New Zealand – North Island

Monday January 24th
Arrived at Russell, Bay Of Islands, a small old fashioned town where most of the houses seem to be made of wood – clapperboard style. Only 73f today so starting to cool as we head south toward the Antarctic.
Guess what… I managed to find the only charity shop!!! Vance could not believe it but no I didn’t buy anything this time.
Back on the ship we were told they are now able to broadcast ESPN International sports so Vance is happy…he may be able to see a bit of the golf each day…sad eh!! But at least I get to watch the Australian tennis open.
Tuesday January 25th
Auckland. What a fantastically clean and exciting city. Vance was fascinated by the pedestrian traffic lights as they had a visual count down of the number of seconds left on green…he loved leaving a crossing as late as possible just like a kid playing chicken…
Had a hike up to Victoria & Albert Park … oxygen at the top please nurse…and took loads of pics  – see Auckland Pics – then descended back down to the harbour where it seemed every other shop seemed to be selling Rugby World Cup stuff – we’ll wait until Thailand and get our ‘original’ T-shirts there.
Left Auckland about 6pm and the sea started to get really rough but the sunset was a brilliant mix of grey, reds and oily blacks. We decided to have an early night after the show so we made our way back to our suite at 10:45pm only to find that we were locked out. The door lock had jammed totally and even the night supervisors pass keycard failed to open it. After 25 minutes of sitting on the floor in the corridor – because the ship was rocking so much it was difficult to stand – the master override key was found and we finally fell into bed….new lock to be fitted tomorrow.
Wednesday January 26th
Cruising the Southern Ocean today in beautiful sunshine so back on deck for more sunbathing and chilling out after our ‘ordeal’. When we returned to our suite we found a massive bouquet of flowers as an apology for any inconvenience we may have suffered!!
Thursday January 27th
WellingtonCapital City Of NZ and also called the ‘Windy City’ ….with good reason!!!  Docked at 8am and by 9am we took the cable car up to Kelburn Hill for views of the city and harbour. We then walked down through the botanical gardens – a good walk of at least on hour – my feet were really killing me.