Day 1 & 2 – Penang – KL – Gold Coast – Auckland
After some time of working, annual family trip has become part of our yearly activities. This trip has been planned since a year ago. All the information was gathered puzzle by puzzle, requested for any information from anyone who has been to New Zealand. Due to the long traveling journey in order to cover both north and south island, we have decided to travel around North Island. The extensive of traveling might not suitable for my kids and end up they enjoy nothing. Kids will not enjoy watching scenery but they enjoy playing at the playground or experience new creature. Immediately I saw the promotion price from the AirAsia.com, without consider much I had just confirm 4 tickets to and back New Zealand air ticket. My children have been counting months and days to go to New Zealand.
On 30 August 2017, we packed our bags waiting for UBER for the pickup. With just only RM 6.20 we reached Penang International Airport. Enjoy our tea break with simple ice-cream and mocha at McDonalds before entering into the boarding room. Kids have already impatient with the flight delay and waiting to take off.
Waiting at McD
Flight delay, I just can't wait to be in the flight.
One of the ideas to let them have fun and not burden to us is to pack their clothes into the hand carry luggage and allow them to push around. They enjoy playing with it. Forget about Trunky idea.
The important of taking family photo is the happy moment together, why should we take it seriously?
Flight landed at Gold Coast International Airport for transit.
Flight depart on time at KLIA 2 to Gold Coast, an hour break in between for flight transit before continue departing to Auckland, New Zealand. Flight after flight and finally it ends at 1630 NZ time zone. Rent a Hyundai i30 from SNAP and we were on our way to our first destination of Auckland night market at HENDERSON. Ooh, it’s more like an Asian Night Market. Most of the stalls were own by the Asian, i.e: Hong Kies, Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Bangladeshi, Korean, etc. All kinds of Asian food are available. Before the end of the day, we were heading to Countdown for groceries and the food court near to HENDERSON NIGHT MARKET. All cooked foods are selling at 80% after 8pm in New Zealand.
Arrived Auckland International Airport, waiting for Orange free shuttle to SNAP Rental
Henderson Night Market (Asia Night Market)
Renting a unit from the Airbnb could be a good idea. With an affordable price, friendly host and clean environment, we could make ourselves at home in New Zealand. The host, Ray is a very friendly person and his house is fully equipped with simple facilities allow us to have a warm and comfort home for 2 days, as well as preparing nice food. My kids enjoyed the cartoon, my wife enjoyed the warm atmosphere and I enjoyed the kitchen and sofa.
Surrounding of Manukau AIRBNB house
My rented car Hyundai i30
Beautiful small house that we are staying for the 2 nights. Special thanks to Ray for the arrangement.
Beautiful view from my door.
Beautiful coffee table and nice environment for coffee.
Room to room
Hall, kitchen and dinning table, small but comfort and warm
Making breakfast for the family
Maggi mee lah!
Day 3 – Auckland
We enjoyed our breakfast and importantly my hot coffee at the cool weather in the early morning before we take off for the first destination of the day, Auckland Fish Market. I love market, I love fresh seafood unfortunately I can’t love the price of seafood sold in Auckland Fish Market. Even though New Zealand is surrounded by the sea but the price to pay is much higher than I can imagine. Ended up we were having our lunch at SIXTEEN TUN NEW ZEALAND FREE HOUSE near to the market. The food is delicious, it is worth a try.
Quality time and happy moment with family at Auckland Fish Market
SIXTEEN TUN, nice food, warm environment. Price wise, it is at the high side.
It was very unfortunate that AUCKLAND WHALE & DOLPHIN SAFARI whale watching program has to cancel due to the vessel under major maintenance, but they had done a full refunded. We have missed the chance; hopefully we will have the next chance to see the whale on our next come back. It is common to see huge yacht harbour in Auckland, but it is unusual for us from Malaysia. Only the richy rich are able to own a yacht, therefore this nice view of scenery has caught our attention to have a few shots before proceeding to the next destination.
Sadly, I have not been to KL Tower in our own country but I have reached the AUCKLAND SKY TOWER. This tower gave you an opportunity to have a sky walk outside of the window. Guest will fully dress up with safety equipment. There is also sky jump activity available, you can always train your brave level from the sky jump. Unfortunately these activities were under maintenance when we were there. The panoramic view is magnificent. After tired of walking, a cup of coffee, a cup of hot chocolate added with a slice of chocolate brownie at the SKY CAFE with the breath taking panoramic view with my family takes me to the highest level of enjoyment. Remember to scan your parking ticket before paying your ticket at the ticketing machine to reduce your parking fee to minimum.
