Day 72 Sydney Australia March 15, 2019

We arrived very early in Sydney Harbor. 

This is our initial view of the Sydney Harbor Bridge at 5:13 am on March 15, 2019.




Right after we went under the bridge, they turned the lights on at this park.  Nice welcome.




Well lit sky-line and dock area.






Docked in White Bay.




Nice sky-line and thanks Mr. Tug.




We headed out on the included tour with our Tour Guide Cherie.  She was a real hoot.  The Guides in general have a blunt and refreshing sense of humor relating both the good and bad about their city of which they are justifiably proud.


At the street level (downtown) you see lots of nice old buildings mixed in with the skyscrapers.



This is at the hospital.  The boars nose is so shiny because you are supposed to rub it for luck when you go into the hospital.



Catholic Church – According to Cherie a big scandal as the head of the Catholic Church in Australia (and # 2 in the Vatican) was just placed in jail.



Nice large park in the center of the city.



Things like the Art Gallery are housed in magnificent buildings




We are at Farm Cove in the Royal Botanic Garden for this shot of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge all in the same frame.


Some local boys turned out to show off their nice cars.





Sitting on Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair which was carved by the prisoners in 1816 because she showed kindness towards them.






Linda and Dale on the point.




View of the skyline from the same point in the Royal Botanic Garden.



They still have a large red-light district.




They are proud of their beautiful old homes




and there is a lot of effort to preserve them.





Also, lots of new structures invading the old.



In the Darling Port area.





Look out point on the South Head.  Amazing amount of sandstone everywhere you look.




Stopped at Bondi Beach




with just a few hardy swimmers




and surfers on this cool day.  I did score a hat, so all is good.




Bondi has lots of shopping areas





in nifty old buildings.




And a nice Post Office.



After our tour, we took Linda’s phone to a repair shop because the display had died.  They were able to repair it in an estimated 3 hours.  While we waited, we ate lunch at a local establishment called the Redoak.  Far as I could tell, we were the only travelers.  Nice place, great food, many local beers and a friendly staff.  Really enjoyed lunch.  

Area above The Rocks.  Lots of folks about.  Seems they knock off early on Friday.  They were also having a student protest about climate change.  Stupid knows no boundaries.


Interesting sidewalk inserts.





Arrived at the Royal Botanic Garden.




Great statues.





Big trees – a Mareton Bay Fig – Ficus macrophylla.  (I read the sign.) 


And small plants.  Huge areas of insect eating plants



with a large wall of flowers





for a backdrop.





Big birds




and a nice koala in a park setting.




Approach to the Opera House from a different angle.




Linda inspects the tiles




and we hang out and watch the people and the boats




Floral sign I enjoyed.




Lots of people.





Great day, heading back to the Viking Sun on boat shuttle.


Under the Sydney Harbor Bridge with many bride climbers at $400 each.  We knew three couples that did it an loved it.  Good on ’em, but not my thing.



Nice Sea Ray in the harbor by the Viking Sun.  What a super day.  Looking forward to tomorrow in Sydney also.

Day 69 New Zealand South Island fjords March 12, 2019

Viking traveled south on the west side of New Zealand’s South Island so that we could see two fjords today on March 12thSince our next stop is Sydney, to the northwest, this is definitely out of our way.  Nice touch to do this.  We traveled to the southern one of the two – Doubtful Sound – first.  It was a cloudy day, but the sun always seemed to come out for great pictures when we needed it.  There were some nice waterfalls


and some nice cuts along the sides of the fjord.







Here are Linda and Dale on Deck 8 enjoying Doubtful Sound.  It is named Doubtful Sound because the first European explorer was not sure he could get out again.  Winds are tricky for a square rigger.


A nice waterfall.






Big rocks.




Conveniently, between fjords, it was time for brunch with ice sculptures and great food.





Then we headed into Milford Sound.  This is a narrow fjord.  It doesn’t even look like we can get through in some places, although the Captain reports 600 feet of water.


We get close to the rock walls.





Yup, we must go through that narrow slot.



There are local excursion boats from Milford Lodge.



Lots of great looking falls,





and here we are enjoying the fjord from deck 3 on the bow of the Viking Sun. 

