In Sydney Harbour, our ship was waiting for us. Again it was a struggle to secure passage from Australia to New Zealand. Fifty years ago it would have been easy, you would take a ship as flying was typically very expensive. But these days the world has changed, ferry services between Australia and New Zealand just don't exist. I had been talking to a man who had contacts with the freighter companies, he was not very optimistic about us getting on a freighter. Apparently people book freighter travel to do long sea journeys and it was only really an option for us with a short journey if someone was getting off in Australia. Disheartened we started looking at cruise lines and were surprised at how many there were and how affordable they are. In particular the same ship we took from Asia to Australia would be doing the journey. At this stage freighter man comes back to us and tells us, yes he can get us on a freighter. Hurrah!! But then he tells us the cost. It seems it would cost considerably more than taking a cruise. After thinking about this for at least a second and a half, we
decided to finish our trip in style. No slumming it between containers for us, we were going the full hog.
So when we arrived at Sydney Harbour, we boarded the Sapphire Princess again, we shouldered some more old people aside and headed to our cabin.
We had envisioned making the crossing to New Zealand by a direct route, kind of like a ferry, but this was a cruise ship, it was there to cruise along. So we would be stopping at quite a few ports on its way to Auckland. Firstly Melbourne and Hobart in Oz: then Fiordland, Dunedin, Christchurch, Tauranga in NZ before reaching Auckland.
With the exception of Hobart we had already been to all these places, but it would be nice to have a bit more of an explore anyway. Many of these places we did not know well, and we were happy to do some more looking around.
In Melbourne we met up with friends, Aaron and Mary-Ann, the same guys we ran into in Thailand. We only had the day here so we drove around and looked at a bit of Melbourne outside the CBD. It was a lovely day and
nice to just wander around. Next stop Hobart, where the weather was looking a little bit dodgier, but despite this we had a great time. A very small city, it was a marine town to the core, with the whole settlement based around its lovely harbour. The day was spent without a purpose, just exploring the waterfront, old colonial buildings and its large amount of art galleries.
With this brief look at a couple of Australian cities over, we headed once more for the high seas and started the three day crossing of the Tasman Sea. As I mentioned in my previous blog, the Tasman is notorious for its dodgy weather, and we were very nervous as to how rough it would be as we headed into the roaring forties. Despite our trepidation, the crossing was fairly calm, and the weather behaved itself.
And then we were in New Zealand!!
When we arrived at Fiordland the weather was grey and overcast, but not raining. Actually it started to rain soon after we entered Milford Sound, but unfortunately there had not been enough rain the last few days to create any waterfalls, which was a shame. One of
the most spectacular things I have ever seen was thousands of waterfalls falling around us in Milford Sound. However this was OK for us as we had already been here and had made up our minds to return when we get a chance.
From the fiords, we headed around the bottom of New Zealand and through Foveaux Straight. This being another area of New Zealand notorious for its rough sea, thankfully the water remained reasonably calm.
Dunedin was our next stop; the University year was about to start and the city was abuzz with all the students heading into town. So in true southern style we decided that the best thing we could do with limited time was to go to the Speight’s brewery. The brewery of the great southern man was typical of others, but had some lovely sparkling equipment and some even more lovely sparkling beer. The tastings at the end were a bit of a free for all, as we all took our places behind the taps. It is amazing how much you can drink in a short time. The beers reassured me about returning to New Zealand. I remembered very light uninteresting lagers when
I left, but the beers we had, were all different kinds, and they tasted good.
Christchurch was our next stop, well actually Lyttelton the harbour by the city. As we had both been to Christchurch before, we decided to skip it, and explore Lyttelton instead. Not much in the town itself, but after a steep walk up the neighbouring hills we had the most amazing view. In one direction looking over Lyttelton and Banks Peninsula and in the other direction across Christchurch right through to the Southern Alps. The weather mostly behaved as well, and the brown hills were a testament to the lack of rain that New Zealand has had the last few months.
Then after a couple more days at sea, we arrived in Tauranga. After an early start, we met up with my Dad for the first time in many years, he was waiting at the dockside for us. We had a chilled out day in Tauranga, just spending it with family. For the first time we were really on familiar ground and a place that felt like home, after so long away and so long travelling it was great to spend an ordinary day
doing ordinary things.
And then early on Valentines Day, on a wet and windy morning, the ship cruised into Auckland Harbour, and pulled into Princess Wharf. I always remembered going down to the harbour to check out the cruise ships. They always seemed so huge and classy, and so out of reach for me in my poor student clothes. It was bizarre to think that here we were arriving back in our home country in one of these huge vessels.
We had nagged our way to make sure we were one of the first off, and we practically flew through customs to meet up with those who had come to welcome us home.
And so ends our travel from London to Auckland overland. It has been a fantastic nine month journey for us, and I certainly think we have learned a lot, not just about the world but also ourselves. Not sure what our next adventure will be, since arriving home I have started working on my vegetable garden which is a challenging adventure in itself.
Take care all, and let us know how your travels go.
Ross and Lynda
Tot: 0.047s; Tpl: 0.011s; cc: 7; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0268s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (10.17.0.13); sld: 1;
; mem: 1mb