The SKY TOWER
The harbour view from Sky Tower
Love this photo so much, photo credit to my beloved wife
38cm thick glass
Yes, we are going to sky cafe
Best Chocolate Brownie ever
An unforgettable place to enjoy coffee, hot chocolate and cake.
Before the end of the day, we visited Mt Eden. Mt Eden is a dead volcano. According to the GPS; we parked our car at the nearby housing area and have to walk all the way up to the tip of the mountain. It was a short mountain hiking. Fortunate that all my family members are well trained for mountain climbing. After 30 minutes of hiking, finally we reached the tip of the Mt Eden. From there, I was able to view the entire Auckland city. The sky was getting dark, we have to be fast. We took a couple of family photos and enjoy the city light at the sky is dark. With children around, we have to shorten the photo taking time and pay more attention to them. As the sky is getting dark, the trek visibility is getting dark, we left with no choice but using our cell phone torch to light up the trek and slowly hike back to our rented car. We drove off from there and went home and call it a day.
|Hiking the trail to Mt Eden|
|Tip of Mount Eden|
|Family photo with the naughty boys|
|Night scene of Sky Tower from Mr Eden|
|Hiking in the dark with cell phone torch|
|Dinner: New Zealand Seafood Spaghetti. (End up lao sai the next day. Haha!)|
Day 4 – Auckland – Waikato
The last day staying at this warm and comfort home; prepare breakfast and lunch in the lunch box, packing and check with full of memories. Today was schedule to visit VILLA MARIA WINERY. Villa Maria Winery visitor centre was nicely architect with beautiful restaurant at the entrance and it is very presentable. It gave the feeling of a beautiful restaurant in the winery museum. The host is a French and migrated to New Zealand with his talent to produce quality wine. The factory tour allows us to photograph the winery process as well as explaining the functionality of the machine via video. At the end of the wine tour, we were given the chance to taste 6 bottles of different wines. The tour guide who is very experience in wine tasting, explained the fine process of each different wine taste.
|Beauty by its greenery of Villa Maria Winery|
|Enjoy the cool and fresh air in New Zealand|
|Yes, we were excited to see the winery|
|Entrance to the Villa Maria Winery. Looks empty but well organize and clean|
|Wine store conner|
|Our French tour guide, migrated to New Zealand. Specialize in wine production. Only NZD 5 per head for the tour|
|Hardly to see any head inside here, there were only 3 workers at this wine bottling section.|
|Professional transparent wine drinker|
|NZD 5 for 6 types of wine tasting|
|I am angry with you for ignoring my hungry stomach|
Sorry my dear
|A little dizzy|
|Family photo with the grape plantation|
Never forget to take pictures for memories. It was coming to spring and the grape plantation is beginning soon. We all miss the experience; however it was fun to be with them. Return the car and pickup our long wait Caravan from APOLLO office. Without wasting time, we were on our rides to Waikato. Throughout the journey we enjoy the greenery view of New Zealand. Make sure you get your grocery done when you get your caravan. Without resourceful you may end up like us. We miss the Countdown supermarket and we left with limited food. We expect to have grocery shop surrounding but end up camping at MOANAROA RESERVE self-contain campsite full with nature, not even a street light. Ensure kids have a proper meal (instant noodle) and we? Left with bread and potato chips. Cooling weather allow us to be dirty, as dirty as bath every fortnight.
|Only Maggi Mee for both of them|
|He just can't wait to sleep on double deck|
Kiwi and Egg
Day 5 – Waikato – Rotorua
I am an early bird guy; I woke up earlier than my family members. Boiled the water, prepared the breakfast and went out for a walk, captured the morning fresh air before they all woke up. Wow, the view is beautiful. The greenery of the trees and grass gave us much relaxing eye instead of all the man made jungle. Cooling weather made you feel even more relax when walking around. Breakfast was done, changed and we were on our way to HOBBITON, HAMILTON MATAMATA. The tour starts on time and it was entertaining throughout the tour. The tour introduction started with a video, introducing the concept and idea to build the Hobbiton village. The host guide and lead us to walk through the village. She explained the movie scene captured and also process of making the village. It was inspiring, especially for the photographers to goes into the fairy tale concept shooting.
