Tuesday, August 28, 2012

NZ # 6-7

after breakfast, we were back on the road again. this time to franz josef. we already booked a helicopter tour for fox and franz josef glacier, and it was another long road to go.. *sigh* this time, the view was combination between mountain and shore. we could see the sea from mid trip before turned again to the mountain. fox was closer, but the trip that we booked started from franz josef, and it was lunch time already. so we were mixed between getting there first or having lunch first. we decided to get there first and confirmed everything before heading to our villa and having lunch.when we arrived at the office, the person on duty said that they didn't have us on their schedule, but he could slip us into 3.30pm flight, so we agreed it and decided to go to our villa and have lunch.

our villa was nice. though we were early (the check in time was 3 pm, and we were there at 1pm - i guess), there was this old man that offered us to find the manager, and our room was already available at that time. perfect. the manager recommended a few place to eat and what to do while in franz josef. i was amazed by NZ government. back in st. moritz, the receptionist handed us the city map and pointed "must visit" places. here in franz josef, the manager also handed us the map of franz josef. behind it, it was the map of fox. and i saw the map not only in our villa, but also every public place in franz josef. so i guess it must be the government.

we had lunch at speight's landing bar. i ordered pasta carbonara and my hubby ordered steak. but he didn't like the sauce. the steak was better than flame's though. and then we went on the helicopter ride. first, we couldn't see very clear since we were on the back seat. but then we landed on snow. we took pictures, played snow for a while, and then came the snowfall!! yeyyy.. finally.. then we had to ride up again to fox glacier and back to franz josef. this time, the pilot told us to ride in front. YIPEE!! but my hubby was frightened. hahaha..

for dinner, we went to alice mays. the food was warm and delicious. very comforting on rainy day. yep, it was raining again, so we went back after having dinner. the next morning, we took a small walk, a climbing one to the viewpoint of the glacier. took some pictures and then went to greymouth to catch the train to christchurch.

at greymouth, we were confused by where the rental car office was, but we found it right on time. when the train arrived, we were just checked in. fiuh. i was disappointed though. i thought the train would be all luxury and new. turned out it almost looked like the one in surabaya. hahaha.. but it was cleaner. and we were already exhausted, so i didn't take any pictures on that train. plus it was raining again, a bit. it was late when we arrived at christchurch. we had to call for taxi to go to airport hotel. and when we arrived at the hotel, we were hungry and cold. and tired. and it was the end of our holiday. the next morning, we had to wake up very very early to go to the airport. thank God it was 15 minutes away. and we went back to singapore.. here comes the end of our holiday.. (well.. almost)

NZ #4-5

it was still dawn when we had to wake up and have breakfast before we got picked up. we rushed during breakfast, but still.. indonesian people were always late, hahaa.. we were the last one to go inside the cab that picked us up to go to the real journey's office. we were waiting there for the bus driver came and picked us up again to go to another stop. since we were going to doubtful sound, we had to stop by in the middle of the road to be picked up again by another bus driver. the bus that departed from queenstown was going to milford sound. since it was dark, we slept again.. though actually the view was nice. but too bad, it was too dark to be enjoyed. another bad news was the other bus driver was late, so i was a little worried about this trip, since it would be another 4 hours on boat.

but he was just late a little bit. fiuh.. then we arrived at lake manapouri to start our journey. the lake was so big that i thought it was doubtful sound already. what important from that lake was due to its size, the new zealand government decided to use the water power to provide electricity. so they built generator, hidden behind the mountain to produce electricity.

after went across lake manopouri, we waited for another bus to take us to doubtful sound. the bus driver told us that the area had the most rainy days in the world. it rained when we first started the tour, but once we've come closer to doubtful sound, the rain has stopped. amazing! everywhere we go, everybody told us that the weather was nice this season, a mild winter. it's like God answered my prayer to give us a good weather. i've already suffered for leaving matthew behind, so i wanted the good weather to enjoy this vacation. and He did listen to my prayer..

