Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Astonishing New Zealand - Part 3

Wow.. 3rd part already! Okay, where was I again? D06, time for Milford Sound. Hmm, if you all aware, Milford Sound is now categorized as one of New 7 Wonder of the world, and it was beautiful indeed. The trip was start from 07AM, we took 1 day tour package (ends in Te Anau) by Real Journey, one of the famous trip organizer in South island. As usual, it was guided tour (driver acts as guide) a long the way to Milford Sound. On the way, we stop by 4 times, 1st at Te Anau for coffee break then 5mins photo stop at Mirror lake after that short walk at The Chasm, and the last one is before tunnel (i forgot the name). There's one thing i can't forget was by the time we arrived at Te Anau, we were welcomed by the Rainbow. It was a stunning view! can't get enough of taking pictures :p
Rainbow in te Anau
We were arrived at Milford Sound as schedule, the cruise start from 1300. This cruise is also included lunch on board, so you may call it Cruise Lunch, I had Obento (served at 3rd floor) for lunch. Beside Obento, this cruise also provide buffet lunch, but what interesting is that the Captain himself told me that people who had Obente are the lucky one, so I guess I'm lucky then. For 1hr 45mins we were cruising around the Milford Sound, the Captain took us to some places, and tell the history of each places, sadly to be honest, i forgot all of it now!

View of Mirror Lake
The Chasm
Milford Sound cruise and the "captain"
At 1500 we hop on to the bus and go back to Te Anau for overnight. Te Anau is a very small city, i think we can go stroll around the city by foot! After check in at hotel, we decided to have a stroll and dinner before we going on another fascinating trip to the Cave! Same as the one in Waitomo, it's a Glow Worm but more interesting. We took a boat to the cave, and spent approx 45mins guided tour inside, include boat ride. The guide told us that there are some occasion tourist go there for rafting on summer, wow! After guided tour, we all gathering in a room to enjoy afternoon tea and video presentation about Glow Worm. By the time we get back to city, it's already dark and it seems there was no night life in Te Anau! So, it's time for sleep.

D07, back to Queenstown. The nice driver from D05 took us back to Queenstown, after put some luggages at the hotel then he drop us at city pier. The plan was we enjoy Kawarau Shotover Jet before take off for TSS Earnslaw Steam Ship Cruise and Walter Peak Farm tour. But unfortunately, it was raining so we had to canceled the shotover river jet and change it to city stroll (means shopping!). After as short stroll and lunch, we heading back to the pier for Steam ship cruise. It was my first time take a steam ship, and it was fun! It took about 40mins to get to Walter Peak and it's all WORTHED! Walter Peak is so gorgeous with an awesome view! I love farm tour and sheep show in Rotorua more than in Walter Peak, but still the view is unbeatable.
TSS Earnslaw steam ship
The view from Walter Peak
Queenstown Lake
It was already 1730 when reach back Queenstown, and since the hotel is nearby we decided on going back to the hotel on foot, and of course took some pictures on the way. It seems the "stroll" we had was not enough, so we decided to go back to The Mall after hotel check in. The Mall is not an actual mall like we had in Indonesia but it's more of a shopping arcade which filled with small shops. We spent our evening just wandering around and some of us were really anxious with the shopping thingy! Tired with shopping, we then had a Japanese dinner that night, I had udon back then and it was a perfect way to end the cold day! And just FYI, most of us never thought that Queenstown will be this cold on March, so we only use a thin jacket and it was a HUGE mistake! 

D08, hello Mount Cook! At 0700 a sightseeing bus picked us at hotel, we were heading to MountCook. Remember on what day i woke up late, overheard the alarm? Well, same thing happened on this day, but I'm not the one who late, it was my Boss! It took about 5.5hours journey from Queenstown to Mountcook, yet it was a fun journey. We stop by at several places on the way, such as Mrs Jones fruit shop (we had fruit tasting here), Waitaki River (panoramic view of mountains), Omarama (enjoy morning tea) and the last one was Peter Lookout for a panoramic vie of mountains.We also had a quick stop at Mount Cook airport to drop some pax who wish to experience glacier flight using helicopter.
Fruit tasting at Mrs Jones Fruit shop

The street of Omarama

Mount Cook Airpport

It's almost 1PM and we arrived at the one and only hotel in Mount Cook, that is Hermitage hotel. This is a huge hotel with a great service. Our schedule on that day was Glacier cruise which starts at 1400, so we grab a quick lunch (well, it was buffet though) and hop on to the bus heading to the site. Bus ride to the site was take about 15mins, yet we still have to go on mini hiking for about 20mins more, and voila there it was.. A stunning view of glaciers. The cruise it self last for 1hour. There's one thing fascinate me, on the tour I met a Japanese (a backpacker) woman who already spent more than a year on the road. She went backpacking alone to several countries and spent about 3months on each countries. Oh, how i envy her.. I wish I can do that someday!
Glacier cruise

View from the window in Hermitage

We were back at hotel at 5PM, a perfect time to enjoy 3D movie at Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Center (located inside Hermitage hotel). The movie was about history of Mount Cook in 15mins duration. Since we still have time until dinner at 1900, so I decide to take some rest inside the room (with huge window and view of MountCook with its snow on the top!). Before dinner, the hotel manager took us to a luxury waiting room nearby the restaurant where we can had some drink. It was my first time tasting Ginger beer, and I love it! That night we had buffet (again) for dinner, and off all buffet menu I had during the tour, I must say that this hotel had the most juicy taste and with most variations of menu. I can't get enough of the mussels and ice cream! Filled with tasty foods, the hotel manager took us outside hotel just to see stars which happened to be shine so bright! What a beautiful way to spent the night :)

D09, time to say good bye to NZ. We woke up very early to catch a flight to Sydney. The nearest airport will be Christchurch, and it take about 5hrs from Mountcook to Christchurch. Since our flight take off at 1325, so we depart as early as possible from Mountcook and that is 5AM. A born Japanese driver was the one who took us to the airport. He actually a guide for Star Gazing tour, so he gave us a brief explanation on the stars which still shine at that hour. On the way to airport we stop by at 2 places, first one is Lake tekapo, a brief stop just to see the sunrise and the famous Church of God Shepperd, the second one is Geraldine for breakfast/morning coffee. By the time we arrived at Christchurch, i can see that this city was on its mourn period because the huge earthquake in the end of February this year. That was also the main reason we didn't put Christchurch on our itinerary, maybe next time! So long beautiful New Zealand, see you again some other time! I hope to visit you again one day :)