Australia and New Zealand
In January & February we flew to Australia for a 12-day cruise on the
Diamond Princess from Sydney to Auckland.
Flew to Sydney via San Francisco, leaving Seattle in the evening of
the 29th and arriving Sydney on the morning of the 31st.
This day never really happened as it went past in a seat on the United
Sydney. Check into Four Seasons hotel. Check out Circular Quay and
The Rocks area. Took tour get-on-get-off-get-on-again tour bus around
town. Walked to the Opera House via Mrs. Macquaries Chair and the
Ship arrives at the dock outside our hotel window. Walk around
Sydney shopping area. Go up in the big tower for panorama view
of the city. Board the Diamond Princess in the afternoon and
check into cabin C528 (10th deck).
Membership # for Jacob: 615936181A.
Membership # for Carol: 603115147B.
Nice evening cruise past the Opera House in the dark as we
At sea. First (of two) formal night, see pictures.
Melbourne. In the morning we took a Princess tour to the Serendip
Naturepark where we saw lots of kangaroos and wallabies in a semi-wild
state. In the afternoon, we took the tram into the city and strolled
At sea, sailing from Melbourne to Hobart. The weather was actually
quite good, and I enjoyed some quality time on the balcony.
Arrival in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Hobert is a very nice town!
And it didn't hurt that it was a beautiful day either. In the morning
we took a Princess tour to the Bonorong Wildlife Park where we met
kangaroos, wallabies, tasmanian devils, wombats, and a koala bear.
That was really nice! In the afternoon, we wandered around Hobart,
especially the Salamanca Plaze area where we purchased some Huon Pine
and the wombat teddybear that Carol liked so much.
At sea, crossing the Tasman Sea. The weather was terrible. Wind,
huge waves, not particularly comfortable although the ship handles
the waves really well.
At sea for the second day. Same conditions, maybe a little lighter,
as the previous day.
Cruising the Fiordlands of New Zealand's South Island. We really got our
moeny's worth for the balcony today! These fiords are extremely beautiful,
just like the Norwegian fiords. We started off with Milford Sound and then
worked our way southwards and then eastwards around the very southern tip
of New Zealand.
Port Chalmers and Dunedin. Dunedin is a small, but quite charming city with
a Scottish heritage. This time we avoided the Princess tour and simply
headed into town. We then purchased a trip to Larnach Castle up on the
hill. This Larnach guy built an English country castle here and equipped
it quite nicely. After letting it degenerate for many years (using it as a
hospital for veterans and a mental hospital among other things), it has
been restored in recent years and looks very nice.
In the afternoon, we strolled around downtown Dunedin, including
visiting the train station.
Lyttleton and Christchurch. Christchurch is definitely a lot bigger
than Dunedin, but I also found it a bit weird. It's extremely English,
some say more so than England itself. The core downtown with the
Cathedral and the town square is quite nice. It's also quite charming
to "punt on the Avon" (ie, take a Venetian-style boat ride on the Avon
river), although we didn't try it ourselves.
We took an excursion out to the airport area where they have the
"Antarctic World" exhibition, which was pretty interesting although
a little tame. We spent the afternoon wandering around town. Strangely,
Christchurch has a fasciniation with the Scott Antarctica expedition
dating all the way back to being his sponsor for the journey.
At sea, heading to Tauranga.
Arrival in Tauranga. We're now on the North Island.
Again, we did our own tour rather than
use Princess. We hired Lionel, a local Maori, and his Honda minivan
for an all-day tour. That was definitely the right decision as we got
a completely personal and private tour from a very knowledgable local
for the same cost (perhaps a little less) than the similar bus tour
by Princess. We drove to Rotorua where we visted a native town,
saw the Maori show, and toured the thermals and geysers. In the
afternoon, we went to the New Zealand Farm Show for an authentic look at
sheep herding with dogs, milking, dairy production, and (of course)
sheep shearing! The farm was very nice. On the way back to the ship,
we drove along the coast and saw some nice beaches.
Arrival in Auckland. Time to disembark the ship. We spent the day
wandering around in town, including going to the Victoria Markets
and the dock area. We stayed in the Carlton Hotel.
Auckland. We went to a lot of the same places as the previous day.
Auckland is definitely very sleepy and laid back compared even to
Australia. At 3 pm we headed to the airport and flew to San Francisco
on an Air New Zealand 777.
Page 2: Sydney, embark Diamond Princess
Page 3: Leave Sydney, Melbourne
Page 4: Melbourne, Hobart
Page 5: Hobart, Broadway show
Page 6: Tasman Sea, Fiordlands
Page 7: Fiordlands, Dunedin
Page 8: Dunedin, Christchurch
Page 9: Rotorua, Auckland
Page 10: Auckland, flight back, Amazon office