Trip around the World (2019)


Map of North New Zealand  Map Pacific  Map of Hawai´

with thanks to Google Maps & Lonely Planet

 

 

Hong Kong 

After many years of preparations for the trip around the world this plan finally came out on 2 May 2019. I started in Hong Kong, walked around and had a city sightseeing tour. The Peak tram was under construction but the Hong Kong Island trams were running, just as the famous Star ferries. Of course dinners were in Temple Street where you can eat whatever you like, but fish and especially shellfish, e.g. big shrimps and crab, are delicious there.

Hong Kong Peak tram  Hong Kong Repulse Bay  Hong Kong Island tram  Hong Kong Star ferry 
 

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong Spicy Crab restaurant  Hong Kong crab 
 

 

 

 

 

New Zealand

It was great to be back in New Zealand after 14 years.  I started my trip in Auckland with a visit to the ferry building and the marina. The electrical steps are a good way of transportation. The hop on-hop off bus will bring you around town. To me, Auckland is not the most interesting city. Devonport, however, an island quite close to Auckland, was nice. There are some old volcanoes like Mount Victoria and North Head. Also in Auckland itself there are remains of old volcanoes, now used as playgrounds or parks. The return ferry to Devonport is inclusive if you buy the complete bus package.

Auckland ferry building Auckland marina Auckland steps

 

 

 

 

Devonport shops Devonport Mt Victoria Devonport North Head

 

 

 

 

 

The trip by rental car via Waiwera and Langs Beach to the Discovery Settlers hotel in Whangarei was beautiful. You can see that autumn had started and lots of trees were already nicely coloured. The hotel was lovely with a nice garden and great food in the restaurant, e.g. lamb shank.

Waiwera Waiwera trees Langs Beach Whangarei Discovery Settlers hotel Whangarei hotel trees Whangarei lamb shank

 

Paihia at the Bay of Islands is a nice little town especially with the beautiful weather I had on my way to Mangonui. Lunch and the next day dinner with Judi, Pete, Janette and Greg at the Waterfront Cafe and Bar there was a big success. It is quite close to Cable Bay where their dad and father-in-law and my friend Phil lived in a wonderful house with a great view over Doubtless Bay.

Paihia Mangonui Waterfront Cafe Mangonui Waterfront dinner

 

 

 

 

 

Cable Bay house Cable Bay Phil Cable Bay view

With Judi and Pete we drove to the most northern point of the North Island of New Zealand, Cape Reinga. You can drive over the 90 Miles Beach sand road, but over the paved road is a safer option. In 2005 I saw the most southern point of the South Island near Bluff, this time the other end of the country :-)

Cape Reinga view Cape Reinga lighthouse

 

 

 

 

Time to go back to Auckland, but not in a hurry. The first capital of New Zealand, Russell, near Paihia (oh what a stormy weather; even the ferries stopped in the afternoon), the dunes of Hokianga Harbour near Opononi and the biggest Kauri tree, Tane Mahuta in the Waipua Forest had to be seen. Dargaville is more or less the only place where you can spend the night in this area. It looked like coming back to the sixties or seventies of the last century.

Russell Russell ramp Opononi sand dunes Waipua kauri tree

 

 

 

 

 

The next day I drove from one coast to the other along Paparoa and Matheson Bay. One night in Warkworth, a fine little town with the nice Bridge House Lodge and its nice garden at the river.

Paparoa Matheson Bay Warkworth hotel Warkworth river

 

Back to Auckland to the Maori Aranaki museum and a short visit to Piha Beach. It is a longer drive than expected, but worth it. My last day, 15 May 2019, in New Zealand was over. The next day I flew to Fiji.


Aranaki totem Near Aranaki museum Piha Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiji

The first few days I stayed in the very nice Uprising Beach Resort at the south coast not too far away from the capital Suva. It is a long, 2 1/2 hours drive from the airport in Nadi (say Nendi) to the resort in Pacific Harbour and traffic can be heavy. The beach bures are really on the beach, about 15 meters from the ocean with a nice terrace. The sea is nice and warm, though the weather was not always nice. Quite some showers and it turned out that the south coast is also the wet coast. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful time there.

