After Tonga it was a very eventful passage to Auckland, New Zealand. Winds in excess of 50 mph and seas reaching more than 30 feet made for a very rough ride. With floor to ceiling windows beside us at dinner, the setting made you feel you were inside an aquarium looking out. Another couple described it as being inside a washing machine trying to see through the round window. Eventually the winds subsided.
We, however steamed into Auckland harbour in perfect weather with very little wind. So far, Auckland and Tauranga have been spectacular both for the scenery and the weather. The harbour in Auckland is home to 120,000 yachts (yes…120,000) making for an unbelievable landscape. Whlie there we visited a sheep ranch, a gannet colony out on a cliff along the shore and wandered along the docks of Auckland with our jaws wide open in wonder.
The next day we were in Tauranga in what has to be one of the nicest settings. A mountain, a double beach and a coast line that is constantly changing. Directly off the ship, no transportation is needed to see what New Zealand is all about. It would be easy to stay in Tauranga for the rest of the winter and years. to come. There was even a very well appointed RV campground minutes from the ship at the base of the mountain with views of the ocean all around. In both Auckland and Tauranga we could have spent a lot more time. A group of Maori singers and dancers has joined the ship for demonstrations of the culture and their way of life.
The ship is currently heading south to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand on the Cook Strait which separates the North Island and the South Island. In New Zealand they call Australia the “west island”. It is not complimentary!