Australia, New Zealand · 27 Days · 22 Moments · January 2018

39 Day Cruise

12 February 2018

No pictures for Feb 11. We were supposed to do a jet boat snorkeling excursion, but it was canceled at the last moment, once again due to driving rain in Bora Bora. We went ashore and hooked a 4-hour boat tour around the island that included several snorkeling stops. At the first we swam with dozens of black tip sharks and stingrays. At others, the guides lured out a large moray and caught a small octopus. Not a bad day for half the price of our canceled excursion.

10 February 2018

Today, just as we were about to leave the room for our photography excursion on beautiful Moorea we got the call that it was canceled...once again for weather. Moorea is gorgeous, all our expectations for Polynesia are satisfied here. The craggy skyline, the verdant growth, the shallow water, the friendly people. We decided to take a local island tour so we saw a black sand beach, visited a lookout high on a mountain, shopped and enjoyed the scenery and hospitality.

9 February 2018

Yesterday we were unable to get ashore in Rarotonga due to too much swell to allow tender boarding. We left immediately for Papeete Tahiti, arriving around 6:00 pm the following day. The ship is acknowledged to be in a serious outbreak of respiratory virus and I have it so I needed a couple days off. However, it rained constantly from Rarotonga to Tahiti and was still raining this morning. Consequently, our tour was canceled before we even got out of bed. We wandered into town briefly for WiFi, then Jess and I bought tickets on a round Tahiti 4 hour tour. 7 or 8 stops, including a grotto, 2 waterfalls, a botanical garden, a cool lava tube blowhole, a lighthouse, and a public park. It rained a little but was mostly cooperative, thank goodness.

5 February 2018

Today (Feb 5A) we arrived in Tonga to a welcome by the Tonga Police Brass Band. Our excursion to a nearby island via kayak was pretty challenging, but once there very enjoyable. The info supporting this excursion was insufficient. We brought a bunch of stuff that we simply had to leave behind in a locked car... not too safe. Food was good.

2 February 2018

The kauri tree and Puketi Forest.
Today we arrived in Waitangi, the northern most region of NZ. The weather had cleared and it was beautiful if not exactly warm. Our excursion took us to the Kuwaiti Glow worm cave, which was s walkthrough affair. The ceiling was pretty low so we had a chance to see the lights quite well. The information here was much more complete than Waitomi, but still no photography. Outside the cave we’re some very pretty limestone rock formations that I took pictures of. The bus then took us to Kawakawa a kind of eccentric little town with murals and other street art. A train ran down the middle of the street. Then we were off to Puketi Forest to see the rain forest growth and the giant and ancient kauri trees. Last, we stopped in Kerikeri where we took photos of the old stone store

1 February 2018

Today was wine tasting on Waiheke Island, a 30 minute ferry ride from Auckland. There was a driving rain most of the day, which ruined the views but not the wine. Our first stop was Shelly Beach for coffee, then Batch Winery where we bought two bottles of Pinot Gris. Last stop was Stoneybrook Winery, both quite small. The wind was ripping! It got worse throughput the day. As it turns out, there was a tropical storm passing somewhere nearby and we were catching the edge of it. Up to 45 mph winds and driving rain. We saw almost nothing of Auckland or its environs.

31 January 2018

Today we are cruising the Bay of Plenty. First stop: White Island, a dormant but steaming volcano reached by tourists via helicopter.

30 January 2018

Today was our private tour to Waitomo Caves and Hobiton. Carolyn was our driver and guide. She did excellent to take us to places others wouldn’t see on country back roads. We first visited a kiwi center and saw them, a Tui bird and Tuataras! Waitomo was awe inspiring, but photography was not permitted. Hobiton was incredibly cool. We stopped at a beautiful waterfall park on a side trip suggested by Carolyn. Pretty sunset tonight.

29 January 2018

Today (no pics from cell phone) we did river rafting on the Mohaka River. Out of Napier. Class 2. Got some clips on Tough Camera. Also good fun.

28 January 2018

Yesterday, the 28th, we did Quad biking outside Wellington, NZ’s capital city. We drove 3000’ up into the mountains to a remote site on private land where there were many miles of dirt roads through forests bare hills and river beds. Most fun so far. We did several miles up and down and along the river. Beautiful and huge fun.

27 January 2018

Today’s excursion was to a Maori cultural house, where I was appointed honorary king of a visiting tribe. I was to pick up a leaf as a sign of coming in peace. Afterwards photos with the leader. Later Jess and I went walking around Picton.

26 January 2018

Today, we t arrived at Arakoa, and embarked on a nature cruise in the bay. We saw Hector ‘s dolphins, Little Blue Penguin, and fur seals. Also saw “Lucky “, a sheep that fell off a cliff and landed on a ledge where she’s now been living for six months. Later Jess and I walked to a cemetery where on the trail we encountered a bird displaying for its mate. This evening we ate at a special restaurant event in the Pinnacle. Turned out to be Heathers birthday.

25 January 2018

Stopped at A J —— bungy jumping sits, first in the world.
This morning we took a gondola to the top of Bobs Peak where we viewed Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown. Leaving there we stopped briefly at a gold mining town called Arrowtown.

24 January 2018

On Lake Wakatipu on the Steamboat TSS Earnslaw. On our way to Walter Peak sheep station. We had s marvelous meal, watched sheep sheering and sheep herding demos. Returned at 10 pm.
Lunch at Lake Te Anau.
Arrived this morning at Milford Sound and transferred to a launch then a bus for our overnight trip to Dunedin. Quite cloudy as we climbed the alps. We stopped for photos at a place called The Chasm, where a rushing stream cuts a Gorge. We passed through a tunnel and crested the alps. Another stop at Knob Flat, a large meadow.

22 January 2018

Yesterday, 21 Jan, we arrived at Burnie Tasmania. Jess and I did the Canyoning tour while Nancy went to Gunn’s Plains Caves with Bonnie and MT. Both were excellent. The Canyoning was a bit more physical than expected but enormous fun. Toon about an hour and a half to get to Cradle Mountain National Park where the tours are run. Dove Canyon is a narrow quartzite Canyon with a fast moving stream that was mostly shallow but had some deep holes we could rock jump into. Got GoPro movies and stills. See for their pictures of our tour.

20 January 2018

Today we arrived in Melbourne and visited a wildlife park and sanctuary in the Yates Valley. After two hours or so we went on to to wineries for lunch and tasting.

17 January 2018

At the top of the Bridge

16 January 2018

Arrived very tired to Sydney yesterday. After arriving at the hotel took a nap and walked to the Opera House for photos. Today, Jess and I climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge.