Manly Island

Going to manly Island on the Ferry is a slow peaceful way to some other parts of Sydney and great photo ops on the way of the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. There are sailboats scattered all along the waterways and speedboats zipping by.

Getting off the ferry I was surrounded by small tourist shops selling food and beachwear. The boardwalk leads right out from the shops to the long stretch of golden sand beaches. Manly Island is a great Sydney surf spot and on a sunny day, there is competition for the good sets of waves. When I walked down the path along the beach there were two beach volleyball courts set up with bleaches on the beach for events. At the end of the path are an ocean pool and a health center with an amazing view.

The pink dolphins of Hong Kong

Away in an old fishing village, there are regular tours of something I have never heard of before, pink dolphins. More commonly called the Chinese White Dolphin but affectionately called pink dolphins for this unusual pink and white-colored dots making themselves stand out against the dark water. I found this tour in Tai O village, a once-thriving fishing community, now being overshadowed by a giant bridge connecting the Hong Kong cities of Zhuhai and Macau. It is the longest sea-crossing bridge spanning the Pearl River Delta. Tai O has been an attraction to see the local fishing culture and to catch a glimpse of the pink dolphins, but now the village has an added feature on the boat tour, to see the new record-breaking bridge. The bridge construction has been a threat to the rare pink creatures. Marine experts say the dolphins feeding and communication activities of these very social animals have been distributed. Hopefully, now that the construction is about over and the bridge is waiting for its grand opening the sea life will be left alone.

The Dolphins start their lives as dark calves until they grow into the famous pink spots. The pink spots are from blood vessels beneath the skin of the dolphins. There isn’t a great deal known about these pink dolphins of Hong Kong but the numbers don’t lie. The animals in the Pearl River Delta areas have seen numbers drop by eighty percent over the past decade.

Try as you may, but you will not find any pink dolphins in my photos. Like many others on the boat, I was never ready when these creatures would jump up to say hello. After many missed shots, I simply sat back in the first of the boat and watched pointed pink heads pop up and splash away just as quick. It was a calm end to a busy Hong Kong day.

Windy Wellington

The Capital of New Zealand and tucked away at the bottom of the north island and is the gateway to the south island. The ferry across the Cook Straight runs from Picton to Wellington three or four times a day through two different companies, Interisland and Bluebird. But we didn’t come here just to leave. There are things to do and see in Wellington! The first place I feel most people are drawn to is the downtown waterfront area. The length of the water has shops, restaurants, and some museums lined up ready for the next batch of visitors. The weekend is the big draw for the waterfront, farmers markets and rummage sales going on every Saturday. Sunday has different events and activities going on all year. When I was there one Sunday morning there was a relay for life race going on. Being the capital city center you can count on various functions.

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The streets are narrow and are filled with endless shops of all kinds. Wellington is a busy city but a friendly one. Like most of New Zealand, their citizens try to look out for one another and give the benefit of the doubt. Wellington is a great city for a pedestrian. I never took a cab or bus while in the capital city. There is wide sidewalk twisting with every street even in the midst of road construction. There are so many fascinating places I passed on my many hours of getting to know this city I definitely didn’t have enough time to stop at them all.

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The best view and my favorite part of the windy capital city is the cable car that lifts to the top of the city. There are signs on the streets to direct you towards the ticket and the bottom of the cable car. Every ten minutes the car runs for a small fee and you will have two options. You can pay for a return ticket down or get a oneway ticket and walk back down to the city. You must take a oneway ticket and wonder the way back down. There are multiple paths to follow heading down and there are even maps available along the way. Lush green landscapes and manicured yards give way to a stunning rose garden. The rose garden was in full bloom on that warm day I found myself at the edge of row after colorful row. Not only roses but the exotic flowers from a place a half a world away from my own home. So it was all new and unique to me. The rose garden is The Lady Norwood Rosegarden and has The Wellington Botanic Garden just up the hill.

