Tauranga and Mount Maunganui


As a traveler, isn’t free WiFi a wonderful thing! And look what you find across the street in downtown Tauranga….

With a good cuppa at Starbucks and chores done, a leisurely stroll around the shopping strip found a photo op with Hairy McClary characters along the Strand. Nice. 


Mount Maunganui was a highlight. Walking around its base was lovely; a delightful part of the world. A sleepy hollow yet to be attacked by developers. Lets hope it stays this way. 


Gisborne next….

Auckland’ish…


A bustling city, with its full bustle-ness on display, especially 4 days prior to Christmas. Plenty of local merriment along the wharf, bringing forth the end of this working time of year. 

The best view of Auckland did end up being from the backend of the ship, on the 17th floor in the light-flashing discotheque on our way out of the harbour. 

One of our newly formed Cruising routines has incorporated a daily pre-going-to-bed boogie at the disco looking out over the wide blue yonder. A perfect way to say goodbye to Auckland, in all its glory, lit up like a Christmas tree, shimmering to the dulcet tones of Abba and the BeeGees!

Tauranga next…

Kia Ora from the Tasman Sea…


Life on board the Golden Princess is very similar to life portrayed in the Love Boat TV series, which placed Princess Cruises firmly in public psych in the 1970’s. The only aspect missing in real terms is the long frock dressing for dinner every evening. Otherwise it’s business as usual, with the added flavour of Christmas carols and decorations given this particular time of year. 

One addition must be the “Movies Under the Stars”. A nice touch albeit somewhat rather windblown. Woody Allen’s “Cafe Society” held up a treat though! 


Today we land in Auckland. Our first landing since leaving Melbourne 3 sleeps ago. How well will our sea legs cope once on the Land of the Long White Cloud? All the better to romp around good old Auckland town we’re predicting… 

Drake Passage, Quark Sea Adventurer style…

This is not bad for the Drake Passage they said.
This is very mild they said.
You’ve had it easy, surely you want some rough seas before arriving back they said.
This is only 5-7 metre swells, only occasionally hitting 10 metres they said.
The glasses crashing is normal they said.
The tray load of dishes bursting out the kitchen door is nothing to worry about they said.
The red wine bottles falling in laps is part of the fun they said.
Yes, it can get much worse they said.
You’re lucky they said.
Come on, this is nothing they said.

Now, I don’t know about you… but getting thrown around in the sea in a ship, albeit robust, is not really my idea of fun and certainly not something I go out of my way to experience.

But experience we did as the only way to return to the rest of the world is via the Drake Passage and we were on it, rocking and rolling, like we were in an enormous gyrating aquatic washing machine.

That said, is was kind of fun! Once the motion sickness was contained, you could almost chuckle on the big rolls, especially as the dining room was trying to function normally, with the push and pull being counterproductive.

Would I miss this if I never had to do it again? NO
Would I do it again if it meant returning to Antarctica with Quark Expeditions? YES, IN A HEARTBEAT!

Last Day on the Antarctic continent; a sad farewell…


Saying goodbye was sad indeed. Daughter and I both burst into tears, knowing that this dream had not only been realised but may not ever be repeated. This had us sobbing as the sun set and a few days later when disembarking from the ship and saying goodbye to our new pals.

Who knew saying goodbye to ice and cold could make you quite so emotional!

Prior to the last hooray, Neko Harbour and Cuverville Island, through the Gerlache Strait was an impressive way to finish off.

“Neko Harbour” is an inlet on the Antarctic Peninsula on Andvord Bay, situated on the west coast of Graham Land. [Wikipedia]

“Cuverville Island” or Île de Cavelier de Cuverville is a dark, rocky island lying in Errera Channel between Arctowski Peninsula and the northern part of Rongé Island, off the west coast of Graham Land in Antarctica. [Wikipedia]

A famous body of water in the Antarctic Peninsula, “The Gerlache Strait” is a must see due to its spiky blue icebergs, humpback whale spotting, snow and mountains. It can be found between Anvers Island and the Danco Coast and is usually visited en route to Neko Harbour or the Lemaire Channel where ships cross the Antarctic Circle at 66 degrees.