I am a retired doctor with 2 kids, one of whom lives in Australia so travelling to the other side of the world has become second nature. Apart from socialising and gardening, travelling is my favourite hobby. I love travelling with my husband as we have the same likes and dislikes when it comes to food, wine and things to do (apart from sport that is !)

Former TravelPod Member: tizwoz

Joined: October 11th, 2008
From: England lives in Sutton,United Kingdom
Favorite Book: Any fantasy or science fiction
Favorite Movie: Lord of the Rings
Favorite Music: Prefer peace and quiet
Hobbies: Art, Films, Reading, Travelling
Languages: Schoolgirl French
Bucket List: Visit every major art gallery in the world
Profession: Retired Radiologist
Amazing Event: It has all been amazing
Description: optimistic ,friendly

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland March 21st 2020

Auckland is a large busy city. They have finally decided to put an underground metro in so there are road works all over the place which are going to take several years to complete. It has a large Asian community as well as Maori so there are lots of take away cafes catering for these people. For the first time we also saw several homeless on the streets. However down on the Marina , once you have negotiated the road works there are some great restaurants. We had tried Oyster & Chop so the next night went to Soul and had great oysters and crab linguini. On our last day we decided to go up the Sky Tower. It costs about 20$ each just to go to the viewing platform. A far better deal is to ... read more
In Sky Tower restaurant Orbit
View from Orbit restaurant
Looking up

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Waitomo Caves March 20th 2020

Everywhere in New Zealand is a long drive to get to. However, once at the destination it is worth it. Hobbiton was a good 2 hour drive from Auckland and was a much better experience than I had anticipated. I never realised that the movie set for the Hobbit/ Lord of the rings trilogy was so huge. We walked through The Shire with all it's lovely Hobbit Holes and even in the light rain it was a delight. Our guide explained that some of the Hobbit houses are much smaller than others so that Gandalf can stand next to a small one and look huge ,whereas a Hobbit can stand next to a large one and look small. The attention to detail is amazing. Smoke comes out of the chimneys and vegetables and flowers grow in ... read more
Hobbiton in the rain
Hobbit veg garden
Pokeku bird

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland March 18th 2020

It was very sad to leave the ship in Auckland and know that no passengers were going to be boarding and the majority of the crew would be sent home because of this coronavirus. We were the last cruise ship allowed into New Zealand before the total ban. We checked into the Hotel Grand Windsor on Queens St, which is a lovely hotel on one of the busiest streets in the city close to all amenities. Our first trip out was to the Art Gallery, which has a nice small section of International Art but is mostly New Zealand Art. We both love aboriginal art but I am afraid that Maori Art doesn't do anything for us. We fancied a Chinese meal for lunch as Auckland has a very large Asian population. We made the mistake ... read more
Dinner in Oyster & Chop
Holy Trinity Cathedral- new bit
Holy Trinity -old bit

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island March 15th 2020

Picton is a very small but very pretty place from which the ferries over to the North Island sail. It has a lovely foreshore with well laid out walks and little cafes and shops. There is a Maritime Museum which we didn't go to as we made the mistake of going to the Aquarium next door. The poor creatures were in tanks which seemed much too small for them and there was one solitary penguin who looked really sad in this small enclosure which wasn't even open to the elements. I personally found the visit distressing rather than educational. At least the sun came out and everything outside looks so much better. Last night the Captain made an announcement that from midnight no cruise ships would be allowed to dock in New Zealand until the end ... read more
Picton Marina
Silver Muse
Picton Aquarium and Maritime Museum

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch March 14th 2020

This was probably a pretty city prior to the quake, but there is now sadly lots of areas which time and money have not allowed to be rebuilt. It is happening slowly but there are lots of car parking places which are essentially where buildings were and still have not been redeveloped since the devastating earthquake of 2011. Both the Anglican and Catholic Cathedrals were severely damaged and still have not been rebuilt. The Anglican Cathedral has suffered from too much political interference which has cost money and delayed whatever the plans are. The Catholic rebuild has been thwarted by the Church buying a plot of land which has now been colonised by rare birds so they are not allowed to build on it! Regent street, which is a pretty street of shops with balconied buildings ... read more
Markets around ruined Cathedral
By the River Avon
Regent Street

