After a long 14 hour flight and then 3 nights at a B & B in Sydney, we embarked on the Star Princess for our 30 day adventure back to Los Angeles.
We stopped in Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand. Unfortunately we missed Christchurch due to bad weather conditions in Dunedin. Our guide for the NZ ports, Des from Indigenous Trails, met us in each port to give us fantastic tours each of the 3 days. Through the tours and Des, we learned a great deal about the Maori culture and traditions and now have a true appreciation for the Moari people. New Zealand is a beautiful country and the people are SO charming and friendly.We LOVED NZ and Indigenous Trails!!
In Suva, Fiji we had hired Sun Vacations. They met us at the dock and we went to the Arts Village and had a nice day seeing the fire walkers and learning the traditions of the Fijian people.
Then on to Apia, Western Samoa where we went to the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (very interesting) and then to a a beautiful beach for a BBQ lunch. Unfortunately the original beach we were supposed to see was destroyed by the recent Tsunami.Still had a nice day.
Pago, Pago, American Samoa was our next port of call. We just walked around the town and sadly saw a lot of after effects of the Tsunami.
After a few relaxing days at sea, we arrived in Moorea.We rented a car from Avis (they met us at the dock) and drove around the island stopping to see sights along the way. It was a great way to get around and very easy!
Papeete was next. We got off the ship and hired a driver to take us around the island. He was very knowledgeable and when we stopped at various places, he walked around with us and explained everything.
In Bora Bora we took a tour on an outrigger canoe with Patrick. Went out to a reef to snorkel and then to walk in the water surrounded by Sting Rays. We then went into the ocean and swam with lots of fish and black tip reef sharks. Another great day!
Our next stop was Honolulu where we took a private tour in a yellow hummer. We love the TV program LOST so had signed up for a 10 LOST tour. Our guide, Jeff, was fantastic. He was so knowledgeable about the program and made the day a lot of fun!
Last port was Maui...we just walked around town, shopped, drank beer and then stood in the long long to get back on the tender!
The trip as a whole was wonderful! We would not hesitate to take it again in the future!
Had a great day with Des from Indigenous Trails. Went to the Albatross colony and the Yellow-eye penguin colony. Had a nice a great traditional Hangi lunch and then toured the Cadbury Chocolate Factory (got lots of free samples!
Even though it rained most of the day, we had another delightful day with Des. We went on the cable car, the Te-Papa museum and a variety of other places. Also had a nice lunch in Wellington.
Since we had missed Christchurch, Des suggested we drive to Rotorua for our day in Auckland. It was a scenic drive with lots of lush green farmland. We stopped for views and also in the town of Hobbiton (Lord of the Rings). Mary from Indigenous Trails had made our group delicious muffins. We stopped at a park and ate them along with coffee, tea or juice.
In Rotorua, we went to the side of the thermal reserves that the cruise ship passengers do not tour. Des called it the visitor side versus the tourist side! We walked around and had a lovely performance of traditional Maori songs and dances. We then had a great buffet lunch at a local restaurant (very unique foods). After lunch we went to the Glow Worm caves which was another fantastic experience. Before returning to Auckland at the end of the evening, we also had dinner with Des & Mary at another local restaurant.
Our NZ experiences were wonderful!!
We only walked around the town by the port since it was raining while in Pago Pago. They incurred a lot of damage from the Tsunami and we could still see evidence of this everywhere. Felt bad for the people,however they still had big smiles on their faces and greeting us warmly.