Sky Tower Auckland… JUMP!

Back in Auckand for the not-sure-how-many-times, and thanks to our Nookie friend, John, there were seven of us lined up to all go jump off the Sky Tower!  Yep, yale and a bunch of OAPs were suiting up and jumping off the 192m tower!  As you do!

*insert obligatory promotional photos here because they won’t let tourists take their own cameras up*  🙂 I got to go first – and I have to say the most nerve wracking bit about this whole thing was the weigh in before we started!  After three months on a cruise ship I was seriously concerned, but am happy to report that I have actually gone DOWN a few kilos thanks to all my incessant walking around the ship.  I’ve been averaging about 9-11km per day just cracking laps of the corridors and decks and thankfully between that an zumba workouts, I have managed to avoid that dreaded cruise ship phenomena where all your clothes shrink!  I’m quite happy with my wash – it’s not easy to say no to all the delicious food that is constantly (and I mean, CONSTANTLY) in front of you.  Being a stubborn and pigheaded individual isn’t all bad it would seem.

Here’s John our Intrepid Instigator all suited up and read to go!

Mick, John and Terry looking like The Right Stuff… couldn’t get them walking through an airplane hanger, but you get the idea.  🙂  Barry and Sandie all suited up and ready for their big jump.

Anyway we went up the tower, ears popping in the elevator, donned in these delightfully designed jumpsuits and uncomfortable harnesses… and then it was a matter of safety checks, safety check, safety checks, and then 1, 2, 3, Go!

Was over so quickly but what a rush!

yale getting ready to jump – not surprisingly they didn’t have a jumpsuit that fit him… sexy ankles there babe!   😛 

After our adrenaline fuelled the lovely Chantelle/Christine took us to a seedy Irish pub for drinks and laughs all round – all up a great day was had by all.  I’m going to miss all my Nookie friends when we all get off the ship in Sydney… only a few days left.   So we shall have to fit in all the shenanigans before we debark!  🙂

Steampunk NZ Cruise – Birthday Party!

We didn’t set out to have a cruise for my birthday, but by virtue of being a January Kid, it also just so happened that the dates everyone found easiest to take leave – being around Xmas time – also encompassed my birthday.  As I said earlier, BigSal took one look at the timings, recalled the Edwardian fabulousness of the Wheelhouse Bar and had declared that we would be having a Steampunk Birthday party for my birthday – which just happened to be the second formal night of our cruise.  All of us had our hastily made costumes, everyone had out quite a bit of effort into making something fun and steampunk-ish… we are not hardcore cosplayers for all our habitual medieval recreationist activities.  This whole thing is how I came to be boarding the ship with a hat box!  Yes, felt a bit absurd taking fancy hats on the cruise (though I am sure it was de rigeur back in the day), but there we were probably with so many extra suitcases to accommodate our steampunk frippery.  🙂

BigSal had been working with some of the ships staff to organise various things for us – she coordinated with the Wheelhouse Bar manager to corral some furniture to create a space for us, she liaised with the Hotel staff to arrange for a small buffet of canapés, she had discussions with Tim, the Cruise Director, arranged a photographer to pop up and take some professional portraits for us and threw a fantastic party!  I had the most marvellous birthday  😀  Was a fantastic time.  We made quite the spectacle as we moved about the ship from our pre-dinner canapés and champagne, out onto the decks for some photos and shuffleboard, then onto the dining rooms for formal dinner and Baked Alaska night.  It was a fantastic night and everyone had simply the most amazing time.

Steampunk Cruise 22 Steampunk Cruise 21 Steampunk Cruise 20 Steampunk Cruise 19 Steampunk Cruise 18 Steampunk Cruise 17 Steampunk Cruise 16 Steampunk Cruise 15 Steampunk Cruise 14 Steampunk Cruise 13 Steampunk Cruise 12 Steampunk Cruise 11 Steampunk Cruise 10 Steampunk Cruise 9 Steampunk Cruise 8 Steampunk Cruise 7 Steampunk Cruise 6 Steampunk Cruise 5 Steampunk Cruise 4 Steampunk Cruise 3 Steampunk Cruise 2 Steampunk cruise 1The ship’s staff were very helpful in assisting us in arranging this special event for our large group party.  Love the Sea Princess!  She has become my favourite ship so far.


Steampunk NZ Cruise – Milford Sound

Today is effectively a sea day broken up with some beautiful scenic cruising.  Slept in a bit… possibly thanks to yesterday’s cider fuelled afternoon, followed by Mai Tai o’clock, followed by vino in the dining room!  Extra sleep is awesome, so we totally don’t complain.  Breakfast served in the dining room, very civilized and I’m so going to miss it when we get back to real life.  Then into the sounds we went.

This is my fourth trip around NZ on a Princess Cruise ship, and each time we have been fortunate enough to be experiencing good weather which has allowed us to go into the sounds.  I hear that quite a few ships have to abort their plans to cruise through the sounds if the weather is rough, for obvious safety reasons, so we are very lucky to have been able to get in each time.