|Panoramic view of Moanaroa Reserve|
|Here we go, Hobbiton|
|Chong Hee and the village|
|Never forget your family photos with the naughty boys|
|Looks real, seems sweet, please leave it alone|
|Love this family photo so much... Thanks to the photographer|
|Always love this picture. I am always back you up and captured your sweet moment in life|
|You all are my everything|
|Bersih in New Zealand|
|Sheeps were everywhere.|
|Only simple lunch, it can satisfy all of us|
|This is the meal that I had had when I was in Austria back in few years. I had this dish for dinner everyday for a month.|
|Now I share it with my family members, taste good, simple and healthy|
ROTORUA, here we go! After late lunch, we went all the way to Rotorua, FAMILY HOLIDAY PARK. Never miss the milk product in New Zealand! Try it and you will not regret it. A New Zealand must try milk product: NEW ZEALAND YOGURT and HOKEY POKEY ICE CREAM. 2 litre of ice cream is never enough for 4 of us. We regret that we had too little. Make sure to buy more when visiting New Zealand South Island next time. Family Holiday Park is equipped with basic need, power charger, toilet, dumpsite, kitchen and playground. For all campsites in New Zealand, check in time is 12noon and check out time is 10am. Although the wi-fi is given to you for 24 hours but the checkout time is 10am. I was chase out by the owner on the next day :P. Family Holiday Park is located besides the Rotorua lake. Just take a short walking distance after the dinner, the view of lake can just amaze me. With the power charger, we were having a good night sleep with heater. The 240V power supply can only be used when the power charger is plug into the caravan.
|Family Holiday Park at Rotorua|
|The playground at the caravan park|
|A view of our caravan at our caravan park in the evening|
|Sunset at Rotorua|
|Our bed after lowed down|
|Hokey Pokey ice cream, finish in 3 days|
|Heater fan to keep warm and make your family warmer together|
Day 6 – Rotorua
This campsite is very much recommended, as the campsite has the lowest price among the campsite that I have been to and it located at the strategic location. The simple life of New Zealander keeps everything simple and reducing nature damage preserves the beautiful scenery. Agrodome, Rainbow Spring Nature Park, Maori Village and groceries shops are within 20 minutes’ drive. With the pre-book ticket online, we have entered into the AGRODOME shows on time for the goat performance. The host is friendly and entertaining. The animals are well trained for the show. Other than sheep, they were ducks, dogs and cow. My kids enjoy and love it so much. At the end of the show, we were allowed to touch and feed the sheep and dogs.
|They seems to be more interested with the ducks|
|Sample of Sheep wools|
|Feeding the sheep|
|Finally they have the chance to see this tractor that widely use at huge farm|
|Keep it simple and nice|
|Recommended yogurt, product of New Zealand|
|Picture tells everything|
|Entrance of Natural Park|
|While waiting, lets have some fun|
|Looks like cartoon|
|Very adventurous playground|
|I tell you ah, eat one by one ok?|
|Chef for the night|
Day 7 – Rotorua – Tai-O-Tapo - Wairakei
It was quite dark in the night; we were not managed to look around. Although the campsite is at the middle of the township of Rotorua, but the view was beautiful. My son has begun to learn to enjoy the beautiful scenery of New Zealand. The time can’t wait for us to enjoy the view at all time; we have to leave for the next program: WHAKAREWAREWA – LIVING MAORI VILLAGE. Instead of a Maori museum, this is one of the places that Maori living in it. Tour guide brought guide location by location were well explained. The live experience and the feel of the atmosphere were the feel that could not be recorded via the video or photograph. The Maori made full use of the natural resources for living. They bath in the hot spring, they cook in the crystal clear hot spring, make use of the hot spring steam to cook their food and make use of the rich soil to plant their vegetables. Traditional Maori food tasting was available as well. We had tried it and I love it. The tour package also includes the traditional Maori song and dance. After the tour, we took an hour to walk around the uncovered hot spring as well as observing the geyser where the underground hot spring will pump out from the ground hourly. The walking journey had given us the golden opportunity to meet a couple of European that can speak very fluent mandarin, their pronunciation is much better than mine!
|Good morning from Rotorua|
|Lake view, Dad, I saw duck duck!|
|Authorized Caravan free campsite|
|Cool weather, small home, but warm at all time.|
|Whakarewarewa - Living Maori Village|
|Traditional Maori home|
|Higher up the ground for plantation. It is well fertilized soil. Ground is hot at all time.|
|Traditional way of cooking that will not overcook the dish|
|Maori style of sweet corn cooking. Crystal clear hot spring.|
|Natural spring water bath tub, different concentration of minerals gives different color of water.|
|How long can I still carry him in this way? Wish I can have more time with them before they grow up. Love my kids.|
|Adorable Maori pleasures|
|Maori traditional dance|
|Guys always shows their tongue|
|Maori traditional food cook from the hot spring and steam|
|Did all of us looks happy? I love it!|
|The Ang mo that spoke better fluent Mandarin than me.|
|Crystal clear water and you can see the aeroplane is at the left corner|
|Chong Hee favourite sports, chase the bird|
|The extreme huge playground|
|Eat more vege, good for health|
|Maori way of taking picture|
This is a recommended holiday park where the facilities were well equipped and they have a hot pool. The weather change dramatically during the spring season, you will expect to have rain falls anytime. The hot pool facility allows me to let my children to experience the hot water pool. It brings back the memory of mine in Hokkaido where I was dip inside the spring pool but my head was exposing to the open cool air.
