New Zealand is a mystical country that is little known to the world but when the “Lord Of The Rings” films franchise heavily used the country as their mythical landscape setting, New Zealand’s tourism escalates to an impressive momentum. I’ve booked the tickets circa October 2011 and with the newly-announced cancellation of Air Asia airways to Christchurch commencing on 31st May 2012, I have to say ; OMG, THANK GOD, ALHAMDULILLAH! On the morning of 9th March 2012, we arrived at Kuala Lumpur LCCT and had our 10 hours flight to Christchurch, New Zealand.
Before Bungy Jump at Kawarau Bridge, the world’s first Bungy Jump by AJ Hackett.
At Fox Glacier.
In the English Rose garden at Cromwell. -Courtesy of Miss Tina.
It was reaching midnight when we landed on Christchurch, so we decided to spend night at the airport itself. By comparison scale, Christchurch Airport is a small place and pretty mundane at night. It was later that we learned that it was due to after-effect of the earthquake as half of Christchurch was destroyed and pretty much paralyzed. Anyway, it was indeed a sleepless and uncomfortable night. We found a corner to put our things and lied down. With autumn temperature reaching 12 Celsius, the health of my Equatorial body began to deteriorate. But pity my sister the most because she couldn’t sleep at all!
Sleepless night in Christchurch Airport although it was so quiet! No more airport!
After Kakak and Miss Tina relentlessly called the rental cars agents (as we were actually impromptu/walk-in style. We did none-of-whatsoever-pre booking prior to reaching New Zealand); we managed to get an affordable car from Quality Car Rental from a Fijian/Indian-descent guy named Vishal. You guys can check this site if you happen to visit Christchurch or the south island : http://www.qualityrental.co.nz/christchurch_car_rental/christchurch.htm . Anyway, Miss Tina the self-proclaimed experienced driver (Hahaha!) didn’t bring her driving license. The idea for her to drive using MY driving license is simply unacceptable as we were in a foreign land and every penalties issued will not only affect individual but the whole group because when we travel, we should be cooperating with each other, NOT as a selfish individuality, no? With that, Kakak took the role as chauffeur. Me? I drive not according to the rule; so I don’t want to jeopardize the safety of others. LOL!
The rent car. Mazda Familia.
Off we headed for the south, passing towns like Ashburton, Hinds and Geraldine. On the way, we stumbled upon a place called Tin Shed. It happened to be a ranch-shop that sells merchandises and wear-clothes made from possums and sheep in front while at the back of the shop, there are farms that house several animals such as donkey, alpaca, sheep and many more. We were welcomed by a friendly donkey named Pedro that he was very lonely; that’s why he is very tame with men. He is nonetheless, so cute! It was indeed a breathtaking ranch-farm feeling. And as the climate was rather cold, the smell of the ranch is bearable and not as smelly as the ones in Equatorial. I know it’s quite trivial, but it’s true!
In front of The Tin Shed.
With the friendly Pedro. He is lonely…but lovely. (,”)
Anyway around 3 hours driving, we then reached the beautiful Lake Tekapo. According to Wikipedia, Lake Tekapo is the “second largest of 3 parallel lakes running north-south along northern edge of McKenzie Basin”. Well, New Zealand is very rich with its enormous and beautiful lakes and lochs; so it was anyway breathtaking visit. Anyway, we scouted for cheap motels but proves to no avail. The only choice was a backpacker hostel which provided 2 vacancies and one in the other quite-far backpacker. So,we decided to make a U-Turn and scouted in nearby town.
Miss Tina in front of our room in Burke’s Pass.- Alpine Motel owned by Mori. Recommended. Low price as low as Kiwi Dollar 100 but very roomy & pleasant hospitality.
The cosy motel.
On the way to Fairlie which is said to be the nearest town nearby (which took around 25 minutes drive), we came across Burke’s Pass. A very tiny dwelling place but what attracted was “Alpine Motel” emblazoned in front of us. Just stopped there and met the owner named Mori and secured a one-night place with 2 rooms – 2 singles beds, 1 queen size-bed, pantry and living room for Kiwi Dollar 100. Very affordable place with typical English roses planted in front! Such a country-side dream place!
