Dare I Plan? Melbourne - Sydney - Auckland

Oct 27th, 2014, 05:17 AM
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Posts: 2,309
Safe travels, Gruezi. It's been fun following along with you.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Oct 27th, 2014, 06:06 AM
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yes, get home safely , gruezi. We need you on the WFD thread!
annhig is online now  
Oct 27th, 2014, 10:42 AM
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I've really enjoyed following along with you, greuzi.

Come back soon!
margo_oz is offline  
Oct 27th, 2014, 02:03 PM
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Safe journeys back to your home, Gruezi and Mr Gruezi, and please come back to visit us. Have enjoyed your commentary of your travels, and to see how much you enjoyed your journeys in both our countries. I especially enjoyed your comments about my hometown, Wellington. Dot
dottyp is offline  
Oct 27th, 2014, 02:19 PM
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Thanks everyone. The Wifi is working at our lodge now.

We arrived on Sunday afternoon by ferry to Waiheke Island and are staying at the beautiful Delamore Lodge for two nights before we fly home. It's a small place set into a hillside, with picturesque views and lush gardens. We were lucky to get over on Sunday as it happens to be Labour Day here and the ferry was jam packed. We sat on the ferry with a nice family from the UK who have relocated to NZ "for good." It was interesting hearing about their decision to do so. Now their children's grandmother will be moving here as well.

When we arrived on Waiheke we headed to town to look around in the shops and had lunch at the Oyster Inn. I would recommend that over Vino Vino where I had lunch when I came over last Monday. Cute spot and good food.

The first night we were the only guests at the Delamore and were spoiled with a 5 course dinner looking over the water views. For dessert there was a dish including passionfruit ice cream which they make on site. We were regretting having had lunch because there was a lot of food and it was all so delicious. To start, a young Filipino woman who works here made the most delicious canapés. Each was a work of art including small edible flowers. The lodge is quite romantic and each evening they light candles everywhere. It's an ideal spot for a honeymoon - subtle but personal attention to every detail. Breakfasts are a feast for the eyes (and the belly) and include a huge arrangement of fresh fruits from kiwi fruit to fried banana and baked apple.

Yesterday we took a long hike along the coast. Despite iffy weather we managed to avoid any rain and see some beautiful views. Mr. Gruezi also got in an afternoon jog but he found the hills a bit more challenging. I avoided that and took a nap instead.

We also took the public bus across the island to Onetangi Beach after our hike. There are 2 cafés on this pretty, long stretch of beach where you can get good coffee, a drink or some food and sit and watch the rolling waves. Inertia set in there and we lingered quite a while over a snack and coffee. Apparently this beach is quite busy in season but even on the holiday weekend it was pretty empty.

For dinner our second night we headed to Mud Brick Vineyards for dinner in their large and beautiful dining room. There was a huge fireplace and a cozy fire welcomed us in from the cloudy evening. The lodge itself was surrounded by beautiful gardens and lots of lavender in bloom. An idyllic spot. Dinner of course was delicious. We were seated next to two young people who had stayed too long at wine tastings that day and now were having the wine pairing degustation as they "studied" for a wine exam the next morning. I think the young woman was channeling one of the actresses from Lena Dunham's Girls. At any rate, the evening was romantic and perfect despite the antics of these pretentiously silly two.

Mr. Gruezi has been reading up on and trying the local wine in hopes of bringing a few bottles back for oenophile friends in the US.

(Cute side story: in Brisbane I was so taken by the Jacaranda trees - love that stunning blue color. At the art gallery there, I saw a gorgeous impressionistic painting "Under the Jacaranda Tree." A print of it was on sale in the museum gift shop for $10.00. So, I've been very carefully carrying that print around since our first few days. It's had an honored seat on my lap on quite a few flights and been my steady companion. Somehow, sadly, after juggling all our possessions into one bag and storing the rest at Auckland Airport, I arrived on Waiheke and realized the poster was gone. It was my only "souvenir" from all our travels and I was quite sad not to have it to take home and have framed. Having no internet access we couldn't even try to find a new one the day we realized it was missing. Yesterday, over coffee at Charley Farley's at Onetangi Beach,Mr. Gruezi was quite busy on his iPhone having discovered free wifi there. I was also busy texting with our daughters and then got an email from the dear man sitting right across from me. He had found the print at the QGOA museum shop and it is being shipped home! He had sent me the confirmation email. I am thrilled and Mr. Gruezi is my hero.)

