Sunday, October 18, 2015

Day 64 (18th October 2015)

A very early view of the coat hanger taken from our balcony.

Very early view of Circular Quay taken from our balcony.

The Opera House (always looking magnificent). Taken from the top deck on the Golden Princess.

We just disembarked the Golden Princess and waiting for Tom.

The Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal with our last view of the Golden Princess.

The Golden Princess sailed through Sydney Heads early in the morning - in darkness. We awoke at 6 am to the sounds of the vessel being berthed at the Overseas Passenger Terminal. We had a breakfast in the Horizon Lounge and left the Golden Princess for the last time at 8 am. Customs and Immigration were great basically just walked through. We waited for Tom to pick us up at 9am and that's it. We arrived home at 1015 am and its back to reality again.  Cruise holidays are great. One needs to be cognisance of the food intake and prepared to do some form of exercise on board the ship - just walking around a few times is okay. If we didn't our weight would have been embarrassing. In fact weighing ourselves on our return found we didn't put on any weight, however we didn't lose any we are happy with that. That's it for the holiday and now to start planning for next year's adventure. Bye.

Day 63 (17th October 2015)

Our waiter Ferdinand and Bonnie enjoying our last dinner on board the Golden Princess.

Our two great waiters, Ferdinand and Karl - in the Canaletto Dining Lounge.

Bonnie, Ferdinand and Von during out last dinner on board the Golden Princess.

This is our last day on board the Golden Princess. Finished packing our bags and decided not to take on a ballroom performance due to the floor that we would have danced around a grand piano. The unstable platform (the rock and roll of the vessel) was way too small for our style of dancing. Instead we enjoyed the company with Ed, Jim, Bonnie and Von in the Wheelhouse Lounge and took advantage of the buy one with a $1 second. Many Southern Comforts, Mojitas and other strange concoctions later we were very happy indeed. We had our last dinner in the Canaletto Lounge and said our goodbyes to our waiters. They were good chaps who went the extra mile to make our meal experience a memorable one. After saying goodbye to our American friends, who we believe have adopted us, we returned to our cabin with our main bags taken down in the hold for tomorrow's disembarkation. Five huge bags were packed - must of been about 80 klgs worth. Well that's it for this holiday we will arrive in Sydney at 6 am tomorrow and Tom will be collecting us at the Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal. So cheers to all. 

Day 62 (16th October 2015)

Crossing the Tasman Sea – about 39 deg latitude south. Note the weather is blue and somewhat clear - must be sailing close to Australia.

Retarded our clocks one hour this morning, now only one hour ahead of Sydney. We are at sea all day and time to do our washing for the last time and start packing our bags. We have a ton of stuff. Hopefully when Tom meets us in Sydney the vehicle can take all our baggage. We have been given our tickets to disembark early from the Golden Princess this Sunday morning. After all the immigration and custom formalities we should be ready to travel back home to Penrith at 9 am. Today’s highlights are the sign up for a Passenger Talent Show tomorrow. If everything works our well we may do a ballroom routine – providing there is enough room on the small dance floor plus the vessel is not rolling and rocking heavy. It is hard to keep balance on an unstable platform. Also the Captain is organising a farewell cocktail party tonight. Along with our last formal night should be great fun. So until tomorrow our cheers. 

Day 61 (15th October 2015)

Waterfall inside Dusky Sound – the southern district in Fjordland, South Island, New Zealand.

Sailing through Dusky Sound – the southern district in Fjordland, South Island, New Zealand.

Along the Fjordland coast near Breaksea Sound in Fjordland, South Island, New Zealand.

Passengers starting to gather on topside as we entered Milford Sound, South Island.

Entering Milford Sound, South Island.

Starboard side as we enter Milford Sound, South Island.

Midway into Milford Sound, New Zealand.

One of the many waterfalls on the starboard side in Milford Sound, New Zealand.

Just around the corner is the end of Milford Sound, South Island.

A sheer cliff on the port side near the end of Milford Sound, South Island.

Mitre Peak, Milford Sound, South Island.

Charter flights over Milford Sound, South Island.

