Mar 27, 2014

New Zealand Tour Itinerary

Most people I know would travel to New Zealand via free and easy and plan out their itinerary on their own. In fact, before we decided to sign up with Haka Tours, we did some calculations and decided that we were too busy to plan out the whole trip. So kc went and did some research and suggested a few tours but in the end it was Haka Tours that attracted us with the itinerary and cost as well.

Just to share, here's the itinerary for our whole trip starting from South Island, Christchurh ending in Auckland. So, do we recommend Haka Tours to those who wanted to enjoy New Zealand, at least for me, it's a yes. I like them for the flexibility and small groups and we can choose to pay after the end of the trip for additional activities. Those optional activities that I highlighted in blue are those that we choose.

Day 1 – Christchurch to Lake Tekapo
Meeting time – 8am (introductions and breakfast)
Optional Activities – Hot Air Ballooning, Surf Lessons
Accommodation – YHA Tekapo – 03 680 6857
Driving time – 3 hrs

Day 2 – Lake Tekapo to Queenstown
Optional Activities – Scenic Flight, Kawarau Bridge Bungy
Accommodation – Pinewood Lodge, Queenstown – 03 442 8273
Driving time – 3 hrs

Day 3 – Queenstown
Optional Activities – skydiving, paragliding, hand gliding, Shotover Canyon Swing, Nevis bungy, Nevis Arc, Kawarau Bridge bungy, quad biking, white-water rafting, extreme jet boating, sledging, heli-mountain biking, snowboarding/skiing in Winter, day trip to Milford Sound (coach or flight), horse trekking, Ziptrek
Accommodation – Pinewood Lodge, Queenstown – 03 442 8273
Driving time – n/a

Day 4 – Queenstown to Wanaka
Optional Activities – Queenstown activities in the morning, then Monster Trucks at Cardrona
Accommodation – Purple Cow Backpackers, Wanaka – 03 443 1880
Drive time – 1 hr

Day 5 – Wanaka to Franz Josef
Optional Activities – skydiving at Wanaka, acrobatic flight, wakeboarding
Accommodation – Chateau Franz – 03 752 0738
Driving time – 4 hrs

Day 6 – Franz Josef
Optional Activities – glacier trek, heli-hike, quad biking
Accommodation – Chateau Franz – 03 752 0738
Driving time – n/a

Day 7 – Franz Josef to Christchurch
Accommodation – Haka Lodge, CHCH – 03 980 4252
Driving time – 2 hrs, 4 hrs train journey

Day 8 – Christchurch to Kaikoura
Optional Activities – Hot Air Ballooning, Surf Lessons, Tank Driving
Accommodation – Dusky Lodge, Kaikoura – 03 319 5959
Driving time – 2.5 hrs

Day 9 – Kaikoura to Wellington
Optional Activities – Dolphin Swimming, Whale Watch, Surfing lesson
Accommodation – YHA Wellington City – 04 801 7280
Driving time – 2.5 hrs to Picton, 3 hr on ferry

Day 10 - Wellington
Accommodation – YHA Wellington City – 04 801 7280
Optional Activities – Windsurfing, Mountain Biking, Adrenalin Forest

Day 11 – Wellington to Taupo
Accommodation – Blackcurrant Backpackers 07 378 9292
Driving time – 4 hrs

Day 12 - Free Day Taupo
Optional Activities – skydiving, bungy, sailing, parasailing, mountain biking, Tongariro Crossing
Accommodation – Blackcurrant Backpackers 07 378 9292
Driving time – n/a

Day 13 – Taupo to Rotorua
Optional Activities – Zorb, Bungy, Skydiving, Agrodome Sheep Show
Accommodation – YHA Treks – 07 349 4088
Driving time – 2 hours

Day 14 – Rotorua to Waitomo Caves
Optional Activities – white-water rafting, sledging, gondola and luge track, Hobbiton
Accommodation – Waitomo Backpackers – 07 878 3395
Driving time – 2 hrs

Day 15 – Waitomo to Coromandel
Optional Activities – 4 hour Lost World Caving Trip, Black Water Rafting
Accommodation – Turtle Cove, Whitianga – 07 867 1517
Driving time – 3 hrs

Day 16 – Coromandel to Auckland
Optional Activities – sea kayaking
Accommodation – YHA Auckland International, 5 Turner St – 09 302 8200
Driving time – 2.5 hrs

Mar 25, 2014

Mount John Observatory @ Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Hyge, our guide suggested that we followed to see some of our tourmates skydiving and brought us to the Mount John observatory to kill some time. As soon as three of us saw the lake from the top of the mountain, we shouted Tibet as the colour of the lake is so similar to Lake Namtso in Tibet, calm blue greenish colour.

