Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Zealand - Day 2

My second day in the Kiwiland started as early as 600am. We were to catch a Qantas flight to Queenstown that morning at 10am. Aware of the morning heavy traffic in Auckland we planned to leave for the airport by 8am.

Everyone was in a good mood that morning. They had ample sleep the night before except for Yasmin maybe. She woke up somewhere in the wee hour but I made her go back to sleep right away. She is a light sleeper & I am not sure what time was it did she really continue her sleep. Still she didn't have problem waking up that morning. By 745am, we were all ready at the lobby.

A light breakfast - milk, fruit & left over donuts before checking out. I love the room we stayed in. There were a washer, a dryer & a dishwasher....

The view from our room. True like Yasmin said, it didn't feel like NZ at all.

We had some sandwiches at the airport before boarding. This photo was taken when we were in the departure hall. I tried to read the novel I brought but managed only a page! Just look at Nadeen... Wardah & Balqis were supposed to babysit with HB but what they did was to lead Nadeen towards me!

In the Qantas flight. It was an hour & 4o minutes to Queenstown. Who is the boss in the family? Balqis of course. She always gets the window seat.

Auckland to Queenstown

Our first glimpse of hilly NZ.

Boeing 737-300 that we boarded in the background.

Once we claimed our luggage, we straight headed to the Hertz counter for our rental car which was booked online. I made several bookings online for this trip. It was summer & we were traveling with children. Didn't want to take the risk. But it should be cheaper if you book within New Zealand. At Hertz we obtained quite a reasonable prize of 80NZD daily but according to my friend residing in NZ, her friend once rented a same car at 60NZD. Not sure though whether it was summer too.

Some of the e-tickets I carried with me.

HB at the Hertz counter & look how cheerful Nadeen was. Before we left for this holiday she was down with fever...

The girls entertained themselves. Wardah was not in the picture because she was exploring the place but only close-by.

I just have to share this with you. As a mom traveling with four kids, I really appreciate this room called "Parenting Room". It was one cozy room, with attached toilet, a play area, a wash basin with hot water, a foldable diaper changing table & a microwave oven. I managed to handle all of my girls at one go!

Notice Balqis with all the soft toys? ;-)

At Queenstown International Airport with our luggage & ready to start the journey.

Here is the car. Known as Toyota Previa but it was really Toyota Estima.

As HB was getting the baby seat & booster ready, I heard Wardah screaming... " Mama! A dead kiwi bird!" Wardah dear, you can be so dramatic at times...

The Toyota registration number.

The seating arrangement. Our Toyota was an 8 seater. The boot however did not accommodate enough space for our luggage. Hence Yasmin had to share the back row seats with Balqis & one of the bags with a stroller.

We stopped by for a shot of Lake Wakatipu.

Had this gadget to help us around.

It was really helpful but our first attempt trying it out landed us on this hill. Apparently it was a housing area but the view from up there was spectacular.

This was the journey we took from Queenstown. It was about 172km (2 & a half hours drive) to Te Anau & from Te Anau to Milford Sound was another 121km. All together it was approximately a 293km drive!

We didn't have the time to do lots of inviting activities in Queenstown. The cable car for instance as spotted by Wardah. HB promised that we would pay this "adventure capital city of the world" a visit again. Perhaps when everyone is more independent. This time around was merely driving through both the islands.

Lake Wakatipu again. It is the longest lake & the 3rd largest in New Zealand.

As we were mesmerised by the beauty all around us, our Toyota was stopped by an in coming truck.

"Please move aside. A house is coming through"

We thought that this southern accent needs a while to get used to. We went like...


"No! House!"

We decided to obey & pulled over. What awaited us was truly a House!

That was quite an experience... Hahaha! The scenic route to Te Anau was breathtaking. The majestic Southern Alps runs along the western side of South Island . Even though we did not have the chance to witness her highest point - Mount Cook, the range itself put us at awe.

Next we passed some farms & this was our first encounter of the sheep in NZ.


And deers.

The Kiwi farmers are innovative. This sprinkler was seen in many farms. It was used to water the grass for their cattle & sheep. I have always trusted the dairy products from New Zealand.

As we were approaching Te Anau, we saw more sheep.

and more sheep...

It is no doubt that the sheep have outnumbered the population of Aotearoa (the Maori name for New Zealand).

Te Anau.

Admiring Lake Te Anau. It was a breezy day. Stopped for our lunch at a nearby cafe.

The Pop Inn Cafe. It was a late lunch for us.

Fish Burger

Fish & Chips

Mixed Seafood & Chips

Baked Potatoes

and Hot Chocolate

HB ordered coffee but what he got was a pager...

Nadeen loved her fries.

Licin! We even ordered some takeaways for dinner... ;-)

Continued our journey up to the Fiordland. It was a windy road passing through the forest. I did not manage to snap photos as Wardah did not feel good. She vomited twice & Nadeen once. The ones seated at the back were fine though. Good thing we came prepared with air sickness bags from the plane.

Both felt better after awhile. The problem then was to dispose the bag. We were in the middle of the forest. Hence Wardah had to hold onto it for awhile. We later saw a public toilet signage along the way. Stopped by but again failed to dispose the bag as there were no bins or whatsoever to throw into. Ironically,l I didn't see a single litter anywhere!

What we did was pose for the camera instead & brought back the bag into the Toyota. Wardah didn't look sick at all, right?

The sheer rock of Milford Sound peeping through the rain forest.

Crystal clear water flows through the creek.

Approaching Milford Sound

It was cold outside but we made the girls get some fresh air. I was truly fascinated by the work of nature... SubhanAllah!

The Homer Tunnel, en route to our destination.

At last we reached Milford Sound or Piopiotahi (in Maori) safely... alhamdulillah.

The scenery was breathtaking. This is the work of the glacier.

We spent the night at Milford Sound Lodge.

Our dormitory room. It was small but the girls loved it.

From outside

and inside.

This was the only booking that we were worried of. All chalets offered were fully booked online. Once we saw the heater & the girls' satisfaction looks, all worries vanished.

The view from our room window.

The girls exploring the area before their hot shower.

It was a quite a walk to the bathroom...

We slept like a log that night. Another early start the next day to venture the spellbinding Milford Sound.

*to be continued