CHUCK MEAD

CHUCKYV

CHUCK MEAD

RETIRED SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR FROM SYRACUSE, NY; RECENTLY MOVED TO SARASOTA, FL. I TRAVEL TO PLACES I'VE NEVER BEEN AND WANT TO EXPERIENCE.



Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney » CBD March 6th 2014

I don’t know where to start. Sydney is fantastic! I only had two days to get to know this city of about 5,000,000 people, but I tried hard to experience as much as I could, and I liked everything I saw and experienced. When I left the Oosterdam I got a taxi to the Marriott Sydney Harbor at Circular Quay, a perfect location. There are several nice hotels in the area and I highly recommend the area as a base to explore Sydney. I got to the hotel before check in time but they secured my bags and I then checked with the concierge about how to get a good overview of Sydney in two days. He recommended a hop on hop off bus tour which I did. I wanted to use the open top deck ... read more
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE INTERIOR
SYDNEY FROM MY ROOM
VICTORIA SHOPPING MALL

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne February 28th 2014

My day in Melbourne started smoothly, the sun was shining and I was excited about participating in the tour “In the wild! Kangaroos & Koalas”. This is a popular tour and I was originally wait listed but I got lucky and got on. The ride through the city, Melbourne is the second largest Australian city, featured narrative by our tour guide about what we were about to observe. Peter was extremely knowledgeable about kangaroos and koalas and was with a walkabout nature tours organization that specialized in research on these animals in the wild. It was fascinating to see these animals in the wild. The kangaroos we got close to were in a sanctuary and we walked across the savannah grasslands and bush and walked to a billabong. I saw females with joeys in their pouch ... read more
KOALA
KOALA
TAWNY FROGMOUTH

Oceania » Australia February 26th 2014

We left Dunedin for three sea days to get to Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. However, there was a major storm in the southern Tasmanian Sea, so an alternative route to Hobart was selected. We went through the Cook Channel separating the South Island from the North Island of New Zealand. After leaving the channel we encountered seas that caused the boat to rock and roll and slap down due to high swells, nowhere near as significant as what was happening south of us, but significant enough that the liquor bottles were put away and the elevators displayed sea sickness bags. Most passengers were able to deal with the discomfort, but everyone seemed to be happier when we arrived in the shelter of Hobart. Because of the rough sea we arrived in Hobart three hours later than anticipated. ... read more
HOBART AIRPORT?
DRUNKEN ADMIRAL
HARBOR SCULPTURE

Oceania » New Zealand February 22nd 2014

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND FROM M/S OOSTERDAM There wasn’t any fog this morning. We were in Port Chalmers and needed a shuttle bus to Dunedin, about a 20 minute bus ride from the dock. The weather was good, a little cool in the shade, but very pleasant. Our bus took me to the center of town. I did another self tour with audio commentary and enjoyed the city very much. The center of town is known as “The Octagon” and the streets are lined with shops and restaurants. St. Paul’s Cathedral, Anglican, is prominent and a very impressive church. There are a couple of other impressive churches near city center, First Church of Otago, Presbyterian, and St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Roman Catholic. When I walked into First Church, a couple of kilted men were there and one played ... read more
DOWNTOWN DUNEDIN
THE RAILROAD STADIUM
ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Akaroa February 21st 2014

AKAROA, NEW ZEALAND I woke up this morning to more heavy fog. I was in Akaroa, my first port on the South Island but getting there was delayed because there was no visibility for the tenders. The fog lifted about 11:00 am and was totally clear about a half hour later. I chose to stay in the small town of Akaroa for the day instead of taking a bus for 50 miles each way to the larger town of Christchurch. Akaroa is a very pretty place and the shops and restaurants that line the waterfront are all “the best in town”. I did the Citywalkz self tour and had done the whole town in about two hours. I noticed some bed and breakfasts and it might be a nice place to visit for short time if ... read more
TOWN
VIEW TO THE HILLS
VIEW TO THE HARBOR