It's only after that, I got to know that this place is famous for star gazing at night. In fact, it is one of the famous spot in New Zealand and many star gazers come here for that purpose.

We spent some time here taking photos and admiring the view from the top.

Mar 22, 2014

It's Lupin Everywhere

It's the first time I saw such beautiful wild flowers during my travel. At first, I even thought these flowers are planted and not wild. It turns out that these are wild flowers and the locals even tried to get rid off these flowers.

We were lucky to be in New Zealand during the peak of the lupin season. The whole of Lake Tekapo is covered with the wild flowers making the scenary even more beautiful. From what I read, the peak of the blooming of these flowers is during first two weeks in December, which is the summer month in the Southern atmosphere.

Mar 16, 2014

Paragliding Over Queenstown, New Zealand

Whee..I am flying
Technically, I didn't paraglide over Queenstown town area but from Coronet peak, which is around half and hour from the town. It's actually a long story as after our guide, Hyge dropped us at the peak of the Queenstown gondola and we happily waiting for our turn to paraglide. I was quite sceptical in the first place as I have major motion sickness and some fear of height. And when they told us that the wind was too strong to fly, I was quite happy to have the activity cancelled. But since they relocated to Coronet Peak to fly, I had to go ahead.

It was a tandem paragliding and the four of us including Lin, were put with a partner who controlled the glide. I got myself a Venezualean guide who kept asking me whether I am ok and kept saying the view is beautiful. Actually deep down in my heart, I think my heart almost fell out once we kicked off from the hill. I practically had to run to start flying and it was really scary. After getting used to the height, wind and fear, I began to enjoyed the view. Too bad, the guide behind me started to be funny and tried to fly higher and doing some acrobatic moves. I can feel my motion sickness kicked in and yet my guide kept doing his spin. Sigh, until I had to resort to blackmailing him that I am going to vomit in the sky, that he finally stopped spinning and looking for the spot to land. Pheww....

But the view from the top is amazing and the feeling of wind rushing through felt good. If someone ask me whether I would recommed this activity, I will say yes. It's a very good experience if you can't take bungee jump or skydiving.

For information, we flew with G Force Paragliding in Queenstown. There is a counter at the top.

Strapped on

I getting dizzy

When are we going down?

Mar 14, 2014

Crazy things I did in New Zealand

Bungee Jump - Nope

Skydiving - Nope

Canyon Swing - Nope

White Water Rafting - Nope

Zorbing- Nope

So what crazy things I did in NZ?

The title itself a bit anti climax though. Although New Zealand is famous for extreme activities, the only things that I dare to do when I was there were paragliding in Queenstown and black water rafting in Waitomo. Well, Tongariro Crossing is considered another crazy thing as it was a 7 hour hike non-stop. Other that day, sightseeing pretty much sums up all the things that I have done in New Zealand.

Speaking of that, I haven't not even look at my paragliding video and photos which I have paid NZD40 for them. Problem now is I need to recall where I have left them.

Since I wasn't sure where I have left my paragliding photos and video, black water rafting is the only thing I can share for now. There is no photos or videos but it was one of the best experience I ever had although I almost drown at the part where we need to leap from the waterfall. Not very tall waterfall but considering that I DO NOT know how to swim, I was terrified. But after seeing all the glow worms in the Waitomo caves, I have to say this is the best way to experience the glow worms in the dark.

Tourist boat, not a fun way to see the worms
Picture credit to

Cruising along the river in the caves
Picture credit to

This is how I need to jump from the waterfall
Pic credit to
There is one part where we switched off our headlights and we practically wowed at the sight of the worms glowing in the dark. And doing that while drifting away along the river inside the caves. Definitely something that everyone should do when they are in New Zealand and visiting the Waitomo Caves.

