How can I describe a fabulous two-week Viking Ocean cruise to New Zealand and Australia in a short article? Hmmm… I will certainly give it a try…. but it is very hard to do!
My good friend and neighbor, Sally Draughon, and I embarked on an adventure of a lifetime. We made the most of each stop along the way, including the eight- hour layover in Los Angeles on our flight there. We decided to make the most of it, so we had the Four Seasons next to Rodeo Drive hold our massive amount of luggage so we could do some shop hopping and late lunching. What a treat it was! Have you ever had a black truffle pizza? That, alone, could take up this entire article!
The flight, admittedly, is a bit lengthy, but very worth the effort once there! On the bright side…you can catch up on all the movies you have missed at the theatres for the past few years, read that novel you have wanted to read, knit a blanket, whatever you just haven’t had time for lately, because time is on your side! Flying into New Zealand was a beautiful sight to behold. It was all I had ever expected it to be.
Having recently cruised on a luxurious Regent Seven Seas liner, I fully expected to have to come down a few notches on my expectations of our cruise. However, I could not have been happier with the accommodations, food, and service Viking provided. I try to cruise all the liners in order to be able to describe each to my clients. Being a fan of Sushi, Sally was pleasantly surprised at the daily array of freshly made sushi provided each evening as our “late afternoon snack!”. Of course, I was more attracted to the specialty pizzas… those that know me well would not be surprised at that one!
Auckland was awesome! We had lunch at the top of the revolving Sky Tower and took a wonderful city tour. I could have spent much longer there- perhaps on my next trip! We found a great shoe store and as soon as we realized how good the American dollar was there it was a no-brainer to stock up on…. Oops… I had better not say how many pairs of shoes, but let’s just say it required the purchase of another suitcase before heading home!
In the interest of space here, I will list our next stops with a list of the highlights at each.
Rotorua, NZ – We visited the Kiwi Farms, learned that everything is a Kiwi! It is a bird, a fruit, and the NZ people are also called Kiwis! Also learned about all the benefits of New Zealand Manuka Honey.
Napier, NZ- We took a wine tour and visited the oldest winery in New Zealand, The Mission Winery, and did wine tastings of some of the finest New Zealand wines!
Wellington, NZ- After a fabulous culinary tour of the city, we took a bus tour to show us all that Wellington has to offer, including a Rugby team! There were many photo opportunities there!
Christ Church, NZ- This was a fabulous entire day of touring the area where much of the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed in New Zealand. The scenery was totally breathtaking!
Dunedin, NZ- I hired a private guide to take us to the famous area of the Moeraki Boulders. The drive was breathtaking, then we ate lunch overlooking the boulders. There were many photo ops here. This is one of the areas I had always wanted to visit in New Zealand. This was Valentine’s day (a day earlier than the states!)
Cruising the Tasman Sea over to Australia- this was much calmer than I had expected!
Hobart, Tasmania, AU- We went to a fascinating oyster farm to learn how they raise oysters and abalone! The oysters were delicious and very salty! We also went to a winery for a wine tasting. This is the home to Tasmanian devils!
Melbourne, AU – I was lucky enough to have a local resident travel agent buddy meet us at the port to take us all over Melbourne and into the country for our first kangaroo experience! We held baby kangeroos and learned about wombats and kaolas. We ate a lamb pie. (We learned that pies are the most famous food there.)
Sydney, AU- We spent our last night of the trip staying in Sydney at the Four Seasons hotel. We had such an awesome time touring around the city and having a fabulous dinner that evening overlooking the Opera House and Harbor bridge. It was a fabulous ending to a fabulous trip!
Several cruise lines offer cruises to this area. Some even have longer cruises that venture over to Tahiti and Fiji from here. This trip DOWN UNDER was OVER AND ABOVE my wildest dreams!
The Classy Travel Blog is a great way to educate yourself; Not only with travel tips and tricks, but also with insight on all of the Classy Destinations around the world.