After a 17 hour plane ride, we arrive in Sydney for 3 days of sightseeing before we start our cruise. We stay at the Four Seasons, which is in an excellent location by the port. First we take a harbor cruise. A lot of nice houses here which cost millions. In fact everything is very expensive here. Since breakfast in the hotel was $33, we bought a box of cereal at $9.95! The next day was an all day mountain tour to see Banksia Man, waterfalls, 3 Sisters rock formation, walked in rain forest, and took an inclinator down between mountain openings. On our free day, we walked around thre pedestrian mall and looked at lots of opals then went to a Botanical Garden. Click on photo for album.--->

Sydney, Australia link
Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria. The population is over 3 million and they boast of the largest Greek settlement outside of Greece. The most noted landmarks are on or near the Golden Mile, which is the heart of the inner city. Here we have a tour by an Aboriginal guide.   Click on photo for album --->
Melbourne link

Hobart, Tasmania is Australia's southernmost city. It is Australia's second- oldest capital and has many preserved historic buildings; as well as the first casino in the country. The city was built by convicts housed at the Richmond jail. Our tour to a wildlife park gives us a chance to see kangaroo and other cute animals.   Album --->

Hobart link
After a couple of sea days, we cruise through the Fiordland National Park. This is at the southern tip of New Zealand. It is cool and cloudy here and since the area gets a lot of rain, it is also very green . This is a narrow gorge with mountain peeks of 6000 to 7000 ft on either side. Beautiful. Unfortunately, our stop in Dunedin was cancelled due to high winds.

Auckland, New Zealand - There are more boats here per capita than any other city in the world. It is also clean and peaceful. The British only paid $110 for the 3000 acres where Auckland stands. The city stretches across 60 extinct volcanos. There is a nice walking area around the dock.    Album --->

New Zealand link
Fiji is an exotic destination with 333 islands in total, some of them very tiny. Suva is the capital, where it rains more than 200 inches a year; however the sun still shines almost every day. This makes for a lush tropical environment.    Album --->
The island of Fiji
On our way to Pago Pago, we cross the International Date Line. This is a line running North and South along the 180th meridian of longitude, with some adjustments to avoid dividing certain island groups. At this point we are traveling westward so we subtract a full 24 hr. day. In other words we had April 27th twice. Did you ever wonder about the depth of the Pacific Ocean? It is around 14,000 - 16,000 feet in this area around the islands. The Pacific covers about one-third of the earth's surface.

Pago Pago (pa-ngo pa-ngo) has a picturesque harbor with mountains in the background. It is part of American Samoa which are the only islands of American territory in the southern hemisphere. This island (Tutuila) is of volcanic origin, but is now covered with dense vegetation. Coconut milk is a popular drink here. There are no cemetaries as people are buried near their home. Basket weaving and shell-work are popular here.

Rarotonga is the capital of the Cook Islands. It is mountainous and covered in jungle with luxurious ferns and trees. The island is surrounded by a protective coral reef, turquoise lagoons and white-sand beaches. Formerly part of New Zealand, they are now independent. Handicraft items and black pearls are the main shopping items. Very few resorts on this island.
The island of Rarotonga
Bora Bora, French Polynesia - James A. Michener thought this was the most beautiful island in the world. It is another volcanic island surrounded by beautiful water and white sand beaches. It's relatively small and has only 4,000 people. Music and dance are an intregal part of their lives. Handicrafts include wood carvings, shell jewelry and pareus. Tours here are done in open air vehicles called Le Truck, which are decorated with tropical flowers.
Beautiful Bora Bora

Papeete, Tahiti is actually made up of two islands: Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti (large and small island). Most modernization is in Papeete, which it the capital and is on the large island. Outside of town we find mountains with high cliffs and waterfalls, lava rock, dense forests, and beautiful flowers. There are many more resorts here than on the other islands. Some resorts feature the thatched roof type building which is built over the water.

The island of Tahiti Nui
Honolulu and Hilo, Hawaii - Honolulu is a very large city on Oahu. We checked out the shopping and Waikiki Beach here. We did more exploring on the big island of Hawaii. The western side of the island is primarily made up of  black volcanic rock. The east side, where Hilo is situated, is much greener and even has a rain forest. There are still active volcanos and of course the black sand beach and lots of flowers.
The big island of Hawaii