The Daily Journal
1 – Singapore – Christchurch
September 2006, Friday 10° C
Quest Apartment $129
9 hour plus of traveling on SQ297, finally, we
touched down at Christchurch
at 1 pm. We were supposed to arrived 2
hours earlier, but due to the aircraft anti-icing feature was not
Airline decided to change the air-craft instead, that causes our
to be delayed from 9:05pm to 11:30pm.
and we made sure we consumed all the food including drinks we brought,
immigration was very strict on bringing food into the country. In
soiled shoes must be reported too! They were so protective of their
Malaysian did not require visa, but Indonesian had to pay S$120 to get
travel visa from NZ office at Takashimaya.
long wait in the queue we managed to come out and
again another wait for the luggage. Once we were out, we
headed strait to Visitor
were so amazed of how
well prepared the Tourism Board of NZ is, we were flooded with 1001
for all kind of activities, scenery, hotels etc. This
was the best Visitor
we had ever been.
gave a call to our Car Rental company, Anzed, and
Teddy’s wife picked us up by 1:30pm. The
office was just 10mins drive, and we were given a fairly new Nissan
363 for our 10 days trip. Car rental was
N$47.70 a day and additional $12 insurance for better coverage. After a quick lesson on Snow-Chain &
Traffic-rules, we were all set to start our adventure.
We filled up the back compartment with 2 big
luggages, and the back seat with our other small hand-carry bags.
checked into, Quest Apartment located next to The Cathedral
Square. The hotel is pretty good for the price of NZ$129 (including
breakfast). The breakfast turned out to
be 4 slices of bread, some jams & butter, 2 small bottles of orange
and 2 small bottles of milk. The bed did not have heater though.
Christchurch was a
very small & not-so-lively city, there were not much traffic on the
afternoon, surprisingly. We visited the
famous Cathedral, and had a short tour around the magnificent building,
followed by walking to the Art Museum and the Botanic Garden. We really loved this Botanic Garden, we took
many photos with the flowers, and in the cooling weather, we lay down
grass next to the river, and enjoyed the beautiful sunset. However the
started to drop very fast and the weather became very cold. Note that
and European countries, the shops closed quite early, around 5-6 p.m.
casino was very small and quite old. Definitely not
comparable to Vegas, but the food was not bad. We got some voucher from
hotel; $5 meal voucher and a glass of beer. We
had the NZ Steak, seafood basket and the famous NZ
took the free city shuttle bus to the nearby grocery
store. We really liked to go to Groceries whenever we visited a
this was the only place we could get closer experience of how local
eat. NZ had lots of interesting food products; some of the food was
similar to Australia. After we left this grocery, we found out
there were 2 larger groceries nearby. Basket! And something stupid we
after that was that we should had driven to groceries instead of taking
shuttle bus, coz we bought so much things to prepare for our trip.
Day 2 – Christchurch
September 2006, Sunday 5-12° C
Just the two of us, ready to travel for at least
3000KM in 10 days, it’s a lifetime experience for both of us. Though we
traveled to many places before, we never drove all the way. We began
adventure with Scenic Highway 72, and heading to Lake Tekapo.
We took turn driving, but somehow Wee Cheng always drove on the smooth
road while Abel drove on the curvy and hilly road. This happened many
until Abel gave up and let Wee Cheng drove. Along the way, we could see
mountains half covered with snow, and we passed by many farms filled
sheep. We named the sheep as buttons since from far away they really
like buttons to be pressed.. toink toink.. After
1 hour leaving Christchurch,
certain parts of the road became a bit difficult to drive, as it’s
hilly. We passed by Methven but didn’t go up to Mt. Hutt
– a famous Ski
arrived at this small town of Geraldine
at noon, and had lunch at one of
the café. The pies were really good. We
bought some homemade liquor chocolates, which were very good too; we
that we did not buy more. We also bought NZ$28 south-island map, which
proven to be the best kit we had for the rest of the journey, as the
were not detailed enough. We visited
Barker’s shop to taste the special jams & garnishes they produced;
really good; We bought jams and chutney.
Mt. Dobson – Ski Area – A Road to
were told this Ski Area was closed, but when we passed
by the entrance at about 4pm, there was a sign showing “Open”, so we
give it a try. The sign showed 14KM, so
we thought it should be ok, and we should reach there very soon, but it
out the worst experience we ever had. Climbing
up hill on a dusty, curvy, and unsealed one way
miss of 20cm we would fall off the cliff into the deep valley. It was very scary, and after 30mins, we
decided to turn around and head back to the main road. Wee Cheng became
of driving to ski areas since then.
