A Travellerspoint blog

Tivua Island for the win!

What a way to spend our last full day!

sunny 87 °F
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Bula to all our friends,
Breakfast outdoors by the hotel waterfall started our day and it just got better and better! Today at 8:45 we left the hotel for an adventure out to Tivua Island. We took a catamaran boat with about 150 other people and sailed for around 90 minutes on the Pacific Ocean to our destination. I was in heaven! ( you probably figured that out. We slathered on the sunscreen and took hats/visors. Our guide, Francis really earned his keep today. He got us to the front of the line on the boat dock at the end harbor and we got prime seats in the bottom of the catamaran, right by morning tea. When we approached the island, all I could think of was that we had arrived at Gilligan's Island! Francis booked us 2 cabanas. (There are only 5 on the island.) We would have baked without them. He took us out snorkeling when we first got there. Down the pier we went where we dropped into the 10-12 feet water. The waves were pretty gentle the first time out. We could see beautiful colored coral, all kinds and colors of fish and beautiful royal blue starfish. There were some tiny blue fish that were almost turquoise. Parrot fish and really all kinds of the pretty ones were in view. No sea turtles that I saw…awww, but a beautiful hour or so spent in the blue waters. We swam into shore and then had a wonderful lunch spread. Buffet style. All the drinks were included for the adventure. Francis got us seats so we could be first in line at the buffet in the shade. Then we headed back out to snorkel some more but the water had been stirred up with the waves and we could not see as clearly. He did bring an extra roll from lunch and crumbled it up so we could see a multitude of fish coming to gulp up the bread. Heading home was a bit rough. I sat up on deck to see the horizon and was so refreshed with the sea spray. Wynn stayed down below where the Fijian band played. I needed the fresh air. Many folks downstairs got seasick, so I am glad I went up and enjoyed the time on the water. We got home and showered immediately to get off all the sea and salt. We are meeting Buster and Sherry at 6:30pm for our last dinner together with them. We would love to connect with them sometime again! Here are my pics from today! Enjoy!

We ended the evening with a beautiful sunset, a Fijian buffet and the fire dancers. I will post a video on FB. Sorry the pics are in a big bunch, but for whatever reason I was able to upload more quickly tonight…so there you have it. One more day here and then an insufferable flight home…back to back red eye flights. We fly out tomorrow night at 10:15pm to San Francisco. Then we have like a 10 hour layover and fly through the night to Washington Dulles before flying to Cleveland and landing around 9:30am on Friday morning. We cross the international date line so to be truthful, I have no idea what day or time zone I am in.( lol) Thx for traveling along with us and I hope you enjoyed today as much as we did. There's so many more pics and stories to tell…

Posted by brendagerber07 05:55 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

Fiji Tour

Around the island and to the land of the Sleeping Giant

sunny 86 °F
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Bola from Fiji…Denarau Island
We Are staying at the Raddisen Blu Resort. This morning we are breakfast outside and it was delicious! I woke up with the sun at 5:30am and my phone finally switched to the correct time zone. I sat out on our balcony for awhile and then we got ready for the day's adventure. We were taking a tour this morning to see the Fijian villages, market and even the Hindu temple. I had my first cup of “cava”. (Not the best thing I ever drank, but I smiled and said thank you and got their pictures. I bought a plumeria necklace and earrings from one of the roadside markets and a wooden carved turtle that is suppose to be a sign of good luck in your home. Actor Raymond Burr bought and maintains a beautiful orchid garden which we also toured. Fresh fruit juice was served here. Then we ended our tour at the home of Rosy Travel. She had beautiful gardens…and what a view! We had juice and a variety of fruits to eat here. No air condition in these homes. I am thankful that the resort has lol rooms and fans on top of the AC.
Here are some pics of the morning trip.
These were from the temple. We had to wear the long skirts…didn't we look cute?

These were from the fruit and flower market. Of course I had to buy some earrings and necklace…I got the plumeria ones and you can see when I get home.lol This is also where these guys talked me into trying the cava…bleh! Don't you like the miniature bananas?


This is the one train that transports the sugarcane up to shipping. The other is a pic of the sugarcane field. We learned about the life cycle and the burning of competitor fields…tough business!

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The Gardens from Raymond Burr, otherwise known as Perry Mason or Ironside, was next and the flowers were gorgeous!

