Hi out there
If I’m doing a blog, I must be at the garage with the car in for service!! Correct on all counts. Car in for the 150000km service and to get the parking sensors looked at as they malfunction every time I wash the car!! Hopefully something very simple and cheap to fix!! Wouldn’t that be nice!!
OK!! As you can imagine a lot has happened since March and all the things we were looking forward to have come and gone. Now it’s catching up with everything that got missed in the excitement!!
Just before we headed off for our cruise around New Zealand we went through the tail end of Cyclone Debbie, which brought heavy rain… enough for months in one day!! The storm headed out to sea and we were concerned that we would encounter it again at sea or in NZ. Very fortunately it was ahead of us and we experienced really good weather all around!!
Were we at sea for two days with waves of two metres, which in a ship that size was very gentle. You could see the curvature of the earth but that was about it. Didn’t see another boat or anything other than a few cormorants and the odd albatross!!
Our first land sighting and views came in the sounds on day 3. We entered Milford Sound early in the morning and were invited to the helicopter pad to enjoy the best view. It was pretty cold but the sound was beautiful. Just like the fjords in Norway and Alaska the views were spectacular.
From Milford Sound we made our way south down the south island of New Zealand to Doubtful Sound. This was named by Captain Cook on his travels as he believed it was doubtful it could be navigated and didn’t find the way through. We managed it in a whopping great boat!!
The last of the three sounds was Dusky Sound. The Sounds have the reputation of the wettest places in New Zealand and have lots of horse flies and bugs. I suppose its a pay off for the beautiful scenery!! We were told by the crew that the weather was the best they had ever experienced in the sounds!! You can see from the photos it was perfectly clear and not a bug to be found!! Joy!!
After another night at sea we headed to our first port of call, Dunedin. It was settled ages ago by mainly Scots hence the name which means Edinburgh in? Is it Celtic or Gaelic? Any way there was a statue of Robert Burns in the centre of town!! Like most places in NZ it’s big on rugby and the stadium hosts the Highlanders. It’s enclosed due to the weather, which can be horrendous and very cold at times. Once again it was lovely when we were there!!
There was also some great architecture and the steepest street in the world. I’ll put in two examples…….
The highlight for me was the trip to the penguin sanctuary and hospital. Penguins are my favourites and I could watch them for hours!! These were the endangered yellow eyed penguins, which are in short supply. Commercial fishing has impacted on the penguins main food source which is Cod. New Zealanders love fish and chips and enjoy Cod too!!
After our great day in Dunedin we set sail for Akaroa which is the gateway to Christchurch in the region of Canterbury. Home to the Crusaders if you are in to rugby!! Christchurch was rocked by a massive earthquake in 2010 and for those who remember our trip to New Zealand in 2011 we were supposed to play squash in Christchurch but the test series was moved to Nelson near Picton which is final port of call on this trip.
We arrived in the harbor in Akaroa and were on a tender, which for the uninitiated is an anchor in the middle of the water where you are put on little boats to take you to shore. We did so and went off on a day trip to the Antarctic centre in Christchurch and the royal New Zealand Air Force Museum. I managed to see some more penguins, so was happy as Larry!! They were blue fairy penguins. smaller the there yellow eyed cousins and not endangered!! I wont bore you with more photos but I’ll just do one from our Christchurch trip!!
You always enjoy these trips and experiences learning something new and seeing lots of sights that you haven’t seen or done before. This one was memorable for the most opinionated, depressing tour guide/driver you could ever imagine. It was amusing to hear but it was an eight hour trip!!! I believe if you hate the country, the government, the weather, the indigenous population, the transport system and tourists you really should go in search of another profession. Maybe Antarctica… but if you hate the cold and penguins that could be tough gig too!!
Next stop on our tour was Wellington, the capital of NZ. Home to the Hurricanes…rugby reference again sorry!! !!We crossed the Cook Strait, infamously one of the roughest windiest stretches of water in the world……except when we went through it!! We arrived in windy Wellington to clear skies and not a breath of wind!! Very unusual!! When were in Wellington on honeymoon in 1988 we nearly got blown into the harbour and that’s not a joke. This time it was benign. You’ll see from the picture we went through the massive wind farm where the turbines weren’t moving. I would hate to have been there in 1988!! The turbines weren’t there in 1988 anyway!! We did another trip with New Zealand gray fur seals on the agenda and a bit of off road driving too. All good fun!!
Another over night and Cook Strait crossing back to the south island to Picton. 4.5 m waves were the biggest ones we experience but still not much rolling!! We were really looking forward to Picton for two reasons… firstly, we were absolutely taken by the place in 2011 when we came through. It’s a beautiful little town if you ever get to visit. It’s also the gateway to the Marlborough wine region. Being a bit of a wine drinker myself, I thought it would be great if we went on a tasting tour!!! We did so and the guide was very good. He actually liked the country, the weather, the government etc and the wine!!!
We had a great day and visited three wineries including Wither Hills a big international player. The was informative and we bought some of their wines, which they produce in low quantities so are not exported. Wither Hills refers to the hills alongside the Marlborough Valley. On one side the valley the hills are lush and green, heavily forested with lush rich soil. The other side of the valley the hills are barren and devoid of trees. A much harsher area and rougher soil, hence wither hills. I thought that was interesting!!
And that was that. We were invited to the helicopter and again to sail out of Picton and head back to Sydney. Beautiful memories and a glass of bubbles to send us on our way.
It was a great trip and we booked our next cruise on board. Off to China, South Korea and Japan in 2019!! It will probably be time for another blog by then!!! Hopefully, you’ve made you way through this one and haven’t been too bored. I’ll wrap it up there…..
Except to mention…. we had a great time with our friends Nicki, Gez and Jodie Connelly from the UK. Jodie and Jono went to play school together, so it was fun to see how they have developed. Lots of drinking and touring again. Also notable news… Sue won the state title for the 13th year in a row. It was a massive win this year as she was match point down in the final to her old adversary Kylie Hammett. Kylie comes into the age category every five years before Sue moves up to the next category, so it’s always a tough ask but Sue was up to it!! The age thing has worked in her favour later in the year as she has been selected to play for Australia in the Trans Tasman Test Series. She turns 55 on 30th August and the first test is on 1st September, so she will be a young 55!! In more news Sue has moved jobs. She’s gone back contracting earning twice as much as before with half the hours and a lot less stress. Good move in my view. Also in the news section… Jono is up for promotion to project manager. He has the backing of the branch manager, so it should go through very soon. He has put in for a 33% pay increase and should get close to that. Great position to be in at 23 years old. His house and life are all good!! Finally, our new car, the Merc, is on the horizon…. like…. it’s on a transporter today or tomorrow and they are flying someone down to show us how it works. I suppose when you wait 6 months from order and you pay a fortune for a car, the least they can do is show you how it works!!
That’s all folks. Will send a car photo when it arrives!!!
Take care for now. A&S J&L C&K xx xx lick lick!!