Made Backpacker Motel
arrived at Lake
Tekapo at 5
checked-in to the NZ$64 Tailor-Made Backpacker Motel.
Though it’s a Motel but the room is very
clean, with clean towels, toilet, heater etc.
& The Church
Lake Tekapo population was only
it’s a very small and romantic town. Out of all other towns and cities,
loved this place the most. The lake was very beatiful, overlooking at Mt. Cook,
like some mentioned ‘Golden
sunset. There was a small church just by
the side of the, and there were couples come all the way here to have
wedding ceremony here, a really romantic place. The lake was very windy.
Gazing tour was NZ$48 per person, we decided to give
it a miss, since it was quite cloudy that night. We went up hill 4KM to
Observatory ourselves instead, again very curvy and unsealed road; but
were to fall here, it would be less severe than the Mt. Dobson
hill. The wind was very strong, so we
enjoyed the sunset and headed back down to town again.
Japanese restaurant won many awards, and we had Lamb-Shank
curry and Chicken-Don, it’s very tasty, and good. Of
course, we had it together with a pint of
local Speight’s beer for only $5. Total
dinner cost only $35. After the meal, we
headed to one of the fish & chips bought 2 Huge Scoops of Tip-Top
(Rum & Raisin) for $2.50. The scoop was really big, the biggest we
in the whole journey.
drove a bit further out of town and enjoyed the
beautiful stars in the sky, it’s really nice, as it’s pitch dark,
can see lots of stars including the milky way.
Day 3 – Lake
Tekapo - Dunedin (~400KM)
September 2006, Sunday 2-14° C
Abbey Lodge NZ$119
left Tekapo at about 11am, and pump $54 worth of petrol
(1.547 per liter). After 30 mins drive,
we arrived the famous Alpine Salmon Farm, it operated 24-hour a day, we
bought the $3 feed each and entered the ‘Kelong’ like style salmon-cage
the hungry salmon. These salmon are kept
and breed in the Lake, and I think it
different from those caught in the salt-water sea.
We ordered 250g of Sashimi for $10 and enjoyed
the fresh salmon sashimi there. We also
bought a whole salmon for $13, and hoped that we can cook it in our
We passed by another salmon farm on the highway, but this one was quite
We did not stop there.
passed by Twizel & Omarama, both are small towns
and in Omarama, we passed by a Sheep-Shearing House, $25 per person,
but we had to wait for at least an hour
next show started, so, we gave it a miss and tried their Wasabi
arrived at this town at about 5 pm, it’s a beautiful town
with many historic buildings being preserved. As
it’s located at coast area, there were yellow-penguins
this area, we didn’t manage to spot any, but we enjoyed the walking
beautiful coast, overlooking to the South Pacific
a 20-30 mins drive, we reached this place and saw
the special round-stones along the beach. Not
sure how these round huge stones are formed, and it’s
how they managed to be found here. Note that to go here you could
from the Restaurant or from the beach, it’s better to go from the
it’s nearer, especially during cold weather.
at 6:30pm, it’s a beautiful & hilly town. It’s
just like San
Many houses were built on the hill. We
drove around the city, and decided to visit a Chinese Fish & Chips
and bought some beef fried frice & fried scallop & fish, also
3 pcs of KFC Chicken from nearby just to try how the chicken taste like
Kiwi Island. The KFC here was awful,
maybe it’s just in Dunedin.
hotel was not bad. There was indoor swimming pool and
Jacuzzi, so we enjoyed and relaxed in the Jacuzzi. However the drawback
that it’s location turned out to be quite far from the Octagon (the
centre). I would recommend staying in the scenic circle city hotel
right in the city.
also visited the Baldwin
Street, steepest road in the
world. The road was really steep, and I
how the residents went up and down the hill every day. This street is
than Lombard St
in SF, see told ya this place is so similar with SF.
