The cruise port of Akaroa, New Zealand is seeing more frequent visits by cruise ships with the growing popularity of cruising around Australia and New Zealand.
The cruise port of call Akaroa, New Zealand is located on the southeast side of sheltered Akaroa Harbor, centered on the cute resort township of Akaroa. It is on the east coast of New Zealand’s south island. With frequent cruise ship visits this quant resort town is becoming more and more popular.
Historically its heritage is unique as it was the only French settlement in New Zealand. The region was named for the botanist Joseph Banks, who sailed with Captain Cook on the Endeavour.
Geologically it was originally an island formed by two volcanoes. The current peninsula has two ancient craters which form Lyttelton and Akaroa Harbors. The region was named for the botanist Joseph Banks, who sailed with Captain Cook on the HMS Endeavour.
Where You’re Docked – Cruise ships need to anchor out and use tenders to reach the Akaroa dock. The dock is the focus of a number of boat tours and water attractions and is located right in the town near restaurants and shops.
Money – New Zealand uses the NZ$ which currently is worth US$0.70 and you will need to exchange money or use credit cards while visiting.
Attractions – Akaroa, is famous for its several beautiful bays and harbors and there are numerous boat tours as well as sea kayaking. In Flea bay, a couple of miles southeast of town, is a rare penguin colony. Akaroa harbor is home to the worlds rarest and smallest dolphin, the Hector’s dolphins and Akaroa is the only place in the world where you can take a trip out to swim with them. A short walk out of town is Meniscus Wines, a vineyard which usually is open when ships are visiting. Also not to miss is The Giants House, a unique sculpture mosaic garden above town.
It started as a one-off for our own use and morphed into gifts for family and friends. Now our travel push pin maps have advanced to the level of a hobby. A local gift shop has added a display and personalized order form and we have just started selling on Etsy.
Our travel maps are printed 13″x19″ on heavy weight matte stock with personalization included.
Always trying to improve the look, I have now married a satellite composite image of the earth at night with my world map design. It is now available on the Etsy page.
We’ve Created Beautiful Pin Maps To Record Your Travels available through our Etsy store. VISIT NOW
A few years ago we printed, mounted and framed a world map and added pins to designate the places we had visited. As we continued to travel, we added more pins. Over time, we have had a number of friends and family members admire our map and ask for maps of their own, which we were glad to give as gifts. With much encouragement over the past couple of months, we have designed our own original maps and hope to make them available for sale.
After you place your order we customize and print each map and ship in about five working days via the USPS. The map is printed on heavy cover stock and is ready for framing. Detailed instructions are included for installing in ready-made, inexpensive frames or you can have it custom mounted and framed.
The World Map
Proudly display and pin your world travels while keeping track of your adventures and future plans. Our gorgeous personalized maps are a beautiful addition to your home and are a great conversation piece.
This 13″ x 19″ exclusive original design map is available in two color schemes and is printed on premium cover stock. Included are a number of custom options (see ordering information).
Pick Your Map and Select Customizations Below
Select a banner .
Add a custom printed name .
Ships promptly in a mailing tube and comes with a collection of 50 colored pins. Includes suggestions on saving money on framing with do-it-yourself instructions. Make use of included colored pins to indicate visits to Countries, Cities and National Parks. The design shows over 200 cities along with major national parks, seas and oceans.
Available soon, framed and ready to hang.
The United States Map
Great to get your children interested in geography and tracking their adventures or remembering family vacation trips. Makes a beautiful personalized gift and is designed with children in mind as a fun, in-home, learning tool.
This 13″ x 19″original design map is printed on heavy premium cover stock and includes a number of customization options.
Select Customizations Below
Choose a banner
Add a custom printed name
Comes with a collection of 50 colored pins. Includes suggestions on saving money on framing along with do-it-yourself instructions. Select pin colors to indicate visits to National Parks, States and Cities.V
This map is designed over a topographic image with all 50 states outlined and their names in bright red. Printed with over 200 U.S. cities along with major National Parks.
If you are planning a trip Down Under with some time in Sydney, you need to build your plans around their great public transportation. Like most large cities, buses are plentiful but Sydney also boasts a metro rail system called “Light Rail” that connects most major parts of the metropolitan area along with a regional conventional rail network and a large ferry system. The light rail boasts frequent service and cars that are modern, clean and comfortable.
