Tuesday, 18 March 2014

New Zealand

Last month I had the wonderful experience of going on a cruise to New Zealand because I was teaching on the Needlework, Patchwork and Craft cruise. The cruise ship was huge, like a floating city and I wrote all about it in my last post.

I'll give a really brief look at the ports we stopped at along the way.
Our first stop was Auckland and it is called the City of Sails and after two days of sailing it was lovely to see land again.

We had such beautiful warm weather in New Zealand and we were lucky that the Lantern Festival was on to celebrate the last day of the Chinese New Year and everything was open to 10pm.
We also went to their wonderful Art Gallery and the Sky Tower where we could see the lovely views of Auckland.
Our next stop was Tauranga and we went on the Hobbiton Village tour on the advice of Wendy who reads my blog. Wendy was correct when she recommended the tour. We had such a lovely look at the countryside as our bus took us there. I know why The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings was filmed in beautiful New Zealand.
I took so many photos of Hobbiton, the place where many of the outside scenes were shot in the Hobbit movie.

There were nearly 50 Hobbit Holes (Hobbit Houses) and they were all different and so cute.

Our tour guide us told us many stories about the filming and all the trouble and extreme detail that Peter Jackson went to for the film to be just like the novel.
Thank you for the recommendation, Wendy.

I really loved Napier, which was our next Port and it is known as the Art Deco town and I love Art Deco. Once again we went on a tour that took us all over the town to see the famous Art Deco landmarks and buildings.
When the ship arrived at the port there were people dressed up in Art Deco fashions standing next to old cars of the era.

 Here is a photo of the famous Tobacco building which is actually Art Nouveau styling but I love that style as well. There were ideas for quilt designs everywhere I looked.

We only had an afternoon in Napier and I really wish that we could have been there longer.

We were lucky enough to have all day in Wellington, so we started with the Lord of the Rings tour. Our tour guide had been in the movie and so we had a very enjoyable morning listening to his tales about the filming.
A lot of the filming was done in a public walking area and so if you didn't have a guide you would not know exactly where you were. He took us to various locations and described the scene and then showed us a big photo of the actual scene with the actors.
You can get the feeling of the movie by being in the forest.
Afterwards we were taken to Weta studios where all the costumes, armour and swords  are made. We were shown a film about how Peter Jackson met with other collaborators on the film and how it all developed. We were treated to a very welcome coffee and cake as well.

In the afternoon we took the cable car up to the Botanical Gardens and they were one of the most beautiful I had been to. I couldn't believe all the flowers that were out and I realised how much Australia's 10 years of drought had taken it's toll on our flowers.


We came across a section called The Quilted Garden and there were flowers set out in quilting block patterns.


There was also a 6 pointed star and hexagons, I don't know what other ones there were. What a novel idea though.
There was also a huge hothouse with the most beautiful begonias.

We left the North Island and sailed down to Dunedin which is where a lot of Scottish people came to settle and Dunedin has a wonderful Scottish flavour.
We went and saw one of the most famous buildings in New Zealand, the Dunedin Railway Station.

Inside the station is just as beautiful, covered in Royal Doulton tiles, mosaic floors and stained glass windows. I took many photos; once again there was inspiration everywhere.
After lunch we visited the Cadbury chocolate factory and then went to a beautiful Chinese Garden where everywhere you turned was a photo composition. It was such a peaceful place.

As we boarded the ship that evening, a group of bagpipe players serenaded us.
The only bad weather we encountered was when our ship spent the day floating through, Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sound. The weather turned cold, foggy and windy and all the animals and birds were hiding. It was still very impressive and beautiful.
Milford Sound
That was our last look at New Zealand and we spent two days sailing back to Australia for a day in Hobart, Tasmania. That was where we encountered the really rough 10 metres waves and I found out that I don't get sea-sick thank goodness.

We have a soft spot for Hobart because we had our honeymoon there 35 years ago. We didn't remember anything except for the Cat and Fiddle Shopping Centre that had really increased in size. Hobart has a famous Salamanca Market on Sundays and it wasn't Sunday but they staged a mini market for us as we got off the ship. I bought a couple of scarves but I could have bought more, it's funny how a husband can make you a bit more restrained!
As we were walking back to the ship that afternoon we came across the Town Hall just as a tour was being conducted by the deputy Mayor.
Inside was a beautiful ballroom that is very popular for weddings.

 Suddenly our two weeks of cruising was over, we felt very relaxed and a bit sad that our wonderful holiday was at an end. It was a great way to travel, no wonder some people we met had been on 35 cruises.

We arrived back in Sydney at 5.30 in the morning and I was hoping to get some beautiful sunrise photos with the bridge and Opera House but it was too cloudy. I got some nice shots with the harbour all lit up though.

I had got a few sunset and sunrise photos on the cruise though.

Napier Sunrise
Auckland Sunrise

That was a very brief look at our New Zealand cruise and our wonderful holiday.

Another Needlework cruise is planned for April 2015. This time it is Freemantle to Singapore and once again goes for 14 nights. I am not teaching on this one but it looks like a lovely cruise with many great classes. Click on this link to find out about it.

Bye for now,


Renata's arts and crafts said...

Ohh... you look like you had the time of your life in this tour . Is great to see so many beautiful places and teach what you love on between.
Thanks to share your experiences with us

Linda Steele said...

It was a wonderful trip Renata, I would definitely go on another cruise and I would love to go back to New Zealand one day.

Wendy Welsh said...

Hi Linda. I'm really pleased you enjoyed your time at Hobbiton. They've made it look so natural that you'd think it's been there for many years. Happy memories.

Linda Steele said...

Thanks again for your advice, it was a wonderful day.

Jo said...

I have enjoyed reading this post. I was on this cruise too. You are coming to our Kilmore quilters group in November. I will be at that class. Look forward to seeing you.

Linda Steele said...

I'll look forward to catching up with you in Kilmore Jo. Your comment made me re-read the blog post and reminded me of the lovely time I had. It seems like ages ago now.

Abraham said...

I have to admit that I'm a bit of a Lord Of The Rings nerd, so seeing this has re-awoken my ambition to visit New Zealand. The Hobbit homes look absolutely incredible. It must have felt like being in another world! Anyway, that's settled it for me, my next holiday will definitely be in New Zealand. Now to save some cash!

Linda Steele said...

You'll love it Abraham, definitely worth the trip