Kangaroo Island Australia – Tour

We talked and ask why in the world were tours on Kangaroo Island so bloody expensive and really never got a good explanation. It was really hard to find a tour on the island and most the ship offered were full already. While touring in other parts of Australia we always asked if anyone had a connection for us to take a tour when we arrived at the island, but alas little was found.

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While in Adelaide our guide made several calls and located a possibility that was really expensive and we had to commit to like 12 people, and that we could not do. The guide kept working on it but everything was so expensive and required us to commit more than we could. You see when you are a small group touring you can’t find anyone nor do you have the ability to connect with friends to commit a small fortune. So we ended up arriving at with no tour lined up.

Another issue we had with the expense was that we couldn’t really find out much about the island and what it had to offer. There was Seal Bay, but we have seen seals all over the world; from Antarctica to Alaska and to Greenland and the Canadian Maritimes too. So we thought big deal another place to see more seals. Then there were the beaches. Ok what in the world could be so great about these beaches? Then you could see Kangaroos – oh boy – we have been seeing ‘roos for the past several ports. We even saw them at the zoo in Sydney. And there was the rocks that had the name of “Remarkable Rocks”. Another yawn here as why would we want to drive over 2 hours each way to see rocks? So with that line of thinking is what we thought when hearing the prices of tours. The ship tour was something like $550 per person.

Fleur, our tour guide in Adelaide, showed us pictures of these “remarkable rocks” and we thought WOW they look like they would be great to see. Since we had not lined up a tour we thought we should take an early tender and see what we could do on shore.

So the quest began – 5:15am wake up (yes we are on vacation) and on one of the first tenders off the ship. Sadly when we got the Information booth we are told – no unless you have something booked you will not get to see the ‘rocks’ they are too far away. We reserved ourselves to riding the ‘free shuttles’ to see the two closer small towns. We watched the local ferry unload and load then wandered back to the information booth. Pierre the man we first talked to noticed us and advised us that there might be a chance as a driver had a cancellation.

Still we were not holding our breath as the driver was gone and would be returning. Long story short he was right there was a driver, we pulled two additional people together and headed out at 8:15 for what turned out to be the most fabulous day of our trip!!! Robyn was an amazing guide, the sites as you can see are over the top – we would rank Kangaroo Island on par with Easter Island – just plain beautiful and amazing. (lunch with a bottle of wine wasn’t bad either).

 

 

 

 

 

Adelaide, Australia

Hired PartyBus Steve (but our driver was actually Fleur, she was super) to drive us out the Borassa Valley – what a great day! A visit to 5 wineries, lovely new friends Jane & Keith who live in Adelaide joined us for the day. First stop Langemeil Winery. Vines over 150 years old and the wine …. wow in a word over the top fabulous. We bought lots of wine (being we are rather deprived in Ecuador) as they tasted so great!! We bought two bottles of Freedom Shiraz, 167 year old vines aged in Oak 24 months, (15% Alcohol). Fifth Wave Grenache 60 & 90 year old vines, 12 months in Oak 15.5% Alcohol, Jackman’s Cabernet 35 year old vines, aged 24 months in oak 14.5% a bottle of Sparkling Shiraz, and port one of Dave’s favorites (YUM). Our second stop, a small winery Kabminye run by a husband and wife team. So charming and the lunch they served us – over the top. Our favorite wine there was Irma Adeline (named after her mom), second runner up Ken & Neville.  We stopped into St Hallett’s bought a ‘rolly’ crystal decanter and a couple bottles of their Faith Shiraz, lovely finish on this one. Next stop was Jacobs Creek – a wonderful tasting no purchase here though. And our final stop Maggie Beers – first sight was this lovely Mercedes and inside was all kinds of goodness. Pate, cheese, wine, jam, jelly, and crackers – we bought just a little to have an Australian treat on board on a sea day with friends. Just a fabulous day we came back with enough wine to make us happy for a little while!! Cheers!!!

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Hobart, Australia

We are so very blessed with fabulous friends (lucky us) Pat & Noel flew in from Melbourne and toured us around. Noel was born here and it was so wonderful to see them again. It was a perfect day, sunny skies – Apple Museum, Wine tasting in the valley, fresh apples (just picked), a high climb up to Mt Wellington – the pics as you can see look almost like they were taken from a plane. We ended the day in Richmond with a lovely lunch, some fresh cherries & apples to bring back on board to share with the staff, a little more shopping, view of a quaint harbor and then back on board. It was way too short of day with them.

Note to self we could drink our way around New Zealand and Australia – fabulous wines, amazing views, great friends and family all over down under – make plans to come back soon!!

 

Sydney, Australia

Our sail in was almost magical – just like a post card! Friends flew in from Melbourne to meet us and we had a grand adventure.
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Taking in the Zoo (over the top) then off on the ferries to see Bondi and The Gap. A lovely drive across the cliffs back to the port and then Amanda & Lochie joined us on board for a fabulous dinner at the Pinnacle (Holland’s Specialty Steak House on board). A quick tour of the ship and then our time with them was over (too soon to be honest) as they were flying home early the next day. Day 2 in Sydney we wandered through the ‘Rocks’ and bought a few things.

Sail away was picturesque as well very thankful for our table on the window in the rear of the ship – perfect!

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Tauranga, NZ – The Shire

No tour booked and an early departure trying to figure out what to do – and we found a great tour guide on shore. We just had to do it – just because we could. Rather magical to be honest – and we had to watch Lord of the Rings to see all the hobbit homes and which was which. Just an FYI the first 40 minutes is in the shire – and you can see all the places we have seen and have pictures of – very cool!!

We ended the day with a coffee on the beach and then back to the ship.

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Busted for beer in Auckland New Zealand

I know it is hard to believe but… it happened. It is tough to take but we have to admit it happened. Who would have thought! Ok, Ok, I guess we will have to go on to details after having said that…

To set the stage; we thought some fish and chips would be great to have for a dinner and after a hot day; a good beer would be the perfect addition. We found a nice bay that had a Fish and Chip place with a bar that had beer next door.

Now it might be important to mention that the five of us ordered Fish and Chips and each order was freshly made and wrapped in paper. They actually put all the orders in a box so we could move them a bit better. You can see in the picture a tin can. That is what they call Red Sauce. It was cheaper to buy a “tin” rather than the individual packages.  As there were no great tables; we proceeded to the beach to enjoy the beer and the Fish and Chips.

That manager of the bar walked over to us and explained things. What we learned is, the license is for a square foot space and as such doesn’t expand to the beach. Now we could have gone to a store and bought a few beer and then drank them while we had fish and chips, but, buying a beer and taking it out of the bar and drinking it with our fish and chips was not legal. She would lose her license and have a heavy fine if we stayed there. We, of course, had no idea. So we drank the beer at the bar and walked back to the beach and ate the fish and chips.

What a wonderful time of enjoying Auckland. We have seen this city from every angle and what a great place it is.  Kudos to Cousin Shelley for being the best tour guide ever!!!

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