The entire system is based on the Opal Card which is a “tap on – tap off” system. You can buy a one trip card or a card that can be loaded with specific amounts. so each time you board, you tap your Opal against the sensor pad and again when you exit. From ferry terminals and metro stations the “tap sensor” usually is a turnstile and on buses and light rail the tap post is usually at the car entrance.
We stayed near China Town and there was a surface light rail street stop just a block from our hotel. From there we could get to Darling Harbour, Bondi Junction and Circular Quay all in less than a half hour. In addition, the massive Sydney harbor is crisscrossed with dozens of ferries which all seem to converge on Circular Quay between The Rocks and the famous Sydney Opera House.
Even if you don’t have a destination, taking a ferry is a great way to see the sights around the harbor and the city skyline. Ferries from the Quay take you out to Watson’s Bay (be sure and have fish ‘n chips at Doyle’s on the Beach), Manley Beach (a popular ocean front beach town noted for good surfing) and across to Luna Park, aSydney’s classic amusement park.
If all this wasn’t enough, there is also a multi-day fare system based on the Opal Card. You buy the card with your choice of an amount loaded (you can also reload) and than tap on and tap off on all of the above systems as well as the regional rail lines. But here’s the best part. As you use the card there is a maximum daily fare of A$15 (A$7.50 for children) with Sundays capped at A$2.50.
We took a train to the Blue Mountains (over an hour and a half from Sydney), spent the day and returned, then went to Darling Harbour for dinner and back to the hotel all for A$2.50 each. There is also a weekly cap of A$60 with the card as well and, after eight paid journeys with Opal, you can travel for the rest of the week for half-price fare. Always be sure to tap on because staff wanders through the cars from time to time checking.
Sydney is a very walkable city. The focus of the downtown area (CBD) is the Circular Quay and The Rocks. Facing the water at the Quay, the Opera House is to your right with a number of restaurants and shops nearby and the ferries straight ahead. Off to the left is The Rocks, the location of the original English settlement at the harbor with a number of shops, restaurants, galleries and museums. Some of the museums offer free or reduced entry admissions so be sure to check this out if you plan to visit.
A short walk From The Rocks is the approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is worth the climb up to its walkway for the view. If you are really adventurous and aren’t afraid of heights you can book a climbing tour up the suspension cables to the very top. A dozen blocks west and south is the Kings Street Wharf and Darling Harbour area with a great waterside walk lined with restaurants and tourist attractions including a wildlife center, an extension of the Sydney zoo and the aquarium.
A light rail trip out to the town of Bondi with a bus connection at the station to the famous Bondi Beach will take about forty minutes from the central train station area.
Often getting around a large city as a tourist can get costly but not Sydney with a Opal Card.
There are no docking facilities so cruise ships anchored out, using tenders to get ashore. The tenders will dock right at the intersection of Palani Road and Ali’i Drive in the heart of town. Ali’i Drive runs along the waterfront and there are a number of restaurants and shops. Going straight up Palini about a mile will bring you to a Walmart, Post Office, Grocery and a Home Depot.
The actual town is small and pedestrian friendly. If you want to get out into the countryside the best option is to rent a car which are available at a few agencies in town.
Along the waterfront in town
Hawaii is a state in the United States and the currency is the U.S. Dollar.
Kailua-Kona is a town on the west coast of Hawaii Island (the Big Island) with a few sites located near town. Hulihee Palace is a former royal vacation home dating from 1838. Mokuaikaua Church, from the 1800s, is Hawaii’s oldest Christian church. On Kailua Bay, reconstructed thatched houses at Kamakahonu National Historic Landmark are erected on the site of King Kamehameha I’s residence. There are a number of good coral reefs which located just off Kamakahonu Beach. Kona is also near to Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park with some nice hiking trails.
The “Big Island” of Hawaii is the largest and southern-most island in the State of Hawaii. It is home to The Volcano National Park which includes Kīlauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world’s most massive shield volcano. The other major town on Hawaii is Hilo on the southeast coast and another favorite stop for cruise ships.