Large waterfall at the end of the fjord is the Lady Bowen Falls.




The Captain gets us really close to Lady Bowen Falls.




This is the other side,  across from Lady Bowen Falls, at the end of Milford Sound.







The entire ship turns out to see this fjord.    These two photos also give a perspective of how close we were to the rock walls.


This is the second large (by volume) waterfall in the fjord, known as Stirling Falls.  It’s about half-way in.  This photo is on our way out since the captain got us very close.




Less volume, but a spectacular waterfall.



WOW – The weather cooperated and that was spectacular.


Day 68 Relaxing Day at Sea enjoying entertainment March 11, 2019

March 11th was a relaxing day at sea.  The entertainment is wonderful.   


We continue to enjoy the Classic Duo of Milena (violin) and Milista (Cello).





The Virginia Gentlemen joined us in Auckland and will continue until Sydney.  They entertain in exchange for room and board. 



They are an a cappella group founded in 1953 at the University of Virginia.

Their song selections and arrangements are great and everyone seems to enjoy their performances.

Day 67 Wellington, New Zealand March 10, 2019

Today, March 10th, we are visiting Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. 


We started with a bus tour with a great comedian for a driver named John.  I am sure these guys could make a living as stand-up comedians.




First, we drive to the top of Mt. Victoria for views of the harbor,






houses set into the steep hills,




the cricket field,




the airport




and the stadium with the hole in the “roof” where the All Blacks play.  Quite a nice panoramic view of the entire area.


Still on Mt. Victoria, a monument to Admiral Byrd, first to fly over the South Pole.  He staged from New Zealand and made so many flights from here it became his second home.   



The monument points due south to the South Pole.




On the way down from the peak we pass some of the trees where they filmed portions of “The Lord of the Rings”.



These sea shacks are highly sought after, with the last one selling for $260k.







Note the vertical tube-like structure.  That is for a private cable car.  Land is at a premium so cliff dwelling even without a road is common.


This is a public beach area where they must refresh the sand each spring after the winter storms remove the old sand.



Typical downtown shopping area.



They work hard to maintain the old architecture regardless of what business may occupy the dwelling.



There are a lot of great looking old buildings mixed in with the new.  Occasionally they do have to tear down old structures.  They have 14,000 earthquakes per year of which 150 to 200 can be felt.  The last big one was in November of 2016 and they lost several buildings. 



Often, they will build the new structures slightly behind the old to maintain the great old architecture. 




Nice old homes


with cars to match.





At the cable car museum.




Stuff those homes in where you can.




The garage always seems like an afterthought.




Next, we went to the Botanical Garden.




They had gorgeous flowers both inside the greenhouses and outside.




















I think I startled a tourist by the silver fern.




Extensive grounds




and there we are.




We did our own tour of the downtown area.  This is their capital city and the parliament buildings are impressive.



Both the old and the new.




Some locals call the newest structure of Parliament the beehive, but others object because they say bees actually work.  😉




We checked out the new St. Paul’s




which is huge,










but we really enjoyed the well-preserved Old St. Paul’s.


Both the outside






and the inside.  It is a great old


wooden structure.





Next was the Wellington Maritime Museum.




A great place with cargo weighing and loading equipment and




lots of old stuff.




What?  There are fools in the world everywhere.




Time to leave.   The Museum closes at 5:00 so we got every last minute.


About to depart Wellington and this is a view of more cliff dwellers from our stateroom.  Enjoyable stop.  We sure achieved a lot of observations in a short time.  They used to say you turn your clock back 15 years when you come to New Zealand.  Not so much anymore.


Day 65 Auckland, New Zealand Second Day March 8, 2019

On March 8th, we took a tour that included crossing the harbor bridge.





On the bridge.




On the return trip I took these photos of the harbor.




This is a piece of the marina.  It is huge.  They consider themselves The City of Sails and it is not without reason.  One in three households in New Zealand owns a boat.


Others do motor sports apparently.




We went through several neighborhoods.  They have some old areas of town that are now becoming upscale



and their challenge is to preserve




the old charm and architecture when it would be cheaper to tear down and build new.  The price of a home in these areas has gone from 3 times average income to 15 times average income. 


Lots of builder would find it more profitable to start over and build new.



