Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Two Best Cruise Destinations 3/3

When we left Auckland for the 12 nights cruise on the Grand Princess, I had no idea what to expect from the trip... and what I got was much more than I asked for.

At the first port of call: Tauranga, we encountered the New Zealand's natives, Maoris, for the first time at the Paparoe Marae, a park that displays the culture and history of the Maori people.

This is a very peaceful indigenous Polynesian people that was decimated by diseases brought by the British or in battle with them, during New Zealand's "colonization" in the 19th century.

If you want to read about the Maori culture click on this link.

New Zealand's countryside is breathtaking and at that point I began to fall in love with this beautiful country.
Next stop was Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the country's second-largest urban areaWe visited a vineyard in the countryside and it was a wonderful experience. Afterwards we walked around the main plaze in Christchurch, visited the cathedral... and we found out that this was the base for the crew involved with the shooting of Lord of the Rings. now I understand why. 

Next stop: Dunedin, the second largest city in the South Island. The Dunedin urban area lies on the central-eastern coast of Otago, surrounding the head of Otago Harbour. The harbour and hills around Dunedin are the remnants of an extinct volcano. That is the reason for the beautiful and dramatic scenery surrounding this city. We drove to a cliff in one extremity of this extinct volcano and I had time to take a picture and take in this nature's gift. When I came back home I decided to capture what I saw and experienced in Dunedin on a canvas. I never had done any kind of painting in my life... but I decided to give it a try. Bought a large blank canvas and painted the image I captured in Dunedin.

Well, you can judge the result, but the truth is that my trip to New Zealand gave me the inspiration to start painting and now it's my passion and my favorite hobby!

Well, after Dunedin we were supposed to go into the Fijord Land National Park at the extreme south of New Zealand. It would be a whole day event traveling around these huge mountains on this remote region.
We woke up expecting the moment we would enter the Fijord. All of sudden, the ocean became rough and started to rain. In less than half hour we were in the middle of a storm, and I mean A STORM! The captain asked all the passengers to return to their cabins and wait for further instructions. We were on the tenth floor of this massive ship and the waves were hitting the glass doors of our varanda!
Did anyone say... scary?

Afterwards we were informed that a system with hurricane speed winds came unexpectedly from Antarctica and hit us directly. The sign with the ship's name, the water from the pool and lots of outside lounge chairs were gone when we got to Hobart. The captain had to change the route to avoid more damages and we ended up not visiting  the Fijord Land National Park. Next time, I thought.

 Australia is another beautiful and huge country. Hobart was charming and picturesque. I visited a canguru park, where they roam free, and interacted with this exotic animal. Scary                                      paws and sweet eyes! I kept a safe distance!

Melbourne was a charming cosmopolitan city and Sydney is a place that I want to go back ASAP!

From all my trips, I have great memories from this cruise and I'm planning on going back soon to see more of these two countries.

So, I hope this will help you decide where to go on your next cruise. Safe travels!

1 comment:

  1. Such a lovely sharing! I am really impressed and after reading your experience; I am curious to enjoy Cruising at Grand Princess. It sounds really beautiful and dramatic scenery to enjoy the nature. I am interested to go to New Zealand after completing my washington DC bust tours for a business meeting. Let me know about the best dining options there.