My first Cruise
My first experience with cruising was in 1963. Dad decided it would be a good thing to do after years of going to the beach during Christmas holidays.
The ship was the Italian liner “Aurelia”. A small ship by today’s standards but none the less very exciting for my younger brother and sister and myself.
We left Station Pier, Melbourne, and then headed for Tasmania. First stop Burnie, where we disembarked and travelled to Russell Falls and also other places along the way. I can’ t remember the names of them, I was only 15 , but the beauty of Russell Falls remains forever in my mind.
Next stop was Hobart and a day trip to Port Arthur was enjoyed by us all. I remember stopping at a roadside stall and buying huge strawberries. By the time we returned to the ship the strawberries had been consumed. On the dock at Hobart , I met a nice young man and snuck him onto the ship for a look. Back then security was not an issue and non travellers could come aboard until sailing time.
I remained in contact with this young lad for several years after our chance meeting. After a few years letters were fewer as we both moved on to different things.
Next up was four days at sea. There were heaps of great activities onboard. Swimming, deck quoits, bingo for the oldies a lots of new people to meet. I remember Dad even having a beer , something he never did at home.
The food on offer was like nothing I had ever seen. Huge tables, absolutely groaning under the weight of the food. The waiters were all Italian and I was rather smitten by our personal waiter. Although I was a bit shy,country girl you know, I still managed a smile and a wink of the eye. I wonder how many other young girls did the same.. Tony,was his name, he made sure I had the best food. I was hoping my Parents did not notice my interest in him. At 15 I was forbidden to have a boyfriend. In my naivety I imagined living a luxurious life withTony. Truth be known he was most probably married but that did not enter my mind back then.
We arrived in Auckland NZ, a country that blew my mind away. Travelling through the beautiful green countryside to Rotorua,seeing the bubbling mud and then onto Waitomo Caves to experience the glow worms and their wonderful fairy light appearance. Along the way some magnificent Green and Blue Lakes.
Onto Picton and a day trip to Russell. The gardens here were magnificent. The mountains enormous, although New Zealanders called them hills. To me they were mountains. Another couple of days sailing and we entered Milford Sound. What an amazing and beautiful place. Totally unspoilt. Pristine waters and towering mountains.
What a wonderful place.
All too soon we were heading back to Australia.
The last four days were spent enjoying the deck spots, swimming and sending secret smiles to Tony.
The Cruise was an extraordinary experience for me, it was the start of my travelling life. I couldn’t wait to go on another one.
The next year I did , but that is another story.
Calista, I found that old photo of me at Rotorua but it is a bit blurry