Monday September 15

Stunning Victoria

Stunning Victoria

Our feet haven’t touched the ground today. An early-morning wake-up call (5:15am) got us out of bed … the hotel’s six lifts got us to the top floor for our breakfast … a couple of coaches got us to the ferry terminal at Tsawwassen (can’t pronounce it? try “t-WOS-sin”) … and a giant BC Ferry took us (coaches and all) to Vancouver Island, some 90 minutes away, across island-studded waters.

Vancouver Island ferry

Vancouver Island ferry

We then headed off for a walking tour plus lunch at the world-famous and totally gorgeous Butchart Gardens – where we oohed and aahed and isn’t-it-beautifulled for for a couple of thoroughly pleasant hours under a clear blue sky and hot Canadian sun.

We followed that up with a short tour of Victoria, the truly lovely capital city of British Columbia. (Captain Cook is the first known European to set foot in what is now British Columbia. Just thought you’d like to know that.) 

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

By the time we got back to Vancouver this evening, our mad midlifers were pooped midlifers – ready for a quick snack and an early night. 

That goes for their leaders, too – especially when I remind myself that we’ve got an even earlier wake-up call tomorrow morning: 5:00am (yawn). So, look, if you don’t mind, I think I’ll wrap this up now … email it (with some fresh pix) to my son-and-blog-tech Mike back home in Auckland … and join my wife between the crisply ironed sheets on our enormous king-sized bed.



 Talk to you again soon …

TOMORROW: Following an early-morning transfer to the rail station, we climb aboard the luxury Rocky Mountaineer for a scenic rail adventure that takes us from the coast up into the spectacular Canadian Rockies! You won’t wanna miss the next couple of days …

 Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on ‘COMMENTS’ (or ‘NO COMMENTS’) under the title for the day’s blog, and type away! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and don’t worry: we’ll make sure they get these messages. Also, if you want a better look at our route map and some of the photos here, just click on them and they’ll enlarge – magic!

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About John Cooney

John Cooney and his wife Robyn have enjoyed more than their fair share of travel. They hesitate to call themselves ‘experts’ – but they’ve grabbed every chance that’s come their way to explore new countries, cultures and customs. They’ve had the privilege (both on their own and as the leaders of numerous successful group-tours) to sample many stunning destinations: Europe, the UK, Singapore, Vanuatu, the USA, Israel, Egypt, Africa, Dubai, China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And their recent (and most pleasant) memories are of the places ancient-and-modern that border the Mediterranean. John and Robyn are at-home in airports, hotels, cruise ships, and the like … and they know how to make the most of a unique travel opportunity. Travel, they reckon, is an all-five-senses experience – a chance to see, feel, smell, hear and taste the world. And they’ve done it often enough to know for sure: sightseeing with a group of laid-back Kiwis is DOUBLE the fun – lots of laughs, great company, and memories that last forever!


  1. Hi John, – just a quick message for Dad – we have bought EOS – we are having a practice on her tomorrow taking her in and out of the marina etc and then we will make her ours over the next few months. Your cabin – or should I say rooms await you – you have a huge double bed and your own ensuite – the Barrier here we come and the Bay of Islands – here we come – we are very excited – very favourable terms of sale. Hope you have happy and well.
    Love Terry and Diana

  2. Wow … that sounded like fun. Yahooo. Shit a brick those early morning wake up calls must be turning you both into ‘larks’??? Pix look magic. Glad to know Canada is all its cracked up to be. Johnny if you’re not sure of the meaning of ‘lark’ by the way …just look it up OK 🙂 No its not the
    ‘prank’ meaning either .. tee hee.
    OK so I’ll finish my saga …. we went down to Ohakune Sunday night for a ski on Monday – Weather divine, no wind and perfect conditions. So off we go .. taking the mountain by storm … had many good runs and stopped for lunch and wizzer … then off again with renewed enthusiasm … after a couple of runs (decent length ones too thank goodness) I allowed my enthusiasm to run away with me .. or perhaps I should say, run away with my skis and my body with total unrestrained wild abandonment, (addmittedly, quite likely, a most unladylike vision) flinging out in every direction, finally came to a halt while experiencing a most extraordinary excruciating pain to the rear of my leg … namely the calf. Whoops times up … will continue the saga on the reading of your next blog. Love to the Deheer woman, and I & J and of course you two xxx Pammie & Ronnnie

  3. Hi Mum – Canada looks amazing from the blog pictures – blue sky too (glad it’s you and not me doing those 5am mornings tho’). We’re all good here and finally having some blue skiies as well. I’m still blatting around in your car, in fact am getting quite attached to it! Don’t worry, no dings, and no more tickets. Will be looking at one to buy next week. Now that we’ve gotten the hang of this blogging business we will look forward to reading about the Rockies adventure. Lots of love from us here XXX
    Raewyn, John and Jonathan

  4. Hi Allison – Sounds as if you are having a great time. First time I have
    had chance to look at the site. Our trip was great and Autaki is stunning.
    Pictures do not do it justice. Catch you again soon. Love Judith & John.

  5. Hello Mum and Dad (Margaret and Eric Parr),
    Looks like you guys have been having a fantastic time! Hope you enjoyed your time in Banff? It’s such a gorgeous place and I’m sure you enjoyed it. It’s a pity you didn’t do this trip when I was there! I’ve been thinking of you as you have been galavanting around Alaska and western canada – I’m most envious!
    I’m starting work at Connell Wagner on Monday so that’s pretty exciting, sounds like they have a lot of work on so hopefully things won’t be too full on!
    We are heading down to the mountain tomorrow for my ‘last weekend with no work’ – but I’m sure thats not going to be nearly as exciting as your exploring around eastern canada! Ive started Anne of Green Gables so will be thinking of you there too 🙂
    Anyway just wanted to say boo. Hope you are having a great time, say hi to Claire too, and I will talk to you when you get to Switzerland.
    Love fiona xxx

  6. Hi Sharon, June & Ivan, John & Robyn (whew what a mouth full – from now on it’s ‘you lot’!
    It’s been insanely busy here – missing you heaps Sharon. It’s been such fun reading about your exploits and seeing the photo’s. What an amazing trip.
    Gran continues to do O.K. from day to day. She is getting good support which has helped her heaps.
    We’ve appointed a Manager at the Print Centre and are doing a final interview with a Graphic Designer tomorrow.
    The Painters have started at Devonport and it’s starting to really take shape.
    Well, love to all ‘you lot’ (But especially Sharon).

  7. John and Robyn
    I continue to follow your exploits with much interest.
    So thrilled you’re having fun with Kaye and Tony.
    Mari is in town and we’ve missed you. They could be in NZ Feb.
    Monday night we leave…too busy to get excited yet.
    Love to all

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