Up on decks, things look stunning… there is something quite surreal about watching this enormous ship sailing through these waters with land that seem inappropriately close to the sides of the ship.  Yes, there is probably plenty of water on either side of us, but when you become accustomed to seeing the ship at open sea with no land visible to the horizon on any side of you, it is weird cruising along and seeing a mountain right beside the railings.

Went looking for the rest of our group but they were no where to be seen…?  Hoped they weren’t missing this!

Milford 6 Milford 5 Milford 4 Milford 3 Milford2 Milford1Eventually went searching for the others, not on 14, not on 12.  Even checked the viewing decks on 11 and 10.  No sign of them?  Found most of them eventually – Big Sal and Surly had, very sensibly, taken up prime positions in a spa as we cruised through the beautiful scenery, but a whole bunch of them were hiding out in the Wheelhouse Bar occasionally popping their heads out on the Promenade (deck 7) to have a look around and take some selfies?!?  Hmmm… I guess scenic cruising is not for these guys.  They should totally skip Alaska if that’s the case.  Fricken weirdos.

Only a few nights left of wrangling with the little guy who keeps coming up to lock up the spas at night… I’m sure the poor guy just wants to do his last job and turn in for the night, but we’ve been fending him off quite vigorously!  Love the spa late at night when there’s hardly anyone around.  It’s just so relaxing.  Thee nights at sea remaining.  🙂

Steampunk NZ Cruise – Dunedin

Yay!  Dunedin.  What a great city… full of cold weather, possum wool, tartans, and fantastic hipster pubs!  🙂  Yep, that was my plan for the day – send Mr K off to find a doctor, because he has a sore throat that is not getting any better, and I’m going shopping for possums and then heading to the pub!  But not just any pub, Mac’s on Stuart, my favourite pub in Dunedin.

The possum shopping was accomplished in record time – had to buy a lovely warm shawl for our puppy sitter (what would we have done without her?!) and also picked up a few other items for a few people at home.

Then went to Mac’s on Stuart ostensibly for lunch, but mostly to drink away the last of our NZ currency!  Surly was keen to go to the Monteith’s across the street (“They have the entire Monteith’s range on tap!”), but I convinced him that we should go to Mac’s instead, and he was later heard saying he was very impressed with their craft brews.  So verily did I spend the rest of the afternoon sharing some fish and chips and drinking cider while everyone else went to the Cadbury’s chocolate factory. A merry time was had by all… well, by me for certain, but possibly for all..!dunedin 6 dunedin 5 dunedin 3 dunedin 2 dunedin1


Steampunk NZ Cruise – Akaroa

Akaroa!  Since the earthquakes trashed Christchurch a few years ago, the cruise ships bouncing around New Zealand have been stopping in the sleepy little French-ified village of Akaroa.  On our first visit there we wandered around, checked out the old cemetery, saw the Giants House, took in the markets and shopping.  Second visit there… we kinda piked and upon observing the tender snafus, decided to skip it.  Yes, very jaded travellers are we.

This trip however, there were so many of us who had never been to the area, so I went hunting for a fun day trip out.  I popped onto Trip Advisor and found glowing reviews for a sailing trip around the harbour on the small sailing ship, the Arctic Fox II.  It promised lots of wildlife sightings and sounded like a great excursion.  So I contacted Captain Roy, and requested a quote for 12 adults and 3 kids, which came back at less than half the cost quoted to do this trip through the ship … and he threw the kids on for free given I was booking for a largish group.  Thanks Roy!

akaroa 13 akaroa 12 akaroa 11 akaroa 10 We set off on our little ship and motored out towards the harbour entrance, all rugged up against the cold and prepared in case we caught a bit of rain.  Very soon we found ourselves surrounded by Hectors Dolphins – one of the smaller breeds of dolphins, they are not as plentiful as they should be but are quite commonly found in Akaroa Harbour.  The lovely creatures seemed to follow us along, and when the Captain cut the motors and played some music?! the dolphins seemed to come and investigate us.  Captain Roy commented that the dolphins always come over because they like the music – it’s possible, but I dare say, the music was for our benefit… floating around listening to sailing related tunes was really quite relaxing.  🙂akaroa 9 akaroa 8 akaroa 7 We saw plenty of cormorants, some fairy penguins swimming about, seals and of course our Hectos dolphins seemed to follow us all afternoon. akaroa 6 akaroa 5 akaroa 4 Some of our party got a bit sea sick as we got to the mouth of the harbour, but over all everyone managed the swell of the small ship going up and down the waves quite well… a bit of ginger all round and only one person actually sick.  Maybe that ginger should have been handed around a bit earlier!  akaroa 3 akaroa 2 akaroa 1Captain Roy also gave us plenty of history about the area, from the Maori tribal massacres to early French and English settlers and Akaroa’s involvement during WII. All round a very informative and interesting afternoon out  I loved it, would highly recommend this trip to anyone wanting to check out Akaroa and hear a bit about its weird and wonderful history.