Auckland is a popular port for cruises around Australia and New Zealand as well as southbound Pacific repositioning cruises. Most itineraries also include a stop at The Bay of Islands due north from Auckland.
Where You Dock
The Port of Auckland has a number of piers east from the ferry terminal at Princess Wharf. All of the docking spaces are right in downtown Auckland so it is only a short walk from the dock into the CBD. There are also a number of public facilities not far from the port.
With only a few hours on average for exploring while in this port there are a number of places within walking distance and the downtown area is very pedestrian friendly with lots to see. Taxis are readily available but Auckland is the center of a large metropolitan area so it is best to have a destination in mind and agree on a fare before heading out. There is also an extensive bus and ferry system around the area with a good web site that shows your options HERE . The city also has a visitors one and two day pass that includes admission to a number of attractions HERE.
The New Zealand currency is the NZ$ currently worth about 65¢ US. Foreign currency is not readily accepted but credit cards usually work fine.
Within walking distance are a number of good sights including:
Albert Park – Historical, park with trees andflowerbeds, a Victorian fountain & statues.
Auckland Art Gallery – A collection of national & international art, with Maori works, in a château-style historic building.
New Zealand Maritime Museum – exploring the country’s seafaring history through exhibits & sailing trips on replica ships.
The Skywalk Visitors Center
Auckland Bridge Climb (Bungee jumping available)
Also about twenty miles west of Auckland is a very nice wilderness area called Waitākere Ranges Regional Park that if you have a few days this area should be considered.
The Port of Bay of Islands
Located about 175 miles north of Auckland is the Bay of Islands. The area is somewhat rural and one of the big attractions is the various vineyards nearby. While the production is on a much smaller scale than the southern island the quality is very good. A local industry has developed offering tours to the cruise passengers and probably the best way to see some of the region is booking one of these tours. Many of these excursions are focused on the waters around this port.
The Largest Volcano on the Hawaiian island of Maui
The Hawaiian island of Maui is actually two volcanic cones joined by a small piece of land. The larger volcano to the southeast is Haleakalā towering 10,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean and still considered active, though currently quiet.
The Haleakalā Observatory, also known as the Haleakalā High Altitude Observatory Site, is Hawaii ‘s first astronomical research observatory.
Haleakalā is a unique place since there are very few places on earth where you can drive from sea-level to ten-thousand feet in just a couple of hours.
The trip up the slopes to the Haleakalā National Park from the seaside town of Kapalua is a full two-hour drive. The steady climb up the slopes represents half the trip but the views from the summit are worth every minute it takes to get there. From the summit looking off to the north you will see the coast with its reefs and surf just offshore from the coastal Hana highway. Looking south is the spectacular view out across the caldera with its numerous smaller eruption cones and gorgeous multi-colored deposits of cinder and earth. The landscape makes you feel as if you are on the planet Mars.
A popular expedition is to go up to the 10,000 foot summit before dawn to watch the sun rise out of the sea (you need to get a permit for the pre-dawn trip). Mark Twain called sunrise from Haleakalā “the most sublime spectacle I have ever witnessed.”
The best way to really experience the park is by walking its trails. There are 35+ miles of hiking trails in the Wilderness Area that guides hikers through sub-alpine scrubland, rain-forest, and cinder desert.
On the slopes of Haleakalā are a number of native birds and over 800 species of plants with over 300 species native, or endemic to Hawaii, found only in the islands. At the higher elevations you will find the Maui silversword or Haleakala silversword, a rare plant, part of the daisy family Asteraceae.
The silversword in general is referred to as ʻāhinahina in Hawaiian (literally, “very gray”). The Haleakalā silversword is found only at elevations above 7,000 feet on the Haleakalā volcano, on the summit depression, the rim summits, and surrounding slopes in Haleakalā National Park. The Haleakalā silversword has been a threatened species as defined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, since May 15, 1992.
If you are only spending a day or two on Maui probably the least costly way of getting to see Haleakalā is by rental car. Cars are usually about $75 for a day and at the most $100. It is also worth pointing out that the best time to visit is in the morning. Because of the islands height it has a tendency to develop clouds around the peak in the afternoon and while it is a beautiful sight being above the clouds on Haleakalā you could miss some spectacular views of the island.