Saturday, April 11, 2020

New Zealand

I can't believe our last family trip was Bali in 2015, which was before Mel and I went to NZ and Ireland respectively to pursue further studies. Now, we've both graduated and started work! I hope mum and dad are proud of us :) The main agenda of our trip was to attend Mel's graduation~

I had to take 12 days of unpaid leave for this trip and initially, it was difficult. I had to write a letter to the program co-ordinator and cc-ed to my head of department and CEO of hospital. Thankfully, the leave was granted!
Outside of Albany mall with baby sis

This is so good!!! One jar is about NZD $7, but so worth it?! 

Too sweet for my liking but the chocolate milk was really fresh & rich~ Whittakers is NZ's famous chocolate. I ended up buying every single of their premium flavours for J & myself to try during our Thai trip in May

We stayed at an apartment in Takapuna (Takapuna International Motor Lodge) as it was nearer to my sister's graduation venue. 

Baby sis finally graduated :') she also secured a job in New Zealand. We're all very proud of you, Mel!!

Mel's graduation dinner at Gao Asian Fusion Restaurant
Generous portions. Loved the deep fried boneless crab - authentic and juicy meat. 

We then had another celebration with S's family members, our relatives, Mel's colleagues and friends at Mama Loco. They're so sweet to print out & decorate the tables for them. 

Congratulations guys!

Food was delicious & we all enjoyed ourselves

My contact lens was torn on that day. I was very upset as I had to wear glasses! Apparently, NZ wouldn't allow me to buy any contacts as well, without a prescription!! Such a hassle to get an appointment with an optometrist for a contacts. Thankfully, I managed to get those daily contacts ones at the end. Lesson learnt to bring at least a spare pair for my next travel trip!!

The next day, we flew from Auckland to Christchurch. The flight took approximately an hour to reach. We checked into our AirBnB. Such a lovely place ~

Lunch at Mumbaiwala
Cauliflower manchurian || NZD $18
Non-veg sampler (Sev Puri, Dabei, Mumbai Chicken) || NZD $20
Sali Boti: Parsi slow cooked lamb curry with tomatoes, onion, jaggery and vinegar || NZD $16
Murg Makhani: Tender & smoky chicken pieces in rich silk sauce with fresh tomatoes & sundried fenugreek || NZD $16
Mug Karahi: Rich flavoursome curry with crushed tomato, capsicum & green chillies in thick masala sauce || NZD $16
Garlic naan x 2 || NZD $8

Up till date, Mumbaiwala has the best manchurian cauliflower that I've tasted!!

Christchurch cathedral
There's also a cardboard cathedral which the community worships since 2013

Lake Tekapo
Blessed with good weather when we visited Lake Tekapo. Absolutely stunning views. All photos are raw; no edits/filters at all.

Church of Good Shepherd - the most photographed church in New Zealand?

Beautiful sunset at Lake Tekapo. No filter needed!!

Mel & Scott detoured a bit so that I could take a photo of Mt cook at the background. We didn't actually hike or walk into the Aoraki National Park because that would take another 2-3 hours. Thank you guys for detouring (the detour took another 1-2 hours to reach!) just because I don't want to have any regrets during this trip! Eternally grateful <3

Finally got my shot of jumping in the middle of the road xD Thanks for accommodating me hehe

Continuing our journey to Queenstown, which we chose as a base for the next 3 days. We would go for day trips to other parts in the South instead of changing accommodation daily. 

Erik's Fish & Chips
We had chicken tenders (NZD $6), calamari rings (NZD $8.50), and blue cod (NZD $9.99)

Coronet Peak
Commercial ski field in Queenstown; it was drizzling that day so we took a quick photo and left

We also went to zip-line at AJ Hackett Queenstown. Your NZ experience wouldn't be complete without these adrenaline-rushing activities! Scott went for the bungee jumping, but Mel and myself went for zip-line only xD Maybe on my next trip, I'll have more courage to do so :) 

Skyline Queenstown

It was freezing; you could probably tell from the colour of our hands. My fingers were all numb!

