Unfortunately, what is on everyone’s mind right now is the coronavirus. Ugh. That word. Pandemic, epidemic, COVID-19 – all of it is driving me absolutely fricking bonkers.
Here’s the deal: once a week I am going to write a post about what is happening on the ship. How we are dealing with it, what things are changing, etc. Morale is a bit low and the more we talk about it (and inevitably people spread rumors) the worse I think it gets. It’s gotten to the point that when I go to the Lido I bring my phone and earbuds with me so if I am sitting by myself I don’t have to listen to everyone talking about it all the time.
As I wrote about The-Virus-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named (I also started a full re-read of Harry Potter so expect references in the coming weeks) for the Tuesday post, today we are going to talk about something different! Today, we are going to talk about Waitangi, Bay of Islands, New Zealand! (Everything involving New Zealand should have an exclamation point because it is truly a beautiful country!)
Before this world cruise got more adventurous that anyone bargained for there were about two months of relatively normal cruising. One of the last places we went to when things were still pretty normal was New Zealand.
We spent two days in Auckland, New Zealand, and then had one day in the lovely port of Waitangi. This is a place that I had been to a couple of times; however, both times before I had to work all morning and didn’t end up with much time to explore. This time it was different though and my friend Christina and I made our way ashore to see about going on a hike.
Now, there are a few things that happen when you are sailing as as FOB, GOB, WOB, SOB, etc. The first is you get all of the time in port to go do what you want (most likely without your Significant Other), the second is that you aren’t earning any money. This means that if you go ashore (much like if you were a passenger) you are spending money out of your savings and are not actively making money. This means that if you have a port intensive itinerary, are going to a lot of new places, or the places are just really cool, you can find yourself at serious risk for a lot of overspending. This is why there are times on a rainy day in Alaska I might not get off the ship because on the ship I can easily not spend any money.
This made the decision easy when Christina asked if I wanted to go hiking. It is a great way to see the area that you are in without spending any money. The bonuses this day were that it was really nice out, we were in New Zealand (one of the most beautiful countries out there), and I got to go with one of my best friends!
In Waitangi you have to tender. For information on the tendering process take a look at this post . After tendering across you then take a shuttle bus to get into the small town. When I say small town I truly mean small town, as the little village of Paihia only has about 1,719 people.
While it is a bit of an effort (with the tender and shuttle ride) to get to the town it is well worth it. There is a craft market, some lovely little shops, as well as some beautiful walks you can do. When we got to town we were handed little maps to help us find our way. We opted to take the hike through the Opua Forest on the Paihia Lookout Track. It is listed as taking about 30 minutes although it easily took us a full hour to get up (taking time to stop and take pictures). On the way down it was true to the 30 minutes it stated.
This hike was relatively easy, and although it was a very nice day out, with the humidity I am not going to lie I was dripping in sweat. It was all worth it though to see the beautiful forest, listen to the lovely birds and the wonderful lookout from the top where we could even see our ship.
On the map there is also a Coastal Walk listed, and I think the next time we are there I will venture down that walk just for something different.
Nature is one of those wonderful things that is most often free to experience if you are willing to put in a little effort. And, almost every time I would have to say that effort is rewarded with beautiful views, and a renewed sense of vigor in your soul. Aside from the emotional and physical benefits that nature has – I didn’t spend any money and got to experience a beautiful part of New Zealand with one of my best friends.
So the next time you get to port and want to be a bit more frugal, take a look at what there is to do in nature and explore the natural beauty of the place you are in.
Do you have any favorite things to do that are free or frugal?
(Please Note: I will add pictures once I get better internet – so check back in a few days!)
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