Early this year we took our first cruise; 14 days from Sydney, taking in Melbourne, Hobart, Milford Sound, Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Picton, Napier, Tauranga & finishing in Auckland. After another 7 days in & around Auckland we then flew back to Sydney. The whole trip went well; lovely weather (& sea conditions?) until the last few days near Auckland. Clarence & Peregrine came along for the experience & it was an interesting time; a good test for another time?
Our usual airline luggage setup is a bike bag, containing a Brompton, clothing, etc (1 checked bag) & a backpack/cabin bag. I’m rather cautious in preparing the Brompton to suit luggage handling methods.
We settled in to our verandah stateroom on Holland America Line’s Noordam (spot the 2 Bromptons?). Whenever out on the verandah, the thought existed of being locked out & having to say those words, “HAL, open the cabin door please”?
The big question for us was taking the Bromptons ashore? How easy? What issues? We could probably have managed it on all stops but in fact we only did it 3 times mid-cruise. The onboard portion was easy; unfold in the cabin & wheel it to whichever deck was being used for the gangway. Aside from ports where we had particular non-biking activities planned, 2 issues presented themselves. One was the use of a tender at Akaroa; rather crowded on the early departures but I’m sure it would have been possible? The unexpected issue was a number of ports that used an industrial berthing location (passenger facility wharves being too small?) & going ashore involved being bussed off the wharf. Another factor to consider was the distance the Brompton had to be wheeled before a ride could commence; port officials weren’t happy with riding within “their space”. In Melbourne we mostly cruised around the bay, with great weather that lasted all the way to Auckland.
After a calm Bass Strait (wow!?) & a smooth Tasman Sea crossing, we had a pre-dawn arrival into a calm Milford Sound (with the old hands not believing their good fortune?)
After the Sounds we “turned the corner” & headed up the East coast. The first of our industrial wharf berthings, Port Chalmers was our gateway to Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South? Free WiFi in a marque on the wharf was very popular, although lethargic, but once in the centre of Dunedin the council-provided “GigCity” was probably the fastest WiFi in the whole of NZ? (Well, I didn’t encounter anything faster!) Our return to the ship was farewelled by a Scottish band, nestled amongst a common port sight; containers & logs galore!
A few favourite regular evening happenings onboard were our pre-dinner “preparations”, post-dinner relaxing with this Polish duo’s classical music & checking out what the bed-turndown display would be (every evening featured a different creature).
Only one visit required tenders for landing. Maybe a dozen tenders shuttled us ashore at Akaroa, the replacement for the earthquake-devastated port near Chistchurch. Nice calm seas with an anchorage inside an ancient volcano caldera?
Another berthing was to 1930s earthquake-devastated Napier, with its Art Deco buildings still sparkling long after the city rebuilding.
Spotted this junior bike track during our Brompton cruise around Napier; a mock road environment for teaching road skills (& reminding me of my own learning experiences in my Auckland Primary school grounds when Police officers would bring along portable traffic lights, other street furniture, pedal cars, trikes & scooters).
NZ being renowned for its earthquake activity, this Tsunami warning sign wasn’t too alarming? (funny though, having grown up in NZ & then visited many times, my only earthquake experience to-date has actually been in Sydney!)
Once off the Noordam in Auckland we played “tourist in a rental car” but still had a few Bromptings; this one on the North Shore (pic looking back to the Harbour Bridge).
Finally, all the sunny weather disappeared over the last few days of the trip. Rain & big winds on the coast had its own attractions – but not too appealing for the new owner of this catamaran damaged & blown ashore?