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Waiheke Island

This beautiful island beach is a thirty-minute ferry ride from Auckland city center and is a perfect escape from the busy city. After more than three weeks of walking every section of Auckland, I needed a rest from the city and the always go momentum. By accident, I found out about Waiheke Island. I was on one of my many walks to see what hidden corner of the world I could find and somehow started talking to a man walking to work. After telling him my plans and what I have been doing he suggested this gem. I had seen it on the map and read about the island, but thought it was too far or too much for the ferry. In short, I was wrong.

This is just what I needed, a peaceful day at the beach. I walked off the ferry and checked the return times to find I had all day to play of the Island. I started off to the closest group of shops on the beach which was short and slightly warm. I stopped in a few stores and changed into my swimsuit and worked my way down to the beach. Walking along the beach edge and climbing over rocks until I found my own little spot away from anyone. I ended my day with some local wine and pasta. Also, I discovered a week before this trip a wine from Waiheke Island called Man-o-War which I fell in love with and bought a bottle for my mother. I try to eat and drink as local as I can, everywhere I can.

River City boat dinner cruise in Bangkok 

A little chaos before you get in the correct boat,but after you board and are seated you will enjoy what you paid for more.

The dinner curse is an all you can eat buffet with the drinks an extra cost. I had my mother in town to see me so we booked a relax dinner tour of the the city at night. The views  were very nice if you make it outside or sit on the window side. We made sure to get a few plates of thai food and took our dessert right away so we sat the rest of dinner laughing over piles of plates and trying new food off eachothers plates. When we finally had enough and the plates were clear we moved to the back deck the watch the city roll by.

It’s a large boat and there is entertainment and dancing on the top level of the boat. Dinning is set up on the mid-level and the lower level seemed to be empty besides the wait for the restrooms.

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The food was good and saw nothing to complain about. When I booked the tour, there were other dinner boats that cost more and other that cost less. But I was perfectly happy with the food and the entertainment. There were singing acts that would rotate from the dining rooms giving us a show with our dinner. I’m sure the higher you paid for the dinner cruise the better food, service, and entertainment. Like I said before our food was good, and some of the entertainment was interesting and my mom and I will be talking about it for years to come.

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Fiji

 

 

Picture perfect Fiji is a discount tropical island ready to take your money! EVerything seems like such a great deal! Most will never see anything but the resort side beside the landscape.  What an incredible backdrop to the many activities to do in this tropical paradise on or off the water.

The Tasman Peninsula

The great Tasman Sea off the coast of Tasmania, Australia.

This seemingly small looking bird is an albatross skimming the surface of the deep blue Tasmania Sea. With a wing span of around ten feet these sea birds can soar anywhere for hundreds of miles. There are 21 different kinds found in Tasmania. You would think they would be everywhere but two hours on a boat off the coast and the rest of the day off shore this is the only photo I have of this amazing bird. Tasmania was full of happy surprises like capturing this albatross in flight. I planned a trip for the rugged cost of the island by boat to see the shear wall of rock.

The color of the water here was just amazing. The sea felt so big and our speed boat so small, it felt like the sea was going to swallow us up. What an amazing feeling out on the ocean, in the sunshine with the sea spray coming over the sides and draining back out again. When I started setting in Hobart area I booked a Bruny Island boat Tour with Pennicott Journeys. I have many nice things to say about the overall experience. It was just what i wanted to get out and see all rolled into a package tour with all the driving and meals included. I arrived at the harbor before the people working there had arrived to unlock the doors. I wanted to catch the sunrise over the docks and it was worth the cold morning walk from the hostel. Eventually checking in and loading on a bus headed out to the water. I boarded one of two boats heading out. There were over-sized ponchos left on the seats for all the guest to wear over our clothes. I wore extra layers because of their warning of how cold it could get out there. After putting on the poncho I was over-warm with the mid-morning sun beating down on me. The caption the few other crew member were very knowledgeable about the area and the animals that would fly or swim by. The cliffs of the coast are so dramatic. I am so glad I went on this tour to see the coast from the view of the water. The few hour tours took us around to Port Arthur where the tour continued lunch at  Port Arthur historical site.