The idea of traveling to New Zealand was started roughly one year before the journey embark. At one late night, we saw a promotion from Air Asia and impulsively bought the tickets without having profound thought and later just fell asleep. It was quite an impromptu decision and considered a new thing for us as we never travel that far before.
No plan was in the picture until 2 months before the departure. We made a detail of planning to avoid any problem during our journey and ultimately to save the cost. Basically, our interest is more to the beauty of the natural environment, lifestyle and culture of a place. Our journey to New Zealand involved North and South Islands for 15 days. We were more laid back during traveling and hopefully this sharing will help you to plan for your itinerary or the least, would inspire you to consider to travel to the beautiful country called New Zealand or Aotearoa in Māori. You will feel warm Manaakitanga from their people once you reached there.
5th AUGUST 2017
Our journey started as we board a flight to Auckland with transit at Gold Coast. It took 8 hours to reach Coolangatta Airport, Gold Coast and the transit was very short. Just 45 minutes of transit. Hence, didn’t have much time to wander around. Gold Coast was sunny but cold for Malaysian like me… haha.. which was about 9oC. The strong wind blow made it worse.
Then, it took 3 hour flight from Gold Coast to Auckland. The journey was smooth without any turbulent as I slept most of the time and kept my stomach full with onboard Santan meal from AirAsia. I survived!!! I really enjoyed Nasi Lemak Pak Nasser and Teh Tarik everytime. Typical Malaysian.
6th AUGUST 2017
Once we reached Auckland International Airport, we took Skybus which is operating for two main routes which are Auckland City Express and North Harbour Express. You must take Auckland City Express in order to go to CBD Auckland. You may buy the tickets online or just buy at booths that are located outside of international and domestic terminals.
Journey to our accommodation which is Princeton Apartment at Symonds Street take about 30 minutes and the fare is NZD18/MYR52.
The price for one night is RM 189/NZD66 including 15% GST. It is Double Bedroom in Shared Apartment. For a traveler who is on a limited budget but still wants comfort, this is the best choice as you still have the privacy as you are staying in your own room. We just shared the kitchen and shower which we didn’t use it much. It was so cold.. haha… We were very lucky as the view of our room was awesome as it was facing
This area is actually located near The University of Auckland. The eateries including halal restaurants are aplenty and it just in walking distance. One of our favourites is Mamak Malaysian Restaurant at Chancery Street. It offers a wide range of delectable menu of Malaysia.
7th AUGUST 2017
We plan to have a different way to enjoy the North Island. Hence, we took Northern Explorer Train to explore the North Island. It is a long-distance train and one of the scenic trains operated by The Great Journeys of New Zealand. This train will embark the journey at Auckland Strand and end at Wellington Railway Station at Pipitea. The journey is long which is 681km, which depart at 7.45 am and reach Wellington at 6.25 pm. The fare as for me is quite expensive which is RM490/NZD172 but we were very keen to try this train. There are only 3 services per week for each direction which are on Monday, Thursday
The train is made with wide glass window and roof for you to enjoy the
Having mentioned that, you may go to the front section of the train where you can enjoy the nature directly as it has
The passenger will be informed about the features and history of the areas from time to time through headphones. It is so informative. You will go through Tongariro National Park, with its three spectacular volcanic mountains which are Tongariro, Ngāuruhoe
There are a lot of facilities in the train and the one that I really love is the cafe. You may indulge a variety of food and beverages while enjoying the spectacular view.
The Great Journeys of New Zealand offers 2 other journeys by train which are Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine. If you have more time in New Zealand, please try for all ok! I will be back to NZ for these routes for sure. The journey from Auckland to Wellington is awesome and priceless. No regret spending over the ticket.
After 11 hours of journey, we reached Wellington Railway Station and from there, we walked to our hostel which was Lodge In The City, Taranaki Street. The hostel is good for budget traveler as the price is reasonable. Other than that, it is located not far from Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand. We didn’t have enough time to explore the museum as we need to catch up the early ferry to South Island on the next day.
We had our dinner at Malaysian restaurant named Istana Malaysia at Allen Street own by Malaysian who have resided in Wellington for more than 20 years. The food and treatment from the owner were very good and fully recommended. This is a must when you are traveling to Wellington. The rating garnered at TripAdvisor is excellent. Check it out.
