Trip Report from Hawaii/New Zealand/Fiji trip

Jan 6th, 2003, 10:02 AM
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Trip Report from Hawaii/New Zealand/Fiji trip

My brain is not back to 100% yet, but I'm going to take a stab at first - thanking everyone for the helpful information on "shopping" in these places, and also just the good overall information I got from reading this forum. I'll skip the Hawaii part since that would be a different forum - and start with the trip to NZ from Honolulu. First, for those of you who fly US airlines, ANZ is different. They serve EXCELLENT NZ wine in all classes (we were flying coach on them). Their meal choices were a bit different for my palate, but they weren't awful - well, maybe the fish casserole was fairly bad, but my husband said the lamb stew wasn't bad.... Once we got to NZ, we spent the day in Auckland going to the Viaduct, seeing downtown - and recovering from the 9 hour flight... The next day, we went to Roatorua (please excuse the spelling, I left my detailed notes at home...) BEAUTIFUL ride!!! We spent part of the day in the Polynesian Spa there - most excellent - and toured the Maouri cultural center - very interesting, and then went to Rainbow Springs for a lunch and beautiful view of the area. We saw 2 Kiwis -they are so cute! For the shoppers, at Rainbow Springs, I got a beautiful carved paddle (I think it was for rib crushing - but I refuse to consider the real source) - but it was hand carved and gorgeous. I also got a possum/wool scarf and hat for a gift that just feels great. Possum is a growing "fur" industry. The stuff is really soft..... One thing to be aware, in the Maouri Cultural Center - they had signs around saying that their wooden items were not hand carved. You have to specifically look and make sure what you are getting is really handcarved - they are clearly marked. We also stopped at the store Kerry mentioned that is shaped like a sheep - they did have nice things - but I had already gotten sweaters in Auckland (more on Auckland later) and didn't purchase anything there. There are many little shops on the way from Auckland to the coast - and we stopped at most of them. I got a beautiful Kouri wood with Paua shell picture frame at one of the shops. I also found a beautiful carved jade (or greenstone) little "statue" that fit the bill for a jade requirement. The NZ countryside is so beautiful - and for those US folks - NZ is the cleanest place I have ever been in my life. You can go into any public rest room in NZ - and it's always clean (got sun poisoning in Fiji and tested this fact when I came back to NZ......). Wonderful! I'll add more in a little while..... in the next part - Fiji, shopping in Auckland, other shore towns in NZ, the Casino in Auckland and the Noblis Winery (GREAT WINE!). Please excuse any misspellings in this note - I'm going to get all my information together before I put together the next note.......
Jan 6th, 2003, 06:56 PM
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It sounds like you had a lovely time. I'm getting excited for my trip and it's -months- away! Thanks for sharing all this. Looking forward to the next post!

Jan 7th, 2003, 05:31 AM
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Now the Fiji part. We stayed at the Sheraton Denarau. It was okay. If given the choice, I would stay at the other part of the resort (the Sheraton has 3 parts). The AC in our room was never really working right - and it was VERY hot in Fiji. The water was like bath water and the weather was pretty good - short showers every afternoon. We went diving with the dive shop onsite at the hotel - and I saw my first Clown fish. For restaurants on the Sheraton - they have a pretty fancy one called the Port of Call. We had dinner there Christmas Eve - a five course meal - that was probably one of the best I've ever had. It was expensive, but well worth the price... Actually, in US dollars, it wasn't even that expensive........... Anyway, for shopping, we bought alot of wood items. They have some incredible woods native to Fiji and we got Kava bowls (as I was directed), as well as beautiful wooden pots and other bowls carved from Burl and other native woods. One bowl is shaped like a shell with the Paua shell inlaid in it - gorgeous. I found that Jack's Handicraft in Nadi had a good selection of wood items - but Nad's Handicraft had really nice textiles (sarongs, tshirts, tapa boxes). We also got some soap made there - coconut - with hand painted wrappings, very pretty. For gold jewelry, they had alot of 9 K gold there - that seemed to be the same price as 14K. We did find a store at our hotel that had 14K charms and they negotiated good prices for us. We also bought some handmade straw bags covered with beautiful tropical fabrics from some ladies that set up around the hotels - helped us carry all the other stuff back home.... People were very friendly in Fiji and we liked it there.... That's all for Fiji, I'll post separately for the wrap up on NZ..
Jan 8th, 2003, 11:17 AM
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The final part of our trip. Beautiful drives: I mentioned the trip to Rotorua (spelled correctly this time...) - which was a wonderful trip. When we got back to NZ, we drop up north from Auckland heading toward Northland. We drove along several coastal towns - absolutely beautiful!!! We stopped about every mile to take pictures. We also went to a few wineries along the way. We stopped at one that had kiwi wine and some other strange kind - that was some nasty stuff, but we stopped at regular wineries - and had some beautiful wines. At Noblis, we also got merlot jelly - which is FABULOUS!! I'm so upset we only got 2 jars.... Once again, I can't stress how beautiful the countryside is.... My husband also spent a day fishing (pink snapper) out of Auckland and had a great time... So, last piece is shopping in Auckland. I will just give you where I was very happy with selection/prices - this is not an advertisement..... On Queen Street - there is a Pearl place called Pearl World. The owner (delightful woman) is from Tahiti and has an incredible selection of pearls. She knew our friends (that we were visiting in NZ) and was GREAT at negotiating good prices. Some places don't negotiate - she did. I got some very nice pearls at really good prices. For sweaters, I went to Bonz - it's a chain, and while I thought they were a bit expensive, they were absolutely beautiful and I also went to Great Kiwi Yarns (also on Queen St). They had truly unique, handmade sweaters that I thought were well worth the price. As recommended by Kerry, I went to Hoglund Art Glass (I think it's on Parnell - another great shopping area) and got a few pieces. They have really neat penguins - very nice glass place. I also really enjoyed Elephant House Craft (also on Parnell) for wood pieces. I got a beautiful carved Rimu wood bowl - really beautiful wood work there.... On Ponsonby, I went to the Garden Party - the best ceramics I've seen - so incredibly fun. I spent way too much money there, but if you like fun, different kinds of dishes - check them out. They also have a web site: They also made it very easy to buy since they ship internationally.... So, that is my story. As recommended by the folks here - I got ceramics, glass, wood items, greenstone - and a few (maybe more than a few) extra items. Any questions, feel free to call. But I will say - the best thing I got from NZ was all the photos we took - that while they don't do justice, will help us remember that beautiful country........
Jan 8th, 2003, 02:47 PM
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We also stayed at Sheraton Denarau and it was a complete disappointment. I wouldn't cross off Fiji yet though. We stayed at Tokoriki Island Resort that had a max of 30 couples, a pool that hardly had more than 2 people in it, better food, and beaches that were very beautiful with great snorkeling. The staff was also very friendly. We also did the Blue Lagoon Cruise where we had more great beaches, snorkeling, food and staff. Luckily, the Denarau was just a stopover in between those places.
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