This little Methodist Church on the side of the road caught my eye, and they stopped for a picture. I loved the windows and also the beautiful Christmas tree next to it. That's what this tree is called because it will be in full bloom at Christmas with its bright red flowers 🌺 we went on to the village of one of the indigenous people. The women had their wares on display and I got a carved turtle…I know, I know, more knickknacks to dust.


Our guide liked being in photos. She told us of the memorials and the little John Wesleyan church there. We were able to go inside. We learned that Fiji was a cannabalistic society until the missionaries came. We learned about the thatched huts and also the newer means of building.


Our last stop on the tour was at the home of the gal who owned Rosy Tours, the tour we were on! Her home had fruit trees of all kinds…mangoes, papaya, bananas and the like. We had a delicious spread of fruit and home squeezed fruit juice. What a spectacular view too.


So, can you see the sleeping giant?? He is lying on his back with his head on the left??


We came back to our hotel and found the flowers spread around the room. We really have had excellent care at all of our stops. We went a few hours enjoying the pool at the resort. Wynn finally spent some time reading and I just enjoyed the sun! We had to take care since we were such Willy white legs!


We saw another spectacular sunset and spent some time after dinner just sitting by the ocean and listening to its soothing tide. In and out, in and out. Our God has been so faithful and walked beside us as we travelled. We were blessed with new friends and great tour guides. Tuesday has come to a close and we bid you G’night!

Posted by brendagerber07 05:42 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

Fiji welcomes us as Family

Hot, humid and gorgeous!

sunny 85 °F
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Good evening from Fiji. Local time is 9:05pm and we are now 17 hours ahead of Ohio time. Why is it that travel days spent in the airport are so tiring? We left New Zealand hotel in Christchurch at 6:15 am and then got to Auckland by 9:30am. We waited around the airport and got lunch before boarding and leaving at 2pm. It was a crazy wait. There were about 100 kids starting their spring break and all dressed up in costumes to fly to Fiji…They were fairly well behaved, but a few were quite obnoxious! Thankfully they are not staying at our resort! We were the last of the 12 to fly in and got registered at 5:15pm. The pics above are of our hotel and room. It is beautiful.

We noticed right away the humidity and change in temperature. We were given little wash clothes that were cold and scented with mint. Oh how refreshing! Our guide, Frances, greeted us as family and we were given the itinerary for the next three days. Tomorrow we will go on a city tour and then have a dinner together. The afternoon will be ours to enjoy the resort.

We met up with Taylor, Judy, Cory and Linda for a sunset dinner. The view was incredible. We had pasta and it was delicious. Wynn had fettuccine and I had penne marinara. We split and shared…yummy! There was island entertainment. You will have to see my Facebook for the video. I haven't figured out how to download a video on here.

So tonight it will be early to bed and we are bushed! Here are the few pics I took of the sunset and dancers. Good night from the tired travelers. We are looking forward to spending the next three nights in one place…Wynn and Brenda


Posted by brendagerber07 08:48 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)


Earthquakes, restoration and Maori

sunny 65 °F
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Our last 2 days of the Collette tour happened in the town of Christchurch. The beautiful day trip by coach from Mt Cook gave us multiple chances to see God's glory and creation all around. Let me tell you a bit about the last couple of days. Tonight we will be packing our bags for the trip to Nadi, Fiji. It will be a full day of travel and airports and probably tiredness. But I digress…
Saturday we woke with a bright clear day and the top of Mt Cook was clearly visible. Our driver, Matt, kept looking for the perfect pull off where we could get the postcard view…I think he did pretty well!

Here are a few more shots from the trip across New Zealand to Christchurch.

The lupine flowers here were all different shades…here are a couple of favorites.

I also want to put in a map that shows the size of New Zealand. We only went to the South Island. We will only see the Auckland airport for a couple of hours on the North Island.


Our next little stop was at the most photographed church in New Zealand. It was a cute little stone church with a beautiful view. I think it would be hard to stay on course when the view behind the Pastor looked like this.



We stopped for lunch and a short walk about in the little town of Geraldine. We ate at a favorite of Clare's. -Barker's Eatery. One of our favorite lunch times is to get a chicken pot pie to split. Today we had a peach ice tea too.


