Cruise To The Aborigines, Or A Total Solar Eclipse (Sydney, Brisbane, Hamilton Island, Mackay, Lifou, Isle of Pines, Noumea) | CruiseBe
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Cruise To The Aborigines, Or A Total Solar Eclipse

Ehlzhbeta Chegarova - prosto_gost • 9 minutes read • June 23rd, 2016
This cruise was very affordable. 
And here is a detailed report on the cruise "To the Aborigines, or a Total Solar Eclipse".
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Sydney

-

Brisbane

- Hamilton Island - Mackay - Lifou (New Caledonia) - Isle of Pines - NoumeaSydney

We spent one day on the fauna of Australia - we visited a wildlife park.
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We spent another day walking around Sydney.
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Six years ago, I stayed in an old hotel in one of these historic buildings. 
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I liked the street lighting - it's really eye-pleasing, and busy!
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This is a must-see - the heart of Sydney; the waterfront.
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A new liner stops here every day. During the season, of course.
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Have you seen the Opera? You should shoot it from the water. But we were departing during the rain. So the Opera was delayed. We hoped that the sun and blue skies would return soon.
So, this is Brisbane. What I know: this is the city with the fastest growing population. In 2011, there was a devastating flood caused by a river tsunami.
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Information about the port: you can get from the ship to the city on a free shuttle-bass in 40 minutes.
There is no need to go here intentionally, there's nothing special. And I'll tell you a terrible thought: Australia is just a large farm.
And the fashion is something else. I intentionally took pictures for you to decide for yourself.  
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Hamilton Island.
What I know: it is located on the atoll of the Great Barrier Reef, it is the island of Australian millionaires. Hotel prices start from $300 per night (in 2012).
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We made a blunder here! We should have booked a tour several months ago on the HAL website, as the only worthwhile tour on a pontoon on the reef was being sold before the start of the cruise!
For info: the cruise company offers an 8 hour tour on a pontoon, where you can swim, sunbathe, fly a helicopter, and do whatever you want. Everything that can and should be done on the Great Barrier Reef. It cost $260 (in 2012).
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We decided to buy something on the island. If there is no other way, you can take a boat and go on our own. In the local kiosk, we were told that the large cruise ship and pontoon were fully occupied by passengers, so there were no tours for that day. That's a nice kettle of fish! And there were no boats or private tours. Only the millionaires and their private yachts.
So we went to a beach of a nearby hotel. The rain started. We longingly looked at the sea, consoling ourselves that snorkeling under the rain was worthless, even at the reef. 
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However, the weather always changes on the island, and the sun came out soon.
These were also passengers from our ship. 
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Who can see a piece of a jellyfish? By the way, this is one of its many tentacles!
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We visited a gallery of a local photographer. I enjoyed this session:
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You can rent this car and ride around the island. You need a driver's license and $80 (in 2012). But there's absolutely nowhere to go there.
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You can go look at the reef on a boat with a glass bottom. But not today, today everything was for cruise passengers.
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In general, we liked to swim at the local beach, watch the fish (the common ones, not from the coral reef, were not very interesting) and head back to our dear vessel.
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Mackay. Passengers were taken ashore by tenders, but there were great waves, so the captain announced that he had been staring at the horizon since the morning, waiting for good weather. Unfortunately, the bad weather remained and we couldn't visit the island. We moved on.
Our cruise was not a common one - it was thematic. Most of the passengers chose it deliberately. The main event was a total solar eclipse, which we observed in the Coral Sea.
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Lifou Island, New Caledonia.
I am often asked about the "tendering" and here it is: the boat meets people on the roads, and red boats (tenders) carry passengers to the shore and back.
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On the pier, we were met by a local guy.
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A group of passengers were met by a boat with diving equipment. They came prepared! 
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The remaining, unorganized tourists were greeted on the shore with songs and dances.
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We wanted to take a car and drive around the island. But there were neither cars for rent, nor taxis with a driver. Everything is run by local matrons: you can only buy a tour, price start at $30 (in 2012). We asked if we could buy an individual tour, with a driver but they only offered group tours.
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Well, we went to the beach again. It was situated next to the pier. And there were colored corals; yellow, purple, all kinds of fish, some of them attack you, like they are playing. Then, several turtles sailed toward us. We had a great race with them!
By the way, there are snakes. And we read in the booklet that there is a dangerous stone fish, if you disturb it, it can attack you swiftly and fatally. But thank God, we did not meet it.
This was the port of Lifou.
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The Isle of Pines, New Caledonia.
We were also met by the natives. But we were pleased with the fact that they were not annoying and did not beg for money. Very welcoming.
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You can only swim here, moreover, with masks. There are many fish and corals; it was very beautiful here.
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We approached the Big Land - Grande Terre, Noumea, New Caledonia.
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Here's some information about the port: as cruise ship passengers, we didn't need a visa, but the French authorities selectively choose tourists to meet with the immigration authorities. You can get from the ship to the Tourist Center on a free shuttle. There, you can buy an hour long tour for $20 (this was the price in 2012), and you can ride a city bus using the same ticket for the whole day.
We saw some smoke and congestion from water vessels near the beach from the observation deck.
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It turned out that there was a boat competition between companies in the capital.
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You can see a restaurant in the background. Our guide said, it was the best restaurant on the island and in the country. And then we met a woman selling tickets for sightseeing tours, she advised us not to go there, as the food was bad, prices were high and locals did not go to that restaurant. We listened to her and chose another restaurant, while our friend visited this one, she liked it. Who should I trust?
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The competition was covered by the local press. You can see a TV presenter in a cap with a pompom. 
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The cruise ended. For 14 days, there were only 5 ports of call, and we spent the remaining days at sea. I was really happy about that. What could be better than working in a relaxing but inspiring atmosphere?
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We arrived in Sydney early in the morning. And I managed to take a picture of the 

Sydney Opera House

from the balcony of my cabin.
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We moored.
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I remember that  I took a couple of good pictures of the monorail six years ago. We went to look for those places to take a beautiful picture for you. 
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And we made it.
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We spent the night in Sydney.
Since I did not know in advance that I would be able to capture the Opera House from the water, I chose a hotel overlooking it from the roof, to double my chances. And it was realized!
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This cruise appeared to be not only affordable ($1400 in 2012) for a place with a cabin and a balcony, but also pretty low-cost on shore. You do not have to pay for anything, anywhere.
Author: Prosto_Gost
Source: prosto-gost.livejournal.com
Translated by: Olesya Zhukova

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