Day 4 – Dunedine
- Te Anau (~375KM)
September 2006, Monday 5-12° C
Explorer Motor Lodge NZ$90
$15 per person, we visited the Cadburry World tour, we
have made the reservation for 9:15am tour, this Cadburry Chocolate
located right in the City, and we parked our car at the Railway station
full day. It’s a very interesting tour,
and we saw the whole process of how Cadburry chocolate is made, and
about 6 samples of chocolate as well. The chocolate smell was so
We also bought some nice chocolates that were only available in NZ at
discounted price. Tips: Try to join the tour at 9.30 at the earliest,
the workers only start working at 10 am that’s when you can see the
toured around the City, and managed to find a nice
hotel restaurant serving good roast beef for $8 and lamb-shank for $12. It’s really nice, and lots of roast potatoes,
however the service was really slow. Actually later we found out the
NZ restaurants was slow, and we had to be patient.
to the Dunedin city,
it’s a long strait
of Peninsula, and
for the Penguins and Castle tour. We
visited the castle for $20, and it’s not a nice castle, considering we
travel 15KM of very curvy coastal road. We took another route to go
the other road was quite hilly but it’s not so bad, as the road was
to Te Anau
at about 2pm, and headed to the west to Te Anau. We
passed by Milton,
Gore, Riversdale, Lumsden, Mossburn. We decided not to go through
scenic route, because the journey would be longer and the road would be
and unsealed. But our decision is well worthed because we passed by a
nice greenery farms.
arrived in Te Anau at 8 pm, and explored the town which
was located next to Te Anau lake. There
many nice looking restaurants there, but as our Fresh Salmon had been
with us for two days, we decided to cook it.
motel was not bad either, the room was well equipped
with kitchenette and cooking utensils. The bed has heater too.
enjoyed the self-cooked dinner, and slept early, since
we had to wake up at 6am the next morning.
Te Anau – Milford Sound –Te Anau- Queenstown (~400KM)
September 2006, Tuesday 0-10° C
Garden Court Suite &
This was the place where many scenes were taken for
the movie – Lord of the Ring. We had to
travel 121KM in 2 hour 20 mins to reach Milford Sound from Te Anau;
because we were slow driver but because the road was curvy, but it was
difficult, just that you should not stop in certain areas since some
prone to avalanche. It’s very cold in the morning, and we had to turn
heater in the car to keep ourselves warm. The
first 1 hour was quite ok, the road was quite flat and
certain parts of the road actually went through forests.
We also stopped by to take some nice photos
of the mountains covered with huge chunks of cloud.
And there’s a lake called Mirror lake, we
stopped by to take some photos as we can see reflections of the
mountains. The next hour on the road was
very risky and full of adventure one, as it’s very hilly and there are
Avalanche area, what is Avalanche? It’s very new term for us as well,
Huge Chunk of Snow coming down from the mountain, and there are many
killed on the road because of Avalanche. While
driving, there were many warning signs telling
as chances of us covered by Avalanche when moving would be much lower. As it’s very hilly, we couldn’t travel very
fast as well. Along the way, we saw many
stream with water gashing down, and it must be from the melting snow
mountain. We passed by a very long &
dark tunnel – Hommer Tunnel, as it’s pitch dark, for the first 10
could not really see anything even though with our car head-light on,
better after our eyes adjusted to the darkness. Don’t
ever try the public toilet along the way there,
nightmare. I had no choice since I could not wait any longer and it was
Taking Scenery at Milford Sound
We arrived there safe & sound! It was such an
achievement. We reserved the 9:30am Cruise Ride with Redboat. As it’s the first cruise of the day, it’s not
very crowded, and we were brought to different parts of the Sound, to
water-falls and beautiful mountains. We also spotted a Blue Penguin
Seal. The scenery there was really
breathe taking, and worth every dollar we spent on the ticket (NZ$72). We also visited the underwater observatory,
but it turned out to be a disappointment, there’s not much thing to see
Back to Te Anau
back to Te Anau was much easier, as we know what
to expect along the way, and we finally reached the town at 3:30pm, did
grocery shopping, bought some souvenirs and headed straight to
to Queenstown is quite easy except for 30mins
before reaching the town, we had to travel along side a mountain; it
curvy. We drove faster as we wished to
reach The Famous DEER PARK before dusk.
The Deer Park
park was located 10 mins before reaching Queenstown,
and we paid NZ$20 for a car to enter the park, no one guarded the park,
had to slot in our $20 note into the machine to allow the car to go in. This park was big, and it’s in a Mountain,
so, there were many unsealed hilly driving, but it’s quite safe. We bought $1 of animal feeding in a very big
tin and we could feed many animals along the way, it’s like a Open Zoo,
you could have close encounter with animals like mini horses, pigs,
sheep, llamas etc. Some scenes of LOTR
were shot here as well, and at the mountain top, the scenery was really
overlooking Queenstown, and also in our sights are two great Ski Mountains
– The Remarkable and Coronet
was truly a tourist and entertaining city,
there were many adventurous sports that tourist can enjoyed here, in
there were 4 Ski
near by. The City itself was not big, but
live. We had our dinner at one of the restaurant - Brittania, serving
Vernison (The Deer Meet), Lamb Shank & Lobster.
