Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Travel and Review : New Zealand – South Island – Auckland.

While on my visit north from Rotorua to reach Auckland, it is good to have a stopover at the famous Waitomo Caves to enjoy the magnificent glow worms. For me personally, I don’t really like Waitomo Caves but also near the cave (free shuttle is provided from Waitomo Caves) is the Ruakuri Cave. The latter for me personally is much more worthwhile.

The experience in Waitomo is rather at a fast mode because the cave is rather small so for the amount you pay for the entrance fee you get to see very little ~ the only plus point is taking a small ferry boat while you are in the cave to see even more glow worms.

However, at Ruakuri, it is a rather large cave and you can pretty much see the glow worms up close (way closer than at Waitomo).


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Entrance to Ruakuri cave.

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My only regret is not having time to try out the Black Water Rafting because from the look of it, it is pretty amazing. So from here I head straight North till I reach Auckland. Here, I stayed at Chiefly Suites Apartment.

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Its a nicely well maintained apartment with rather fantastic view from the balcony. All the amenities of an apartment is available here. Superb.

Auckland city is like many other cities in the world but what is unique (in my opinion) is its location to the waterfront. From there you can take small ferries to other nearby islands such as Coromandel and its likes. As I had only 2 days in Auckland, I didn’t have the chance to visit those small islands : (

And if you are like me who is short of time then what you can do is just walk over to the TOWER (you can do bungee at the tower if you fancy such activity) as shown above. From there you can purchase a ticket on a hop on hop off bus which will take you to major sites within Auckland itself. But if you wish to purchase the tickets earlier (like me) then visit the site HERE.

Thus a few places to visit (its along the hop on hop off route) in Auckland will be the Auckland War Memorial museum!

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Another great stop will be the ZOO but I gave that a miss because due to a shortage of time I have to visit its Maritime Museum!

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Inside a mock ship’s cabin in the museum.

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From the museum you can also opt to have a ride in a yacht-like sail boat known as a scow. The one that I had the chance of sailing with is the TED ASHBY Deck Scow.

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But if the bustle of Auckland is getting on to you (it did for me) then also under one of the routes of the Hop on Hop off bus is MT EDEN.

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From the top of this mountain, you can pretty much enjoy a scenic view and yet enjoy the peace that comes with it.

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And after all that journey (in which case there is still so much more left undiscovered) my 2 weeks journey across South and North island of New Zealand came to an end for it was time to return home.

It has been a fantastic holiday and it is definitely one that I plan to repeat again.

Travel and Review : New Zealand – South Island - Rotorua

In Rotorua, you basically will be able to tell upon reaching this town as the smell of suphur was indeed very overwhelming. But I guess that’s what make the town memorable.

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Do visit the Wai-O-Tapu thermal wonderful to understand why Rotorua smelled the way it is : )

 nz1 069 Wai-o-Tapu, Lady Knox geyser

Just try to breathe through your mouth and you should be fine because eventhough it can be rather lacklustre for those who are not fans of geological features, some of the sites you saw here, you may not be able to see them anywhere else. This is also the location of the famous Lady Knox Geyser but you need to be early though or you will miss its once a day “performance.”

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For more information on the site you can visit the official site HERE.

For something less sulphuric and yet provide a spectacular view, you cannot miss visiting the Waimangu Volcanic Valley.

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Spectacular and picturesque view!

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For a great walk and simply to enjoy a great view NZ has to offer, Waimangu Volcanic Valley is definitely a must to visit. If you plan to visit both the Wai-O-Tapu and Waimangu together (they are 30 minutes apart if you drive) there are a lot of combo entrance tickets so keep a look out for those when you want to purchase such tickets. The only problem that I faced was the fact that I have to drive to Rotorua town to exchange my computer print-out for an actual ticket first thus if you are already in Rotorua then its not a problem. However, if you are driving from Taupo (you will see the attractions first before reaching Rotorua) then you may need to do a roundabout. If the above is such a hassle then don’t buy the tickets online! Just go and pay a little extra at the site itself.

Once you are in Rotorua town itself one of the must visit place is its museum!

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It is huge and there are many things to discover and learn!

If you are tired, just a few minutes away is a good place to rest your sore body and feet called QE Health. You have to try the AIX massage because for me it is something novel and definitely unique to try at least once in your lifetime.