My first ever Luge experience! We actually rode the Gondola to reach the top. Thank you Mel & Scott for treating us :)
Gondola, dinner at Stratosfare Restaurant & Bar + 5 luge rides costed NZD $148 pp. Without the luge rides, just gondola & dinner costed NZD $99 ($124 for premium dinning which includes cocktail/soft drink/beer). The food & ambience were great. 100% would recommend :)

Milford Sound
Probably my favourite attraction in this NZ trip! It's within Fiordland National Park, and is a must visit in NZ!! We went on a cruise, which thankfully the waves weren't strong (as I have sea sickness). Every corner is a IG worthy photospot. This actually reminded me of my Norway trip :) Good times.

Back from Milford Sound, we had our dinner at Queenstown:

The queue in FergBurger was ridiculous. We queued nearly 1 hour++ for the burgers. I went to search about the hype..and apparently, they said it's the best burger in the whole world? Hmmm..perhaps we ordered the wrong menu. Apparently their lamb burgers are famous (which we didn't order). The burgers were good, but I wouldn't classify them as world's best. 

Ferg Deluxe (NZD $15.50)
Prime New Zealand beef, streaky bacon, Cheddar cheese, sweet dill pickle, lettuce, tomato, red onion, aioli & tomato relish

Bombay Chicken (NZD $14.40)
Grilled chicken tenderloins marinated in chilli, ginger & coriander yogurt, cucumber riata, lettuce, tomato, red onion, aioli & mango chutney. 

A lovely village with rich culture, famous for gold panning, which I've tried! heheh 
I've only went for the tutorial just to have a feel of gold panning. They even provide me with a small certificate of completion, and the gold dust to bring home for memento. The guide told us that someone once panned a gold piece that's worth $10k! It was too cold, and too time consuming to pan the gold, so we didn't pursue..but it would be a great family activity. 


Wanaka Tree
The most photographed tree in New Zealand. What's so special? It's the lone tree of Lake Wanaka. Some people say it symbolises hope. 

We stopped by at Cromwell town & pitstop at Roaring Meg for photos.

Famous for camping/tramping, also the famous tourist site known for local scenery shoot in Narnia, Prince Caspian, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Lord of the ring: Fellowship of the Ring!!

Cookie Monster!!!

Heading back towards Christchurch, we stopped by Lake Tekapo again. The BnB is my favourite throughout this trip!! It's so pretty. The design is very modern, and I love the huge windows. 

Went to Tekapo Hot Springs. It's NZD $30 per person. Grandma and my parents enjoyed it. Such a pleasant feeling to soak in hot waters in a cold night. Tekapo Springs is also famous for ice skating, and star gazing.

Back to Christchurch, sis surprised us to an authentic Haka performance. As grandma and myself  has never seen a Haka performance before, and we sort of mentioned how great it would be if we could have a feel of it to complete our NZ trip..then Mel unknowingly booked for us. So touched :'( Our experience at Ko Tāne Living Maori Village @ Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. It included a traditional Māori powhiri (welcome) that takes in the wero (warrior challenge) and hongi (pressing of noses between chief and visitor). After we entered the village, we had interactive experiences where we were shown the tools and skills of Māori hunter, games that Maori played, traditional instruments used to communicate with his gods, and his cooking techniques. Then, we were entertained with a 45 minutes kapahaka performance. I even went up to the stage to have a short interactive session with them (which I couldn't follow them at all; the pace was so fast!). The whole experience would be complete with hāngī dinner, but our package did not include it. The Ko Tāne experience costed about NZD $65 per pax, while it'll be NZD $135 with the 4-course hāngī dinner.

25th April is Anzac Day -- a national day of remembrance in Australia & New Zealand that commemorates all Kiwis and Aussies who served and contributed during the First World War. We got to view the Anzac Day marching at Akaroa, a french town 84km from Christchurch.
Akaroa lighthouse

Our last stop -- back to Auckland :) We stayed over at our relative's place. They have a mini garden where they planted vegetables and fruits. 

The award winning pie from Patrick's Pie. Dad's cousin went for camping with her family & got us these pies from Rotorua on their way back. They're really good!!

Home baked blueberry muffins

Movenpick ice cream @ Mission Bay

Cockles picking @ Okoromai Bay 
My first cockles picking experience. I truly enjoyed experiences like these. Doing something spontaneous, and had a warm homely dinner after that. My dad's cousin in law is also a very adventurous person. He goes to spearfishing and diving for abalone. We had the abalone that he picked for dinner. 

Our love-hate relationship :p
But always grateful for this little one, who's more matured than her age, and who's always there having my back.

Thanks for everything 
Looking forward to our next family trip!

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