living a life of creativity, via music, books and films.

In My View

The world as I see it -- by R C Norman

endeavor

my journal of creative expression

Always Restless Feet

Have urge, will travel

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,145 other followers

%d bloggers like this: