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Cruise Recap: Don't Mess With Mother Nature!

NEW ZEALAND | Thursday, 13 February 2020 | Views [138]

Auckland Sunrise

Auckland Sunrise

NEW ZEALAND IS SURELY ONE OF GOD’S BETTER EFFORTS.  While the country is always beautiful, if the sun is shining New Zealand can be freakin’ spectacular.  When a 20th Century edition of Lonely Planet from our first visit ran out of superlatives, it resorted to  “ridiculously stunning” to describe the scenery.  No argument here!  But we feel sorry for those folks whose first taste of Kiwiland came from our cruise.  We all knew in advance that White Island would no longer be on the schedule — it is lucky it is still on the face of the earth after December’s volcanic eruption.  Then we were forced to substitute Stewart Island for the Fiordlands cruise.   


             Port Chalmers from above

We had enjoyed Dunedin back in ’05 despite the rain but Noordam was going only as far as Port Chalmers.  After a couple of false starts we learned that the National Park Connie wanted to visit was not a place the local cabbies cared to carry us.  Oh, well.  We wandered around Port Chalmers for a few hours then went aboard for lunch.


                 White-Fronted Tern

Since the 2011 earthquake, ships no longer dock in Christchurch but in Akaroa, a 90-minute bus ride away, which required a shore excursion or a private taxi.  We’ll have wait until we are ready to leave New Zealand to visit Christchurch and see how the city is rebuilding.


   Picton Harbor


                                  Gandalf the Grey, Wellington i-Site

Both Picton, on the north end of South Island and Wellington, on the south end of North Island were quiet stops for us and crossing the often rough Cook Strait went much more smoothly than on our previous experiences on the inter-island ferry.  


  Puttin' on the Ritz at Napier


                                    A Rake and His Ride


                                                                     The Ladies Who Lunch

But due to the tide schedule, we had to leave Napier, one of our favorites, after only five hours in order to make it to Tauranga while there was still enough water to float Noordam.  A group of swells with their vintage cars and vintage ladies parked on the pier, giving us a taste of what we can expect next week when we visit friends Ron and Rita for Napier’s Art Deco festival.


            Along the Mauao Track in Tauranga

Tauranga was one of the places I would like to revisit.  We spent the morning watching kids fish and splash then hiked around the scenic four-mile Mauao Historic Track.


   Girl in a Sunhat, Tauranga


                                               Goin' Fishin'  Tauranga



                                                                        Life's a Beach in Tauranga

So the cruise ended with an extra night snug in the harbor in Auckland.  The very unlucky had a 24-hour flight back to freezing temperatures.  We had only to take a bus to the airport and pick up our rental car.

Earthquakes. Volcanos. Tides.  You Can't Fool Mother Nature!


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