okay, back to the tour. the bus driver stopped by for a moment at the viewpoint, so we could see doubtful sound in front of us, down below. and it was amazing, a little bit mystical due to the mist, but it was amazing.. it was named doubtful sound by captain cook since he was doubtful that he could exit again if he entered the doubtful sound. then, the bus stopped at the bay, and we went on by boat again. everywhere we saw was amazing. every head turn made us go "awww..." it was amazing indeed. since the weather was nice, the captain drove closer to tasman sea, where there was a small, remote island, inhabited by seals. they were cute... along the way, there were penguins, the blue penguin, but since they were small, i couldn't capture them well. all the view and the seals were okay, but the feeling of being on a boat moved against the sea wave was not okay. i felt sick. yuck. but thankfully, not until seasick.

then we turned around. and the captain drove us to some turn and then stop the motor boat and suggested us to stop taking picture and enjoy the moment. enjoy the sound of nature, which was very rare to be enjoyed since people so addicted to technology (yeah.. couldn't live without internet..) and then, everyone was exhausted so no one taking pictures anymore on our way back home. oh yeah, we stopped by the underground post, where the generator was built, inside the mountain, and heard a little explanation about it, the history and stuff. and on our bus back to queenstown, i accidentally looked up to the sky and there were stars! bright and shining stars! the one that we should see back in mount cook. i was amazed. the stars were so bright that i thought i wasn't real.

and we ended the day, almost starving.. since my hubby wanted to eat chinese, but unfortunately the place was fully booked by indonesian tour, and we had no idea where else to go. but then as we walked around, i saw a japanese restaurant, mentioned by our bus driver earlier. he recommended a lot of places to go if we wanted to do culinary tour, and it did help!

the next day was our last day in queenstown, we wanted to enjoy it as much as we could but not too much till exhausted, so we decided to change plan. first we wanted to do ski, but we changed to culinary tour. hahaha.. we asked the receptionist to booked us on gondola ride and buffet lunch at skyline restaurant then dinner in Flame, a grill and steak restaurant recommended by the other receptionist.

so after breakfast, we walked around the mall to buy souvenirs and eat ice cream (finally!). then we went to ride gondola. the view from the viewing deck was nice. then we enjoyed the lunch buffet. the salad was nice. i even went for second round. hahaha.. by the time to enjoy desert, i was too full so i just sampled everything. i wanted to try "western" desert, so no way i passed creme brule, chocolate mousse and stuff. i actually wanted the ice cream for takeaway, but my hubby doubt it. so, i had to pass it. hiks.

then we enjoyed a relaxing hot pool at onsen, before heading back to hotel. actually i wanted to play ice skating before dinner, but my hubby didn't want to do any sport, so we just walked around the mall again, and headed early at the restaurant. the food at flame was another okay. we ordered the frill platter for two, and turned out the only delicious one was the rib. oh, and the chicken wing, since they were both seasoned by the same sauce. the lamb and the steak was dry. yuck.  and our last day at queenstown came to an end.

Friday, August 24, 2012

NZ #2-3

the trip to mount cook was AWESOME.. the scenery along the way was breathtaking. the mountain with its top covered in snow, the clear blue sky (yep, it's like what the people in the lodge has said, if it's raining in christchurch, it will be good weather  in mount cook). we should've rushed since we were planning to stop by the salmon farm first, but the scenery seduced us to stop multiple times to take pictures and to enjoy the view. we stopped by at lake tekapo which was marvelous. the mist had gone, so we had the clear view of the lake. then we went on to the salmon farm. too bad at that time, they were having maintenance, so they didn't have the tour around the farm. we only stopped there to buy some salmon and to eat lunch.

