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Thread: A New Zealand holiday

  1. #1
    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    A New Zealand holiday

    Note: I'm writing this up with ppl like Ozzy in mind as he's indicated an interest in visiting NZ.

    North Island holiday & cruise, December 2016

    This cruise was partly a 'thank you' gift to my sister Sharon, also an introduction to Jo of the joys of boating in NZ. My old sailing partner of 40 years ago, Peter, commenced operating Island Passage, a 42m catamaran, about 10 years ago and this was IP's last season before he upgrades to a larger ship. Website here >CLICK<



    We flew Thai Airways CNX to AKL via BKK. Departure and arrival times were easy, not too early or too late and of course food service was excellent. Price was about the same as AirAsiaX premium economy via KUL and OOL, which I'd probably choose next time despite a lower standard of (extra cost) food service. TG's 9 year old 777 has In-flight entertainment but the boxes are located under aisle seats and encroach on ones leg room. Didn't bother me as we had an empty centre seat.

    Arrived in AKL on time, mid afternoon, and sailed thru immigration and customs. I always declare something innocuous like salted peanuts and avoid inspection inconvenience. SkyBus operates a shuttle bus from airport door to City locations every 15 mins @ $18 per pax, compared with a taxi at say $100 it's a no-brainer plus you have a birds-eye view and free Wi-Fi.

    Tip: Buy an AT-Hop travel card for use on AKL transport systems and use up remaining credit on SkyBus upon departure.

    SkyBus stops at 6 central AKL locations within easy walk of major hotels. We always stay in a Waldorf Apartments, serviced self-contained unit, @ $110 per night. Included wi-fi is fast and reliable. Jo had many hour-long FB or Line conversations with Thailand.



    The property in Bankside street >CLICK< is a few minutes walk from Queen St, restaurant precincts and Britomart Transport Centre. Bus and train transport is clean, fast and safe. Taxis or Uber are readily available plus Europcar have a rental depot adjacent Waldorf Bankside.

    Tips: NewWorld Supermarket on Queen St, (lower ground floor) opposite Shortland St. Buy essentials, meals or food there. Change money at city FX booths for best rates. Not airport or banks.

    Auckland, known as City of Sails, has many attractions including harbour and outer gulf islands but the city itself is fun to explore nowadays. Gentrification has turned older parts like Parnell, Newmarket and Ponsonby into trendy shopping and dining precincts which flow out across pavements ... with gas heaters for chilly evenings!

    Jo enjoyed Queen St shopping, alone or with Sharon, during my business meetings and we had numerous meals out with friends. NZ's Asian invasion has ensured a high standard of sushi bars on every corner and a diversity of restaurants and quality take-away. Most bars offer an array of boutique brews. My favourites include Mac's Wheat Beer and Emerson's Pilsner. An AKL icon, The White Lady pie cart, continues to survive with it's late night customer-base!



    Note: There are many 3, 4 and 5 star hotels in AKL city although my recommendation would be for the Mercure or Copthorne for proximity to Viaduct Harbour and downtown attractions/transport. *Copthorne is opposite Hilton Hotel on Princes Wharf, and undergoing a major renovation at present.

    To be continued ....
    Quarky, Rivo, OzzyDamo and 2 others like this.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

  2. #2
    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน MarcTwoSix's Avatar
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    I'm certainly interested.....Thanks for the report!

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    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    A few AKL photos >

    From Waldorf looking down Shortland St toward intersection with Queen St (centre of pic) >



    Snack time >



    Queen Street >



    Mercure Hotel reflection >



    Japanese tapas lunch with Peter >




    Franklin Road, Ponsonby >



    Dinner at Sharon's >

    Last edited by kaptainrob; 8th January 2017 at 18:26.
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    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน OZZYGUY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaptainrob View Post
    Note: I'm writing this up with ppl like Ozzy in mind as he's indicated an interest in visiting NZ.

    ....
    Well that got my attention.......55

    Yes I was planning to get to NZ in 2016 but just didn't happen. My travel buddy Chris and I are talking about doing it this year.

