A wet summer cruise

It was a beautiful day when we boarded Majestic Princess for a thirteen-night cruise to New Zealand.
It had been six years since our previous cruise to New Zealand and thanks to Covid we now hoped to renew our relationship with the land of the long white cloud.
‘Aeoteroa’ or the land of the long white cloud was given to the north island of New Zealand by the Maori people when they first saw the land mass that we now know is New Zealand’s north island.

The photographs in this blog were taken by me as we prepared to sail.

The large TV screen on the main pool deck was highlighted with the words ‘Sail Away’ – music from the ship’s band and dancers to get the passengers in the mood.

The ship’s dancers to encourage the passengers to join in the dance – perhaps if I was sixty years younger, I might have joined in . . .

While all the music and dancing took place on board the ship left her Sydney berth at Circular Quay and set sail for New Zealand. The weather was perfect.

We had a pilot onboard while transiting Sydney Harbour and as we reached the harbour entrance at South Head (see photo above) I watched a pilot boat manoeuvre alongside to collect the pilot.

Once the pilot had left us it was full ahead for New Zealand.

It was a two-day cruise from Sydney to the area of the North Island of New Zealand known as the Bay of Islands, which was our first port of call.

Auckland is south of the area indicated.

As we approached the Bay of Islands, I went on to our balcony to take a photograph of our approach –

It was heavy sea mist and visibility was limited. Later the mist cleared and the rain began – it poured!

Maureen & I had plans to go ashore and visit Paihia and take the ferry across to Russell.
From the ship to the small town of Paihia was a 25-minute trip in one of the ship’s tenders (see the orange boat above in the rain) and even though the passenger area was covered it would not have been a pleasant trip. We decided to stay on board  . . .the previous time we visited the Bay of Islands it was beautiful weather and we used a ship’s excursions to see the highlights of the area, which included where the signing of the Waitangi Treaty took place in 1840.

In the afternoon the rain began to ease by which time it had become too late to go ashore. The above shows the weather conditions towards Paihia – not very encouraging.

   I watched the above sailing vessel braving the weather as Maureen & I considered a visit to the Vines Bar – which became our favourite.

It wasn’t raining in the Vines . . .

Our next stop was to be Tauranga

The above map shows the Bay of Islands (near the top of the map) and the location of Auckland (which we will visit after Tauranga) – it is about two-and-a-half-hour drive from Tauranga to Auckland.
We sailed from Tauranga for an overnight cruise into the South Pacific before arriving in Auckland early the next morning.

Bay of Islands


Our first ‘port of call’ was Bay of Island, which is north of Auckland.

We anchored about fifteen-minute boat ride from the landing pier. The Bay of Islands doesn’t have any facilities for large vessels to go alongside.


A very peaceful and quiet place, the above photo was taken from Waitangi wharf.

Our mini-bus took us to the oldest stone building in NZ – the Stone Store. It had been a trading post for many, many years and is still being used a ‘shop’, mainly aimed at the tourists.




dsc07615r Across the lawn was an old missionary house called Kemp House, which is the oldest wooden building in N.Z. The building was part of the Church Missionary Settlement established in 1819.

dsc07593rTo protect the original floorboards we were asked to take off our shoes.





The house was lived by the same family for 142 years until 1976  when it was donated to the NZ Historic Places.(Now called Heritage New Zealand).


The above are just a few photographs taken during our visit.

From this area we made our way to Waitangi, site of the signing of the treaty between the British & the Maori people in 1840. The spot is marked by the sign below as well as a large flagpole with three flags flying – the NZ flag, the union flag of Britain, and, I think, the flag of the area of the Bay of Islands.



dsc07631rThis is a beautiful spot overlooking the waters of the Bay of Islands. If you look closely you can see the Dawn Princess at anchor. If you can’t see it in the above picture, you’ll it see below.


dsc07653rMaori wakas (canoes)


 The special ceremonial waka (war canoe) on the right is manned by eighty rowers, plus it is able to carry some passengers.


The Maori people arrived in NZ around 1200 AD in their waka boats from Polynesia. At that time NZ didn’t have any mammals. ‘Man’ had not arrived, birds were very large (some now extinct), fish were plentiful, so of course the original Maori went back to inform their people and more and more arrived. They stayed isolated until Able Tasman arrived (1642), but he didn’t consider the place in a positive light. Later Captain Cook arrived (1769) and set in motion a complete change to NZ and the Maori people.



%d bloggers like this: