Christchurch holds a lot of memories for me. I went to high school there when I was 15 and in a sense in was my first great escape. A stranger in a strange land with no parental supervision.

fuckyeah

I did my first tattoo there, my first piercing there (on my septum), and experienced a lot new and wonderful things. I daresay it’s the one of the best times of my adolescent life. I’ve been back a couple of times and have never completely done all the things and seen all the sights the country has to offer.

However, if pressed, I would say that these are the top five things to do in NZ:

1. Do Dunedin

penguins

It’s home to Otago University and the place is actually pronounced dun-nee-dern. It is also close to the southernmost tip of the South Island of New Zealand so you can see yellow eyed penguins and seal colonies.

steepest road

Dunedin is also home to the steepest residential road in the world.

baldwin street

I swear you have to put a brick under your car when you park on Baldwin Street.

2. Go glacier hiking

glacial hike

New Zealand is one of the few places in the world where you can do this. It’s a wonderful experience walking on a large body of ice that has been slowly building for centuries. I personally recommend Franz Josef Glacier over Fox Glacier. I’ve been to both and the ice falls at the former are more sublime. Bring your cold weather gear or you can rent it at the counter.

3. Relax in Rotorua

nz rotorua

You just gotta love the smell of sulfur in the morning. It starts as soon as you reach the fridges of Rotorua – that rotten egg smell that assaults your olfactory senses. However, you get used to it after a while and you’ll be raring to hit the various natural hot pools around this volcanically active area.

rotorua

Note that some of the pools have insane temperatures like 52 degrees Celsius. The first time I was there, I was only 13 (first landing for a NZ permanent resident visa) so I wasn’t allowed into those pools. There are signs posted all over and it took me a while to figure out why – the scalding temperatures might harm your still developing family jewels. Heh.

However, if you’re not a minor, there shouldn’t be a problem.

4. Try Bungy jumping

bungee jumpin

Hello nurse! I’m kidding, this is an extremely safe sport and where better than to do it at the home of commercial Bungy jumping – New Zealand! Yup, AJ Hackett popularized the sport back in the ’80s while jumping in Auckland. The term “bungy” is apparently Kiwi slang for “elastic strap”.

bungee jumping

Check out the world’s first permanent commercial bungy site at Kawarau Bridge Bungy in Queenstown.

5. Go Punakaiki

pancake rocks

No, I wasn’t swearing at you. Punakaiki skirts the Paparoa National Park and it’s main claim to fame are the Pancake Rocks. The Pancake Rocks at Dolomite Point is a marvel of nature. I was quite impressed the first time I was there.

blowhole

There are also blowholes during high tide where you can see the sea surge explode vertically from the underground caves.

Feel like having an awesome vacation there? AirAsia X is running a contest where you can win a trip of a lifetime to New Zealand!

You can choose the type of traveler you are:

aax

and create a team of 4 like-minded people or just go solo.

It’s all done through Facebook so you can pick 3 buddies to have a go at the game – more people, more brains, more fun. Or just go at it solo if you’re the independent type and prefers relying on your own (vastly superior, or so you think) skills.

The online games and trivia will start on 8th December so sign up now at The Great NZ X-Cape. There are NZ trips to be won for both teams and individuals so let’s see how good everyone is. Come join the contest and win the trip of your dreams! ;)

nz milford sound

I went to New Zealand last year and traveled around the place. New Zealand is beautiful during summer. I reckon summer is the best time to visit NZ – having lived there, I know how unforgiving the cold winters can be and the reduced amount of daylight is a bit of a turnoff.

mitre peak

Summer on the other hand has plenty of sunlight and warmth to go and do the things you love. The pointed Mitre Peak shown above is probably one of the most famous sights at Milford Sound.

milford sound

Milford Sound is a fjord that is probably NZ’s most popular tourist destination. The vista is truly breathtaking and the tips of the mountains are topped with permafrost…even in summer. Rudyard Kipling is said to have called it “the Eighth Wonder of the World”.

nz rotorua

Rotorua is one of my favorite places in New Zealand. I fell in love with it the first time I was there – about 17 years ago. The smell of sulfur that assaults your nostrils as soon as you get there is off-putting to some…but to me it smells like VACATION! :D

rotorua

(which it was)

fox glacier

Glaciers in summer?

glacial hike

Yes! It is in fact the only time you can do a glacier hike. Summer is the best time to hit Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier and walk about the place.

Franz Josef Glacier

It’s about 1-2 hours and an amazing experience for those who’s doing it for the first time. Imagine cooling off the summer heat with a nice visit to the glaciers. You can experience extreme hot and cold weathers – hell, almost four seasons, in just one trip. :)

milford

New Zealand is one of the those places that has something for everyone:

auckland quay

I can go out and hit the exclusive clubs at Auckland Quay with my friends and end the night by eating a sausage roll to soak up the excess beer…and wake up the next day to go bungee jumping.

quaint cafe

My sister can sit and have a long lunch at one of the quaint cafes.

lake tekapo

My mom can take a leisurely stroll along Lake Tekapo.

church good shepard

My dad can soak up history by visiting the Church of the Good Shepard.

yj house

New Zealand is such an awesome place that you won’t be able to glean even the surface of what it has to offer in a single trip. I’ve did my high school in Christchurch and I’m lucky enough to have a sister who lives in Auckland so I can crash at her house, eat her food and drive her car for free visit her to enhance family ties.

permafrost

However, it’s really not that expensive to visit New Zealand. The flights are very affordable with AirAsiaX. I also recommend staying at backpacker places and renting a car to drive around. Your license is valid in New Zealand. Begin your journey by surfing over to Pure Joy Summer 2011 where you can discover all the wonderful places you want to go.

nz rotorua pool

Fancy a dip in the Champagne Pool? smirk

o hai uncle

I love this pic taken while I was in my sister’s place in Auckland, NZ a few weeks ago. I was carrying my niece and kissing her while my dad looks on. My sister is a bit of a private person (she is my polar opposite) so I am applying mosaic on her daughter (though to what purpose I do not know since all babies look alike).

She smells nice. She has a milky scent and it still puts a smile on my face when I think about her. :)

frasers

Frasers Cafe is a rustic nook in the corner that’s very popular with the locals in Mt. Eden, Auckland. My sister is a huge fan of their breakfast and just before I was due to fly back to Malaysia, she brought me there to check it out.

frasers interior

It reminds me a lot of the little al fresco cafes in Melbourne, with pretty similar choices.

hot chocolate

I went for a nice bowl of hot chocolate with marshmallows on the side. I’m just decadent that way, bowls > mugs any day. ;)

Eggs Benedict with bacon

This is my Eggs Benedict with bacon (NZD 17.90). Just look at the poached egg – pregnant with possibilities (well, egg yolks at any rate), the juicy strips of bacon and the generous topping of warm Hollandaise sauce. It tasted marvelous, with the runny yolk and butter permeating every single bite.

French Toast served with fresh fruit and mixed berry maple compote

My dad went for the healthier option of French Toast served with fresh fruit and mixed berry maple compote (NZD 17.50). It comes with fresh fruits on the side and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. I thought this was pretty good too.

Pancake Stack with banana, crispy bacon, maple syrup and berry compote

This is the Pancake Stack with banana, crispy bacon, maple syrup and berry compote (NZD 17.90) that my sis had for breakfast. I think the home made blackberry and blueberry compote (Google says this means fruit stewed or cooked in syrup) is the best part about this dish. A dab of that on a piece of warm pancake with a slice of bacon tasted divine. Sweet and savory.

Frasers Omelette of potato, capsicum, tomato and mozzarella served with onion jam

Alvin had the more subdued Frasers Omelette of potato, capsicum, tomato and mozzarella served with onion jam (NZD 16.80). The omelet was good but what made this special is the “onion jam” which tasted sweet. Nice!

frasers cafe interior

Frasers is a nice place for a huge cooked breakfast. I recommend you sit inside during autumn so your food doesn’t get cold as soon as it’s served. It can be a bit packed, but service is quick and efficient.

eggs benedict

…now tell me this doesn’t look good. =D

pies

No, not poontang pie. The regular, good ol’ down under pies. I’ve been to PAKn’SAVE (which seems to have upstaged Countdown as the premier grocery shopping place in New Zealand) and sampled their wide variety of pies.

paknsave

Bacon and cheese with egg. Shepard’s pie. Pork and apple pie (my favorite – a contrast of sweet and sour, like life). It’s one of those things I’ve missed since I’ve came back from Aussie. A simple pie doused with ketchup on top.

jesters

One of the best places I’ve had pies during my previous week in Auckland is Jesters (who are really serious about pies). They have a wide range (including the pork and apple pie I was talking about – trust me, it tastes better than it sounds).

No, this has nothing to do with my fantasies of migrating to New Zealand with Jestina. *cough*

Empress Garden Restaurant

We went for a family dinner before my mom’s operation slated the next day. I wanted to bring her to a nice restaurant but my mom has very Chinese tastes and wanted to go to a Chinese restaurant.

peking duck

My sister recommended Empress Garden – it’s supposed to be the best Peking Duck place in Auckland (which isn’t saying much, trust me) and the sheer volume of patrons requires a reservation in advance. The place was packed!

duck feet

We had an entree of cold boneless duck feet. Tasty, and no pesky bones to get in the way of your enjoyment of animal foot fetish. ;)

peking duck dish

Anyway, about the Peking Duck, which is the headliner for this place, it’s prepared in the usual three-part procedure – the duck skin, the second phase (lots of options here) and the third dish (usually soup).

peking duck prep

I didn’t find the Peking Duck to be particularly authentic – it doesn’t only come with the skin but also some meat (!!!). How liddat?

peking duck eat

We had the sesame pockets for the second course – you put the minced duck meat cooked with chai bo and stuff it into warm pastries.

sesame pockets

Pretty good.

sesame seed filled

The third course is duck soup with vegetables and tofu.

peking duck soup

All three duck dishes comes from the Peking duck – utilized to the fullest, the bone is used to cook the soup.

duck soup

Obligatory dish of veggies – being not a fan of green things (except those you smoke instead of cook). I don’t know what it is, my mom ordered it.

veggies

Also, one last dish of Kung Pow pork. I have serious doubts about this. It looks more like sweet and sour pork instead of Kung Pow pork (no dried chillis) but they cook it with chilli oil instead.

kung pow chicken

The Peking Duck costs NZD 80 alone. The entire bill came up to about NZD 170 which is RM 387 – pretty cheap considering we couldn’t even finish it. >.<

Posted 1:56 PM NZ time

auckland me

Kia ora from down down under! I’m not in Aussie but in NZ – Auckland to be exact.

It’s not a vacation per se, gotta go to the hospital with me mum tomorrow but look on the bright side!

Que sera sera…whatever will be will be…the future’s not ours to see.

auckland nz

I love you mom.

Posted 9:29 PM NZ time.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
© 2002 - 2010 Poh Huai Bin Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha