Well, actually, although it looks really pretty, we didn't actually do much in New Zealand's largest city Auckland, so we don't really know if it is amazing - I'm sure it is though!
|I pinched this pic from the Auckland website - as you can see, the dock is right next to the city!|
Now some people LOVE to shop when they go on holidays. Our mate Roy (of $4000 bar bill fame) had bought a Playstation 3 plus games, a Tag Heuer watch and Swarovski crystal by day 3 of the cruise! Us? We don't shop so much. I like a bit of shopping when I venture into Sydney, but generally I leave hubby and the kids at home for this activity. Plus, I had been reading Miss Minimalist on board the ship - and have been trying to cut down on buying "stuff".
However, after our big day out yesterday, we had a "shopping day" in Auckland. It was easy because you could just walk off the ship and into the city.
But we had a little souvenir shopping to do and the kids had $40 each from the relatives that was burning a hole in their pockets. We picked up a little glass pukeko for ourselves (we are going to pretend it's a takahe) and some gifts for the pet-minders back home and had a very nice coffee.
We popped back into the boat for lunch (yay, money saved!) and dropped the kids off at kids club and then ventured back out. We picked up some more outdoor clothing bargains - polar fleece jacket for me, comfy polo-t for me, new walking shoes for hubby, t-shirt for hubby. All good value stuff that will gets lots and lots of wear:
And, umm, that's Auckland, folks!! Well, I know there is more to do, but, unfortunately for you, dear friends living vicariously through our travels, that's all you'll see.
So, let's move onto our last port, Bay of Islands, shall we??
I had heard wonderful things about the Bay of Islands - one of New Zealand's top tourist spots. Writer Zane Grey spent lots of time here fishing. I was really hoping for some stunning weather, but we just missed out on that. Pity.
Another tender day. Thank the stars the water was calm and flat and the process was much less trauma filled!! The tender boat docks at Waitangi wharf.
|Getting on the tender|
|Tender next to the ship|
|Looks even tinier from here!|
|My new shirt! Video Boy's new cap!|
Waitangi's claim to fame is the signing of the Treaty by the Maori chiefs and the British Crown in 1840. We took a walk over to have a look, but it was going to cost us $100 to look at a building. So we opted to walk along Ti Beach into Paihia (see what I mean about all the vowels?), rather than get on another shuttle bus.
This town is basically the hub from which to explore the Bay of Islands. We had promised the kids we could go sea kayaking, so we went in search of a good deal! Plus, hardly any of the older passengers got in a self-powered boat, most opting for cruisers or jet-boats.
It was awesome to feel the salt water splashing on your face after nearly two weeks of being surrounded by it. It felt really nice to do some physical activity and get right down at ground/sea level with nature. We are seriously considering buying a kayak when we get home to explore our region's lakes and more protected ocean bays.
|I just wanted to let you know how brave I am in sharing my thighs with you...|
We then spent our last few hours in New Zealand and on solid ground before being at sea again for two days. We needed to spend the last of our New Zealand cash, so treated ourselves to a New Zealand beer before walking back to the wharf and our tenders.
As the kids ran back to kids club (they were loving it this cruise, I tell you!), hubby and I had a relaxing afternoon viewing the Bay of Islands as we headed north and onto home...
We only have a couple of days at sea, relaxing, before we are home. Until then we will see "bye bye" to New Zealand (until the next time).