Just for info, we signed with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co.

Mar 13, 2014

Bangkok in 5 Days

This trip was end of last year and frankly speaking, I know some have actually gone to Bangkok multiple times but this is the first time I was in Bangkok and in Thailand. Coincidentally when we were there, Bangkok was having some rough time with protesters on the street. I guess somehow we were lucky that these protesters decided to take a break during the New Year and let us, the tourists to have roam freely on the street.

Grand Palace

We flew in to Bangkok via Airasia and landed in Don Mueng airport. When we asked the counter staff for the transport to the city, she pointed out that we should take a cab and the fee was around THB 900 that time which was equivalent to RM 90! Me being the super kiam auditor decided to follow some foreign Mat Salleh backpackers and see where they went to take the bus. I read before that there is a bus to the BTS station- Mo Chit. Finally, we found the spot and luckily we took the A1 bus as it cost us only THB 30 each which was orange in colour. The station is just outside of the airport. As we were staying at Bangkok City hotel which is near to Ratchethewi station, we decided to take the subway to the station from Mo Chit subway station. The hotel that we stay is superb, 3 start quality with super cheap price. For a King size bed room, it cost us only around RM130 per night with breakfast provided. The breakfast was nothing to shout about as it was mostly American. But the location is so convenient that we walked to Platinum Mall and nearby almost every night! And not forgetting lots of massage parlour along the way and plenty of yummy street food. Not going to show much of the photos of the hotel. Can just refer to the link provided.

Damnoen Floating market
What I am sharing will be mostly on the itinerary for the 5 days we had in Bangkok.

Day 1- Arrival and we didn't do much except to walk to Platinum Mall and had our taste McD samurai pork burger. Ok ok..a bit expensive and that was the only time we had it. Thn we had supper at some of the shops along the way back to the hotel.

Day 2 - We went to the Grand Palace area, Wat Pho but missed out on Wat Arun. Instead of taking a cab as most cabs refuse to take us there, we took a subway and then change to boat. Will blog about the details in another time. Then at night foot massage which only cost THB 200. The shop is located just outside of the hotel on the right side. The staff there were in orange uniform.

Day 3 - Floating market and etc. Why I wrote etc because before getting to the floating market, we were brought to the elephant camp for ride, some jewelry shop, snake show. And we only spent like 1 hour at the floating market. Felt cheated with the day tour package we booked.

Day 4 - Chatuchak. Spend almost a full day here since it's Sunday and the market is at full swing. First time, seen my hubby became a shopaholic and bought almost 10 pieces of polo tees at the market. Well, they were cheap and good quality. As for me, I manage to grab a Grade A Prada, haha. Too bad, no money to buy the real one. After that we went to Siam Paragon to get Naraya as I was kiasu to see so many people buying so much from that shop. After googling, only then I realised it's a Thai famous brand. Not bad quality though. Tonight we went to full body massage at the same shop for THB 200.

Day 5 - Just sleep in at the hotel as our flight is at 2pm.

So, how's the Bangkok trip? Now I can understand why everyone crazy about Bangkok shopping and food. I think I am addicted and vow to go back at least every year.

Mar 12, 2014

Random Updates

I guess my blog is dying slowly. Haven't got the time to properly sit down and jotting down my thoughts on my travel and yet in a month's time, I will be going to Japan for the Sakura viewing. It's something I have been looking forward since I knew the existence of Sakura and it's something that I need to do for myself. Truth is, the past few months had been very tough mostly due to personal relationship issues. I went through emotional rollercoaster for several weeks and months since beginning of the year up to the extent that I regretted some of the decisions I made over the last two years. It's a shocker for someone like me, who doesn't regret much things/events that happened in my life. I am more like the person who regret not buying that shoe than regret buying. And now coupled with haze, water rationing and missing plane, I came to realise that life indeed is short and unpredictable. In fact, I have been living according to the expectations and want from people around me up to a point I realised I wasn't happy anymore. If I were to die tomorrow, I hope I would not have regrets in my life.