Day 31 – 4th February 2020, Scenic Cruising

Clearing Doubtful Sound

Bye Bye New Zealand

This brings an end to an exceptional 8 days in New Zealand, one of my favourite countries in the world. After spending 2 months on the NZ Coast, on my first rip to sea, I could easily have moved here, had I not gone to Canada. The climate is great, scenery tremendous and the people are simply magnificent.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, as we continue this great adventure, pounding across the Tasman Sea, bound for Australia.

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Day 30 – 3rd February 2020, Departure Dunedin

Departing Port Chalmers

Lines are cast off and pushing off the dock – our final port in New Zealand

During our arrival this morning we had low overcast, which isn’t conducive to photographing the great arrival/departure through the narrow, navigable channel. Although still not perfect, the weather had improved for departure, so I headed up to Deck 7 to watch and snap a few photos.

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Day 30 – 3rd February 2020, Dunedin

Penguin sanctuary young one in rehab

After a slow steam down the coast from departure Akaroa yesterday, we were docked in Port Chalmers, the port for Dunedin, about 07:00. This is a scenic arrival, as the ship navigates the buoyed channel through the inlet, but on checking outside, I noted it was totally overcast, with very low clouds obscuring the shore. Therefore, no point heading out to watch the arrival.

Today we have a private tour, which starts with a drive through Dunedin, with multiple stops, followed by a drive around the Otago Peninsula viewing various birds, sea lions, penguins and albatross.

The camera shutter got a serious workout today, so my dilemma is how to pick only 30 or 40 photos for the blog out of almost 250. Well, I culled photos down to 66, so enjoy.

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Day 29 – 2nd February 2020, Akaroa

Punting 7 passing under willow tree

Looking forward to berthing with our sister ship Viking Orion, in Lyttelton today, unfortunately a couple of months ago, we received the not so good news that we were going to Akaroa. This is a tender port about 55 miles from Christchurch and has been used extensively by cruise ships since the devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

Today we did 2 ship’s tours – the included in the morning and Punting on the Avon in the afternoon.

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Day 28 – 1st February 2020, Wellington

Wellington harbour atop Mt Victoria 2

The winds around Napier were a harbinger for the voyage down the coast, then into  Cook Strait and finally the approach to windy Wellington Harbour. Mid-way through the show last night, Judi felt the ship moving, which continued throughout the night.

Way back in 1975, as a lowly cadet on my very first trip to sea, windy Wellington was our first port of call, after departing UK. After almost 45 years, this was my first time back at this port and like the others it has experienced massive changes.

Alongside at 09:00, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before wandering ashore for our excellent included tour of Wellington.

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Day 27 – 31st January 2020, Napier !!


The Kiwi

Today should have been a half sea day, followed by 6 hours ashore in Napier, where we planned to go sample some local wines. You would think we get sufficient wine aboard, but no, we paid for an optional excursion to drink more wine. We only considered ship’s tours for this port, due to the high chance of not docking due to weather.

However, mother nature decided we really didn’t need to see Napier, so we enjoyed another relaxing sea day. Within minutes of the Captain’s announcement, our onboard account received the tour credit.

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Day 26 – 30th January 2020 – Tauranga

Viking Sun at Tauranga

Departing Auckland last evening we had a quiet and peaceful voyage down the East Coast of New Zealand, docking in Tauranga about 06:00. Our day started with an early breakfast in the World Cafe, where we met all of our group on today’s tour.

We drove the 40 miles to Rotorua, where our guide provided a full and detailed tour of Te Puia, a geothermal park with the Southern Hemisphere’s largest active geyser.

Read on for details of our tour and lots of photos.

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Day 25 – 29th January 2020, Auckland

Andy and Judi at Muriwai Beach

With 2 days in Auckland we planned for a day in the city and a day touring the countryside, so today was our Kiwi Countryside Tour. What a complete contrast to yesterday’s hustle and bustle, and traffic congestion of the city. We drove through pristine farm and grazing lands, watched sheep shearing and saw the spectacular vistas of the West Coast.

Read on for more details and photos of this great tour.

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Day 24 – 28th January 2020, Auckland

Sunset from balcony

Sunset from couple of days ago

Departing the Bay of Islands yesterday evening, we enjoyed a very calm and pleasant overnight voyage down the New Zealand coast to Auckland, where we have our 3rd overnight. Auckland is a beautiful city, with many similarities to Vancouver.

Read on for our impression of the local Ho-Ho bus and the evening cultural performance.

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Day 23 – 27th January 2020, Bay of Islands

32 Waitangi Treaty Grounds NZ flag

New Zealand Flag

Having finally crossed the vast Pacific Ocean, this morning we arrive in Bay of Islands, New Zealand, a country where we visit 7 ports in the next 8 days. It also includes overnight in Auckland.

I spent almost a week in the Bay of Islands on my first trip to sea, way back in 1975, so I have eagerly awaited this port, to see the changes in 45 years. Great start to the day, capturing my first sunrise, as we sailed into the bay.

Today is another private tour visiting Haruku Falls, Kerikeri, Russell and the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Read on for lots of photos and a description of this great day of touring.

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