Fiji Uprising Beach bure Fiji Uprising Beach selfie Fiji Uprising Beach sunset Fiji Uprising Beach beach

 

A guide drove me to Suva and showed me a lot of things. E.g. the museum garden with an old clock, changing of the guards at the presidential palace and the market. On another day I took a taxi to closer by Navua, where you can see a Hindu temple, a small market and the river where the movie Anaconda II was taken. By open window bus back to the Uprising Beach resort. That was a nice experience.

Fiji Suva museum clock Fiji Suva changing guards Fiji Suva market

 

 

 

 

 

Fiji Navua Hindu temple Fiji Navua from bus

 

 

 

 

 

A cruise with Captain Cook Cruises is very special. The vessel leaves from Denarau harbour, not far from Nadi. Right at the start of the trip I met some kind people, Coco, Donna and Marge. The Yasawa group of islands is one of the trips you can make. This is a 4 nights' cruise along a lot of these islands. We visited e.g. Tivua island, we snorkeled at Naviti and Gunu Islands and had there a very nice feast and dinner with the local people. Included in the tour also is a short stay at the Blue Lagoon at Sawailau Island where we also visited the Ratu Namasi primary school. Swimming and snorkeling as well as diving can be done every day. All meals are inclusive, not the drinks :-) For some of the excursions you have to pay extra as well. We were very lucky to have a beautiful sunset on our last evening.

 

Fiji Denarau Fiji friends Fiji Tivua Fiji Gunu island Fiji Gunu dinner

 

Fiji Yasawas Fiji Blue Lagoon Fiji school Fiji sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last couple of days at Fiji were in the First Landing Beach resort near Lautoka, north of Nadi. Another fine resort with nice bures, a lovely restaurant, where I had some very tasty dinners, and a small beach. Stay close to the boats, otherwise you will get stuck in the mud and stones :-)

Fiji First Landing Beach bures Fiji FLB beach Fiji FLB restaurant 

 

 

 

 

Not far away from the First Landing Beach is the nice garden of the Sleeping Giant where you can make a lovely walk along beautiful flowers and funny puppets. Over a small, bumpy gravel road the zip line can be reached. Seven parts of zip lines have to be done. It was a bit scary at first, but each line went better. You are safely hooked to the lines; the guards were so kind as to make pictures and video, while we were zipping the lines.

Fiji Sleeping Giant flower Fiji Sleeping Giant Fiji zip line Fiji zip line Marion 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonga 

Tonga is the only South Pacific kingdom and exists of many, many islands. I only visited three of them. Tongatapu is the main island with the capital Nuku'alofa. The Vakalova Beach Resort is far away from the capital and it is a long drive from the airport. A lot of shows and parties are held in this resort and then the kitchen is closed on other times. From the resort it is possible to make a nice excursion over the island, e.g. to the Tsunami Rock, the unknown Natural Bridge, Stone Henge and the palace in the capital.

 
Tonga Vakalova resort Tonga Tsunami rock Tonga natural bridge Tonga stone henge Tonga Nuku'alova palace

 

 

 

 

 

Both in the Vakalova resort and in the nearby Liku'alofa resort Tongan dance and music shows are held. Dinner is inclusive. The second time in Liku'alofa I had a seat near the podium and it was very obvious why the dancers were so greasy over their body. They got a lot of money put on their skin by the public.

Tongan woman Tongan man Tongan ladies Tongan girl

 

 

After my stay on Tongatapu the ferry boat brought me to the small island of Eua, where I stayed with two Germans and one Dutch lady in the basic but very friendly Deep resort. Together with the Germans and an Austrian couple who stayed in a B&B nearby I made a car and walking trip over the island, where we saw e.g. the Halu pool, the Giant Ovava Tree and the Rock Garden. Back to Tongatapu by plane, an eight seater with two pilots :-)

Tonga Eua ferry Tonga Eua resort Tonga Eua friends Tonga Eua rock garden Tonga Eua plane

 

 

 

 

And from Tongatapu with a bigger plane to Vava'u, another group of beautiful islands with the very nice Tongan Beach resort on one of them, about half an hour drive from the airport and 15 minutes from the capital of these islands Nei'afu. Thanks Judi and Mark for giving me so much attention especially on my birthday :-)

Tonga Vavau bungalow Tongan Vavau resort Tonga Vavau selfie

 

 

 

 

 

A very kind taxi driver took me around a few of the islands that are connected by causeways. What a great views and splendid beaches they have there. Even when the car broke down and the battery had to be recharged I loved every minute of the trip.