Around 6.15 p.m., we pushed back to Lake Tekapo with the hope to view the sunset at the breathtaking place. Mori the owner said that we might not get to see the sunset as the weather was lately quite cloudy; but oh well…whatever. That still didn’t deter us; I mean for Heaven’s Sake, we came all the way from Malaysia and not going there?! LOL! 20 minutes to Lake Tekapo and this time, we really did savour the ethereal scenery of Lake Tekapo. Subhanallah!
It’s like in a painting; and a real Middle-Earth in front of my eyes. The wind was blowing so strong that you could hear whispers of wind calling from the big lake. The feeling was just so mystical and at the same time filled with serenity. I never thought in my life that I would someday witness this kind of place with my own eyes and MY OWN MONEY- and now, I did. It’s quite a humble experience and at the same time very fulfilling. Subhanallah! There was a small church which looked like Shell Cottage in “Harry Potter” movie. It was actually the The Church Of Good Shepherd. A picturesque scenery, I have to say. And also a bronze sheepdog statue dedicated to the Collie Dog that usually helped the men to shepherd the sheep back then. A touching memorial, indeed.
Church of The Good Shepherd.
The bronze statue memorial in dedication to loyal Collie Dog.
With the sea breeze blew on our faces, the moment was definitely ethereal! We called the day off around 7.50 p.m. as it was drawing to night. At Burke’s Pass, we savoured the “Nasi Impit Brahim” of which Kakak already packed. Wow, the feeling of being an expatriate was just so immense. Hahahahhaa! We definitely had a cosy sleep in comparison to the first night in airport. Alhamdulillah!
The morning mist of Lake Tekapo.
On the next morning, Miss Tina claimed that her expensive spectacles was lost. Searched in the motel but proved to no avail. So, we made another return to Lake Tekapo to find her spectacle despite it was drizzling and freaking cold because we worked as a team; not selfish individuals. The mission was a sour-result (and later back in Christchurch that Miss Tina found her spectacle embedded in one of her bag. Hmmmph!) but the morning scenery was so breathless! Subhanallah. With the misty clouds surrounding the apex of the mountains, we were like in English mythical films. On the way heading towards south to Queenstown, we came across a Salmon Farm. As Kakak was an aficionado of salmon, we made a stop at Mount Cook Salmon Farm near the Tekapo-Pukaki Canal. The lane leading towards the salmon farm was a bit steep and stretchy as it was beside Tekapo-Pukaki Canal at one side and at the other side was a valley with breathtaking scenery but quite intimidating with its deep canyon-nish state. You can visit the website at here : http://www.mtcookalpinesalmon.com/history.aspx .
Beautiful panoramic view at Mount Cook Salmon Farm near Tekapo-Pukaki Canal.
Salmon on the lookout. In New Zealand, it is abundant. In the rest of the world, it is over-pricing. Friend of Caviar? (,”)
I have to say that it was ethereal. New Zealand is indeed the real Middle-Earth! With its breathtaking mountains and least population of men, nature seems untainted and unscathed by the wrath of men! We savoured some Salmon fishes’ meat at a lookout point of the Salmon Farm (courtesy of Kakak). Personally, I don’t favour exotic food, so…. (,”) We passed small towns like Twizel and Omarama. At Omarama, we stopped by at a place called The Wrinkly Ram, which happens to be a place of sheep shearing/souvenirs shop/cafe/ranch that as usual, situated in a very scenic mountainous backdrop. You can visit the website at http://www.thewrinklyrams.co.nz/findus.htm .
The ranch behind The Wrinkly Ram.
It was raining already when we pushed off from the shop and using Lindis Pass. We came by Tarras and then reached Cromwell. Near the Lake Dunstan View, we stopped by at a stall that offered great prices of fresh apples and fruits! Kakak & I bought one over-stretchy bag of apples (that only costed for like Kiwi Dollar 5!) whilst Miss Tina bought some for herself and her colleagues. We then stopped by the popular ice-cream parlour, Mrs Jones’ Orchard & Ice-Cream Parlour. Although Kakak and I are Tonsilitis patient and we were totally dehydrated throughout the journey (and what was more for Kakak who was driving all the way!), we didn’t give a damn and just savoured the ice-creams!
Cheap fresh apples and apple orchard behind The Cider Cafe opposite Dunstan Lake View.
