Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Astonishing New Zealand - Part 1

A friend of mine once told me, "You ought to visit New Zealand, once in your lifetime!", and by the time I got the chance to visit that beautiful country, I told her, "Hell no, Once is not enough! I want to visit there again and again and again..."

I suppose to write this blog few months ago, when it's still fresh in my mind, the beauty of New Zealand (NZ) but due to some reason, I only got the time to write it down now. Story about my journey will be divided in to 2 or maybe 3 parts as there are so many things i want to tell!

Let's start! Early this year (end of March 2011), i got the chance to join in an Inspection to NZ (North and South island) and Sydney. I went there with 5 other colleagues, the main idea is to do Hotel inspection and get to know more info on this country. We took night flight on 21March11 and arrived at Auckland on the following day afternoon (6 hour time differences between Jakarta and Auckland).

My first impression by the time i reach Aukland is "Good God, This city is clean!". No trash, clean air, great scenery made me fall for this city. Picked up at Airport by a super friendly driver who took us to Mount Eden (a lookout point) on the way to our office which located in city center. From Mount Eden we can see the city of Auckland (literary) with cool scenery, definitely a must visit if you got the chance to come to Auckland.

Auckland is the most populous urban area in NZ, yet I didn't feel this city as crowded as Jakarta (hell yeah!). Unfortunately, tight schedule made us pass to visit several touristic area in the city, but we got the chance to go inside Auckland Sky Tower, the tallest structure in NZ with views up to 80kms in every direction. And the best of it is, we got in FREE OF CHARGE :). We spend our first night by walking around the city, a lovely city.

Day 3! We took early bus (English guided along the way) to Rotorua, which known for its geothermal activity. On the way we stop by at Waitomo which famous with the Glow Worm Cave, and had 1hour tour inside the cave (included boat ride). One of my colleague was crying because it's beauty. Please don't imagine a wet and dirty cave because it's far from it, 1 hour seems not enough to enjoy this cave! Ashtonished by the cave, we continue the ride to Rotorua, we can see a green savana with sheeps along the way.

By the time we reach Rotorua, our schedule was filled with Hotel Inspection, so we spent the day walking around the town and peek on some hotels *LOL*. At 1900, we reach back to our hotel to enjoy Maori Hangi dinner shou for the next 2 hours. They served us a Hangi yet modern style dinner and we can enjoy the Maori show afterwards, it was fun to hear them sing and see them dancing in a small stage! All I can say was, "Man, they have a strong and great voice!". It's 9PM and we still have 1 agenda left, that was Polynesian Spa, a great idea to spent a cold night. We all sleep tight that night.

Day 4! Itinerary on this day was full day city tour (includes Agrodome and Te Puia) before go back to Auckland with 5PM's bus. A friendly driver/guide took us to Agrodome first, so we can catch the first sheep show on 0930. The show was held in a big Auditorium look a like, and it is really interesting, i spent 1 hour amazed on how the guy conduct sheeps and of course laugh out loud to see the sheep reactions. After the show, they also took us on a farm tour. We can feed the animals, taste wines and kiwi juice which produces by this farm. The juice taste great, but i have no idea about the wine :p

Finished with the farm tour, we went for lunch in Skyline. Went up using a gondola, and got a free ticket for Luge Ride, well this should be one of best lunch I ever had. The meal itself is as usual, buffet with various menus. Feed up with delcious food, then we heading to Te Puia, the premier Maori cultural centre and thermal valley, just FYI, the guide in this TA is Maori people. 1hour visit filled with loads new knowledge about Maori culture, people and language, also we got the chance to see Kiwi bird, the symbol of NZ. Since we still have time before our bus on 5PM, the driver took us to visit the government garden which has a beautiful rose garden, we spent our time there until departure to Auckland.

Our bus came 20minutes late due to some problem (I already forgot the reason), so it's already quite dark by the time we leave Rotorua. On the way, the bus driver inform us that we just passed shooting location for LOTR... Woooohhhoooo!! Arrival in Auckland is already late, the bus driver was being nice and drop us at our hotel at Pullman. Since we had a late dinner, so i felt that dinner on that day was the best ever! We had Thai for dinner. The steamy rice, delicious and a bit spicy chicken filled me up! And again, i slept soundly that night, I even overheard my morning alarm! Yep, I woke up late for morning flight to Queenstown.. Daarrnn!

Day 5, Time to explore South island! My boss once said, "You will love North Island, but once you get to South Island, you will be more amaze with its beauty.". Is it true what my boss said? I will get back to you on the 2nd part :)