8th AUGUST 2017
We woke up early to catch Interislander ferry that connects North Island at Wellington and South Island at Picton. The journey takes 3.5 hours. This is the most exciting cruise that I have ever taken as the scenery along Cook Straits, Marlborough Sound and Queen Charlotte Sound is epic. Even though it was raining, stubborn me, still wandering at the deck to take pictures and videos. The ferry runs 5 times every day with the earliest trip from Wellington to Picton is at 9.00 am and the last trip is at 3.30 pm. The fare is RM186/NZD 65 for
The other ferry operator that you may consider is Bluebridge Ferry. Please make sure your phone and camera are fully charged as you would regret if you missed all the beautiful scenery. Because I did. I will come back to board this ferry yet again!
We reached Picton at 12.30 pm. Our backpacker hostel is very near to the Pier and we just go there on foot. It just a stone’s throw. We stayed at The Fat Cod Backpackers. I think this is the best backpacker hostel that I ever stayed. It is simple yet very comfortable as it has a lot of facilities. I really recommend this hostel as you feel like home but with beautiful scenery.
Since it was raining and the weather was cold, we could not do much to explore the area.
Anyhow, since we were very stubborn, we still strolling around by foot exploring the vicinity place. There are two museums at the area that you can explore which are Edwin Fox Museum and Picton Community Museum.
The area was so tranquil and somehow, I wish I can stay here and no need to go back to KL. Haha.
9th AUGUST 2017
We are going to Christchurch today. We took InterCity bus for 500 km journey and took almost 7 hours. For information, I have been always checking the fare from time to time as I was informed that they sometimes offer very low price for the fare. It was my luck that I managed to get the fare for NZD1 only for this 7 hours journey. For that 7 hours, yet again we enjoyed the beautiful scenery of New Zealand. The panorama was breathtaking and it’s hard to describe. You have to experience it.
Half way on the journey, we stop at Alpine Motor Inn and Café. It was a good small café with a variety of food. But since there was no halal food, we just bought chocolate and ice cream for our lunch. Haha
After 7 hours of journey, we finally reached Christchurch Bus Interchange at Lichfield St. It is a new bus terminal opened in 2015 after the 2011’s devastating earthquake. From there, we took Uber to go to Jucy Centre at Christchurch International Airport which we took our campervan there.
There are many companies that offer vehicle rental service and after doing some extensive research on
10th AUGUST 2017
We only had half of the day to explore Christchurch and of course, it didn’t enough. We went to Christchurch Gondola at Heathcote Valley. Actually, we bought this ticket by package together with punting at the Avon River. The package is RM146/NZD51. You can buy it at www.christchurchattractions.nz You may enjoy the spectacular 3600 views of Christchurch during gondola ride and at the peak station.
You can enjoy the view while sipping coffee at Red Rock Café. Don’t forget to buy souvenir coin of Christchurch from vending machine at the entrance. You surely will regret not buying it once you got back home. Coz, I do. Whoever going to Christchurch gondola, please buy for me. I will pay it for double.
There are several interesting activities that you may enjoy at Christchurch from www.christchurchattractions.nz. Please do check out. I wish I have more time to explore Christchurch.
Since we had
Fairlie is a small town which is located 180km from Christchurch and take 2 ½ hours to reach there. We chose Fairlie as our stop as it is the nearest town from Lake Tekapo with good amenities. We started our journey quite late which was already dark but it was worth it because we had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful sky with the constellation of stars along the way. I never see so many stars in one time before, back in Malaysia or other places that I have visited and that is why New Zealand, particularly at South Island, is well known for stargazing activity. We reached Fairlie very late and it was almost 1 am. We suppose to stay at Fairlie Holiday Park but since it is already late, we decided to park
11th AUGUST 2017
In the early morning, we continued our journey to Lake Tekapo. Lake Tekapo is a town that takes the name of Lake Tekapo that located in Mackenzie District, Canterbury.
The view is breathtaking as it is surrounded by snowy southern Alps and the colour of the water is turquoise blue which set it apart with other lakes. It has such a beautiful colour due to the glacial flour, the extremely fine ground rock particles from the glaciers.