Too sweet but quite tasty. We also performed prayer in the car (Kakak & I alternated); and I got really SCARED when I thought the car key was missing (I misplaced it while performing prayer!!!). I was like OMG SHIT! We would have to pay the car rental owner and what was more, we were like thousand kilometres away down south from Christchurch! It was raining cats and dogs and I was running back and fro to Kakak & Miss Tina. Luckily, I’ve found it, Alhamdulillah. Anyway, despite raining, Miss Tina & I took the liberty to take photographs in the English Garden next to the ice-cream parlour. Very English castles’-like with roses and statues of Athena and Apollo (I guess) and few remarkable English garden donning, it felt so England! Passed Cromwell, we headed to the west-side to Queenstown.
The famous ice-cream from Mrs Jones’s ice-cream parlour. Although the shapes are kinda EWWW (Hahaha!) but nice. Mine was Raspberry & Strawberry with vanilla.
The beautiful English roses in the garden next to Mrs.Jones ice-cream parlour.
Apollo’s statue. (I guess)
Throughout the journey, it was raining cats and dogs. Miss Tina was adamant to drive and was furious that Kakak and I didn’t let her drive. Kakak being a diplomatic officer refused to do things that contradicted to the law especially when we were in a foreign country. There was no such thing as if one got caught, he/she would be the only one penalized as we were in this thing together, right? Things got heated up with Miss Tina kept pushing the envelope and I got really fed-up with it and razor-mouthed her. Miss Tina was so angry with me that she SCOWLED back at me!! I tried not to provoke her back because Kakak hated trivial and senseless arguments and wanted things to be harmonious. Kakak on the other hand with her diplomacy, was the one who became the “mother” although she was not the oldest. She explained that although Miss Tina is a self-proclaimed ‘the most experience driver’, laws and penalties in foreign lands must not be taken lightly. So, that was that.
The town of Cromwell.
Around 2 hours later, we reached Queenstown. Subhanallah! Definitely a picturesque town besides Lake Wakatipu. It is a kinda resort town with a lot of global citizens working there. There are mountains as the backdrop of the town and gondola rides ala Genting Highlands but we didn’t ride it since we are of time-constraint. According to Wikipedia, Queenstown has become the shooting location for films like “X-Men Orgins : Wolverine”. “Lord of The Rings” trilogy and also the reality TV show, “The Mole” and many more. Anyway, as we didn’t book any motels prior coming to New Zealand, we went to nearby I-Site centre (a place where you can book or ask information about motels, accommodations, etc) and scouted for motels.
The beautiful Lake Wakatipu.
Statue of William Gilbert Rees, founder of Queenstown.
The LOTR shop of which I bought Even Star pendant. (,”)
Gondola ride ala Malaysian Genting Highlands.
As it was the time of spring break in northern hemisphere, a lot of visitors came thronging New Zealand and most of the motels were fully booked. But Alhamdulillah, we managed to get a place in Heartland Hotel that accommodates 3 people; and what was more, it was like a double-storey chalet with pantry and cosy beds and televisions and facing beautiful view of Lake Wakatipu. Amazing! You can visit the website here : http://www.heartland-hotel-queenstown.com/ . Anyway before that we scouted for Kakak’s skydiving activity as she is an extreme outdoor kinda person. Initially, it wasn’t in my plan that I’ll be doing Bungy Jump but then when we went to the counter, it felt so right and I felt like I’d just need to do something memorable; I mean, where is the BEST place to do bungy jump but New Zealand, the place where it all first came to known to the world and PLUS, at the very spot where it is WORLD’S FIRST BUNGY JUMP site – The Kawarau Bridge by AJ Hackett! Weeee!~
The comfortable Heartland Hotel Queenstown. We HEART Heartland franchise !(,”)
As I only got Kiwi Dollar 528 and the Bungy Jump costed around Kiwi Dollar 200++, my budget was definitely jeopardized. But hey,I’ve gotta do it! That morning, the schedule was quite packed. Tentatively, my Bungy Jump would be at 9.30 a.m. and Kakak drove me there as we couldn’t use public transport due to time-constraint because after all these activities, we were to drive to Fox Glacier which was quite far, taking 5 hours journey from Queenstown! Honestly, I didn’t have the nervousness or vertigo whatsoever when I went there. Had the normal procedure of weighing and name-tagged and numbered and off I went to the centre of Kawarau Bridge.
The moment…from Miss Tina’s lense.