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington February 20th 2014

WELLINGTON, NZ When I woke up this morning and looked out my window, I saw nothing - the fog was very dense. I was going to do a self tour today, so I went back to bed, hoping the fog would lift. An hour later, the fog hadn’t lifted but time was moving so I got showered, dressed and breakfasted ready to go. I took a shuttle into town and got off preparing to do a self directed walking tour. Near me was the base station for the Cable Car. The fog was starting to lift so I decided to try. The cable car station was not to busy at this time, so I bought my round trip ticket and enjoyed the trip up. The first stop was at the Victoria University, very pretty but the ... read more
FROM THE TOP
DOWNTOWN WELLINGTON
KAYAKERS IN THE BAY

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Napier February 19th 2014

NAPIER, NZ FROM THE M/S OOSTERDAM Napier is on the east coast of the North Island and has some beautiful beaches, but I will remember it as a stop which far exceeded my expectations as a fun destination. I didn’t get there, but the city with the longest name, Taumatawhakatanghihangako-au-auotamteaturipukakapikimaungahoronuku-pokaiwhenuakitanatahu, really stressed my spell checker. Say that fast a couple of times! Captain Cook discovered Hawke’s Bay in 1769 while charting the New Zealand shore. Whalers established an outpost here in the 1830’s and a city was established in the mid 19th century. The city was hit by a disastrous earthquake, 7.9 on the Richter scale, on February 3, 1931 causing widespread destruction and killing more than 250 people. The rebuilding effort was undertaken during the Great Depression and the decision to use the clean and ... read more
ART DECO DOME
ART DECO ENTRY
1939 PACKARDS

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Gisborne February 18th 2014

Gisborne, NZ -from the Oosterdam Another beautiful day, this morning in Gisborne. The moon was still visible in the morning sky and the chaotic buffet lines have become orderly and smooth. The eggs Benedict were perfect and I prepared for the tender to shore with plenty of time. The tender ride to town took 30 minutes, but the ride was smooth. It is a small town, quite a contrast to Auckland from a couple of days ago. The banks of the river are lined with palm trees and walking paths. Gisborne has proclaimed itself “the city where day begins” because of its proximity to the International Date Line. This is where the first celebration of New Year’s Day takes place. The city enjoys an average of 2,200 hours of sunshine each year. On an historic note, ... read more
OOSTERDAM IN THE BAY
GISBORNE FROM THE HILL
A MAORI LODGE

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Bay of Plenty » Tauranga February 17th 2014

TAURANGA, NZ AND KIWIFRUIT - CRUISE DAY 2 An 8:00 am tour and the first day at sea made the breakfast lines in the buffet an extreme challenge. Holland America’s policy for the first couple of days requires that passengers be served rather than self serve. The lines were too long, so I went without breakfast rather than put up with the frustration. I’ll make up the calories later. The weather was very nice and the 36 people on my tour had the pleasure of a pleasant bus driver and narrator to show us some of the highlights of the area as we drove through the city to the Georgian style Elms Mission House and gardens which was completed in 1847 by A. N. Brown on land purchased from Maori to carry out his missionary duties ... read more
THE ELMS DINING ROOM
CHAPEL AT THE ELMS
THE ELMS MISSION HOUSE

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland » Central February 16th 2014

AUCKLAND DAY 2 It’s amazing how the personality of a city can change so much from Saturday night to Sunday morning. I walked from my hotel to church at 7:45 am and the streets were calm and held not many people where last night they were crowded and lively. The weather was very nice and St. Patrick’s Cathedral was full and the people were welcoming. It was a beautiful, traditional style building and I felt very much “at home”. I didn’t get up early enough to have breakfast so I stopped at a Burger King on the way back to the hotel for a quick breakfast before packing and checking out from my hotel. Check out from The Quadrant Hotel was easy and the stay was OK but so overpriced ( because of the Lantern Festival? ... read more
OOSTERDAM AT THE PIER
AUCKLAND HARBOR
GUARDIANS OF THE POOL




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