Swinging anti-clockwise to leave Milford Sound, South Island.

Leaving Milford Sound.

Anne at Milford Sound – taken from our balcony.

Good photograph of Milford Sound’s hanging glaciered scenery, South Island.

Leaving Milford Sound showing another hanging glaciered background.

The sheer cliffs of Milford Sound, South Island.

Huge waterfall in Milford Sound, South Island.

A long drop waterfall affected by the constant wind, Milford Sound, South Island.

Just outside Milford Sound, the Fjordland coastline, South Island.

We were set to visit five fjords today, but due to the heavy weather situation we only sailed down three – Dusky Sound, Breaksea Sound and the famous Milford Sound. Fortunately our Milford Sound cruise presented us with great weather and many pictures were taken. This was an on board excursion where the views were taken on board the Golden Princess. We have visited Norway’s fjords and found them awesome. Norway has many fjords and the spectacular ones are world class, however, Milford Sound is just as awesome. Fjordland in New Zealand only has fourteen fjords many of them are very short in length (20 – 40 klm max compared to Norway’s deepest fjord in 200 klm!). Milford Sound is NZ’s prize tourist attraction and shouldn’t be missed – especially the harbour views. We left Milford Sound at 3 pm and alas now we are heading north west to Sydney crossing the ditch (Tasman Sea). The weather here is cold – taking into consideration we are many lines lower in latitude than Tasmania. It will take us 2.5 days to reach Sydney which will end our USA/Oceania holiday. Cheers.

Day 60 (14th October 2015)

Arriving at Port Chalmers early morning hours – taken from our ship’s balcony.

Boarding our Taieri Gorge tourist train at Port Chalmers.

Passing through Dunedin taken from our Taieri Gorge tourist train.

Crossing over the Wingatui Viaduct taken from our Taieri Gorge tourist train.

Our Taieri Gorge tourist train locomotives near Parera.

Our rail stop at Hindon – location of many local tourist stores.

Following the Taieri River near Deep Stream - taken from our Taieri Gorge tourist train.

One of many viaducts along the Taieri Gorge tourist rail journey.

The Taieri River through The Notches - taken from our Taieri Gorge tourist train.

Anne at our Pukerangi terminus – after buying some local products.

Crossing the Wingatui Viaduct - - taken from our Taieri Gorge tourist train.

View of High Street – taken near the Dunedin Railway Station.

Delicate artwork in the lady’s drawing room, Larnach Castle, Dunedin.

View of Otago Harbour taken from the Larnach Tower, Dunedin.

Front view of Larnach Castle, Dunedin.

Anne inside the Larnach gazebo, Dunedin.

View of Dunedin taken from Larnach Castle.

Dunedin Railway Station.

Dunedin taken from a park at the Upper Belt.

Sailing past an Otago Harbour fishing village on our departure from Dunedin.

The end of Otago Harbour and Peninsula – entering the South Pacific.

There are strange noises coming from the ceiling area inside our stateroom. We reported this annoying sound at 4 am this morning. It has been occurring over the past couple of days and definitely the movement of panels during the ship’s natural roll. Our Taieri Gorge rail tour commenced at 8:30 am with the long train waiting for us in front of our ship. It was just a short walk across the pier. The train stopped at Dunedin about 10 klms away and took three hours to reach Pukerangi passing over many viaducts which appear in many tourist brochures of the South Island. They gave us free beers and lunch on board. The views were magnificent and we were glad we didn’t miss this experience. The train returned to Dunedin and we transferred to a coach which took us to Larnach Castle. Owned by a William Larnach in the late 19th century. The location is on a mountain overlooking the Otago Harbour and Dunedin. An awesome structure and a sad tale was told regarding the Larnach family by professional guides. From Larnach Castle we returned again to Dunedin and given a city tour. Dunedin is a beautiful city located within a mountainous region and would be a great place to live albeit the cold winters. The Golden Princess left Port Chalmers at 6 pm and headed south to round the strait between the South and Stewart Islands. Tomorrow we travel north and cruise within five fjords, including Milford Sound. Hopeful the weather will give us great photo shots as it did today. Cheers.