Well, I’m back again..did you miss me. I’ve been having a wonderful time on the gorgeous Holland America ship, Oosterdam, cruising around New Zealand for the past few weeks. We started out from Sydney and travelled down to Melbourne and Hobart before moving across to the gorgeous Milford Sound at the base of the South Island. The weather was mild so we had a nice clear view from the deck

milford sound front

milford sound

We had wonderful weather and a fairly smooth crossing of the Tasman much to my relief as I’m not the best traveller. We stopped at a number of ports along the way on both the South and North Islands taking many opportunities to see the sights

We saw had wonderful Scottish experience in Dunedin

bagpipes

A visit to the Lord of the Rings high country on a bus trip from Akaroa where we were able to handle some of the props, swords and axes from the Lord of the Rings movies, I was amazed at how heavy they were.

Further along in the North Island a visit to the Hobbiton movie set

hobbitton

There are 49 hobbit holes along with various hills and dales, themed sets and Bilbo’s Birthday party set up

birthday party

…finishing with a nice cold drink at the Green Dragon pub. A fascinating place, a must for any Lord of the Rings or Hobbit fan, so full of details right down to the tiny washing lines and hobbit clothing

We shared in the Maori culture with a dance for the welcoming of a new tribe at the Bay of Islands

hakka

…followed by a boat trip to the hole in the rock, I couldn’t believe they would take the boat through the hole, a bit scary but amazing to experience

hole in the rock

We finished our holiday with a few days in Auckland, a visit to Kelly Tarton’s Penguin exhibit. Located underground and very well displayed, they pump in 200 litres of snow every day to keep the penguins in a natural habitat

penguins

And stingrays

stingray

Dinner at the Sky Tower, 52 stories high, who could believe people jump off for fun ( I stayed with my feet firmly planted, watching was enough adrenalin for me LOL)

sky tower

A jet boat ride under the Auckland Harbour bridge

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This is how we looked when we left, nice and dry, we are in the second full row back on the left

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This is what happened when the boat spun…Not so dry anymore … We now look more like fish LOL.

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All in all we had a fabulous holiday, learnt to line dance and play bridge. Had fun with trivia and karioke. made some wonderful new friends and ate some fabulous food…and ate…and ate…and ate. Now it’s back to cooking dinner and washing clothes, no more chefs or room service. It may take a while to get back to full swing but I’m home with some wonderful memories of a time well spent

Have a fabulous day Hugs Julie P