Thursday, 27 November 2014

Nuzzieland [11]

Moving down the east coast of South Island, we arrive at Kaikoura where we will be spending the morning on a whale spotting cruise. I am told that Kaikoura is one of the best places in the world to see sperm whales, so I have great hopes.

Today's itinerary

Day 11 - KAIKOURA.
Today we are in Kaikoura, a famous whale watching area due to its nutrient rich waters. The combination of very deep waters and the mixing of cold and warm waters brings the nutrients to the top. After breakfast, there will be opportunities to join a whale watching cruise looking out for sperm whales, pods of dusky dolphins and common seals and the wandering albatross. Spend the afternoon exploring the town independently or join one of the nature walks, or maybe take an optional trip on one of the bird watching cruises. There is an abundance of birdlife in the area including great albatross, shearwater, petrels, prions and shag.

( I love a good shag... )

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Nuzzieland [10]

This morning we sailed across the straits between North and South Islands and went for a little cruise around the Marlborough Sound.

After a leisurely lunch, we will be landing at Picton...

Today's itinerary

Day 10 - SHIP COVE, MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS AND PICTON
Morning expedition cruising in Ship Cove where Captain James Cook spent much of his time in New Zealand. We will look out for playful dolphins and a variety of seabirds. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon in Picton including a tour to the famous Marlborough wine producing region. See some of the 3000 hectares of vineyards and taste some of the Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon for which the area is justly famous.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Nuzzieland [9]

Today is a day I've been looking forward to. You meet some complete arseholes when you write a blog. Thankfully, you also get to make some good friends but you seldom get the chance to meet them face to face - especially when the aforementioned good friend lives the other side of the world!

We arrive in Wellington at lunchtime and as far as I have been able to figure out, we are in port until late evening. The plan, therefore, is to engineer a meeting with the goodly Flaxen Saxon for some pillaging, burning and sage wisdom. (If the authorities are reading this - I'm only kidding!)

I know the cruise director on this boat very well, and he assures me there will be ample time ashore during the course of the evening so the plan is to meet up on the quayside and pop into a local hostelry for roast kiwi and chips, washed down with a jug or two of Steinlager.

I'm determined to do something even if it means a quick handshake over the gangplank. It's just a shame we're not here longer.

How did it all work out? Well, I'll ask him to update you in the comments while we sail off into the sunset...

Today's itinerary

Day 9 - WELLINGTON
Enjoy a relaxing morning at sea. We have the afternoon in the nation’s capital. An excursion will include the Parliament buildings, Old St Paul’s Cathedral, a lovely all-wood structure which was erected in 1866, and the superb Botanic Gardens.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Nuzzieland [8]

Back to civilisation today as we call into the charming town of Napier for a day moseying around...

Today's initerary

Day 8 - NAPIER.
Arrive this morning in Napier and join a tour of the town which will include its charming Art Deco buildings. Totally rebuilt after the 1931 Hawkes Bay earthquake, it has enormous style. Nowhere else can you see such a variety of buildings in the styles of the 1930s - Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission, and above all Art Deco, the style of the 20th century. Napier’s Art Deco is unique, with Maori motifs and the buildings of Louis Hay, admirer of the great Frank Lloyd Wright.
Walk along Marine Parade, see the Botanical Gardens and take in the view from Bluff Hill Lookout before visiting a local vineyard to sample the local wines. This afternoon is free for independent exploration of the town or alternatively join the optional excursion to the gannetry at Cape Kidnappers where you are able to get amazingly close to the birds. The 13 hectare reserve includes the Saddle and Black Reef gannet colonies.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Nuzzieland [7]

I like volcanoes - especially active ones!

The highlight of our trip last year in Sumatra was a visit to Krakatoa where we were able to go ashore and walk up the sides of the volcano. It's a rare privilege to be able to do this. Lots of cruise ship go there but you need a small one to get close and you need Zodiacs to get ashore, so most people get to look at it, but not climb up it. We did both.

This is White Island and it's very active! With luck we will be able to get the Zodiacs out and go ashore here too. Looking forward to it!

Today's itinerary

Day 7 - WHITE ISLAND
Arrive this morning at White Island. Weather permitting, there will be an excursion to explore the active volcano, identifiable by the plume of steam continually spouting from its crater. We will use the Zodiacs to reach the island and then spend approximately three hours on a guided walk to the crater. Afternoon cruising.