Pictures courtesy of Miss Tina.
Kakak and Miss Tina were of course rooting for me and cheering! Hahahahaha! BUT, as soon as I went in a small platform at the side of the centre of the bridge and while the staffs were tying up my feet, I was quite nervous but still bearable. And then it was my turn to jump. Just as I stood on the brink of the platform LOOKING DOWN, THAT WAS WHEN I GOT GOOSEBUMP AND THOUGHT – OH MY GOD! SERIOUSLY, WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO????!! Haahhaha, but of course, there was no turning back. Either did it or chicken out and lost Kiwi Dollar 200++!!
Courtesy of AJ Hackett.
When I got scare, I became a mouse and my voice is usually croak and hoarse. I wanted to scream my lungs out like what the German guy did before me, you know, being dramatic and tense-free! As I JUMPED, I tried to scream but only my hoarse voice came out!! Kakak and Miss Tina said it was like pretentious scream. Hahahahaha! JUMPED into the river……. and I got yoyo-ed. Luckily my sweater came with a hood which automatically covered my head BUT my sweater got jerked downwards leaving my body till the waist went nude! Hahhahaaa…I was afraid that my jeans would be torn or whatever that could lead me to an embarrassing moment so I kept tucking my jeans!
Courtesy of Kakak. Captured by AJ Hackett.
And after a while of yoyo-ing myself, they then asked me to hold a pole. Honestly and that time, I was like “HUH, WHAT?” and kinda dizzy because of the twirling and twisting. They landed me on the boat and the two staffs were like asking me to look up there to be photographed from above, but I was like “Yeah, whatever!” Hahahahhaa… 15 minutes after the Bungy Jump I was feeling OK but not until the after-effect of adrenaline caught on me. I was dizzy and we had to drive back to Queenstown township to shop for souvenirs before Kakak’s skydiving. I forced myself to throw up because my stomach was feeling NASTY. But well, it helped. Slowly, I regained my strength…but the after-effect of adrenaline was QUITE UNBEARABLE! Still, I am glad I did that. I pushed my envelope. Thanks Kakak for encouraging me!
The certificate! Officially, I did Bungy Jump!
We shopped for souvenirs and later went to a Turkish Kebab as the kebabs outside Malaysia are in very large potion. We could see few street musicians playing music while people were having meals on the alley. The scene was more or less like in Melbourne as it was very artistic and lay-back. Around 12.00 p.m., we went to NZone, the company of which Kakak would be hearing her briefing on the skydiving while Miss Tina & I just loafed around and went to a nearby cybercafe updating statuses in Facebook! Hhahaha! 20 minutes later, Miss Tina called me out and said Kakak already out; I hurried and had to help Miss Tina logged out the internet and went into the car. But alas, the van of which Kakak was supposed to follow had vanish leaving us! Where were we supposed to go????
I JUMPED from there! Courtesy of Miss Tina.
With bad maps given to us, we assumed and took the wrong direction leading back to Kawarau Bridge. We stopped by to ask an old man at a winery farm and he said it was a wrong direction. Miss Tina was fully in tense and snapped at me; I kept my tongue-tied not to provoke because if I were to be my real self, it would worsen the situation as it would be acidic. Miss Tina kept saying that her instinct was the most correct, bla bla….. Seriously, man! But anyway, we finally reached the place and everyone took a deep relieve breath. I knew that even if we were late, Kakak would be able to do it but it would consume time allocated for the journey to Fox Glacier (5 hours!) while Miss Tina was afraid that Kakak won’t make it (that explained the anxiety and tempers rising!).
The daredevil diplomat officer?
Kakak was so excited and animated before she did that 12,000 kilometre high skydiving. We could see the professional skydivers landed gracefully as if they were sky-dancers! Off she went on a small plane that could only accommodate 6 people! Around 20 minutes later, we saw Kakak….she landed and all went well. She said she did throw up! Well, it’s not an easy activity and it demanded adrenaline rushes. We met a few Malaysians at the skydiving as well. With Kakak finally regaining her strength (she’s kinda tough diplomatic officer), we continued the LONG journey to Fox Glacier. It was reaching 4.00 p.m. when we pushed off from Queenstown.
