New Zealand
January to March 2017
January 7th                         After disembarking the Encore we checked into our hotel - Crown Plaza  - which
we had stayed at in the past.  Our flight on Singapore Airlines was delayed for a couple of hours, but the
flight to Auckland was pleasant and we were able to sleep most of the way.

January 8th                        We decided to check into the Auckland Airport Hotel for a day to adjust to the
time change.

January 9th                        A prearranged limo picked us up and drove us to Mount Maunganui.  I have
driven in New Zealand on many occasions, but decided it would be better to wait a few days before renting
a car and get accustomed to vehicles driving on the left in a more relaxed area than the roads around
Auckland.  We rented an apartment at the Pavilion Waterfront Hotel in Mount Maunganui..

January 10th to 29th        Last year when we were on an extended Seabourn Cruise we had stops in
a number of New Zealand cities.  It really hit home how much we enjoy New Zealand and decided to
cancel a number of cruises we had booked in 2017, and instead spend our winter in New Zealand.

Rather than traveling both the North and South Islands as we had  on six previous occasions this year we
decided to just concentrate on a couple of places on the North Island that we enjoyed so much during our
previous six land based trips.  The first place we chose was Mount Maunganui.

Mount Maunganui is a district of the city of Tauranga, which is a port most cruise lines include in itineraries
to New Zealand. Cruise ships were in port most days, including some of the monsters, but most passengers
go on tours to places like
Rotorura and Hobbiton, so they were really not roaming around the area we
stayed at.

We enjoyed the area and took a number of trips to surrounding points of interest.

Mount Maunganui Area Photos

January 30th                     Enjoyed scenic drive to Napier via the Thermal Highway

Jan 31st to Feb 5th        Napier is know as the  Art Deco City.  It was destroyed by a the 1931 Hawk's
Bay Earth Quake and rebuild in the art deco style in vogue at that time. We stayed at the same motel we
did in 2008, and found not much had changed since then.  Unfortunately the cruise industry in its quest to
find new ports has started to add Napier to its itineraries.  I expect the city will start to lose some of its
quaintness over the next few years.

We did a bit of touring, but for the most part just enjoyed walking about the city.

Napier Photos

February 6th                        We drove from Napier to Ohope Beach which is not too far from Mount
Maunganui,,a new destination for us.  We had a spacious penthouse apartment looking over the harbor
from the living room and ocean from the bedroom.  Definitely a place we would like to return to.

Ohope Photos

Feb 16th to 27th                     Whitianga is on the Coromandel Peninsula. The apartment we rented was a
penthouse overlooking the ocean.  We enjoyed several day trips, including one to the town of Coromandel
which had not changed from the way we remembered it.

Coromandel photos

February 28th                       We drove to Matakohe via Auckland and stayed at the Matakohe B&B, a very
nice place which we would recommend.

March 1st                               My main purpose in driving along the west coast was to stop to see the giant
kauri trees.  It is hard to believe much of the north of New Zealand was covered with these trees when
Europeans first arrived.  We stayed at the Opononi Lighthouse hotel.

Kauri Coast Photos

March 2nd to 15th               It was only a short drive from Opononi to Paihia.  We stayed at the Pioneer
Apartments.  This was the sixth time we stayed at this complex, so its obvious a place we enjoy.

Bay of Island Photos

March 16th to 31st                The drive to Auckland was pleasant.  We checked into the Qay West and
dropped off our rental car. We enjoy Auckland and just lazed about without any particular agenda.  The
building activity is at a high level.  In addition to new high rise buildings a new commuter train system is
under construction and causes many traffic jams with closed streets and detours.

Auckland Photos

April 1st