The lake is also well known for its Lupin flower. You can only see Lupin flower from spring to summer (September to February). Since we went during winter time, there was no even single Lupin spotted. Too bad. Its ok, we will come again..haha..
There is also a building that become a landmark for Lake Tekapo which is Church of the Good Shepherd. You must not miss taking photos of the church with Lake Tekapo as background. This is a must if you plan to visit there.
Apart from that, you can enjoy the beauty of the sky by stargazing at Lake Tekapo which is regarded as one of the largest Dark Sky Reserve where stars run riot. You will be amazed. As I mentioned before, I never see so many stars before till I reached Mackenzie district. There are a lot of other attractions at Lake Tekapo and you may refer https://www.backpackerguide.nz/lake-tekapo-guide-backpackers/ for more info.
After spending more than 1 hours just for taking pictures, we continue our journey to Lake Pukaki. Lake Pukaki can be considered as the gateway to the highest point of New Zealand which is Mount Cook. The distance from Lake Tekapo is just 40 minutes which is around 60km.
The scenery is breathtaking. It was so beautiful as every corner is worth to snap for the photo. The colour of the lake is also turquoise similar to Lake Tekapo. We stop for countless time especially at the various lookout points to take photo as it was very alluring.
Then, we proceed to Aoraki Mount Cook Village which located at the northern part of Lake Pukaki. The road to the village is located along Lake Pukaki. Hence, while driving, you may enjoy the beautiful scenery along the lake. The distance is about 55 km which took around 45 minutes. You may stop at Peter’s Lookout at the halfway to take the majestic view of Lake Pukaki.
Once we reached Aoraki Mount Cook Village, we wandering around and decided to go to Hookers Valley.
Unfortunately, the weather didn’t permit and we had to cancel our plan. After spending about 1 hour there, we embark our journey to the beautiful city of Queenstown. Yeahhhh !!!
The journey took 3 hours and 15 minutes for about 264km. On the way to Queenstown, we traveled through Lindis Pass which offer great scenic view while driving. Having mentioned that, we were quite late and it was already dark. So, we missed the opportunity to enjoy the view. On the other note, the road is hilly and winding, so you have to be extra vigilant.
We made a quick stop at Tarras, a small area before resuming to Queenstown. After we made an extensive information gathering about
12th AUGUST 201
We start our day by driving to Glenorchy. Glenorchy is located at the northern part of Lake Wakatipu. It is about 45 minutes’ drive from Queenstown. The road journey is a total dream. It is a spectacular drive as you can see snow-capped peaks behind the turquoise lake. And I can guarantee that your journey will take more than normal 45 minutes as you will stop at so many spots as you don’t want to miss any chance to take photos of wonderful sceneries.
Having mentioned that, the road is narrow and curved and the local drives quite fast as they are familiar with the road. So, just pull over to let the car behind you pass through. It’s ok. Just enjoy your journey!
You must not miss taking photo at Glenorchy Wharf. It is a must for every visitor.
Glenorchy is surrounded by magnificent snow-capped mountains, lakes and rivers. It is so beautiful and my description here is underrated. You must come here to enjoy the panorama. Due to its beautiful scenery, it had become the location for the filming of Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia and X-Men.
Don’t forget to go to Mrs. Woolly’s General Store at Oban Street as you may get everything there from souvenir, fruits, food, clothes and local products. Please enjoy the coffee there.
If you have more time and want to enjoy Glenorchy from bird’s eye view, you may take the helicopter for sightseeing. The time spent at Glenorchy was so worth it is a must if you go to Otago. Please put in your itinerary!!!
13th AUGUST 2017
We went to Brecon St at Queenstown to enjoy the Queenstown Skyline which is a gondola ride to the top of the hill to enjoy the view of Queenstown surrounded by Coronet Peak, The Remarkables mountain range and Lake Wakatipu. The view is simply breathtaking.
You can enjoy the view while sipping hot tea at the peak which is available at the café.
After that, we enjoyed the Luge cart ride which is a cart that you
If you wanted to try bungee jumping, this is the suitable place as for me as it is less frightening compared to other places such as the famous Kawarau Bridge. In addition, the view from the ledge is super awesome, facing Frankton Arm of Wakatipu Lake.