After lunch we had an appointment with a naturalist to show us around Willowbank. We saw the Kea birds, the Kiwi bird (in the dark, as it is nocturnal), as well as parrots and ducks of all kinds. There were wallabies and capybaras and Kunekune pigs. Here's a look…


From there it was on to our last hotel in New Zealand- The Distinction. It was located right downtown and was in walking distance of all we wanted to see and do. We got settled in and then went to supper in the home of a native Kiwi family. Patsy (86) and Keith (92) were such a delight as they prepared and served us. We went in groups of 8, and it was quite an experience to drive with this little lady. She started off before I had both feet in the door…no lie! We had a pumpkin soup as our appetizer and it was surprisingly good for someone who doesn't like pumpkin. Then we had roast lamb, root veggies, green beans and mashed potatoes. Absolutely delicious! Our dessert was a pavlova that tasted so light and sweet. I will have to tell you all about them when I get home.


We didn't arrive back to the hotel until close to ten, but what a neat experience! I would love to do that for others on tour that visited America, but not sure who would include Cleveland on their list of cities to visit…lol
We slept hard. Our hotels have all been very comfortable and Wynn and I seem to have no problem sleeping.

Sunday came with sunshine and a morning excursion on a Māori Waka. We learned the signals for rowing together and chanted right along with the guides. We learned about the weaving of the Mokihi carts out of flax and how this was immortalized with the cement weaving patterns found around the walkways.


We did take a bus tour around the city of Christchurch and Matt shared what it was like when the earthquakes hit in 2010 and 2011. He had to dig himself out of his own house. They are still dealing with the re-building! There were lots of interesting sites as we drove. We particularly liked the view as we came over the other side of the mountain and saw the Pacific Ocean.


Our afternoon was spent walking down to the Botanical Gardens and enjoying the peaceful walk along the river. We topped off the walk with some ice cream from Ben and Jerry's. Everyone enjoys some Chunky Monkey! (We went to the Vermont site a couple of years ago, but it was closed for construction. So we had to go all the way to New Zealand…ha! )


Walking home we saw a couple more murals and arch and the cutest street lights. Wynn and I headed back for a quick nap and then got ready for our going away dinner with the team. We were so loud, but we all had a good time, a great meal and a wonderful salute to Clare, our leader. One of the team wrote a song and we sang it to her. (Tune of Sweet Caroline) She had to have some tears. 12 of us are going on the Fiji extension but we had to say goodbye to the rest. We leave at 6:10am for the airport tomorrow morning. So it will be another early morning for us.


So good night from Christchurch, New Zealand. The next time I write we will hopefully be in Nadi, Fiji and all our connecting flights will be made and finished! We had a great tour and are very grateful for Clare!


Posted by brendagerber07 08:08 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Mt. Cook … where are you?

Light rain for our driving day. We are safely to our next hotel!

rain 45 °F
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We are at Mount Cook National Park in what they call the Southern Alps.
We started our drive at 9 am and made it to the hotel around 4:15pm. We had some fun stops along the way and some change in geography even with the lie lying clouds and drizzle. Saw a couple of jet boats along the way.

Our first stop was a gold mining town named Arrowtown. It looked like something out of the Wild West. We walked the streets and also moseyed on thru China Village.

Did you spot the outhouse? Then we traveled along to a Bungee jumping place- one of the most famous sites in New Zealand. No one in our group went, but we did see two jumpers. Check out my FB page to see why Wynn and I didn’t spend the $265.


Our next stop was Mrs Jones place in Cromwell. She had a produce store with lots of extras (like ice cream) Even though it was early , we couldn’t pass it up. She also had a beautiful rose garden.


i threw in the pic of Turkish Delight for my Narnia fans. Wynn thought the salad bags were quite a treat. Our lunch stop was at the We did some shopping here and bought a small chicken pot pie to share.


The terrain is changing again to grazing lands with low greenish yellow grass. But soon we will see the mountains again. The rain didn’t lift so we couldn’t see Mt Cook. Maybe tomorrow morning… Here is a pic from Claire of Mt Cook. The rest are from our drive along the way.


So we have arrived at the Hermitage hotel and will have one night here. A big buffet dinner awaits us and we are praying for a beautiful view tomorrow morning. That’s it for today. Not much internet here…IMG_3227.jpegIMG_3228.jpeg

Posted by brendagerber07 03:52 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

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