From Queenstown to Fox Glacier, we stopped at Wanaka, a town that is situated approximately 310 metre above sea level. We had to mount hills before reached Wanaka. You could feel the pressure in auditory system but once you already got accustomed to it, the problem would recede. Like any other township in New Zealand, Wanaka is a peaceful place with au naturel is more prevalent than men. We parked in front of Lake Wanaka view and performed prayer. It was amazing to know that the lake is 300 metres in altitude in the middle of mountainous area! Subhanallah. But the yonder looking lake seemed like a sea.
We then moved to The Puzzling World. It is a place where you could find a lot of fascinating logically-challenging objects, facts and exhibitions. You can read about it in Wikipedia site : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puzzling_World,_New_Zealand . It was certainly one of great places we have visited in new Zealand. In front of The Puzzling World, you could find The Puzzling world Leaning Tower which was made ala Pisa Leaning Tower in Italy or even our Malaysian Teluk Anson’s Leaning Tower in Teluk Intan, Perak! Inside, you could find clocks that are numbered backwards, Illusion Room, The Amazing Maze, riddles and paintings that would drive your eccentricities to the fullest! Hhahahaa! The Illusion Room was cool. There were a lot of holograms that played with 3 -D visuals and very interesting! There are :-
- “Smiling Kelly” – the hologram with a woman that smiles when you went to one side, and whose lips sealed on the other side;
- Horizontal Lines that seem like they are slopes or straight;
- The Rubic Quilt where you can count how many rubic squares in the tapestry;
- “Hall Of Following Faces” where faces of Einstein, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln of Mother Teresa would follow you with their eyesights wherever you move;
- The world of Upside Down where there are mirrors placed in some corners that would make you dizzy when you enter;
- The “Ames” Illusion Room where from the outside you think it’s a small room but once you went inside it is a BOG room which the distance between roof and floor becomes more narrow ala Alice In Wonderland;
- The Roman Style toilet diorama where it seems as if that painting is part of physical world;
- and many more!
We had so much fun taking photographs! But unfortunately we didn’t go into the maze as it was already reaching 6.00 p.m. which was the close time. Fortunately for us, during weekends, The Puzzling World closes at 6.00 p.m. If not, we wouldn’t have the chance because we arrived around nearly 5.00 p.m. and that is the usual time the place closes during weekdays!
“Hall Of Following Faces”.
With that around 6.15 p.m., off we proceeded our LONG 5 hours journey to Fox Glacier. An attempt to arrive before it was dark (around 8.30 p.m.) was absolutely proved to no avail as it was actually a LONG journey from south back up to to the West Coast of South Island! From Wanaka, the road we took went through the intermediate of Lake Wanaka & Lake Hawea and then way to Makaroa. From that small settlement, we have to mount the Southern Alps mountainous area and passed through Hasst Pass before reaching Hasst. Now, by this time, the sky already turned darker. The daylight had somewhat painted golden twilight….. very creepy especially when you were driving in a place with NO telephone line or people or settlement AT ALL….
The Leaning Tower of Puzzling World, Wanaka.
Around 8.30 p.m. we passed the small town called Haast. Kakak and Miss Tina were saying if it was impossible for us to continue the long journey in the middle of pitch black night, we would be spending night at motel in Haast. But then, the decision to continue prevailed; so off we continued. From Haast, we passed by Lake Paringa. By this time, it was already pitch black. It was indeed scary as if we were like in Twilight Zone or scary horror movies. Imagine, there were only 2-3 cars apart from us, trailing the very coil snake-like road throughout the forests and woods…..!
“The World Of Upside Down”. Very dizzy! Preggers are NOT ALLOWED to go in.
And what was more, there were no telephone line and if so happened that our tyres got punctured or vehicle’s dysfunctional….???!! Argh, we dread to think about that and Miss Tina assuaged the condition by sharing endless stories about her friends, etc. Well, at least that helped the situation. By this time, we were trailing the brink of West Coast….next to beaches with no people residing….
Illusion painting. One perspective you see a BIG SKELETON. From another perspective, you see a Victorian lady looking at reflection of her mirror.
Cold weather made my bladder full. So, Kakak had to stop at this one vehicle stop which was obviously PITCH BLACK DARK with nothing but the sound of violent waves from the Tasman Sea. All silent……tranquil, but very creepy!
In the pitch black along the West Coast, we drove to Fox Glacier…without telephone line. Only the rushes of Tasman Sea, stars and 2 planets shone above us….