And of course, a local beer on tap for $5,
the whole dinner cost us $95; quite costly but very good meal. We
top ice cream, which turned out to be very small, I felt cheated.
felt this city was quite dangerous; there were many punks.
Court Suite & Apartment
was our best accommodation, the room was big and it
had LCD tv. In general most of the hotels here were pretty new, nice
and not so
Day 6 –
Queenstown – Lake Wanaka (~150KM)
September 2006, Wednesay 2-15° C
Edge Water Resort $103
Coronet Peak – Ski Mountain
decided to go for Skiing today, and we catched the
shuttle to the Coronet Peak (20mins) for $20 per person return,
our own car, we could have driven there, but from the experience at
we decided not to. But, the road to Coronet Peak was quite easy; the road
our First time, we took up the Solomon’s Learn to Ski
package for $90 per person, including rental of boots & gears etc. It was truly a life-time experience, and
learning to ski was not as difficult as learning how to do
During the first 1.5 hour lesson, we were thought how to wear the gear,
slide and to stop. The 2nd
part of the lesson was more interesting, as we could use of the Lift to
further uphill, so that we could ski down hill. As
long as we can make a ‘Wedge’ – an arrow shape pointing
our speed would be slower and it’s not too risky. In
a couple of times, Wee Cheng could not make
that wedge, and the result was traveling downhill too fast, and fell.
left Queenstown at 4:30pm, and reached Arrowtown. It’s
an old town, and with nice shops long
the street. There was a Chinese
Settlement museum located nearby, showing how Chinese live here in the
during the gold rush time. We bought
some Fudge and Candy from the shop, and also Beef Steak Burger &
Chips and heading towards Lake
road to Lake
curvy. We arrived at Lake
it’s a beautiful place, and there are many tourists (local) coming here
enjoy the nice scenery, skiing, golfing etc. We
had the best dinner of our trip there at the Ale’s
$25 huge rack of Rib and $15 full plate of Goat’s liver with Bason.
was one of the good hotels too. The bed had heater
thus we could sleep warmly. The room was facing Wanaka Lake.
At night we could see the stars too.
Day 7 – Lake Wanaka
– Fox Glacier (~400KM)
September 2006, Thursday 3-10° C
Lake Matheson Motel $90
Lake Wanaka – Puzzling World
$7 per person, we visited the Puzzling World,
developed by the owner who loved puzzle a lot. There
were 4 rooms, and many of them using different
angles and making lots of things seems unusual to you.
left Wanaka at 11pm, and it was a long journey to Fox
Glacier, passing by Haast Pass, and Haast Village. Along the way, we passed by beautiful
water-fall (Thunder Creek Fall) and streams. There
were many sand-flies, and opening our car door for 5
attract many sand-flies sneaking in. We passed by Haast Beach,
but nothing much there. We also passed by another salmon farm, but when
reached there they just closed the shop.
a very small town, and we had our dinner at Café
Neve, which was a recommended place for Pizza. We
ordered a Roast Lamb Pizza for $19 and we could only
half. We also tried the Crème
dessert for $10.50; it was heavenly.
the name, the location of this hotel was far from
the lake. We wanted to go to the lake, but it would require 30 mins
walk, so we
gave a miss since we wanted to save energy for the glacier walk.
a small forest where you could see glowworm. It
was so interesting that the worm could shine, the color was greenish
Day 8 –
Fox Glacier – Hanmer Spring (~420KM)
September 2006, Friday 5-16° C Heritage
joined the Fox Glacier Guided Tour for $65 per person,
and we were provided a pair of thick sock and boot.
