Page 4 of Craig9563 Travel Blog Posts


North America » United States » Alaska June 19th 2016

Episode 2: The “Alaskan Panhandle” June 16, 2016. Dear all, I hope all is well there in the Antipodes. Very happy we are not still being ear-bashing by Australian election crap. Mind you, it is not much better here in the USA. We are now half way through our Alaskan cruise (a seven-day trip). We are having a great time and the scenery here is superb. Before boarding, I made a quick trip to Vancouver Aquarium, with the prime aim of seeing their captive beluga whales (unlikely that I’d ever see them in the wild). Bryan will recall that we also saw orcas there at the aquarium in 1988, but they have since conceded that keeping orcas in captivity is not right and killer whales no longer feature here. Yet somehow this sentiment does not extend ... read more
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North America » United States » Alaska June 13th 2016

Episode 1: Northern Exposure June 12, 2016. Hello everyone. This trip sees us heading North, way North………to Alaska. Buoyed by the prospect of epic scenery, vast open spaces, unique wildlife, and cruising the famed Inside Passage, we eagerly boarded our flight to North America last week. As neither of us handle long haul flights very well these days, we broke the trip by spending two languid days in Hawaii, before pressing on to Vancouver, Canada, where the cruise was leaving from. Now, we don’t normally relish the prospect of being confined to a floating mega-hotel, dodging gastro-bugs and screaming kids each day, and indeed we have never been on a cruise previously. It’s not our scene. However, in this particular case, it really is the best way to see the Alaskan panhandle as much of it ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland » Central January 28th 2015

Episode 5 (Wednesday, 28.01.15) With our remaining days in New Zealand becoming numbered, we progressed from Napier south towards Wellington. We stopped at a little town called Woodville for lunch. While eating in a café, I noticed a dress shop called “For Frock’s Sake.” In Wellington, we stayed at the Copthorne Hotel by the water, with sweeping views of the city around the harbour. Wellington is a charming place, and again our days were bathed in sunshine (26 degrees in Welly and not a breath of wind !). Ross particularly loved the rows of lovely (San Fran like) wooden houses both along the boulevarde and terraced up the hillsides around the city. Meanwhile, sitting in bean bags drinking beers in the late arvo sun down at the Macs BrewBar is most agreeable (as Lady Catherine De ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Hawkes Bay » Napier January 23rd 2015

Episode 4 (Saturday 24.01.15) Day 17 of our New Zealand trip and day 17 of sunshine ! From Rotorua we traveled South to Tongariro National Park, stopping first at Wai-O-Tapu geothermal area and Huka Falls. Of the various geothermal parks in the region, Brent and Shirl said that Wai-O-Tau was best, as it has everything – geysers, bubbling mud pools and steaming lakes of various colours. They were right. We also saw the mighty Waikato River, noisily thrusting its ice blue waters through a very narrow gorge at Huka Falls. And so on to Tongariro. This world heritage listed National Park features active volcanoes and fantastic lunar-like scenery. It is at its busiest during Winter, when everyone comes here to ski, but it is also popular in Summer, for its wonderful walking trails. The finest day ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Central Plateau January 21st 2015

Episode 3 (21.01.15) This blog focuses primarily on our time in Rotorua, staying with two wonderful hosts, Shirl and Brent Hardy. The blog is primarily aimed at our friends who know Brent and Shirl, but everyone else should enjoy it too. From Coromandel Peninsula, we drove down to Rotorua via hot water beach (where you dig a hole in the sand and hot water from geothermal sources bubbles up - and viola - your very own spa). By dusk, we arrived at Brent and Shirl’s house, which sits directly on Lake Rotorua, a large expanse of fresh water and home to numerous waterbirds. Excellent. Brent had booked Ross and I on the Mitai Maori Cultural experience that night, which was a lot of fun (dinner, a Maori cultural show, and some glow worm viewing). The next ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Coromandel Peninsula » Tairua January 16th 2015

Episode 2 (17.01.15). There is much to admire about New Zealand society. The indigenous Maori and white people are well integrated. There is a great respect for indigenous culture and it is pervasive here. While there are still some sore issues, race relations here are well ahead of those in Australia. Of course, Kiwis are also ahead when it comes to the recognition of gay people, as same sex marriage is legal here. The Bay of Islands is historically important, being the first site of European colonization in NZ. We spent our last day in Paihia at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the treaty was signed between Maori chiefs and Pakeha (Europeans) in 1840. We saw the meeting house, large and ornate Maori ceremonial canoes and also caught a cultural performance. We found it very interesting ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Bay of Islands » Paihia January 12th 2015

Episode 1 (12.01.15) “Wipe your face, you have bits of pie in your whiskers,” said Ross, staring at my unshaken face. We were sitting having lunch in a café in downtown Auckland, at the beginning of a three-week trip focusing this time on the North Island of New Zealand. Ross ordered the beef, bacon and cheese pie, and found it riddled with bits of corn. I ordered a pepper steak pie and mine was riddled with peas. Odd, but tasty! We arrived to sunny skies last Thursday (January 8) and have so far explored Auckland, Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf, and the beautiful Bay of Islands, north of Auckland. We really enjoyed Auckland, walking around the waterfront area and going up the tall Sky Tower for dizzy 360 degree views. It has one of those ... read more
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Africa August 17th 2014

East Africa postscript - photos shown below Craig... read more
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Africa » Rwanda » Province de L'Est July 22nd 2014

Episode 5: Rwanda: gorillas in our midst July 22, 2014. Greetings everyone from the charming country of Rwanda in central Africa. We have been here in Rwanda for about five days now and have visited the Mountain gorillas in the Northwest of the small country. More about them in a moment. In contrast to the dirty chaos of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Kampala (Uganda), the Rwandan capital, Kigali, was a pleasant surprise. It is mostly very clean and orderly, with little rubbish, and with shiny new cars and smartly dressed people. Many of the women wear brightly coloured dresses with matching head garments – very pretty. Rwanda has banned plastic bags, which goes some way to explaining the tidy nature of its capital (plus, on the last Saturday of the month, everyone must take time ... read more
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Africa » Uganda » Central Region » Entebbe July 15th 2014

Episode 4: Goodbye Tanzania, hello Uganda July 15, 2014. Woke up this morning with a cold unfeeling reptilian eyeball staring back at me. No, it was not Ross, but a large brown gecko on my pillow. It promptly launched itself onto the wall and disappeared through a crevice. We are safe and well and are currently in Uganda. Our last few days in Tanzania were spent at Arusha National Park, where the aim was to see the beautiful black and white colobus monkeys and pink flamingos. We did a short tour with a great safari company called Wayo Africa. Arusha National park is largely cool and moist rainforest, with imposing Mt. Meru at its centre, quite unlike the other dry and hot Tanzanian parks such as the Serengeti. We again had an excellent guide, this time ... read more
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