U3A Travel Group Meeting Thursday, 23 February 2017, was the  first for the year.

Kerry Bowden gave us a brief description of the group she belongs to in Tauranga called “Friendship Force” which is part of an international organisation.

It is based on a home hosting programme and was founded in the USA in 1977. New Zealand has a number of clubs and members stay with hosts mainly overseas and reciprocate by hosting clubs from overseas in their homes in NZ.


Our first speaker was Neville Harlick telling us about his trip to Antarctica. He joined a tour and sailed from Ushuaia in Argentina. The journey took two days across what can be some of the roughest seas. Once there they were taken ashore on zodiacs and were kitted out with special jackets and boots. They saw loads of penguins which were not afraid of humans but quite curious. They came up to people sitting down just to have a look. No-one fed them of course. A number of seals were also seen sleeping in the sun.

There were some huge icebergs with magnificent intense blue colours running through them and Neville illustrated his talk with some lovely photos.

Following morning tea Samuel Hartman gave us a brief synopsis of his holiday in the Northern Territory of Australia and also extended on Kerry’s talk about Friendship Force.

Noel Burns was the second speaker for the day and he spoke about his cruise on the “Celebrity Equinox” around the Mediterranean visiting places like Corsica, Ibiza & Barcelona. We saw a photo of the work in progress of the beautiful “Sagrada Familia” which was started in 1882 and not due for completion until 2026.

Noel then joined the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth for a trip around the Baltic with one of the highlights there being St Petersburg and its wonderful palaces and churches.


He finished up cruising on the St Lawrence river in Canada in a houseboat around the Thousand Island Section and managed to feel the effects of a motorboat race which was taking part whilst he was there. During his talk Noel showed some beautiful photos of his cruising holiday overseas.