Wednesday, 12 March 2014

My Incredible New Zealand Tour

Assalamualaikum wbt.

This is the story about my awesome journey with photog-friends to New Zealand last spring - early September 2013. Yes, not exactly breaking news but hey, there's no deadline for this kind of thing, is there? :)

Well let's begin by listing my AWESOME friends : Fakrul Jamil(FJ), Born Amin, Danial Abdullah, MK Azmi and Azman Mohamad.

Believe it or not, the costs per person was only slightly less than RM4,000-00, INCLUDING return air fares! Here's the rough breakdown :

- Flight : Kuala Lumpur - Sydney) with Air Asia (return) RM1,200-00
- Flight : Sydney - Christchurch with Virgin Australia (return) RM1,200-00
- Campervan rental (8 days) - RM450-00
- Fuel - RM300-00
- Meal - RM300-00
- Campsite Entry - RM200-00
- Personal expenses - RM500-00

Of course, if you want to do all those stuffs like bungee jumping, cruise, tandem jump, speed boating and other adventures that NZ is famous for, be sure to calculate those price(s) into your budget :)

I've been asked quite many times for my budget, travel route, etc. So for this post I just want to share our itinerary plus some behind the scene/group shots. Later I will put up more detailed story about each place that we visited, plus pictures, of course (and some time lapse clips too!).

Originally we wanted to tour the whole South Island. Later we realized that this would be near impossible for an 8 days journey. So we have to ditch our second part of the journey - the West Coast and glaciers (and I fully intended to remedy that omission, soon!). I'd say it's a good thing we skipped West Coast, as even on our shortened route its was quite a rush journey!

Our actual itinerary, in brief :

30th Aug - depart from LCCT, 11pm  

31st Aug - arrived Sydney at 9am. 9 hours transit means an opportunity for a brief excursion to Sydney Harbour. Depart from Sydney at 6pm, arrived at Christchurch at 10pm.        

Circular Quay, Sydney
1st Sept - collected our campervan, went shopping for meat, rice, fish etc and around 12pm we started our journey to Tekapo. Arrived at Tekapo around 4pm and stayed there untill 10pm. Continue journey to Mount Cook, sleep by the roadside (and lakeside) somewhere between Tekapo and Twizel.

(c) Born Amin
Awesome Milky Way at Tekapo-Twizel Road

2nd Sept - made a mistake by continuing straight to Mount Cook. After checking in at Glentanner Park Centre, we have to head back to Twizel for refuelling and our first dump site (oh, there's funny story about that! Later, though, haha). Then head back to Mount Cook - sunset at Peter's Lookout along the way and milky way shots at Mount Cook Village.
3rd Sept - trekking to Glacier View, Tasman Valley. Then off to Moeraki. We stopped somewhere at Twizel for sunset. Reached Moeraki Kiwi Holiday Park around 10pm. Luckily the owner/operator was in!

Glacier View, Tasman Valley
04th Sept - Sunrise at Moeraki Boulders, then (attempted) dolphin watch at the bay - no such luck - so we went to Moeraki Lighthouse to watch penguins and seals. Off to Milford Sound via Dunedin and Te Anau. Kudos to Jemang for still able to drive while everyone else already kaput! Another roadside overnight stop at Te Anau.

Moeraki Boulders

05th Sept - after breakfast at TeAnau, we continue to Milford Sound, with few stop at Te Anau Downs, Mirror LakeEglinton ValleyFalls Creek and few others spots. We tried to stop at the famed Monkey Creek unfortunately it's in avalanche area so it's a definite no-no. Reached Milford Sound at late evening. Checked in at Milford Sound Lodge for the night.

Eglinton Valley - (c) Jemang Images

06th Sept - Beautiful (though gloomy) sunrise at Milford Sound, then it rained. So we cancelled the plan for Milford Cruise and packed up and head to Queenstown. Here FJ showed his fearless skilful driving by tackling the icy bends). Sunset somewhere along the way (no idea at all where it's at) and reached Queenstown's Top 10 Holiday at 8pm - just in the nick of time as the reception was about to close. 
Gloomy Sunrise at Milford (c) Mk Azmi

Sunset at Lake Wakatipu Lakeshore - approximately 30 minutes drive to Queenstown
07th Sept - Sunrise at 12th Mile Delta then continue to Glenorchy to find the willow trees. Then back to Queenstown for breakfast (actually it was brunch) and sightseeing at the town. After the Million Dollar Cruise we head back to Christchurch via Mossburn (where everybody got some nice "Windows 8 wallpaper shots) and some more Milky Way shots at Lindis Pass and Twizel-Tekapo road. Another roadside sleep.

12th Mile Delta, Qeenstown

08th Sept - reached Christchurch and visit fellow Malaysian Haneff for a delicious Nasi Lemak breakfast before returning the campervan at the depot. Haneff then picked us up at the airport for a final milky outing at Port Hill with few of his friends, Ahmad Amryl and Faizey.

09th Sept - depart to Sydney by a 7am flight, touch down 10am. Another incursion into Sydney.
all images above (c) Mk Azmi

10th Sept - depart from Sydney by 11pm flight. By this time everybody was conked out!

11th Sept -  reached LCCT at 4am. Journey ends. AlhamduliLlah..

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