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New Zealand

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New Zealand

Postby rdw123 » 13 May 2019 13:55

Not cruise related but thought some of you may be interested in my recent jaunt to N.Z. Sorry it’s a bit long so you may want to grab a coffee first!

New Zealand.

I have just returned from a very unexpected visit to N.Z. At the end of March my son rang me out of the blue to say that my grandson had been on the Internet and found “cheap” flights to Christchurch. They were going to go and would I like to tag along. At first I said no but thought about it and said if I could get travel insurance I would go. Since Ed died I had lost my confidence to travel all that way on my own, so it seemed like an idea opportunity. Next question was when are you going. Easter Sunday I was told. That gave me 10 days after returning from a cruise on Saga Sapphire!
The trip from Peterborough to Gatwick by train would be easy as there is now a train that goes straight through. Not to be as it doesn’t run at weekends! The trip on the underground with 2 cases and not having been on the underground in 20 years was a bit daunting. My son, who lives in Kent, very kindly drove up on the Saturday and picked up my big case. The train ride went without a hitch and I duly met them at Gatwick. Flights were good and we negotiated Dubai airport ok. What a huge plane that 380 is. Arrived a little weary at Christchurch to be met by the relatives.
After a nights sleep I was on the road again at 8 for the 2 hour drive to Hanmer Springs. There I met up with my cousin who I was going to stay with originally. As it was Easter and not knowing that I was coming they had booked a break in the hot pools. We sat in the sunshine and had brunch, then it was on the road again. This time a 5 hour road trip to Blenheim which they had already got arranged. Fabulous scenery all the way.
Next day we were up early as it was ANZAC day. (the equivilant of our rememberance day) Off to the parade in Blenheim. Afterwards we drove to Picton for lunch on the waterfront. Next day was quieter with a tasting and lunch at a local winery.
The following day was the drive back to Ch. Ch. Took about 7 hours down the coast road past Kaikoura where we stopped for brunch. The road is now open again after the second earthquake devastated the Kaikoura area. The sea bed has been pushed up about 6 ft. Strange to see all the rocks sticking up where once they were underwater. More magnificent scenery.
Sunday was a rest day! Open house and a lot of the relatives arrived for a catch up. 15 years since my last visit.
Monday brought another early start for a trip on the fantastic Tranz Alpine Train. More wonderful scenery.
A bit of a lie in on Tuesday as we were to pick up our camper van at 12. All installed we headed for Tekapo and found a site overlooking the lake. Sites in N.Z have all facilities provided, outdoor barbecues and well equipped kitchens and showers.
Next day we headed to Queenstown and found a lovely site just under the gondola. Next day I booked a 4wd trip out to Glenorcy and Paradise Bay. When the bus arrived I found I was the only passenger. What fantastic scenery again. That evening we went on the Earnslaw paddle steamer for a meal at the sheep station. Beautiful food plus a sheep shearing demo.
Next day we headed for Dunedin after a trip on the gondola and via Arrowtown. We found a basic camp site near to Dunedin as I wanted to visit the royal albatross breeding site. It was well worth the 45 minutes it took to get there. A rough old ride all along the peninsula.
We headed back towards Ch. Ch. next day with a night camped just outside Mouraki. We made a visit there next morning to see the boulders and headed back. Got nearly back to Ch. Ch. for the night. We handed back our camper van next morning.
Next day I had a day off!
Wednesday saw me meeting up with my son and grandson in Ch. Ch. where we had a ride around on the tram system. Ch.Ch. has certainly been devastated by the earthquake. The cathedral is a ruin with pigeons roosting in its beams. They have finally decided to renovate it. They were going to pull it down and rebuild it but there has been a bit of an outcry about that. We saw the famous Wizard sitting in a cafe nearby. He is about 84 now and appears to have got an apprentice!
Next day was the long flight back to U.K for a rest!
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New Zealand

Postby Gillzajoker » 13 May 2019 15:07

Very interesting Ruth, enjoyed that- you certainly packed a lot in. I was in Christchurch the year before the earthquake and loved the place - such a shame about the cathedral. :D
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Postby Dave » 13 May 2019 17:20

Blimey, I'm exhausted! :D

New Zealand sounds wonderful and we'd love to visit someday. My younger daughter spent 6 months there a couple of years ago and she's still going on about how brilliant it was!

Actually, I did visit New Zealand when I was 10. Our ship (Fairsea) called at Auckland for an overnight stop, but I don't remember anything about it - except that we visited relatives. I still count New Zealand as a 'visited country' though... 8-)
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Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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Postby Borneo » 13 May 2019 21:03

That was brilliant. We loved NZ, yes it can be exhausting, but you can’t miss anything.
So pleased for you it sounded thrilling. You can have a rest now .
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Re: New Zealand

Postby rdw123 » 14 May 2019 07:23

Thanks for the kind words everyone. Just about recovered now.
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Postby judgegeoff » 14 May 2019 08:24

Thank you for a most interesting and enjoyable read. :clap: My wife Chris and I have been to New Zealand twice (on cruises from Australia) and thoroughly enjoyed both visits. It is just a pity that Australasia is such a long flight away and the jet lag can be a nuisance, although we have never done the flights in one hop, we have broken them in either Hong Kong or Singapore, both great places to stopover.
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"MSC Orchestra" - Cape Town to Venice 2020
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Postby grannyM » 14 May 2019 09:34

Ruth, Thank you for sharing your wonderful holiday in NZ. You must have amazing energy to have managed to do everything you did.

Well done you, and good on you for taking the opportunity of your son's suggestion at such short notice. I really admire your spirit of adventure. :thumbup: :D
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Postby Mungo » 14 May 2019 19:16

Oh nothing like a holiday that happens when you weren’t expecting one! New Zealand is one place I’d love to visit! :thumbup:

My son has just returned from a 2 week holiday there. (He lives in Bangkok so still a long flight and flew via Sydney.) You may have been in the same place at the same time Ruth! :lol:

He sent me the most wonderful photos and said what a beautiful country it is. The ones of the fjords look mesmerising. :D
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Re: New Zealand

Postby Camela » 14 May 2019 23:18

You're a perfect example of grabbing the moment sounds a lovely trip and travelling with your boys to help you! Down under is the one place we've yet to visit and I've been looking at outline plans to go. Long flight doesn't appeal so would need to break journey but that makes getting there take longer... we shall see.
"Won't you let me take you on a sea cruise"
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