|Hostel on the right, dinning table just outside of the hostel, WC is just on the left|
|Thermal hot water pool|
|Signboard shows caravan dumpsite on the right|
Day 8 Wairakei – Waitomo
Planned to go for THERMAL SPA PARK, which is a free entrance to the thermal spa river but unfortunately the weather does not permit us. The rain poured and wet the ground. I have to cancel the hot water river and the bunchy jump activities, proceed to the next destination, Huka Fall. There is a narrow stream allow the water to flow from upstream to downstream. With the huge volume of water flows in the narrow stream of rocks it became waterfall and they name it Huka Fall. Most of the name given where in Maori language. We were trying to spend more time to capture more photos on this beautiful location; unfortunately the rain started to pour in a sudden after we took a few wefie pictures. Covered my camera, my children and we were running fast towards the caravan.
|The thermal spa that has to keep for some other time.|
|Huka fall family photo|
|A cup of cappuccino before wheels up|
|Papa, TRAIN. Nice work son. you did it great.|
|Optimus Prime made its depart to New Zealand|
|Waitomo Glow worms cave. In time to catch the last trip|
|Roselands Free Campsite|
|Dancing pork knuckles, as we cook, fat keep "pik pik piak piak" and flying up from the pan|
Day 9 Waitomo – Hot Water Beach
The view of the surrounding always surprised us on the next day we woke up from the caravan. We were actually parked at middle of the mountain where we can have a view on the farm surrounding us. It was exactly like the nursery rhyme “Old McDonald had a farm, i-ya-i-ya-yo”. Kids enjoyed the farm visit, chasing the chicken, adults can’t stop taking pictures. Allow the children to be freed, allow the children to run around, enjoy the environment and brought back lots of memories. Without wasting much time, we were on our way to HOT WATER BEACH.
|Good morning from Roselands, I love the caravan on the most left.|
|He is my model|
|Kids exploring around|
|The pigs are on the left|
|Field full with cows, hardly seen in Malaysia|
|This is wall paper from Windows. No lah... was captured by my wife on our way to Hot Water Beach|
|Poor baby, but they were very good and they do what they promise to us. Our bags were experiencing Tsunami in the caravan.|
|Spaghetti by the road side|
|View of Hot Water Beach. Beautiful green and blue sea|
|Crystal clear water|
|Follow the bird trail|
|Looks weird with this outfit, jacket and swim trunk. It was cool at outside, but hot on my feet|
|Although the weather is cool, but the hot spring is just too hot for me to dip in.|
|He looks enjoy.|
We parked the caravan at the designated location and we began to explore around the holiday park. Other than the children’s playground, there was a bouncing pillow which caught our attention. It was a big pillow act like a spring board. All of us took this opportunity to jump on the giant bouncing pillow.
|Front role cabin hostel|
|NZD 80 cabin with 2 berth.|
|No.27 my parking lot|
|Giant bouncing pillow that makes me feel like jumping none stop.|
|Fully equip kitchen, use it, clean it and keep it.|
|Dinning area with fire place|
|Proudly, capture by my son|
|Nice bright fullmoon|
|Night scene of Caravan. 30 sec picture|
|Stars view from New Zealand. Last night in New Zealand, don't feel like going to let go the beautiful New Zealand|
Day 10 Hot Water Beach – Auckland
Last day in New Zealand, as usual woke up in the early morning and manage to go for morning bath after breakfast was prepared. Without wasting time, we discharged all the wastes; fill up the fresh water and we were on our way to the final destination, THE CATHEDRAL COVE.
|I looks a bit retarded!|
|Cheeky smile from the window while I was filling the fresh water|
|On our way to Cathedral Cove, heard that the oyster sold at lower price here, but we just miss it.|
|Looks like a lion sleeping on the sea|
|Journey just started|
|A good spot for scenery view; too bad we do not have the luxury time.|
|Lucky I still manage to carried him to the destination. Love carrying them, its tough, its sweet, its wonderful and its memorable|
|What is scenery to them? I rather play my sand|
|The Cathedral Cove|
|After shot, its time to pack and go|
|Always hold your hand and round the world|
|We are in the team, we go together|
|We have arrived|
|Enjoy the ride before reaching the Airport and head back home|
|New Zealand McD collection|
Trip summary with Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/241714281