New Zealand War Memorial.  All New Zealand soldiers are volunteers.  They have supported the west in many conflicts and it has been very costly to them based on the size of their population.


Holy Trinity Cathedral, part of the Church of England.  This church was visited by the Queen but it is not well used by the locals according to our guide.


This power boat marina looks sparse compared to the sailboat marinas.







Tribute to the Morea.  Linda and Dale at the Memorial.   The Village Council had inappropriately seized this land that the Morea had fought to win in previous generations and the Morea had to protest for years to get it back.  Imagine the government doing such a thing. 

Nice view across the bay.





Headed back to the boat.  Downtown Auckland on a rainy day.  We enjoyed our stay in Auckland.  The outing on the America’s Cup boat was definitely a big highlight.

Day 64 Auckland, New Zealand March 7, 2019

Big day – we are going out on an America’s Cup Boat. 


Here we are leaving the dock











with our skipper Alex



on NZL 41 which was rumored to be the fastest boat in 1995 although she lost in the trials.  (Poor crew communications is the view of the Kiwi’s.)



So you get to do several tasks including grinding,









and helmsman.  Here, checking the telltales.




We flew the 5,500 sq. ft. gennaker




and took photos.




Retrieval was a real task and great fun.  I was down in the hole storing the gennaker.





Back to the dock.





Found Allison’s boat.  Bigger than we thought.





Ferry Building we remember fondly from our 1996 visit.








Beautiful water front.

















Lone SeaRay.




Car Ferry.




Big boat commissioning area.  The boats are positively huge.  Very lucrative business for the Kiwi’s.



The two large masts are on the same boat.





This gal working on the aft mast boom has to be 50 feet off the water.  Unbelievable.




To finish off the night our Cruise Director brought this Maori cultural group aboard for a performance.  Great show.

Day 63 Bay of Islands, New Zealand March 6, 2019

Our first stop in New Zealand is at the Bay of Islands (Waitangi).  This was an anchor and tender in stop.  We were anchored in the lee of some islands, so the tender operations were smooth and easy.




Mooring area by the tender landing.  Secure, compact and economical.



Those poles represent each of the tribes that signed the Treaty of Waitangi on February 6, 1840 between the British Crown and Maori chiefs.  This is considered the Birth of New Zealand.


Location of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi




not far from the Lily Pond Farm.  😉



With Susan as our tour guide / bus driver we took a tour of the Kerikeri Basin.




The country side is ruggedly beautiful


with the farm land suitable mostly for grazing.




How’s that for a rocky pasture?




Very picturesque.  The cows have legs that are shorter on one side (I think maybe).





Many nice homes in the country.











We visited Rainbow Falls



which was worth the walk to admire.



In the Kerikeri Basin we saw the countries’ oldest buildings, including the Stone Store dating back to the early 1800’s.



Adjacent to a cute marina.




Saw Kerikeri’s small town atmosphere




and developing suburbs. 





And ever changing but beautiful countryside












with an occasional horse




and always lots of cows.





We then went to the town of Kawakawa to view the world famous (their opinion) Friedensreich Hundertwasser public bathrooms. 






Build with no straight lines, plumb bobs, or even floors.  To each his own.




This thing has its own tourist’s bus stop.


After the tour, and having checked out the birthplace of New Zealand, we went into the town of Paihia for lunch.



Nice view from our restaurant seat on the water.



Robinson R-44 take-off from right next door (100 feet) of the restaurant – nice, but would be a difficult approval in the states.




Nice town




Nice boat – Viking Sun.





Nice area.  Great stop.

Day 62 Approaching New Zealand March 5, 2019

Today, March 5, 2019 is our last day at sea between Bora Bora and New Zealand.  We have been at sea since the evening of Feb. 27th.  We enjoyed some great entertainment during that time. 


Including Melina on the violin and Ferenc at the piano.





We were hanging from the rafters on this one, but the sound was still great.


Another concert was by Heather Clancy, our Cruise Director, on vocals and Kym Purling on jazz piano.





We also enjoyed great sunsets.  Less fun was the Force 10 Whole Gale.  Celebrating crossing the International Date Line was fun.  Tomorrow we will be in New Zealand.