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Dunedin March 13th 2020

Dunedin is Gaelic for Edinburgh & was settled by Scots who started the Free Church of Scotland in the 1800s. It is a very pleasant and well off city with some beautiful buildings especially the churches but there are lots of old buildings which have been renovated to their former glory, a large university and a large hospital and med school. The hospital is soon to be rebuilt and loads of grotty modern buildings are being pulled down for the purpose. There are lots of little shops on the high street, which put English high streets to shame. It is a hilly place which slopes onto lots of bays so the houses have lovely views. We were driven along the winding coastal road ,which is being widened, to a Nature reserve where only birds and animals ... read more
Otago peninsula
Local transport
view from the buggy

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island March 12th 2020

For the first time since we left Sydney we had a sunny day though still rather cold and windy. We sailed into Milford Sound on a calm water with no fog , which is a bonus from stories we heard from others. The ship slowly glided through the Sound, stopped a while and majestically turned around and glided out again to sea, while we all took millions of photos. Only a few are on this blog you will be grateful to hear!. Further along the coast we sailed into Doubtful Sound, not quite as pretty but still majestic with all its trees. Finally after another sail along the coast we did the same thing into Dusky Sound. At this point the only sound that Stefan knew about was sound asleep! It was a very pleasant day ... read more
Milford Sound
Milford Sound
Milford Sound

Oceania » Australia » Tasmania March 9th 2020

It was sad to leave Helen behind in Sydney but we had had a lovely holiday with her and a lovely last night in Sydney with her and Wildy in Mr Wong's. It was also a relief to be able to board the ship, the Silver Muse, but it took a long time as everyone had to fill in long questionnaire and be temperature checked. As we had been through Singapore we had to have ours checked every day for 14 days after leaving Singapore. We have got through that and passed the test- we are normal! The first stop was 2 days in Melbourne. On the first we met two friends who were on our Trivia team on the last cruise. They took us to the Stokehouse in St.Kilda's and we had a lovely afternoon ... read more
On the Boardwalk in Burnie
In Mr.Wongs with Helen & Wildy
With Jim & Barb in Melbourne

Oceania » Australia » Tasmania March 1st 2020

Decided to take a different route back which took us through more mountainous and forested areas but the road was very tortuous. Stopped at viewing points and did a short hike to a Gorge and stopped at Entally Lodge in Hadspen for a superb lunch of salmon starter and prawn fettucine- one of the best lunches so far. In Launceston we stayed at the Pepper's Seaport Hotel next to the River Tamar. In the evening had dinner at the Youjing Chinese. The Indian restaurant next door was heaving but the Chinese was practically empty. We wondered if people were worried about the Coronavirus even though there have been no cases in Australia. The clams in chilli sauce were divine and the roast duck excellent so another great meal today. We had arrived in Launceston in beautiful ... read more
Ginormous eucalypt on walk
Helen at Alum Cliffs Gorge
Hotel on River Tamar

Oceania » Australia » Tasmania February 29th 2020

Cradle Mountain is situated in a National Park and is a very popular area for hikers and campers. We stayed in the Lemon-thyme Wilderness Resort which is reached by a long winding narrow road and is about a 40 minute drive from Cradle Mountain. All the cabins are surrounded by trees and beautiful large tree ferns and feels sometimes quite primitive, but the cabins are cosy and the staff in the bar/restaurant are very helpful. You have to drive to the Cradle Mountain Carpark from where you take a shuttle bus to whichever walk you decide to do. It was so cold we had to buy hats and gloves before we set off! The most popular walk is around Dove Lake, but for some reason we decided to do the more arduous Crater Lake walk. The ... read more
Start of walk across marsh land
Stefan by waterfall
Up through the trees

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