A Travellerspoint blog

From Auckland To Sydney Part II: Auckland, Wellington

Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch


DAY 6- Auckland to Wellington, Day at Sea (1/7/05)

Our first day of this 12 day cruise was a sea day. We had a chance to relax, unpack and explore the Sapphire Princess. This was my 4th Princess Cruise and this ship was brand new and as striking as the other ships that I had sailed on. I love the big Princess ships with the “small ship feel” design that insures that you never feel crowded, even with 2800 passengers and 1100 crew on board. After breakfast in the 24-hour buffet, Mom and I walked all over the ship and I took shots with my video camera.

According to Alastair, the Cruise Director, there were 1000 U.S. Citizens (Yanks), 900 Australians (Aussies), 400 New Zealanders (Kiwis), 300 British citizens (Brits) and around 200 people of other nationalities on board the Sapphire. We were a floating international city.

The day went by quickly with 5 restaurants, 4 pools, a Spa, a library, internet café, casino, shops, a movie theater, and several lounges, bars and showrooms. Obviously, there was plenty to keep us busy and entertained. The activities included a Scholarship at Sea program where passengers could take classes on various subjects for free or for a small fee. The “Princess Patter”, the onboard newspaper, listed all of the onboard activities for each day and included information on each Port of Call.


DAY 7 – Wellington, New Zealand (1/8/05)

Wellington is the Capital of New Zealand. A picturesque city of about 350,000 people, it has beautiful green trees and hillsides and the most gorgeous flowers I have ever seen. The day started out warm and rainy but by the time we left the ship for our afternoon tour, the rain had ceased and the sun had come out.

Our tour was called “Intimate Wellington” and intimate it was. We boarded a mini bus with about 10 people and 2 wonderful guides, and set off for an insider’s look at the city. We traveled the city streets and neighborhoods all the way up to the top of a large hill where we had a great view of downtown and the harbor. San Francisco, California came to mind as I watched the cable cars travel up and down the steep hillside. We visited the Parliament Building (we sat in the Special Committee members chairs!) and walked on the floor of the Senate with a very friendly and knowledgeable Parliament guide. It was fascinating to learn about New Zealand’s Parliamentary Democracy and how the European culture melded with the native Maori Indian culture to form a representative government. I found it astounding that all of the top government officials were women!

The Colonial Cottage Museum gave us insight into the early days of Wellington and we enjoyed Afternoon Tea at a lovely restaurant that overlooked the center of the city. We ended the tour with a walk through the beautiful Lady Norwood Rose Garden which featured over 100 different types of roses. The Begonia House showcased other gorgeous flowers and interesting souvenirs. Overall, it was an excellent afternoon.

Once again, SAILAWAY came at 6:00pm. As we stood out on our balcony and watched the Sapphire slowly move away from the pier, I thought about all that I had learned about New Zealand’s capital and I looked forward to seeing our next New Zealand port of call, Christchurch.


DAY 8 –Christchurch, New Zealand (1/9/05)

The Sapphire docked at Lyttleton Harbor, 6 miles from Christchurch. The city was planned as a Church of England settlement and it is known as “the most English city outside of England.” We could see the English influence in the architecture of the buildings, the sheep-dotted hillsides and in the street names such as “Worcester”.

Our mid-morning tour was called “Christchurch Sights & Shopping”. The “motherly” guide and friendly bus driver took us to the Christchurch Arts Center where we walked around an open air market and sampled a delicious slice of “pizza” with ham and tomato. Local artisans showed off their handmade jewelry (a lot of Jade and Opals) soaps, leather goods and artwork. I took video of a couple of (surprisingly good) street musicians and enjoyed the festive atmosphere.

Mom and I spent time and bought souvenirs at the Canterbury Museum and took photos of the Botanic Gardens. Other stops included a local knitwear factory, wine tasting at Larcombs Winery (great Pinot Noir) and a delicious (and filling) lunch at a local pub. I bought 2 bottles of wine at our last stop to take back to the cabin. We ended the day back at Lyttleton Harbor and thanked our guides for an enjoyable day.

The visit to Christchurch was truly a joy. Now it was on to our last port of call in New Zealand, the “Kiwi city with the Scottish heart”, Dunedin.




Posted by Gerriv 12:26

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


Just wanted to say how amazed I was to find that New Zealand has no insects or pests of any kind and NO SNAKES!!! One may not leave an incoming flight with anything that was ever organic. The other thing was the beautiful Christmas tree flower that was ablaze throughtout the city. Gorgeous!

by Jo Grant (Mom to you, LOL)

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.