We landed in Auckland late on Saturday afternoon, the temperature was about 16 degrees and we felt rather under dressed having left Fiji in shorts and t-shirts; we had to decide between being over-dressed leaving Matamanoa and under-dressed arriving in NZ and went for the second option. No problem though, there was a driver waiting for us complete with all the paper work for our time in NZ, hotel bookings, car hire details, road atlas and guide book. A 30-minute drive took us to the Sebel Hotel on Viaduct Harbour, a new marina built to support the Americas cup race. We checked in, cheered when we found a washing machine and tumble dryer in our suite, changed into long trousers and headed out to explore. Continue reading Auckland
Our first stop in Fiji was at the Westin Hotel on Denarau Island just outside Fiji’s second biggest town Nadi on the west coast. The capital is Suva, about 3 hours away. Denarau Island was created by draining swamp land to create a focus for the growing tourist industry, there is a golf course in the middle and around the outside they have built two Sheratons, a Hilton, a Sofitel and the Westin (there maybe others but those are the ones we saw). There is also a Marina, Port Denarau, where all the fishing and diving trips and day cruises go from. It is all very upmarket and glossy but apart from the lovely Fijian people who work there it is all a bit generic and sterile. The most bizarre thing about the Denarau Island holiday paradise is, there is no beach!! Our room was very comfortable, the pool was nice and there were two restaurants and a café. The one outstanding feature of the hotel was the breakfast buffet!! It had everything you could think of including a juice bar where you could blend your own juices from bowls of fruit, veg herbs and spices. It even had complimentary sparkling wine (Blanc de Blanc) every morning just in case you needed to pep up the orange juice. Continue reading Fiji, part 1 (and part 2)
For our stay in Maui we were booked in to the Inn at Mama’s Fish House; a group of holiday cottages clustered around a famous fish restaurant. When we checked in we were upgraded to a two-bedroom garden cottage, it was beautiful, really spacious, tastefully furnished and recently fully refurbished at great expense. We discovered a welcome tray in the kitchen with the usual tea and coffee but also a loaf of homemade banana cake, a huge fresh papaya and a fresh lime – that was breakfast sorted for one morning. Having had an early start we didn’t stray far that afternoon, but we did walk through the restaurant to see the beach. The setting was idyllic, a beautiful tropical garden opened on to a grove of palm trees and a virtually private beach, technically all the beaches in Hawaii are open to the public but this was as private as could be. The beach was steep and there was a reef off shore which protected it from the surf, in between was an area of rock pools. Not really a swimming beach but great to sit and gaze at.
Well, we can’t tell you very much about Kauai, the bug we picked up in Alaska and the journey to Hawaii left us pretty exhausted, add in the sudden change of temperature and we were good for nothing for a couple of days. That said the Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation Hotel was a pretty good place to convalesce! We stayed in our room quite a bit but when we did feel up to going outside the gardens were beautiful and as for the beach, well the photo’s speak for themselves.
The rail trip up to Vancouver was fantastic, it followed the coast, hugging the shoreline most of the way up and we saw eagles and very large herons a plenty. The journey took four hours but did not feel like it, there was so much to see in perfect weather conditions. On arrival the Canadians let us through immigration and we got a taxi to the Times Square Apartments near Stanley Park. We have got a self-catering studio apartment, it is just what we need after 4 weeks of hotel rooms and restaurants it is a place where we can relax, do our own thing, do our laundry!!
I wonder what Vancouver has to offer….