We hoped for another hike this morning before our long travels but it rained all night and it is still cloudy and wet looking. So I'm lolling about back in bed after a too big breakfast. We've got quite a long day ahead as our flight doesn't leave Auckland until 11 pm. Hopefuly we can negotiate a late check out. We shall be taking up residence later in the NZ Air lounge.

Some final thoughts on our travels:

It's been a great 3+ weeks and I'm very grateful for all the good advice here from so many of you. I've very much enjoyed meeting a few of you and your kind and generous hospitality. And thank you to those who just listened and followed along. I so enjoyed having you all to "share" this trip with each day. I hope any future readers will forgive the disjointed thoughts and typos that are the result of doing all this on my iPhone.

I'm also so glad I let Mr. Gruezi convince me to take this trip despite all the date changes prior to our actual departure. Travel opens us up in so many ways and I've really enjoyed seeing things differently and seeing things that are just different. This includes the flora and decor and architecture and the food and just the friendliness of local people. My husband and I have also adopted quite a few new English phrases we've learned as we've traveled.

The coffee. Well, what more need I say? I will miss it!

Food? AnnHig- I could not continue posting on the WFD thread about all these great meals. It would have felt a tad mean to share such delights! We ate very well indeed and enjoyed the different flavors. We shall dearly miss the passionfruit and the pan Asian flair.

Nature. We keep hearing about what we've missed on the South Island, but I refuse to dwell on what might have been and instead will revel in all the natural beauty I did see. I enjoyed so many pretty walks in Australia and NZ - - from coastal tramps to botanical garden strolls. I'm quite sure there are "better" ones elsewhere, but I do not feel at all deprived - only filled with the joy and beauty of the abundant nature all around.

Kangaroo really are great fun to watch.

Art - what a joy to see both indigenous art as well as the other art treasures of this part of the world. Loved every art gallery and the free admission and the guided tours. Many wonderful hours were spent surrounded by beauty and in such architecturally magnificent spaces.

Water views - I can't ever get enough of them, but this trip has certainly exceeded my expectations in that area.

Walks - I will have great memories of my many "tramps."

Warm Welcomes - we had so many. Without a doubt, this has been one of the friendliest corners of the world I've ever visited. So many people we met along the way extended themselves to ensure we had a good time. From directions to discussions of art, nature, and culture we barely had to ask to be shown the way with a smile and plenty of patience. I certainly will try to pass this forward to future travelers to our neck of the woods.

Thanks again to all still listening! So long from down under.


gruezi is offline  
Oct 27th, 2014, 03:40 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
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So glad your trip has worked out so well Gruezi. DH and I have never been to Waiheke Island so must make a point of visiting in the not too distant future. I loved your report.
nelsonian is offline  
Oct 27th, 2014, 05:48 PM
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A wonderful trip! Your sum up was so positive I'm surprised you're keen to get home lol.
I know I didn't want to leave Sydney and I would cheerfully move there tomorrow if given half a chance.

I will look back at this thread when I get around to planning my trip next June.

Thanks for taking us all along for the ride!
sassy_cat is offline  
Oct 28th, 2014, 02:47 AM
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yes, gruezi, you've given us a great TR and not tantalised us with too many accounts of terrific meals so thank you especially for that!

I was interested in the family you mentioned that had relocated from the UK to NZ - I have an "old" [actually quite young] colleague who has done just that. of course it wasn't her [too much of a co-incidence] but it's not that uncommon. What is unusual I think is that they tried OZ first but that didn't work out so they ended up in NZ where they seem to be thriving.
annhig is online now  
Oct 28th, 2014, 02:11 PM
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Gruezi, sounds like you had as good a time in Australia and NZ as did I. Glad you enjoyed it.

