Thursday, March 13, 2014

We Love New Zealand

Hello faithful followers! We are still alive and well, but have been having great difficulty with the internet on board the ship. We have had to tote our laptop off the ship with us on each of the previous posts in order to publish which is a wee bit of a pain in the butt. So I hope that you’re enjoying our little blog. I understand from some of you that you don’t want to open a g mail account in order to leave a comment here on the blog, which we totally understand, but please feel free to drop us an email if you want to as we do check that from time to time.
We have completed our port visits in and New Zealand and are again at sea en route to Nuku’alofa, Tonga as I type this post. We totally loved New Zealand and will definitely return someday. We actually had one more port of call, the bay of islands, but are unable to visit it due to the approaching cyclone named Luci (Lucy).
Our Commodore regrettably made this decision yesterday in order to give us the smoothest ride around here as possible, but if the seas today are any indication of what is to come I’m very scared!!
We have heard the horror stories about the ships previous Atlantic crossing where all the common areas were locked to keep passengers from going outside. In other words they were locked to basically keep passengers from falling over board. We’ve been told that the waves were 35 to 50 feet.I’d certainly be green for sure.
We have posted a few favourite photos from our stops in Dunedin, Wellington, Napier for your viewing pleasure.
Don’t worry Mom she is a study ship though. This photo was taken in the port of Dunedin. It wasn’t the most pleasant weather, cool and grey which didn’t make for the best day to walk around.

Dunedin (Old Gaelic name for Edinburgh)

Dunedin Railway Station was built in 1906 by New Zealand architect George Troup, in the Flemish renaissance style. It happens to be one of New Zealand’s finest historic buildings, and one of the best examples of railway architecture in the southern hemisphere.

I totally had to have my picture taken in front of this local establishment, which was appropriately located directly across the street from the courthouse.

At each and every port we visited these pine tree logs were the most common site, as logging is one of the chief exports in New Zealand. They have the largest commercially grown forests in the world. Each tree cut is replaced one year later, pruned back at 10 years to keep their trunks straight and then eventually cut down again between 20-25 years of age. They are then shipped all over the world in this form as apparently it is cheaper. Since this changed New Zealand sawmills are closing putting many people out of work, only to eventually return to them in some other shape or form.

A picturesque seaside tourist area where Rick and I walked around a bit at first and then eventually hired a car and driver to take us to the must see areas that were further away.

It is also where many scenes from the movies The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were largely shot.

How come my Lavender doesn’t grow this big???
Green Fern Tree
Wee Shaemus and Rick on the beach

View from mount Victoria

(Tauranga in Maori means an anchorage or resting place.)
Tauranga had to be one of our favourite ports. We took a private tour where we had the opportunity to experience New Zealand’s Maori culture at its finest.
We drove to Rotorua about 1 hour and 45 minutes from Tauranga where we saw hot thermal geysers, boiling mud pools, hot thermal springs, a Maori village and Lake Rotorua where we had lunch.

 boiling mud pool

It was the first time we saw a real live kiwi bird, but unfortunately we were not allowed to photograph it.
We also stopped into a kiwi Fruit orchard. Until yesterday Rick wouldn’t try kiwi fruit, but will now!

Norfolk Pine

For those that are not familiar with the Maori culture they are the aboriginals of New Zealand. Wee Shaemus definitely had to have his picture taken with this fellow.
We’re heading back aboard Queen Victoria for some rest.

The people of Tauranga come out to see our ship off

This beautiful sunset was taken from our balcony as we sail away towards Auckland.
Ok peeps we’ll sign off for now. When we have the opportunity we will post some photos from in and around the ship over the next three days at sea as well as some from Auckland. Also some from Napier because we forgot to upload when them when we were in the internet cafĂ© in Auckland for this post. Oops!
We can only do so much with the shipboard satellite internet service.
Rick, Sandra and Wee Shaemus :

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