Notes of a traveller

Alan Dodds – photographer (among other things)

Notes of a traveller


Auckland and beyond

Posted on Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 at 10:11 am

After our week in Wellington it was time to move on. When we originally booked our trip to Wellington to see Tara, we were to return to Oz at the end of the week. However, we had a rush of blood to the head and decided to go on to Auckland instead.

Firstly though … ‘Complexity of Belonging’ was absolutely spectacular and if you should ever get a chance to see it, do take it. Tara was amazing (not that we are biased, of course) and the whole show takes a pot shot at all the idiosyncrasies of modern day Australia as viewed by those coming to live there. Just wonderful!

When we get to Auckland we make an interesting discovery … someone has parked a large boat in the middle of the street.  ‘How could this be?’ we ask ourselves … but there it is. ‘What sort of boat?’ we ask ourselves. ‘Oh goodness, it looks like a Cruise Ship … why don’t we get on it’

And so we do … another cruise! ‘What is happening to them?’ I hear whispered in the background … ‘They must be getting old or something!’

Another boat parked in the street

Another boat parked in the street

We thought a quick trip (only 14 days after all) around the edge of New Zealand would be much more fun than a three hour flight to Brisbane. One of the main attractions is undoubtedly the fact that we get to look at the rugged coastal scenery around Milford Sound is the south west of the south island. We did contemplate undertaking the several day walk, camping in huts to get there, but for some reason dismissed the idea.

One good thing about this activity is you get to actually unpack the suitcase.

One good thing about this activity is that you get to actually unpack the suitcases.

The original Ferry Terminal on the waterfront in Auckland is dwarfed by the CBD.

The original Ferry Terminal on the waterfront in Auckland is dwarfed by the CBD.

It will also give us the chance to catch up with a few friends on the way.

Our first stop is Tauranga, and we have a hire car in order to take a trip down to KatiKati to catch up with Tarchin Hearn and Mary who will be known to many of you already. They live on a two acre section (or block, plot, parcel, lot, acreage,domain depending where you are from) nestled into the hills among the tree ferns, with views across to the ocean. Lunch is mostly fresh veggies from their garden followed by Mary’s excellent unsweetened peach pie. What a treat! We are glad to find Tarchin is well following his recent operation. If you don’t know Tarchin, you can read more about him here. Definitely worth a look!

Beautiful orchids on the tables on the casual dining area.

Beautiful orchids on the tables on the casual dining area.

Yellow harbour boats float like ducks in the bath in front of Mt Minganu.

Yellow harbour boats float like ducks in the bath in front of Mt Minganu.

A photo with Gandalf before taking a tour to Hobbiton. Mmmm ... maybe not this time.

A photo with Gandalf before taking a tour to Hobbiton. Mmmm … maybe not this time.

Oh, we do love our selfies now that we've discovered them!

Oh, we do love our selfies now that we’ve discovered them!

Napier was virtually destroyed in an earthquake back in 1931 and was largely rebuilt in the Art Deco style so popular at the time. This has resulted in one of the most complete collection of Art Deco buildings anywhere in the world. Since none of us cruisers are allowed to walk on the hallowed bitumen of the Port of Napier we are herded onto the shuttle bus into town.

An outstanding display of reverse parking ... tugs standing by but not needed.

An outstanding display of reverse parking … tugs standing by but not needed. The Noordam is on it’s way in there!

Containers, containers and more containers ... the stuff of modern commerce.

Containers, containers and more containers … the stuff of modern commerce.

The centre of Napier is small and pleasant, especially if you like shopping, which my beautiful travelling companion does! A strong feeling of cruise ships being targeted by local businesses pervades (all the ‘Welcome to the Noordam’ notices on chalk boards give it away) and one guesses that these visits must be a quick and painless boost to the local economy of these small towns. It’s great to have a descent cup of coffee and watch the world go by … the coffee on the ship is very average and the ‘speciality coffee’ is even worse.

Keep an eye on your children if they are with you.

Keep an eye on your children if they are with you.

