My friends who have visited New Zealand shared that it is a very scenic and beautiful country. My dream finally came true when my siblings and I planned a family trip together. Unfortunately my parents changed their mind and decided not to go with us. So my siblings and I should thank them that we had more flexibility without them.
The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland was about 10 hours 10 minutes. Minimum check-in for international flights was 2 hours before departure. About 24 hours were spent for the round trip flying and at the airports.
The country map can be found at my sheepdog post here.
Welcome to New Zealand. You are now in Auckland Airport. Notice that there was a park with huge stone kiwi bird sculptures. Can you see one behind the welcome sign near the tree?
Upon arrival in Auckland, we rented a car, and toured Auckland. The place you may want to visit in the City is probably the tallest in the southern hemisphere known as the Sky Tower, Auckland.
How about trying the 360˚ Sky Walk or Sky Jump?. For more activities at the Skycity Tower, click here.
If you like the beach, I would recommend you visit Bay of Plenty.
After Auckland, we drove to the tourist information centre in Rotorua. I took a picture with Maori arts or design in the background near the centre.
Surrounding Rotorus is very scenic due to the colorful Geothermal Wonders. For more Rotorua attraction pictures, click here. You can even enjoy a virtual tour of the geyserland at the famous Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland with unique and colorful landscape. It has its own history. Admission cost, visiting hours and other details are found here. If you want to see the guaranteed daily eruption of the Lady Knox Geyser, be there to watch it at 10.15am.
This picture highlights the main wonders with attractive names such as Champagne Pool, Bridal Veil Falls, etc. which you would see in the park.
This picture gives you the view of the Wonderland from a higher elevation.
Many people like to pamper themselves by relaxing in the Polynesian Spa. After I showed my co-workers my pictures, he and his wife went to NZ but they joinned a tour. He noticed that everyone else looked so refreshed but he and his wife weren't. The joke was they soaked themselves in "used" cooled down spa water which someone else had been soaking and bathing in there. They did not use the "fresh" warm water for their pool. Below is a picture which I took outside the famous spa which you may not want to miss.
The advantage of renting a car as compared to joining a tour is that we could stop to look and explore according to our interest at any time. Our curiousity drove us to a park with boiling mud and signs. It was dangerous as the ground was steaming hot. What is this pool of mud?
Well, the mud pool is called coffee pot. This is the story behind bathing in the coffee pot. (If my parents were with us, we would not have a chance to see this).
Lake Taupo which is in the center of the North Island is an enormous lake created after a huge volcanic eruption. It is about the size of the Republic of Singapore. There are a lot of activities such as trout fishing and scenic attractions there. For scenic highlights of Lake Taupo, click here.
We drove up the look out point in Wellington to explore and had good view of the city. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand. If you are interested in its history, click here.
Now that we are done in Wellington, it's time to take a ferry to Picton in South Island.
Tips on crossing between islands by ferry:
1) The cost for getting a car from Wellington (in North Island) to Picton (SI) cost NZ$185 for the car itself and NZ$69 per person.
2) You can save some money by leaving the car in Wellington and pick up another car in Picton. However, you must have picked up the car for at least 3 days in North Island before you are allowed to have this arrangement.
3) The ferry is huge. Just imagine its size because we waited for a train to come out before we drove to the vehicles deck on the ferry.
4) For more information on ferry tickets click here
Stay tuned. I will be posting our adventure in the South Island later.
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