20th February, 2019.
After a serious health scare that caused the cancellation of our planned 3 month Europe holiday in August, 2018, we now had the green light to begin our travels again. A trip to Macquarie Island, located in the sub-Antarctic region of Australia around 1500kms south-east of Tasmania, had long been on Erich’s wish list. There are only a couple of cruises that take in this region as civilian vessels are strictly regulated. After some research, Erich found a suitable cruise with Ponant, a French cruise line that we had not heard of before. One of its newer ships, Le Laperouse, was making its first sub-Antarctic journey departing Dunedin NZ for a 17 night round trip which would include Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds on the NZ South Island and then venturing to a number of the NZ sub-Antarctic islands as well as Macquarie Island.
But first we had to get to Brisbane from our home in Maryborough, some 250kms north. Flight times in both directions mean that it was simplest to drive down and leave our car in the long-term parking area at the airport. As our departing flight was relatively early in the morning, we spent a night at a nearby motel as we have done in the past.
Any trip to Brisbane is a good opportunity to catch up with family and friends, so dinner at a local hotel with two of our daughters and their families was a great way to spend the evening.
This is the most photogenic thing that Erich could find in close proximity to the motel.
21st February, 2019
Waiting to board our flight to Auckland.
Our connecting flight from Auckland to Dunedin was delayed by several hours so we did not reach our hotel until after midnight. We had allowed ourselves a day and a half to see some of the sights of Dunedin thinking that we would hire a car for a day. However, our late arrival and subsequent sleep-in put paid to that idea so we spent time walking to the centre of the city and making use of a hop on hop off bus tour.
It is not obvious from this photo but this is the steepest street in the world.
We hopped off the bus at the Botanic Gardens and meandered through, stopping off for a light lunch at the Gardens Cafe.
The stunning glass house was under renovation so we were unable to get any closer than this.
From the gardens, we continued walking back towards the city centre stopping at the historic University of Otago to photograph some of the stunning buildings.
More stunning architecture at the Law Courts.
The Railway Station.
The Art Deco style Law Courts Hotel contrasted strongly with some of the more historic buildings.
Scooter hire at the Octagon.
Walking back to our hotel, we stopped off at the lovely Chinese Gardens.
23rd February, 2019.
Embarkation was not due to commence until 5pm giving us most of the day for further exploration. As Le Laperouse had already berthed and was within walking distance from our hotel, we decided to check her out. The Fryatt Street Wharf is a commercial wharf so there was no access for us to get any closer but it was still exciting for us.
Our walk back to the City Centre took us past the Railway Station once again where one of the scenic tour trains was waiting to depart. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to take advantage of it.
A close up at the Railway Station.
We spent the remaining time before embarkation sitting in our hotel lobby making use of the free wifi before bundling our luggage into a taxi for the relatively short trip to the ship.