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New Zealand

Last ports of call before heading home.

sunny 18 °C
View World Cruise 2023 on StephenJBrown's travel map.


After travelling across the South Pacific, from Peru we docked in Auckland where some 400 passengers had started the World Cruise. In the days prior to arriving in Auckland, there were farewells to say to those Kiwis and others who would be disembarking. This included saying goodbye to Glen and Peggy our friends from Canada who we had become close to during the voyage. We remain connected on Facebook and are making plans to visit them in Canada next year.

For Auckland itself, we opted for a private winery tour. So we boarded a small bright yellow bus and headed out about an hour from the port into the green hills north of the city.

The first stop was Westbrook Winery where we arrived as the doors opened for tasting. A modern winery with tastings, sales and a gift shop set in some beautiful gardens. Once again the weather gods were with us and the sun was shining. A good start to the day.


Our next stop was The Hunting Lodge An even more modern setup with a lot of vertical integration. There was a restaurant and a large garden area which was being set up for a large dog-friendly party. The winery also sold pre-mixed cocktails in bottles and would have been a great place to settle in. Wine was samples and wine was purchased. A couple of bottles of a varietal we had not previously tasted.


But we were on a mission so loaded up the bus and headed to Soljans for Lunch. Another winery in a beautiful setting we had a fantastic lunch and a glass of wine at this stop before browsing the gift shop on the way out. Very much still a family-run venture we were served lunch by one of the only people we had come across who was older than the cruise passengers. Still staying at work to make sure the other generations did things right.

In the car park, there was some confusion when we parked next to another yellow vehicle.


Our last stop was at Coopers Creek It was probably one winery too many for the day. The winery itself suffered in comparison to the first three we had visited in terms of the setting and the facilities. Still, we were on a mission and there was wine to taste, so we stuck to our task with some assistance from Piney.


After Winery number four we piled back into the bus and headed back to the pier in the centre of town. Arriving back onboard around 5 pm we had to skip an invitation we had to go out to a Chinese restaurant even though the ship was not scheduled to leave until late that night. By this stage, the idea of eating and drinking was not appealing. So, not for the first time, we slept through a late sail away and awoke as we put down the anchor at our next and final stop.

Bay Of Islands

Parked in the bay it was a short tender ride to shore. The process was greatly assisted by some local boats which added more capacity and were easier to load. The boats landed at the Waitangi Pier and then there were shuttle busses available to take us into Paihia. Despite the two modes of transport, it was a quick and smooth process with little to no waiting.


We opted from Paihia to take the local ferry across to Russell which we had been advised was once called "the Hell Hole of the Pacific". On the ferry, we sat next to an older lady who explained she was on the Ferry to attend her church in Russell and invited us to drop in for tea and biscuits. It would seem that Russell was a little quieter these days on a Sunday. We had a short stroll around a small and pretty village including a cup of coffee at Hell Hole Coffee which was as much action as we could see.


Back on the Ferry, we walked around various souvenir shops for the last time on this trip and had lunch on the Pier at Paihia. Again with the beautiful weather and scenery.


Having just travelled all around the world I can speak with some authority and say the Hot Chips at Zane Grey's Restaurant and Bar are the best in the world.

We retraced our steps via Bus and boat to reboard the ship for the last time and then dress for dinner and drinks.

A later-than-usual night out ended up at a 70's dance party. It would be unkind but probably accurate to say the dancers were mostly in their 70s.


So that is the blog entry for the last port of call on our epic world cruise. No more destinations to recall. There will be another post at some point to record our arrival back in Sydney and then some thoughts on the whole voyage.

Posted by StephenJBrown 00:01 Archived in New Zealand

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