A Travellerspoint blog

Sydney to Auckland

Napier; Hawke's Bay

semi-overcast 70 °F

Our adventure today was heading inland somewhat from Napier and Hawke's Bay to three of the local wineries. Napier is interesting because when it was leveled by the earthquake of 1931, the town was rebuilt in Art Deco style and the people have made the decision to maintain that theme!

Our first stop was the Mission Estate Winery, the oldest in New Zealand, and founded by the Marist monks. Mission's story begins with a group of French Missionaries. They sailed to New Zealand with little more than their faith, generations of wine making experience and a few precious vines. They established Mission Estate in 1851 founding New Zealand's oldest winery.

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Our second stop was Abbey Cellars. Founded in 2002, it is located in the red metal triangle of Bridge Pa, Hawke’s Bay, on 13 hectares of silted red metal soils, now sits a single estate winery, proud to be making some of the best wine New Zealand has to offer.

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Our last stop of the morning was Ngatawara Cellars. From its beginnings as the key pioneer of the Bridge Pa Triangle in Hawke's Bay, Ngatarawa has grown to become one of the region’s premiere wine producers with an enviable international reputation. Ngatarawa is widely acclaimed for its Bordeaux style red wines, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and dessert wine.

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After thoroughly enjoying the grape, we took a scenic ride back to the ship through the town and were met by a period jazz band that serenaded us as we headed to sea.

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Posted by rpickett 20:46 Archived in New Zealand Tagged napier bay; hawke's Comments (0)

Sydney to Auckland

Wellington

overcast 61 °F

Today we transitioned from the South Island to the North Island and arrived in Wellington. Wellington (Māori: Te Whanganui-a-Tara) is the capital city and second most populous urban area of New Zealand, with 412,500 residents. It is at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range. Wellington is the major population centre of the southern North Island and is the administrative centre of the Wellington Region, which also includes the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa. It is the world's windiest city, with an average wind speed of over 26 km/h,[4] and the world's southernmost capital of a sovereign state.

After a quick drive around the city, we arrived at the Museum of New Zealand, the start of our adventure. The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is the national museum and art gallery of New Zealand. It is branded and commonly known as Te Papa and Our Place; "Te Papa Tongarewa" is broadly translatable as "the place of treasures of this land". The museum's principles incorporate the concepts of unified collections; the narratives of culture and place; the idea of forum; the bicultural partnership between indigenous people (Tangata Whenua) and non-indigenous people (Tangata Tiriti); and an emphasis on diversity and multidisciplinary collaboration.

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We then took a short bus ride to the Wellington Cable Car to ride to the top of a hill to get a good view of the harbor. At the end of the 19th century, Wellington was expanding rapidly, and, due to the city's hilly terrain, good building land was at a premium. When new residential developments were proposed for Kelburn, it was suggested that a cable car or funicular could be built to provide easy access. In 1898, a number of people prominent in the development of the residential subdivisions founded the Kelburne & Karori Tramway Company. The plan was to build a tramway between the city and Kelburn, and link it by carriage to Karori, a settlement on the far side of Kelburn. The company began purchasing land for the construction of the tramway, and negotiated with the Karori authorities for a new road (now Upland Road) to link the upper terminus with Karori. In 1898, the City Council granted permission for the venture, on condition that it had the option to purchase the operation at a later date. The location of Victoria University of Wellington was influenced by the company's offer of a donation of £1000 if the university were located in Kelburn, so students would patronise the car when travelling between the city and the university.

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Posted by rpickett 19:43 Archived in New Zealand Tagged wellington Comments (0)

Sydney to Auckland

Port Chalmers/Dunedin

sunny 70 °F

We arrived at Port Chalmers, about 20 minutes from Dunedin about 8:00am this morning. Dunedin (Māori: Ōtepoti) is the second-largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the principal city of the Otago region. Its name comes from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. The urban area lies on the central-eastern coast of Otago, surrounding the head of Otago Harbour. The harbour and hills around Dunedin represent the remnants of an extinct volcano. The city suburbs extend out into the surrounding valleys and hills, onto the isthmus of the Otago Peninsula, and along the shores of the Otago Harbour and the Pacific Ocean. Dunedin was the largest New Zealand city by territorial land area until superseded by Auckland on the creation of the Auckland Council in November 2010.

Our tour today was aboard the Taieri Gorge Railway. Departing from Dunedin’s beautiful railway station the Taieri Gorge Railway begins its scenic journey into some of New Zealand’s most ever-changing, spectacular and iconic scenery. The train travels through the Southern parts of Dunedin city until it arrives at Wingatui junction where it turns off onto the Taieri branch. From here the train sneaks across the Taieri Plains and climbs into the Taieri Gorge, a narrow and deep gorge carved out over aeons by the ancient Taieri River. The train negotiates the gorge with ease as it travels through ten tunnels and over countless bridges and viaducts. This is a wonderful adventure, well worth every penny!

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Posted by rpickett 20:09 Archived in New Zealand Tagged dunedin Comments (0)

Sydney to Auckland

Fjordland National Park

overcast 60 °F

Our adventure today was cruising Fjordland National Park. The fourteen fiords that fringe this south-west corner of the South Island were 100,000 years in the making, with the final details added during the most recent ice age just 10,000 years ago. The Maori attributed the creation of the fiords to a giant stonemason called Tute Rakiwhanoa, who hued out the steep sided valleys with his adzes. On all sides of the fiords, spectacular waterfalls tumble incessantly as the region's plentiful rainfall finds its way to the sea. Described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, Milford Sound is always spectacular - daily scenic flights and cruises reveal its beauty to visitors. At 421 metres, Doubtful Sound is the deepest of New Zealand’s fiords. It’s a haven for nature, with resident bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins. The remaining two-thirds of Fiordland National Park are covered by virgin beech and pod carp forest. A 500 kilometre network of walking tracks allows visitors to explore the primeval world of mountain peaks, alpine lakes and moss-carpeted valleys. In 1990 Fiordland was listed as a United Nations World Heritage site and given the name Te Wahipounamu - 'the place of greenstone', after the area's most treasured mineral resource.
The interesting part of the day, in addition to the wonderful narration by a retired park ranger was passing two ships in the Fjords, Royal Caribbbean's Ovation of the Seas and Ponant's L'Austral. Although cloudy and misty at times, the scenery was spectacular.

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Posted by rpickett 19:13 Archived in New Zealand Tagged park national fjordland Comments (0)

Sydney to Auckland

Cruising to Fjordland, New Zealand

semi-overcast 68 °F

Our first two days have been spent at sea transiting southeast toward the west coast of the Southern Island of New Zealand. The first day was rather quiet and we enjoyed the comfort of our cabin.

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On day two in the morning we had the standard cruise vegetable carving by three very talented Philipino chefs. In the space of a few minutes they created some very imaginative creatures!

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The highlight of the day was learning the New Zealand National Rugby Team "All Black Haka". If you have seen the Kiwi's play, it is quite a show. The All Blacks have been doing a traditional Haka for about 100 years, with the current version the last 20 years ago. A Haka is a Mali tradition for just about every type of occasion....some are scripted, some spontaneous. It was a blast!

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Posted by rpickett 18:32 Archived in New Zealand Tagged to cruising fjordland Comments (0)

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