Wellington was the fourth port we pulled into, where I'd booked the second wheelchair excursion, which was a bus ride around the city sites for 3.5 hours. After getting up at a very early time, in order to get through my 2.5 hour morning routine, to get ready for the excursion by 9 am, I decided I just needed time on my own in the morning. I told Mum that they should go on the excursion, and I'd meet them in the city near the cable car that went up the mountain, to the botanic gardens. Mum and my carer went off to the excursion, and I had a wonderful breakfast moving at my own pace and not rushing. Some mornings I had to get up at 5am just so that I could be ready on time for an excursion. By 11 am I cruised down to the area where we could get off the ship. We'd been given a flyer with information about the city the night before, on which it stated it was a 25 minute walk in to the city, or 10 minute drive. I thought I'd disembark and drive on the pavement in my chair in to the city, but oh no, Basil Faulty arrived and he had other plans for me and the passengers!!
I went to the area where we were to go to so we could go down the ramp. When I arrived there, which was one of the huge restaurants used at night time. I was given a ticket with a number on it. The couple in front of me were pretty cross and sternly saying to the staff member that they had seen the busses waiting to take people into the city, BUT NOBODY WAS GETTING OFF! They were furious. The chap said to me that there was a 40 minute wait to get off the ship!!???? WHAT????? I just wanted to wheel off and into town. So O took a seat with all the other hundreds of people. About 30 minutes later they started calling blocks of numbers and people started moving. When my number was called, I moved along with the group of people in that number, and CAME TO A STEP THAT CLEALY I COULDN'T GET UP. So I started to drive to the door I came in at, and Basil found me. He then said "oh no, I need to go down one level in the lift, and join the queue". WHAT??? I'd been waiting upstairs, he'd actually spoken to me, then said to go down a deck?? IT WAS NUTS!
Eventually I was on the ramp (a more sensible one that the previous one), and on my way. It's hilarious as at every port, at every meal, and in fact every waking moment somewhere on the ship, there is a ship photographer taking a picture. The deal is that they are all on show each night on deck 7 for people to look at. Then the deal is that you can buy 10 photos for about $200.00 AUD. Each port also has some prop to use for the pics, like a captains hat, and more. It's hilarious and so annoying by day eleven, however very entertaining. Anyhow, back to the story. I was in the very slow moving queue as was everyone else, and were moving toward a line to get onto public buses (yes I can access them as there is a ramp that comes down, and the hydraulics lower the bus, just like in Melbourne). Suddenly these two elderly people (husband and wife) pushed past me only to stop right in front of me, and then stop in the queueu!?!? I said "hey, how rude". The lady turned around to me and shrugged her shoulders as if to say, to bad, bad luck. I was stunned. Her husband had braces on his pants to hold them up, with happy faces all over them. I thought, "well I have nothing to lose", so I STARTED TO SAY THINGS QUIETLY, BUT JUST LOUD ENOUGH FOR HIM TO HEAR. Ha ha ha...it's so me these days, but only where it's warranted, as I can't stand it when people are rude like that. So I started by saying " for someone who has smiley faces you sure are rude", and so on......I could see by his body language that after about 5 minutes of this (which I thought was enough), he just wanted the to ground to swallow him up. LOL.....so rude!
Eventually I got onto a bus while instructing rude people who were pushing past to "STOOOOOOOPPPPP" Until I could do a three point turn so I could fit into the wheelchair space on the bus. Ha ha ha...I love doing that on public transport at home when people are rude. Within 10 minutes we were in the CBD area, I had gathered my bearings and was off to the waterfront. I was looking for a bathroom and found a public toilet, however it was locked. There was so much building going on due to the past earthquakes that it was a nightmare getting around, even in a chair, as roads were closed. Plus there are so many one way streets in the CBD it is madness. However the footpaths were fantastic and so wheelchair friendly. Much more than Auckland, which made it so easy to get around. It felt as though I was in Melbourne as there were so many familiar shops etc. Anyhow I headed off to the waterfront and found a park. My plan was to 'CHRISTEN" the park in the Lou way. The only issue was that there were so many people in this huge park it was impossible. Eventually I found some Agapanthis which I'm sure thanked me.