It was a very tiring 4 hours walk, but it’s all
worth the effort, as we had the 1 hour experience of walking on the
Glacier. This Fox Glacier is growing at
1 m a day, but as it melted away at the front, so the overall growth is
20cm. It’s very interesting to learn and
experience about Glacier. The 1st
1.5hour walk was very tiring and adventurous one, as we had to climb
500 steps and walking across cliff, forest, hill, hanging ourselves to
chain, and the path was only 100cm wide, any miss of few cm, we would
the hill. Also, there was a danger of
big rocks falling from the mountain, so, in certain areas, we were told
at least 5 meter apart, so that if there were rocks falling down, we
escape. After the 1.5 hour walk through
the jungle & forest, we arrived at the edge of the glacier, the
the road as we climbed on the glacier, it’s truly a life-time
experience. The surface of the ice was
dusty, but the
inner side of the glacier is very blue & pure, just like
red dust on the glacier was from Australia. We were told to
put on Crampons
– metal hook below our boot, so that when we walked, the hook actually
the ice, prevent us from falling.
Journey to Hanmer Spring
a tiring 4 hour walk, we departed Fox Glacier at
1:30pm, and it was a long 6.5 hour journey to Hanmer spring. The road to the Franz Josef was the most curvy
road we ever encountered, and after the 30 mins drive, we saw cars
and people vomiting.
few hours drive, we reach Hokitika at 5pm, and it’s
a nice town with many historic buildings. We
visited the famous Glass Blowing Studio and another
bought 1 piece of Fudge for $5.90 and some real fruit NZ Ice cream for
scoop. It’s really nice.
30 mins away, this was a big city and very
industrialized. We didn’t stop by any
shops and headed on to Reefton.
it’s already 7pm, and it’s quite dark, we had to
continue our extra 2 hour scary journey before we could reach Hanmer
Spring. As it’s a Pass, we had to go
through jungle, hilly roads etc. And along the way, we saw a very bad
with a red car crashing to a wall of a hill, but there were many cars
by to help, we hoped the driver & passengers were ok. After which,
even slower, and always switched on our High Head-light if possible to
incoming sharp turns.
last, what an achievement to arrive at the Hanmer
Spring at 8pm, we checked in to the best hotel in town – Heritage, and
we had sumptuous dinner at the Heritage
Restaurant. We ordered an Vernison (Deer
Meet) & a Prime Roast Beef for both of us. We
enjoyed the dinner, total bill $95, and there is a 25%
Day 9 –
Hanmer Spring - Christchurch
September 2006, Saturday 5-18° C
Quest Apartment $130
coming to Hanmer Spring was for the natural Hanmer
Spring, natural reserve. We entered the
hot pool for $10 per person at 10am, and enjoyed soaking ourself at the
36 – 41
degree Celsius sulfur & other minerals pools. It’s
Boating – Gorge
just 10mins way from Hanmer Spring; we took the Jet
Boating Ride at $95 per person. It’s
worth every $, the Jet Boating ride was so thrilling and nice. We were traveling in the Jet Boat at such a
high speed down streaming along the gorge, with beautiful scenery, and
stunts did by the guide. It’s a very
nice 45 mins experience. It is also
available at queenstown at $99 for 25mins – ShotoverJet.
back to Christchurch
is a short 150KM, but there were many tourist
attractions to visit. We visited a
winery, did a wine tasting, also an Olive Oil Farm, to see how olive
the process of making the Olive Oil, and the oil tasted very good with
so we bought a bottle back. We also
visited some nursery selling fruit trees – Apricot, Walnut, Cherry etc. Very interesting.
We did the last minute shopping at the Souvenirs shops
& Grocery Store – Pak & Save. We
bought total $150 worth of grocery – Steak Pies, Chocolate, Biscuits
had our delicious dinner at a Japanese & Korean
restaurant – MUM 24. They served very nice beef Korean soup for only
Day 10 – ChristChurch
Octocber 2006, Sunday 5-20° C
it’s a First Sunday of the month, there was a day light
saving, so we had to turn our time 1 hour forward at 2am à 3am.
That meant we
had 1 hour less for today. Anyway, we were
scheduled to fly back to Singapore
Wild Life Reserve
located nearby Christchurch,
but without any signage on the road, it took us 30mins to find this
place. It’s a nice place to visit, we saw
different birds and animals, especially live Kiwi.
They were kept in a dark area, where
photography was not allowed. Kiwis were
quite shy animal, as they preferred to stay in the dark, and running
shyly and quickly.
returned the car to Teddy (Anzac) in one piece, and
after traveling for 10 days. We were set
to depart Christchurch
with SQ298 at 1:55pm.
was a very nice & relaxing trip for both of us, we
enjoyed the 10 days in this beautiful south island of New Zealand. It was so adventurous as it’s our first time
driving for nearly 3000 KM in 10 days. The
best places we visited are Milford Sound, The Deer
Glaciers, and Lake
wonderful & a life-time experience.