Tonga Vavau Neiafu Tonga Vavau beach Tonga Vavau bay

 

 

 

 

 

Samoa 

The main two islands of Samoa are Upolu and Savai and the capital Apia is on the first mentioned. It is a modern city with a huge food and clothes market as well as a flea market, old open air busses and a nice clock tower. To me not a very interesting town, but nice to have visited it. The easiest way to go to the centre is by taxi and then of course some walking to see the highlights.

Samoa Apia bus Samoa Apia clock tower

 

 

 

 

To see the whole island a rental car is a necessity. There are busses but they take a lot of time and it is nice if you can stop where-ever you like. Apart of many churches, Samoa also has a lot of open meeting rooms where sometimes people also can sleep. The southeast coast of Upolu is very beautiful, especially in the Lalomanu area. People are not always very kind there, they want money even if you only want to take a picture, but the views are amazing and stunning.

Samoa meeting rooms Samoa Lalomanu Samoa Lalomanu beach Samoa palm tree Samoa Lalomanu selfie

 

The climate can change from day to day; one day it is very sunny, the next day it is windy, cloudy and raining. But even then it is interesting to drive across the island, see e.g. the southwest coast, be careful for the dirt road in the far southwest corner of the island, and have a look at the very nice Coconut Beach resort where they have a great restaurant. It would have been nice to stay in this resort in stead of in Apia, but I didn't ask for prices :-)

Samoa church Samoa southwest coast Samoa Coconut Beach resort Samoa Coconut beach

 

 

 

 

The fifth day of my stay in Samoa was a long driving day. First to the Mulifanua wharf in the northwest corner of the island for the ferry to Savai and then over this island along the north coast, where you can find a church that is covered by lava during the volcano eruption of 1905. At the very nice Vai-i-Moana beachside resort I stayed in a sunset fale. During the trip I met some very friendly New Zealand people who stayed in the same resort and with whom I had dinner every night. Thanks Fiona, Joan, Nicola, David and Murray for inviting me.

Samoa Savai bus Samoa Savai lava church Samoa Savai fale Samoa Savai resort Samoa Savai kiwis

 

 

 

 

At the south coast of Savai there are a lot of blowholes. Sometimes it is like the water comes out of pipes. The road along the blowholes is a narrow dirt road, but if you drive carefully it is easy going.

Samoa Savai blowhole Samoa Savai blowholes Samoa Savai kiwi friends

 

Already Thursday 13 June 2019. A day with a tour with waiter Peter and the Kiwi friends to the turtle farm. Peter and his family invited all of us to his house for a very special Umu meal. Veggies, fruit and even a small pig were cooked for us in this ground oven. Every member of the family had his or her task. We enjoyed it a lot and were very grateful that we got the best pieces of everything.

Samoa Savai turtle farm Samoa Savai turtle

 

 

 

 

Samoa Savai Peter Samoa Savai Mama Samoa Savai cook

 

After this lovely day it was time to go back the next day to Upolu. A short three to four hours stay in the Sheraton hotel near the airport and then the evening flight to Hawai´.

 

 

 

 

Hawaii

The plane left Samoa on 14 June and arrived at Oahu, Honolulu late at night on 13 June, since it passed the date line. A strange experience :-) What a difference in life style, buildings and the number of people. It sometimes was a bit busy at the South Pacific islands, but there it was quiet compared to Honolulu and especially Waikiki. Of course not at 02.00 hours at night :-) The next day there were many people on the beach and in the water, swimming or trying to surf.

 

Honolulu Waikiki by night Honolulu Waikiki statue Honolulu Waikiki beach Honolulu Waikiki surfers 

 

 

 

 

 

The busy city of Honolulu has some nice buildings like the Iolani palace and a statue of King Kamehameha.

 

Honolulu Iolani palace Honolulu King Kamehameha 
 

 

 

 

 

By hop on hop off bus to Pearl Harbour, the place where World War II started for the USA in 1941. It is an important memorial place. It is not allowed to take bags inside the museum and it costs USD 5 per bag to leave it at the storage. Entrance to the museum is free. If you like to visit the big ships like the Missouri you have to pay.

