World traveler visits New Zealand
March 30, 2019
When I asked my husband what he wanted me to mention to readers about our adventure to New Zealand and Fiji, his response was, "I don't know where to start, it was fantastic!" As an owner of a travel agency, you would think that after being in this industry since 2005, I would have traveled there already, but I hadn't. The world is a big place! However, this is one of the only places that I had never heard a negative remark about from anyone...so I thought it was time I found out why for myself.
I will start with Fiji. We figured since we were already traveling that far to see New Zealand, we might as well stop in the South Pacific. There was a layover in Nadi, Fiji, so we decided to make it a three day layover, and later wished we had made it longer. When you travel to the South Pacific, you want to feel like you are in the South Pacific, away from everyone and everything...so we picked the DoubleTree Resort Fiji Sonaisali, about a 25 minute drive from the airport. It is on it's own private island across a lagoon that you have to travel by boat to get to. Beautiful and exotic with all the tropical flora, fauna, birds singing, everything you imagine the South Pacific to be, it is. A small resort, only 90 rooms, and all the staff know you by name immediately. The people are so happy and friendly, that you start relaxing the moment you step foot on the property; and when you leave, you aren't ready to go. One day I visited a village, went and toured the botanical gardens and saw the sleeping giant, and watched friends experience a hot springs mud bath. Another day I took a catamaran out to the Mamanuca Islands, said to be the most beautiful of all the Fijian Islands, and snorkeled rainbow reefs and sand bars. All I can say is that I found "my happy place" in Fiji. Couldn't imagine it getting any better...until we arrived in New Zealand.
We decided on a 12 night cruise to see New Zealand because we wanted to see both the north and south islands. The cruise left out of Sydney, Australia. What a beautiful port, and probably the most beautiful present-day port I have seen. We didn't have enough time to see Australia this trip, but decided it would be a future trip in itself. I think we went to New Zealand at the perfect time: the end of spring and beginning of summer. The forests, hills, mountains, were Ireland green and the rivers and waterfalls were full of life. We had to keep pinching ourselves with all the astounding beauty! We stopped at several ports on both islands and I don't think I can pick a favorite. Each one was so different. Auckland with the Bay of Islands and its emerald waters, Tauranga with the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal geyser and Hobbiton, Wellington with its amazingly free national museum Te Papa Tongarewa, Napier with its art deco and vineyards, Akaroa, a French village in a beautiful bay with the baby blue penguins, and Dunedin, a Scottish port, with the University of Otago, Baldwin St. (the world's steepest street) and Lanarch Castle. I haven't even mentioned the grand fjords we cruised through for a day including spectacular Milford Sound. One word to describe New Zealand...overwhelming, but in a good way, in a way that is calling you to go back, and you want to go back, because it reminds you of your childhood...the beauty, the innocence of the wild, the way the people greet you with open arms. I already long to go back, and I know my husband does as well, and we will...it will call us until we return.
I will be writing an article in The Loop after each trip I take, hoping it will add some excitement of travel to your life, if only to read about it through my eyes.