    Thanks for posting Rob keep it coming

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน OZZYGUY's Avatar
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    That first photo is a awesome shot did you take that?

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    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OZZYGUY View Post
    That first photo is a awesome shot did you take that?
    No Ash, that's a file photo of Peters original chopper and the ship off Waiheke Island. He started doing Bay of Islands and Marlborough cruises. Now he contracts out to regional services around NZ (incl. Queenstown, Fiordland) and in Tahiti as required.
    OZZYGUY likes this.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

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    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    Island Passage departed from Princes Wharf late afternoon and we motored across to Onetangi bay, Waiheke Island for the first night at anchor. The Hauraki Gulf was my backyard, my playground, until 36 years ago. Ironically, a Bay of Islands sailing cruise was how Peter and I first met some 40 years ago although I had been sailing and fishing these waters from age 5.

    Coromandel peninsula - far distance, in top right of photo, Waiheke Island just below it on right, almost discernible >



    Note: Rangitoto Island, above centre, an active volcano 700 years ago, affords natural protection to Auckland's harbour and makes for an interesting day trip and bush walk. Comprised almost entirely of volcanic basalt and lava flow rock formations it is sparsely covered with native bush but the lookout offers a fabulous view on a clear day.



    The cruise itinerary included a half day tour of Waiheke Island's vineyards - 2 of those we visited are World renowned for quality wines and the whole island is a pretty place to see and well known as day or weekend holiday spot. Many international business and media people own properties there. Our tour ended with lunch at Passage Rock vineyard, ahead of re-embarking our ship for the 60nm passage to Great Barrier Island.

    Wine tasting >



    Where's Wally >



    Omaru bay, far end of Waiheke, our ship awaits >



    Chef Ollie produced amazing meals for 22 guests (and 10 crew) >



    We seemed to be eating and drinking all day and my favourite was always breakfast - "eggs Benedict with honey cured bacon or smoked salmon"? ... a difficult decision >



    Fitzroy harbour, Great Barrier Island >



    Dinner entree of scallops >



    Peter put 2 cases of wheat beer aboard for me but everyone enjoyed it and we ran out. Stella was my next choice though I drank more Sav Blancs and Reisling. Aussie guests all drank rose wines, it being a current fad! Staff were fantastic and my 2 ladies developed a taste for bubbly >



    Nothing was too much trouble, from an extra serve of bacon at breakfast or cappucino's on the fantail. Captain Phil has an open bridge policy and I was up there when we spotted dolphins. We spent the next hour doing lazy circles as they played under the bows. Jo was like a teenager on steroids >



    .... to be continued ...
    Last edited by kaptainrob; 8th January 2017 at 18:28.
    Sydney, Rivo, Nomad and 2 others like this.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน OZZYGUY's Avatar
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    Rob I'm not seeing the last lot of photos. Not sure if others can.

    I can see only the first two in post #7
    Quarky likes this.

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    plenty of pics....can not see
    FACE YOUR FEARS LIVE YOUR DREAMS

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน obes's Avatar
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    ^^ Same here - seeing the map and the next, but nothing after.

  11. #11
    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OZZYGUY View Post
    Rob I'm not seeing the last lot of photos. Not sure if others can.

    I can see only the first two in post #7
    Can see now?
    Rivo and OZZYGUY like this.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

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    Organic AI Quarky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaptainrob View Post
    Can see now?
    That's better...#makingmemissNZ...
    My only experience was in a pie making factory managing the gravy team


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    Foundation Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Sydney's Avatar
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    Privileged viewing for kiwis only .... dont want the place taken over with ozzies ... oi oi oi !
    The only thing that will stop you from fulfilling your dreams is you.

  14. #14
    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน OZZYGUY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaptainrob View Post
    Can see now?

    Now I'm hungry and want to swim with dolphins.
    Quarky likes this.

  15. #15
    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    The best summer months to visit NZ are December thru March. January holiday period is best avoided.

    From Auckland one may take excursions south to Rotorua's geothermal region or go trout fishing on Lake Taupo. Auckland environs might occupy anything up to a week although my choice would be a leisurely drive through Northland, stopping off at places like Tutukaka and the Bay of Islands ... natures paradise!