 

Pearl Harbour Pearl Harbour flags 
 

 

 

 

 

A tour over Oahu and along the north coast was interesting, but unfortunately the excursion bus was one hour late and we could only make a few stops, but not at the north coast. We saw, however, the Dole Plantation where you can also make a tour by tourist train over the plantation, the north coast from the bus and the nice Byodo-In temple. Lunch at a shrimp kiosk with a soft drink is included.

 

Oahu Dole plantation Oahu Dole train Oahu north shore Oahu north coast Oahu Byodo-In tempel 
 

 

 

 

Maui was the next island. After the beautiful resorts and hotels I stayed in, the Maui Beach hotel in Kahului at the north coast was a bit old and worn out. The weather was not cooperating either. Neither the tiny and dangerous beach.

 

Maui Beach hotel Maui Beach 
 

 

 

 

Luckily the next day the weather was a bit better so the helicopter flight did go. We flew over a part of the 52 miles long Hana highway, 617 turns and 56 one-lane bridges, at the north coast and over the Kula jungle. Great views, fine heli and good pilot named Andy who explained a lot during the flight and in the jungle at the private Maverick heli landing spot. Even a glass of champagne was offered.

Maui Haiku Maui north shore Maui Kula Marion Maui Kula Andy 
 

 

The more beautiful beaches and hotels are at the south and southwest coast . It is called the Ka'anapali coast and one of the nice villages there is Lahaina. A lot of tourists, no big hotels, just a tiny small town with a nice Pioneer Inn close to the big Banyan tree. However, it was also nice to go to one or two of the big hotels in Ka'anapali to lay on the beach and sit at their pool. But also the pool at the Maui Beach Hotel was nice when the sun was shining.

Maui Lahaina Maui Lahaina Pioneer hotel Maui Ka'anapali coast Maui Ka'anapali Marriott Maui Beach hotel pool 
 

 

 

 

 

During the heli ride I had seen parts of the Hana Highway, but it was also nice to drive those 52 miles with all the curves and bridges. It was a traffic jam on the way to Hana, but it was quiet on the way back to Kahului, so then I could see some of the falls. It was a spectacular 8 hour drive and it was worth every minute.

Maui Hana highway Maui Hana restaurant Maui Hana fall 
 

 

 

The last island of my trip around the world was Kauai. A very green island, thus a lot of rain, but the amount of rain that fell in these days was even amazing the people who live there. However, it started in the sun at the Aston Islander hotel near Kapa'a and the Coconut shopping centre where young girls gave a dance performance.

Kauai Aston hotel Kauai dancing girl

 

 

 

 

 

Also the next day had a nice beginning, so driving along the east coast and north coast to the Kilauea park and lighthouse. Further to Hanalei and on another day even all the way to the very end of the road to Ha'ena, where the beautiful Na Pali coast and the east side of the island starts. Here a National Park road starts for which you need a permit. The area is best be seen from the air or by boat just as the Waimea canyon far more south. Both unfortunately not possible because of the rain and the clouds, though you won't say that from these photos.

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Kauai east coast Kauai Kilauea park Kauai Kilauea lighthouse Kauai Hanalei Kauai Ha'ena

 

 

 

 

Also the south coast has some nice places, like historic Kolo'a and Po'ipu beach where people were snorkeling, even in the rain. And it wasn't very warm either.

 

Kauai Kolo'a Kauai Kolo'a petrol Kauai Po'ipu Kauai Po'ipu road

 

 

 

 

 

My Trip around the World had almost come to an end. To split the long journey home I stayed one more night in Los Angeles at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel near the airport. The next day the long, but comfortable flight with Air New Zealand Premium Comfort class to London and the KLM flight to Amsterdam ended my journey. Travelling alone is easier than thought before. Making friends goes quickly and most people give help when and if you need it. It was a splendid and wonderful experience and journey.

 

LA hotel LA hotel pool

 

Air NZ on board Air NZ food Holland

 

 

 

 

last revision:6 October 2019
 
Marion Fahrenfort
-Nietfeld

 

Fiji Uprising Beach selfie Samoa selfie

    

  

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