then we went on, driving along the lake tekapo and then along the lake pukaki, heading toward mount cook. the view was also marvelous. when we arrived at our hotel in mount cook, it was a perfect place to stay. the hotel was surrounded by the mountain, and from our room, we could see mount cook. in our hotel there was a museum and planetarium, dedicated to sir edmund hillary, the mount everest's climber. actually, we planned to go on a glacier tour and stargazing, but unfortunately, both of them are not available at the moment. so we just spent the afternoon watching 3D movie and walking around the hotel and taking pictures. the next morning, after breakfast, we went on tasman valley tour. we went to the top of tasman valley to see the glacier. our tour guide was funny. he told us that population in mount cook during low season was only 100. but in peak season, it was 200 people. the kindergarten there, 1 teacher and 5 kiddies.. wakkaka.. what a small village. he even joked that everybody knows everybody there. and then he made it clear by waving to some villagers passing us by.

halfway toward the top was spent riding the argo, which was like a 4WD, but this one had 8 wheels. our guide drove like a mad cowboy.. with all the yeeha and stuff.. hahaha.. he was funny indeed. then, we had to climb to the top. fiuh.. it was hard work alright, since i haven't had an exercise again since i was 7th month pregnant, and now my boy is almost 3 months.. wew.. but we managed to get on top. the view? breathtaking.. he told us that the glacier shrunk quickly. 6 years ago, it was in the middle of the lake. now, it was only 1/4 of it. talking about global warming. i hope we could visit it again with the whole family before it melt completely.

after that, we were back on the road again. this time to queenstown. the scenery was not as great as before, since there were no green grass and stuff. but, we did have a wonderful lunch. we stopped by at this small town called twizel, and trusted tripadvisor for guiding us to this cafe called poppies. and they do served delicious food for a small town. the salad was deliciousss.. even me who never eat salad, ate them all.. hahhaa..

our first night at queenstown? we spent it an hour waiting to get the famous fergburger. we didn't know which one to order since many people had their own different taste. so we ordered the big al and rib eye. the big al was okay, but it was toooo big so both of us couldn't finish it. the rib eye was yuck, not gonna buy it again. and then we went to rest since tomorrow will be a long trip to doubtful sound.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

NZ #1

it was a long flight from singapore to auckland. and then waited for 3 hours before heading to christchurch. i was exhausted since i couldn't sleep well on plane. and it was freezing cold when we arrived in auckland. pretty drastic weather changing since singapore which was humid and hot. and i almost fell asleep while i was pumping in the nursery room in the airport. and the auckland airport, although it was an international airport, it was quite small compared to beijing's. well.. compared to asian airport like beijing and thailand (bangkok). the domestic airport was even smaller. just like juanda. hahaha..

after a long and tiring flight, we were welcomed by the heavy rain in christchurch. hiks.. i was disappointed at first. please... not the bad weather.. it was winter already (which i hate), plus now it was raining. the first agenda was getting our rental car and then finding our hotel. the people here in new zealand had funny way to say some words, which confused us at first. but we understood them at the end. the people were quite nice, compared to those in europe (same caucasian..). and it was amusing, finding out that only 2 people running our first lodge. they both were nice. and very informative. they asked us what our plans and told us where to get dinner or breakfast. there were also list on the board about important things like supermarket, malls and of course, restaurants, cafe and bars.

we had our first dinner in st. germaine. an example of french cuisine. the place was dark and quiet. the food was okay. but it was oh-kay, not great. but we were glad we had warm food for rainy night. and we headed back to our lodge to get some sleep. oh.. we also shopped some groceries since we could cook at our lodge. we didn't buy our breakfast, and cooked it instead to save some money. that morning we had to take off to mount cook.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"dadakan" trip

My husband suggested that we should have a getaway holiday, away from our baby for a moment before i headed back to school. I know it's a little bit stressing for both of us, dealing with our new role as parents, so i agreed it. But i didn't expect that we will be going all the way to new zealand! Especially it's winter now .. Another winter trip for me .. Aiyaaa.. And it means we couldn't bring matthew along.. Hiks2.. But it's okay, we will bring him as soon as he's able to understand where we're going and what we do.. I will give u details if our trip day by day since it's impossible to type them all once.. So stay tune