14th AUGUST 2017
Today, we spend most of our time traveling to Milford Sound. The journey is about 300 km with 3 hours and 45 minutes. In the middle of our journey, we contemplated to divert our journey to other places as we still have sufficient time for Milford Sound. We had two places that we really wanted to go which are Dunedin and Invercargill.
After giving much thought, we went to the southernmost city of New Zealand which is Invercargill, the capital of Southland. The journey takes 2 hours and 15 minutes which is for about 190 km from Queenstown. We always looking for places that interesting and rare. Hence, we had decided to go to Slope Point. Slope Point is the southernmost point of the South Island of New Zealand. The road towards the area is narrow and there is no road towards the signage of Slope Point. You have to go there on foot. Unluckily, our journey came to a halt when the road was closed for maintenance. We were so disappointed as we almost reached the area.
With a heavy heart, we just continue our day to Invercargill town. We had to skip Waipapa Point Lighthouse as it was quite late. Once we reached Invercargill town which was at 7 pm, most of the places were about to close. Hence, we just took photo from outside for few places. I guess today is not a good day for us.
After getting some food and rest, we started our journey to Milford Sound. It took 3 hours and 30 minutes for 274 km journey. It was so exhausting but we were really enjoyed the whole journey.
We planned to stop and camp at Te Anau before proceed to Milford Sound. We reached Te Anau at almost 12.00 am and struggling to look for campsite. There were several campsites in that area but it was so hard to find the suitable one because it was already late and very dark. We ended up change 2 times of campsite and settled at campsite beside Lake Gunn. What a relieve!
15th AUGUST 2017
We start our day very early as our ferry at Milford Sound is the first trip and we know that the road to Milford Sound is very hilly and will take time to reach there. The journey from Lake Gunn to Milford Sounds was amazing as you may enjoy the breath-taking scenery along the way. We stop for few spots to take photos. After 45 minutes’ drive, we reached the majestic Milford Sound.
Milford Sound is a fiord that located in Fiordland National Park, Piopiotahi Marine Reserve and Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site. The Maori called this area as piopiotahi after the thrush-like piopio bird. English journalist, Rudyard Kipling regarded Milford Sound as 8th Wonder of The World.
Btw, our ferry is waiting for us at the pier. The tour takes about 2 hours depending on the weather. Similar to campervan, we also put a profound thought on the selection of cruise and after a deep thought on this, we have decided to choose Jucy for our cruise. The main reason is due to incentive given by Jucy which is if we book campervan from Jucy, driver will get 50% off for cruise and it is definitely a great saving. The fare for classic cruise is RM129/NZD45.
The boat has multiples deck and plenty of seating, hence you may run to all decks to take photos of beautiful scenery. You can enjoy the free beverage on the deck as well.
The captain will always tell the story and features of each spot that we go. It is so informative. One of the best moment is when the skipper will go very near to one of the waterfalls and everyone will get wet.. haha..You must bring your raincoat so that you won’t be drenched.
The prominent features of Milford Sound are Lady Bowen Falls and Mitre Peak. We were so lucky as the weather was good and we had the chance to enjoy the view.
We even had the chance to watch dolphin playing around. What a great day!
Our timing was so good as once we reached the dock, it was raining heavily. After we have done with the cruise, we start our journey back to Te Anau. It was a nice drive from Milford Sound to Te Anau as the view was awesome.
At the halfway to Te Anau, we stop for a while at Mirror Lakes. It is a small lake with Earl mountains as a background. You may see the reflection of the mountains at the lake. So, it was aptly named Mirror Lakes.
After driving about 45 minutes, we finally arrived at Te Anau. It’s known as a gateway to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. Lake Te Anau is the largest lake in the South Island and second largest in New Zealand. It is complemented with Mount Luxmore and Mount Murchison at the background.
Te Anau is a gateway to Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound and it is famous for its tracking trails such as Milford Track, Kepler Track and Routeburn Track. If you opt for leisure activity, you may just relax and chill around Lake Te Anau. The view is so beautiful. We just spend about one hour there to explore the town of Te Anau. Then, we get back to Arrowtown.
16th AUGUST 2017
Today, we just wandering around Queenstown and Arrowtown. We decided just have a laid-back day to really enjoy the serenity of Queenstown and Arrowtown. We were strolling and enjoying the view of Lake Wakatipu and Frankton Arm. We also had a taste of renowned cookies at Cookie Time, New Zealand’s favourite cookie. Cookie Time is a family-owned company established in 1983 at Christchurch.