Sassy-cat, that makes two of us. I've wanted to call Sydney home since my first visit in 2006.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Oct 28th, 2014, 03:54 PM
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Ann in our area Nelson/Tasman there are a large number of expats who have settled here. One of my staff is from Wales and moved out with her husband and daughter about 7 years ago. They had very good friends do the same thing but they moved back to the UK within two years. I think they missed family mostly.
nelsonian is offline  
Oct 28th, 2014, 04:15 PM
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Ah yes, nelsonian. UK expats who come to Australia and then go back are called Ping Pong Poms by the media here.
Melnq8 is offline  
Oct 29th, 2014, 07:07 AM
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I also have several friends from the UK that have moved to Australia over the years and one old school friend is living in Christchurch, NZ.
My friend in Christchurch seriously considered moving back to the UK after the earthquakes but loves his new home.
In fact I don't know anyone that has ping ponged! I guess missing family is the biggest reason people return to the UK but with the long drawn out process for obtaining visas there is plenty of time to consider the decision to move in the first place. People should do their 'homework' lol.
A close friend's daughter is visiting Perth at Christmas with her boyfriend (he has relatives there). They hope to move permanently after she qualifies as a nurse and this trip is 'homework' to see if they like it.

tripplanner, Sydney is a beautiful, vibrant city

I wouldn't be a Ping Pong Pom
sassy_cat is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2014, 01:12 PM
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Hi All! Yikes I am not doing well with the re-entry jetlag. Have been up all night the last few nights. Am trying hard to stay awake right now and make it to about 9 pm.

Wanted to say...

Nelsonian - do get to Waiheke. It's a special place.

annhig - the little family I met was a sahm and I can't remember the husband's profession but they have a 10 month old and a 4 or 5 year old - both adorable blonde girls. The woman's brother lives in Sydney now. Grammy is moving from England to Auckland to be closer to her grandchildren and her children.

tripplanner - yes, it was a really wonderful trip - so glad you had a great time too.

For everyone:

The lovely concierge at the Wellington Intercontinental Hotel is a foodie like me. And I was sharing some of my favorite restaurants with her and also my favorite cocktails. She was so sweet and contacted the barmen to get me these recipes which I will share with all of you.

1. From Ortega in Wellington

The Patient Lady

Equal parts (30 mls) lemon juice, pineapple juice, cranberry juice and passionfruit syrup plus RinQuinQuin peach liqueur. (Optional to add some peach schnapps for extra kick.)

Place all in shaker and shake well with lots of ice. Strain and pour into a coupe or martini glass.

2. From GingerBoy in Melbourne

The Gingergirl

45 mls vodka
15 mls ginger liqueur Massenex
45 mls pineapple juice
15 mls citrus
15 mls sugar syrup (simple syrup for those in US)
fresh mint and fresh ginger

Muddle ginger and add to other ingredients in shaker with lots of ice. Shake well and single strain and serve in a martini glass. Garnish with fresh mint.

gruezi is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2014, 01:32 PM
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Gruezi - I suffered from barely any jetlag on the way out to OZ as we stopped off in HK for 3 days but on the way back it took me a good week to start feeling normal.

Thanks for giving some details of the family you met - definitely not the people I know as they have 2 boys - that really would have been too much of a co-incidence.

hope you get back to normal soon.
annhig is online now  
Mar 28th, 2016, 07:10 AM
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Somehow I ended up back here on this thread of mine. Ended up reading it from top to bottom.

Wow. What a great time we had and I'm actually surprised at the energy I seemed to have had almost two years ago!

Mostly I am appreciative all over again for the lovely people here who helped me plan such a great trip on very short notice and for those that met up with me to spend such memorable days (MissB and Bokhara).

I have such fond memories of this trip, and it was wonderful to recall them today on a gloomy, rainy day here in CT, USA.
gruezi is offline  
Mar 28th, 2016, 12:05 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Awwww Gruezi
I saw this & thought, "Woo Hoo -Gruezi's coming back!"

Wish you were & it was super to meet you, too.

It's grey here this morning also, but it's making for a wonderful cerise & gold sunrise.

It's an omen that you found this thread ... Start planning "The Return of Gruezi" xx
Bokhara2 is offline  
Mar 31st, 2016, 09:54 AM
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Yep. Get planning. I missed you last time!
margo_oz is offline  
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