    Tutukaka >



    By sea, one may explore places inaccessible by car.

    Whangamumu harbour is a natural deep water cove, north of Tutukaka and just south of the Bay of Islands. For 60 years it was a whaling station, the only place where, initially, whales were herded by longboats into a steel net strung across the cove entrance.

    We went ashore to walk across the hills and take in the spectacular views. Jo, my 41 year-old teenager, took great delight in leading the bush walk and picking native flora to decorate the ships dining tables.






    Jo was into everything >



    Unlike BIG cruise ships where you're just a number, this was like a family and friends holiday trip. Peter's business attracts 42% return bookings and half of our group had done a Fiordland or Tahiti cruise.
    Quarky, quiksilva, Rivo and 2 others like this.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

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    Organic AI Quarky's Avatar
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    I don't know if I am getting old, but I enjoy NZ more April to November... at least in Northern North Island. Not too hot then.. but still get gorgeous days around 20 degrees... which is perfect for me... much more pleasant doing long beach walks and the like without being burnt to a crisp... 55

    Tutukaka looks nice... never been there... I have missed out! Whangamata is probably still my favourite little beach resort...
    My only experience was in a pie making factory managing the gravy team


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    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Distantpeak View Post
    I don't know if I am getting old, but I enjoy NZ more April to November... at least in Northern North Island. Not too hot then.. but still get gorgeous days around 20 degrees... which is perfect for me... much more pleasant doing long beach walks and the like without being burnt to a crisp... 55

    Tutukaka looks nice... never been there... I have missed out! Whangamata is probably still my favourite little beach resort...
    Perhaps not 'old' Nick, more a case of liking cool or colder weather? I'm sort of comfortable at 20c in calm conditions, 25c plus if windy.
    Surprisingly, Jo enjoyed 19c days in AKL whereas she'd have been rugged up at home in anything below 25. Did not compute!
    Quarky likes this.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

  18. #18
    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน MarcTwoSix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Distantpeak View Post
    I don't know if I am getting old, but I enjoy NZ more April to November... at least in Northern North Island. Not too hot then.. but still get gorgeous days around 20 degrees... which is perfect for me... much more pleasant doing long beach walks and the like without being burnt to a crisp... 55

    Tutukaka looks nice... never been there... I have missed out! Whangamata is probably still my favourite little beach resort...
    I think a lot of people equate holidays with hot weather, so when you holiday in cooler weather, it can seem strange.
    I am making that shift also now and it does feel strange....
    But you miss a lot if you are always chasing the sun.

    I may head to Japan in April, will be pleasant low 20's and teens at night but in the back of my mind I'm missing the beach/pool a bit

  19. #19
    Organic AI Quarky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaptainrob View Post
    Perhaps not 'old' Nick, more a case of liking cool or colder weather? I'm sort of comfortable at 20c in calm conditions, 25c plus if windy.
    Surprisingly, Jo enjoyed 19c days in AKL whereas she'd have been rugged up at home in anything below 25. Did not compute!
    I don't like 2 degrees and rain... so no don't like colder weather... 55

    But once the temps hit double figures I am comfortable... even as a kid I suffered in the summer... headaches etc from the heat... I couldn't wait for the football season to start because I knew it would cool down a little... 55

    NZ surely has the best climate in the world... well the Bay of Plenty area... 15 to 25 degrees for most of the year.... occasionally higher and sometimes slightly lower... hard to beat a climate where temps stay that consistent... a 12 month growing season... living in the UK makes me appreciate it a lot more now.. 55
    My only experience was in a pie making factory managing the gravy team


  20. #20
    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน MarcTwoSix's Avatar
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    If you look at Rob's pictures, which are fantastic, you just feel the relaxness of it. You lounge more in warmer weather.
    Whereas in cooler weather it seems you are not lounging as much.
    So it is a much different feel, IMO
    Takes a bit to break out of how we think

    I just said to Ao last night I am going to be adding 3-4 days in Caribbean after my NYC biz trips this year to satisfy by beach craving and holiday to places not as hot

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