While I was driving around this park, which was like a skateboard rink, as it only had steep areas to drive up and down on for wheelchair access, two men approached me. They were environmental/landscape architects who had been contracted by the council to look at re-doing the whole park. As you can imagine there weren't any wheelchairs zooming around the park at the time. So we had a great discussion about the park and how I felt it could improve on or what I felt worked well. They were lovely guys, and it was great to chat to them and such an unusual thing to do. After I left them I went and had a coffee then off to buy tickets for the cable car ride up the hill, and a bite to eat. The ticket office was just next door to McDonalds. I sat there for a while just watching the people going in and out to eat, and noticed there were plenty of people from the cruise. I was stunned as all they did on the cruise was eat, why wouldn't you want to see the sites instead of doing more eating? Guess who I spotted.....yes...Mr. Happy Smiley Pants and his wife!! LOL.
By then it was time to meet up with Mum again at the bus drop off point. We were lucky as we had mobile phone service that day and could communicate with each other. As you can imagine there were many calls. It had turned out that their bus trip was absolute rubbish, the bus driver was in a hurry and the sites were boring, plus he couldn't drop them off in the CBD, they had to go back to the ship, then wait for a bus to go back into the city, it was a mess! No matter, we finally met up and headed off to the cable car ride up the mountain. I was super excited as it'd looked great on the website, and was wheelchair accessible. Watch the video below to see the fabulous trip up and down the mountain.
When we got to the top of the mountain and looked at the view, we thought we'd look around the gardens. Sadly enough the pathways were so steep that I didn't feel safe going up and down them. Plus the gardens didn't look to impressive, however I was given an absolute surprise and gift by mother nature, in that I got to see my first bumble bee ever! Mum and Peta had told me that they'd seen hem elsewhere, and low and behold, amongst some weeds and flowers, were these gorgeous little furry babies. I adore their little fluffy bottoms! LOL. After that excitement we had afternoon tea at a fabulous cafe on whilst looking over Wellington, and headed back down. It was time to go back to the ship. What an extraordinary day it was, I loved it as I thoroughly enjoy just being a free spirit, had many laughs with Mum, especially the photo cut out of the tram, and the bumblebees.
Enjoy the photos when you click the link. :)
We sailed overnight from Wellington to Akaroa. This was another town I couldn't go to as the ship needed to anchor in the harbour, so the tenders then ferried people to and from the ship to the shore. Again that didn't worry me as I had a massage booked in, and decided to have another facial as well. Not to mention the weather was beautiful and sunny, the water just sparkled and changed colour as the sun moved around, including changing the colours of the scenery. I went nuts photographing it throughout the day. There was also an incredible amount of water sports and activity on the water which was fabulous to watch, and photograph especially from the back of the ship.
You'll see in the photographs not only the stunning landscape but the boats, sail boats, jet skis and a motor boat with an inflatable gadget on the back with three curious people. So many people were in the water and coming up to look at the ship. I wondered if they were people from the ship who'd gotten off and chosen this fun activity for the day. It was glorious. Mum and Peta went off the ship and on a tour for most of the day. Some of the photos seen on the Akaroa page of taken by Mum when she was in the tender looking back at the ship whilst on the water, they are fantastic photos.
You'll also see a short video of the tenders (small orange boats) leaving the side of the ship and coming in from the shore). Enjoy the photos and video :)
Oh dear, I'm so sorry I don't have much to show you or tell you about Dunedin, as I got sick with a gastro bug! I had actually fallen ill the afternoon prior whilst in Akaroa. I reported it to the doctor, was asked a few questions, and confined to my cabin for 24 hours. So the photos I took are of the lumbar yard outside the cabin window. I have to say although I thought it'd be a boring day, it certainly wasn't. By this time I was well enough to get up and be out of bed. I was fascinated by the different types and sizes of machines that were involved in the process of moving these pine logs around. I have always been fascinated by big trucks and equipment such as these, and the engineering minds that are involved in creating such equipment.
I also watched a few movies, read a little, looked at my photos and did some editing, so somehow the day just flew past. The nurse rang from the medical centre to see how I was in the morning and later in the evening at 8.30 pm, just to tell me I was released from quarantine.....YEYYYYYYYYYY!!!! By then it was almost time for bed, however I had to get out of the room. So I zoomed up to deck 14 for fresh ocean air and to see what people were doing. Freedom and wellness.
In a wheelchair permanently since early 2010 due to a disease called NMO. I am loving getting out and about in my wheels. My blogs capture my journey.