Around 2 hours later, we already mounting upwards heading towards Fox Glacier. I could see stars and constellations visible on the night sky, Subhanallah! A precious experience. If only I have DSLR camera to catch the pictures so that my pupils can see the stars in Science classes! On the way, I saw two ‘stars’ shining brightly. My first instinct was that it could be Southern Stars as Northern Stars are stars that always pointing to the North; so Southern counterparts could play vice versa, no? Apparently, my Penang Free School friend, Imran Yusuf who is a Cambridge Physics holder said that those two “stars” were actually the planets Jupiter and Venus; they shone extra-brightly because they reflected the sunlight directly from the source! Interesting, eh?
We heart Heartland Hotel – Fox Glacier!
As Kakak drove the car with Miss Tina telling all about her family and friends, suddenly they saw rodent/squirrel-like animals IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD! No choice but we had to RAM the animals! Kakak felt so bad about it but we didn’t have choice because if we avoided that, we could end up accident into the dark forests and what was more, it was mountainous; there could be canyon or cavern! Nevertheless, we had to admit that the experience was both creepy and haunting. We could hear the bones crushed under the tyres……
Around 11.00 p.m. we finally reached Fox Glacier township. The town was bleak, tranquil and sleepy at that time, as expected. We went to Heartland Hotel the Fox Glacier branch (as we already asked the Queenstown branch to make reservation for us) and called the day off.
On the way to Fox Glacier! Subhanallah…beautiful.
The third day began quite in a casual mode. Around 10.00 a.m. in the morning, we checked out and went to Fox Glacier of The Glacier itself. The road leading towards the glacier was somewhat like Avatar-esque. Very cool and refreshing with greeneries all around. According to Wikipedia, Fox Glacier is a 13 km long glacier. We had to walk all the way to the where the glacier was. Along the way, I could see small stones and rocks ala “Lord Of The Rings” (well, after all, Middle Earth was shot in New Zealand!) and also crystal-clear small lakes that were mixture of green-blue colours! Really, Subhanallah! I never thought I could witness that!
The small creek that forced Miss Tina to take out her worn-off shoes. Must be DAMN COLD!
Anyway, Miss Tina’s shoes totally worn off so she decided to take off her shoes while crossing the small creek because she said the rocks were unstable. Pity her, that must be VERY COLD! But yeah, they all are experiences, no? The scenery was breathtaking! We had our lunch from the food bag that we assembled all the food from Malaysia at the Fox Glacier car park and then off we continued the journey.
Honestly, I felt like Frodo climbing mountains and valleys to Mordor! (,”)
From Fox Glacier, we headed along the West Coastline to the north-west part of the island. We reached a beautiful lake called Lake Mapourika. There was a small jetty and the lake was a tranquil and unruffled. It was definitely in sync with the description in Wikipedia that the lake was quite reflective “of the forest on the lake fringes”. It seemed like a great location for a horror movie shooting place ala “What Lies Beneath” starring Michelle Pfeiffer & Harrison Ford. You could see weeds although the lake is considered as blackwater river as it collects tannins. We proceeded the journey passing small towns such as Whataroa, Harihari and also Ross.
The murky and reflective water of Lake Mapourika.
Finally, around 2 hours and a half later, we arrived at Hokitika. It was quite a town with one tower clock and is situated near Tasman Sea. We stopped and savoured the beach side and then prayed. After that, off we continued the journey to Greymouth. We managed to book a comfortable accommodation for 3 people in “Greymouth Seaside TOP 10 Holiday Park.” It was nice – a room with one Queen size and double-decker and a living room with another bed and television; pantry and all. It was indeed very comfortable! I had a very cosy night but unfortunately for Kakak, she couldn’t really savour that due to some snores. (,”)
The small town of Hokitika.
The next morning initially, the plan was to go Shantytown, a cowboy and gold-mining town; but unfortunately as I was running out of Kiwi Dollar and on loan with Kakak, officially that we had to really being thrifty. Poor Miss Tina, perhaps she wanted to really go there but well, we didn’t want to borrow because it would be very difficult to pay back; so we decided to skip that. So, from Greymouth we headed to south-west passing town like Otira and Arthur’s Pass. We stopped by at the beautiful Otira Viaduct. The lookout point was very scenic but cold as the morning and misty wind blew upon our faces and hair. We could see the friendly but mischievous Kea birds flying and came to us. They were not afraid of human, we could testify!
