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Two Weeks to Remember in New Zealand

Highlights of Australia

Burnie, on Australia’s northern coast, was the gateway to our full-day tour to splendid Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, the central feature of which is 1,545-meter Cradle Mountain, which we viewed from the shores of Dove Lake and where we also walked through the rain forest to Pencil Pine Falls. Along the way, we viewed lush agricultural areas, the numerous murals of Sheffield and coastal resort communities. The following day we reached Melbourne.

Di was most pleased with her hop-on/hop-off tour of the city, but having explored Melbourne extensively on a previous occasion, I chose a shore excursion that featured a rail trip on the famed Puffing Billy steam train as well as a visit to the magnificent Mountain Ash forests of Dandenong Ranges National Park.

After another day at sea, our cruise concluded in Sydney, one of the world’s most interesting and photogenic cities, known for the iconic Sydney Opera House and nearby Harbour Bridge. We had planned a two-night hotel stay here before continuing to Singapore. Di, who had not visited Sydney before, again chose a hop-on/hop-off double-decker bus excursion, while I wandered around for additional photography; then we met late afternoon for a ferry trip through the harbor to Rose Bay and a tasty dinner.      

Enthusiastic Passengers

It was a fine trip, but don’t just take my word for it. Ken and Jean from Bothwell, Scotland, said, “We thought the itinerary was magnificent. The Holland America staff always does a wonderful job, and we particularly loved Napier.” Gary and Ginny from Kansas City “love Holland America … This was our fifth HAL cruise and the farthest we’ve ever been from home … It wasn’t anything like we thought it would be, but it far surpassed our expectations.”

Tony from Temecula, California, said, “The trip was great … and everything was excellent.” Christian from Santa Barbara, California, “likes a smaller ship because they are more intimate. What’s not to like?” Sue from Tauranga was “on her 11th cruise but the first time on HAL. We’ve done a lot of long cruises, but we were very happy, and service was excellent.”

Richie from Rockville, Maryland, found that the “ports were fabulous. We’ve done several dozen cruises as well as land tours, and these were our 94th and 95th countries. It was definitely worth the two years we spent planning the trip, and we really enjoyed learning about the Maori culture.” And from Alec and Sue from Savannah: “It was wonderful, everything was just great.”

I couldn’t find anyone who was unhappy.