Sunday, March 14, 2010

Travel and Review : New Zealand – Fox Glacier to Blenheim

Franz Josef Glacier photographed from the vall...
Image via Wikipedia
New Zealand – South Island – Christchurch – Mt Cook - Queenstown – Arrowtown – Wanaka – Fox Glacier - Blenheim
From Wanaka, you can opt to do some ice-rock climbing at Franz Josef or further at Fox Glacier. My suggestion would be to do the climbing at Franz Josef then drive for an hour or so and have a good rest at Fox Glacier.

Franz Josef is a rather small town. If you decide not to do any ice-rock climbing there are a few interesting trails to follow. And after you are tired from all the adventuring, do visit the Glacier Hot Pools for some needed relaxation.
An hour drive away, you will definitely hit Fox Glacier (another small town surrounded by icy mountains). A good place to stay is the Mt Cook View Motel.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Travel and Review : New Zealand : Wanaka

New Zealand – South Island – Christchurch – Mt Cook - Queenstown – Arrowtown – Wanaka.



Wanaka is a rather subdue town. It is calm yet crowded. If you want to fish for trouts, this is a great place to do so.

A great place to visit in Wanaka, is the wonderful Puzzle World.


And since you are here, you must try the large size human maze. It is truly truly challenging!!!

Find 4 different towers in the least amount of time. For an increase challenge you may want to find them in a specific order.

Once you have accomplished that, then please proceed inside ….


and be amazed at some of the wonders of science.

I called this the Giants Dwarfs room since you can pretty much be both when you are in this room.


It is difficult to say it in words. You need to be there and see it for yourself. A great optical illusion.

So, if you have a day or two, go ahead and visit Wanaka.


Next stop: From Fox Glacier to Blenheim

Travel and Review : New Zealand : Arrowtown

Pharamacy in Arrowtown. Arrowtown is located c...

Image via Wikipedia

New Zealand – South Island – Christchurch – Mt Cook - Queenstown – Arrowtown.

Just 20km from Queenstown is a quiet town called Arrowtown. This small town has a rather unique charm as well as great people. There are a few shops and honestly the customer service at this small town can put many to shame. Plus there is a great museum one has to visit upon arriving at this town.


If you are driving, there is an open space car park (more like an empty land) where you can leave your car. From there it is just 1 minute walk away to the town.

Lakes District Museum is a rather unique museum in Arrowtown. It is rather amazing to see how life was like, back in the 1800s.


Thus, if you have a few hours to spare, just drive from Queenstown and give this town a short visit. It is truly worth it ~ and don’t forget to visit the candy shop. You can’t miss it.


Next stop: Wanaka

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Travel and Review : New Zealand : Queenstown

New Zealand – South Island – Christchurch – Mt Cook - Queenstown

While you are travelling from Mt Cook to Queenstown, don’t forget to stop at Omarama for some light shopping. The price for the unique items in this small village is rather affordable. And if you fancy some fruits, again along the Mt Cook – Queenstown route, do not forget to stop at JONES fruit stall. You cannot miss it, it is just along the way.

Unlike Christchurch which is more city like, Queenstown is more village than city yet more bustle. It is also strange when you find the young adult locals telling you that they have never gone beyond the town their whole life because in my opinion it is a small town. You just cannot help but ponder.


Then I bought a ticket to ride the gondola.


And from the top, I think I understand why.

The view is simply magnificent.


Apart from enjoying the view from the top, trying the luge is a must.

It is truly thrilling yet safe.

You can control the speed thus you can go as slowly as you like or as fast as you like.


But in Queenstown, it is all about the death defying thrills thus don’t forget to at least book one.

For me, I tried the White River Rafting.

If you are a lone traveller, it is not a problem. The instructor will group all the solo travellers together. Beside, isn’t the fun part about travelling is to meet new people?


The front guy actually got toppled over but he managed to swim to safety. No one was physically injured during the activity.

Thus Queenstown is a must stop on your way to discover New Zealand. If you are a shopper, no worries ~ there are plenty of shops for the shopper in you. You can even find Louis Vuitton shop there. So whether you love shopping or simply love the thrills of rafting, they are all there.

Great town. Great people.


Next Stop: Arrowtown.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Travel and Review : New Zealand : Mt Cook

Mt Cook, from Lake Pukaki

Image by Baked Beans via Flickr

New Zealand – South Island – Christchurch – Mt Cook 

When I watch road trip movies, it is always a dream to have the experience to actually do it. Just driving along the road to soak in the atmosphere of a brand new land which is so unfamiliar to you just evoke a sense of romanticism.


And so I am off from Christchurch on the way to Mt Cook for the 5 hours drive. You will definitely drive-by a few towns for stops and for once in my life truly appreciate the charms that you get from shopping at such small places.


However, for me the best had to be the awesome views as you underwent your road trip to reach the peak of Mt Cook.

Picture perfect – postcard quality views are the highlight of your road trip from Christchurch to MT Cook.


And when you reach the top, the view is even more amazing.

Once you reach Mt Cook, Hermitage Motel is a rather clean and warm establishment.

You can opt for the hotel instead but then you won’t be able to walk outside your veranda to observe the sun rising.

And from your motel you can have a quick stroll to soak in the majestic nature of the mountain.

For history aficionados there is a small single storey museum that tells you about Sir Edmund Hillary that goes by the same name. Ticket may set you back around NZ$20 plus plus.By the way, if you are heading towards Queenstown from Mt Cook, then do not purchase the items(such as lambskin boots) from the hotel’s shop as it is more expensive. Stop at Omarama which is along the Mt Cook – Queenstown route and you will save tons.


Mt Cook is a must see simply for the view itself. I love it so much because at the end of it , for my holiday travel, what I truly desire is a good rest from my usual hectic lifestyle. And I have to say staying so close to the mountain has actually made that a reality.


Next stop: Queenstown.

Travel and Review: New Zealand : Christchurch

New Zealand – South Island – Christchurch


Dec 2009 – The view from the plane is rather picturesque. My review will cover the trip I took that cover both South and North Island. Unfortunately with more than 2 weeks, it was still impossible to cover both islands of New Zealand thoroughly which means that I have to make another trip there in the near future.

Upon landing, look out for the public Red Bus. For NZ$7.5 it will take you into the heart of the Christchurch itself.


Christchurch is a rather small town. Thus a good (but a tad expensive) way to see the whole city will be via the Tram. Its a novelty for people like me who live in a ‘Tramless’ country.

Some of the amazing view you can see while on the Tram. Its a hop on hop off tram so you can start at any station and re-board again at any station.

Like I said before, its a rather small town thus a day or two is sufficient if you happen to be visiting the city.


Next stop : Mt Cook.