The Otira Viaduct.
The tame but mischievous Kea birds.
It was so COLD. Our rare pictures of the full pack. Met this friendly old German couple visiting relatives in New Zealand. The woman must be very pretty when she was younger, I could tell. They took ours.We took theirs. (,”)
Then, we arrived at Arthur’s Pass, a small settlement located between Arthur’s Pass National Park as well as Craigieburn Forest Park. It is a small town but a nice stopover. We stopped at the toilet/restrooms (very big and cosy) and then resumed the journey. We passed small settlements like Springfield, Sheffield and Darfield. On the way, we stopped at Castle Hill, a place with awkward looking stones and rocks on the hill. Beautiful scenery with an apple tree and a dog-grave. According to Wikipedia, Castle Hill used to be the filming shot of “The Chronicles Of Narnia”! Wow! We resumed the journey…. and finally we arrived at Christchurch!
It was already around 3.00 p.m. when we reached Christchurch. At first we were taken aback with the idea of Christchurch being less-than-crowded as it is the biggest city is New Zealand’s south island. Only that later we have learnt and realized how badly the city was affected due to the earthquake! No wonder there were so many road blocks for constructions! And the remnants of the collapsed buildings were still apparent….Masya ALLAH!
The remnants of what left in Christchurch.
We scouted for motels but most of them were occupied…not until we finally came encountered Heartland Hotel of Christchurch branch in Papanui Road. Well, so happened that there was one room left! It was definitely God’s Destiny. The Filipino manager talked to us and told us about she loved the Malaysian food when she worked in Malaysia’s Crowne Plaza back in 1996-1997. It was nice to know that (,”). We were definitely hearted Heartland Hotel in New Zealand, huh? Hahhahaa! Well, the branch in Christchurch has chosen Old Victorian-English architecture as the interior design for the hotel. You can check it via : http://www.hotelclub.com/Heartland-Hotel-Cotswold-Christchurch/ . There was even a replica of Excalibur embedded in a rock and also few names of English Queens to represent the buildings complex. Being a historical freak, I felt right at home with all these elements.
We just rested our tired limbs and sinew and in the evening, planned to go to Kaikoura as Kakak thought it was only 20 minutes drive. Little we realized that it was actually 180 kilometres away from Christchurch! Luckily just as we reached Leithfield, we decided it was too far, so we de-toured to Leithfield Beach. Savouring the Pacific Ocean, it was just therapeutic. We went back to Christchurch and arrived around 7.00 p.m. The city was mundane and gloom. It was totally opposite from what we have read in Wikipedia. There were no trams or scenic beauty ala Melbourne. We were actually looking for a Turkish Kebab stall in accordance to the GPS. But seemed like the location was destroyed in the earthquake because every time we would want to penetrate the road, it will be blocked by construction sites signs – meaning it was badly affected by the earthquake.
The cosy Old Medieval English style of Heartland Hotel- Christchurch. And that is the replica of Excalibur embedded. We heart Heartland!
At last, my sister decided to buy Tandoori from an Indian restaurant which still opened whereas every shops have already shut down. Asked the attendant/waiter whether it is Halal or not and he said the food are Halal; so without doubt, we ordered Tandoori Chicken. We savoured that while Miss Tina ate the non-Halal fish and chips. But we were careful about the food and saved till the next morning as we had to keep ourselves energized for the span of 3 hours before departure from Christchurch to Kuala Lumpur.
Last gaze of Christchurch Airport.
The next morning, we checked out around 9.20 a.m. and managed to find the way back to Quality Rental as sharp as 10.00 a.m. Well, if not we had to pay extra penalty for the late! Around 10.20 p.m., we already in Christchurch Airport. For international flight, it is better to be in the airport 3 hours earlier from the definite departure. Waited there until around 3.00 p.m. and then off we went for the stringent customs and all.
Goodbye, New Zealand!
Around 4.15 p.m., off we flew back to Kuala Lumpur. Goodbye, New Zealand; the real Middle-Earth on earth. A lot of unforgettable and memorable experiences.
The Even Star pendant I bought in New Zealand. I am a true Elf now! Hahhahahaa! LOL!