Their delicious cookies were rapidly loved by Kiwis and now has well known all over the world. You may find a delectable range of cookies and beverages at their premises and you may enjoy taking photos of their shop that is so colourful and insta-worthy.
If you have ample time, you may visit Cookie Time Factory Shop at Templeton, Christchurch.
Then, we went to DF Souvenirs for NZ souvenirs. We have made an extensive research on the souvenir shop and we found that this is one of the cheapest and reasonable shop with variety of choices. It is strategically located at Mall Street and you may easily find the shop. I spent almost 1 hour there and end up with total spending of NZD 250. I try not to state in Ringgit Malaysia here because it is excruciating..haha Having mentioned that, it is so worth it.
One of the famous things in Queenstown is Fergburger. It offers about 20 variants of burger and please bring your chair and bottle drinks as you need to queue up about an hour to get your order. This place has been covered by many articles and this is one of the best.
Then, we wandering around Arrowtown and one of the must-stop is Patagonia Chocolates. It has
It has 5 stores at the moment which are located at Arrowtown, Queenstown and Wanaka.
Then, we went to Lake Hayes which is located just beside Arrowtown. Lake Hayes is a small lake that attracts runners and cyclists to enjoy the beauty of the area.
It was so tranquil with geese playing around. It was so serene relaxing at Lake Hayes. What a day!
17th AUGUST 2017
Today, before we took our flight to Auckland, we relinquished our last 10 days home aka the sexy Jucy campervan at Jucy office just adjacent to Queenstown Airport. The process was very quick, they just check the condition of the van and took the key. Voila!!! Its done.
The Queenstown Airport is a very good and convenience. It has a single terminal for both domestic and international flights. This airport considered small but due to its size, I feel it convenient and relaxing. The terminal consists of
Once we reached Auckland Airport, we took SkyBus to go to our accommodation which is Colombia Apartment at Symonds Street. You may buy your ticket online or just go to the SkyBus booth located outside of the domestic and international terminals. Colombia Apartment is similar to Princeton Apartment that we stayed during our first day at Auckland but it was a little bit under-maintained. Having mentioned that, it was still a good place to stay. Like Princeton Apartment, it is located near main attractions at Auckland. You can just go to Queens Street on foot. Plenty of food
18th AUGUST 2017
Today, we just touring around Auckland CBD for sightseeing and shopping. We went to Queens Street that is well known for shopping place. It is quite a long road starting from Queen Wharf at north and Karanghape Road at South and named after Queen Victoria. You may find plenty of things at Queens Street form food, souvenirs, clothes, electronics and many more. The prominent landmark at Queens Street is Auckland Town Hall. Off course, your eyes will catch the highest structure in Auckland which is Sky Tower.
Sky Tower is a telecommunication tower with
Then, we went to Queens Wharf to take ferry to Devonport. The journey by ferry was so fun as the wind blow was chilling and you may enjoy the skyline of Auckland.
Devonport is a quaint town which offers a variety of items and services like cafes, restaurant, antique, gift and bookshops. Devonport is regarded as one of the prettiest villages in Auckland.
We even bought books at Bookmark Secondhand Books. It is a nice place to chill and hunt for books.
We also head up to Mount Victoria and the best thing is you can see skyline of Auckland and Rangitoto Island. You may find a lot of red big mushroom on Mount Victoria and fret not, it is vents for water pumping station.
19th AUGUST 2017
It’s time to go back to reality. It’s time to leave New Zealand. We took SkyBus from Auckland CBD to Auckland Airport. You can take the bus from SkyBus City Lounge at 396, Queen Street. You can relax over there while waiting for your bus. The screening and immigration process at Auckland Airport was smooth and at 6.00 pm, we departed from Auckland and reached KLIA 12 hours later.
One thing that I would like to share is you will be infected with a disease that is difficult to cure once you get back home from New Zealand. You will be infected with ‘I miss New Zealand very much’ disease. Even less than a week, I have an urge to visit back New Zealand and at the moment, just manage to travel around New Zealand through Google Street View. It helps you a lot..haha.. This journey is one thing that I never regret despite the money spent as it is awesome and priceless. It is one of the best things ever.