The County Hotel ... one example of the rebuilding in Art Deco style

The County Hotel … one example of the rebuilding in Art Deco style

Napier Museum and Art Gallery

Napier Museum and Art Gallery

I haven't been painted since ....

I haven’t been painted since ….

It used to be elephants when we were young ...

It used to be elephants when we were young … how times change!

Meanwhile, returning to the boat, our next stop is in Wellington once more.

The approach to the harbour is very narrow and it is interesting to watch the intricate manoevers needed to bring the ship safely to the dock.

Jacqui on her Mantra walk around the top deck while negotiating the narrow entrance to Wellington Harbour.

Jacqui on her Mantra walk around the top deck while negotiating the narrow entrance to Wellington Harbour.

I wonder why they don't put logs into containers like everything else?

I wonder why they don’t put logs into containers like everything else?

Having done their job, the tugs go off duty.

Having done their job, the tugs go off duty.

The clean cut lines of the Ms Noordam.

The clean cut lines of the Ms Noordam.

This time we are met by Pippa and Tara who are spending a few days relaxing after the end of Tara’s dance season in New Zealand. After a coffee and catch up chatter, we go up to the Botanical Gardens and wander for a while before  descending once more into the city. We decide again that we like Wellington … eating a pizza for lunch in a Cuba Street cafe is just the thing to do.

We found these friendly Pixies in the Botanical Gardens.

We found these friendly Pixies in the Botanical Gardens.

After a very enjoyable day we return once more to the Noordam.

Life on a ship is governed to some extent by instructions. I love poking into odd corners where you can find some interesting things.There are lots of signs telling you what you can and can’t do (mostly can’t of course) and would like to share some of these and other odd things with you as I finish this episode.

Enjoy

Alan

This boat is fully LGBT compliant ...

This boat is fully LGBT compliant …

... although there are always those who disagree with such things.

… although there are always those who disagree with such things.

Mmmm ... not sure about this one

Mmmm … not sure about this one

When it says pull, it mean's pull ... better than the gym.

When it says pull, it means pull … better than the gym.

I just hope you're not in a hurry!

I just hope you’re not in a hurry!

Pull to launch life boat ...

Pull to launch life boat …

This ship has the latest technological breakthroughs ...

This ship has the latest technological breakthroughs …

Crew busy with phones ...

Crew busy with phones …

And my favourite ... 'There be dragons here'

And my favourite … ‘There be dragons ‘ere’


10 responses to “Auckland and beyond”

  1. Andrew Stewart says:

    Great blog. Love the ship photos as Im gearing up for my first one in July. Venice to Barcelona. Hope my room looks like yours!

  2. Sue says:

    Loved your blog Alan. We have been to NZ four times as its such a magicical beautiful place to visit. Thank you so much for sharing your journey, brought
    back many wonderful memories. Love to Jacqui

  3. JaciMac says:

    Too fun guys! Cannot believe it has taken til a beautiful Easter Friday dawn for me to sight this wonderful sharing! Thank Buddha u’ve discovered selfies! OMG I wantmthat bedroom on my next holiday! Fabulous inspiration to travel on and see Milford – can’t wait to catch ip – xcellent pics as always dear Alan – me thinks the curious sign is perhaps instructing to take hard hat off and hang it??? Just a hoot – some gr8 karma created here!?

  4. Lovely to be in contact again. I thought the boat instructions and photos great. Well N. Z. once a colony of the British Empire. Is it still? Just back from 2 months in India and that was too. Makes one think. Beautiful scenery, but looks a bit chilly to me after South India

  5. Lynn says:

    Interesting and stunning photos as usual. Thank you. xx

  6. Christina McGuinness says:

    Hey great! Wonderful pix and story! Are you still on the trip or home? Let me know!

  7. robin says:

    Ohhh – I am laughing my head off Alan
    Not too shabby hotel room!!!
    The pics are great

    Lots love
    Robin:):):)xxx

  8. Helen Lynes says:

    Love your bubbling humour and good eye Alan

  9. Dr B says:

    Great story and really enjoyed the photography Alan

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