1/10 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

Australia and New Zealand


In January & February we flew to Australia for a 12-day cruise on the Diamond Princess from Sydney to Auckland.

Diary:

  1. Sun Jan-29-2006: Flew to Sydney via San Francisco, leaving Seattle in the evening of the 29th and arriving Sydney on the morning of the 31st.
  2. Mon Jan-30-2006: This day never really happened as it went past in a seat on the United Airlines 747.
  3. Tue Jan-31-2006: 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 gardens.
  4. Wed Feb-1-2006: 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 depart Sydney.
  5. Thu Feb-2-2006: At sea. First (of two) formal night, see pictures.
  6. Fri Feb-3-2006: 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 around Melbourne.
  7. Sat Feb-4-2006: At sea, sailing from Melbourne to Hobart. The weather was actually quite good, and I enjoyed some quality time on the balcony.
  8. Sun Feb-5-2006: 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.
  9. Mon Feb-6-2006: At sea, crossing the Tasman Sea. The weather was terrible. Wind, huge waves, not particularly comfortable although the ship handles the waves really well.
  10. Tue Feb-7-2006: At sea for the second day. Same conditions, maybe a little lighter, as the previous day.
  11. Wed Feb-8-2006: 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.
  12. Thu Feb-9-2006: 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.
  13. Fri Feb-10-2006: 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.
  14. Sat Feb-11-2006: At sea, heading to Tauranga.
  15. Sun Feb-12-2006: 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.
  16. Mon Feb-13-2006: 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.
  17. Tue Feb-14-2006: 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.

Maps:
Index:

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



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