Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New Zealand - Day 8

The journal continues... We started early on the 8th day. Started off at 8am. In fact we were ready by 8am but HB had a very challenging task to carry out before we bid farewell to the holiday park.

HB, holding his breath, hehehe... disposing the toilet waste from the Britz!

What would we do without YOU! Love you loads!! Muah! Muah! Muah! =D

We had toast, butter, apples & juice for breakfast. Simple yet nutritious. In fact it was easy for the girls too. Munching on their toast in the Britz whilst enjoying the morning view.

The route we followed was different compared to the days before. This thermal explorer highway to Rotorua & continued further up to Hamilton stunned us with its bubbling geothermal areas. The distance was approximately 176km. A shorter journey compared to the other days. We planned to spend more time in Rotorua & later were hoping to be in time for dinner with our friends in Hamilton.

I was informed of a beautiful waterfall in Taupo. Did not really make an appoint to visit but as the GPS navigated us towards the highway, HB came across this signage & we chose to make the right turn.

Frankly I was not really into waterfalls. The ones we viewed in Milford Sound still lingered in my mind. What could actually be more fascinating than that? I was so wrong!

Huka Falls was beyond words. The minute I witnessed such spectacular natural wonder, I stood still in amazement & praising the Almighty.

This largest falls on the Waikato River looked more like a rough water pool. The bluish/ greenish water attracted many tourists from all over the world.

This shot would be perfect if we were from the opposite direction.

We were in hurry & as to save time, I shot this one for a later read. Truthfully, until now it has remained unread ;-)

A family portrait with Huka Falls in the background. By the look of it, our number kind of outshone the background don't you think?

Now, this is a better shot with the background. Only that one was not in the picture... (No baby, I was not implying anything! ;D )

Back in the Britz, our journey to Rotorua continued. The thermal explorer highway which connected us to our destination revealed its geothermal scenery.

Again we made another unplanned stop. It was the Craters of the Moon.

I was not really into the idea of a geothermal walk! Knowing HB, he loved such activity... We later found out that the walk would take 45 minutes of our time which was what we were lacking. Anyhow, the lady who was in charged that morning was sweet enough to allow us looking around & snapped some photos.

Continued the journey. The drive was relaxing. Not too many vehicles but we still had to stick to the speed limit.

After almost an hour, we came cross this signage to Waiotapu.

We were informed by a staff at the holiday park in Taipo that the geyser would erupt daily at 10am. The timing was so perfect. Reached the visitor centre 15 minutes early, bought the tickets only to be informed that the geyser was at another place. We had to drive for like 5 minutes to that area. Imagine the rush. If we knew that earlier, HB would prefer getting the tickets for us rather than dragging the whole troop. The walk from the parking space to the visitor centre was nearly 100m!

Did I miss any information inferring the geyser was situated at another place?

Well, anyway we made it. In fact, was early. The geyser was only to erupt at 1015am. The crowd was really remarkable. I heard French, American accent, Spanish amongst the patient audience. Saw some Asians too & a Malaysian student from far gave me a smile.

This was part of the crowd. My 3 elder girls managed to sit somewhere at the front row. I did not get a seat unless I chose to force the stroller in between the benches. However, I made sure I could see the girls from where I was standing & Nadeen, next to me in the stroller had a clear view in front of her. HB was behind us standing & trying to capture the moment.

Seriously, at that very instant I felt like in Hogwarts. A bunch of wizards tentatively listening to the professor & expecting for the anthill shape right in front of them to do magic.

The energetic professor... nothing at all like Dumbledor ;-)

He started telling us about the area which was once an open prison & the spot that we were sitting was the place the prisoners used to do their laundry. A group of those men by accident discovered that soap helped the process for the geyser to erupt bubbling hot water spring. And there I was waiting with amazement on the fact that the geyser would erupt at the same time daily... the professor clearly made this statement " Mother nature needs a little help!". Off he poured some substance onto the mouth of the mound & immediately bubbly water came out.

It got higher....

and higher....

and higher. Sometimes could even reach up to 20m.

The truth this Lady Knox Geyser was quite a disappointment to me. Little did I know about a helping soapy substance was needed in the process. I thought it was totally by nature. Anyhow, the 20m high geyser did her justice & without doubts impressed my girls.

The girls, striking a pose with the geyser in the background.

A family portrait

Another one at the entrance of Lady Knox Geyser

The Waiotapu Wonderland was a large park. We did not have the time to explore the whole area. Even though if we did have the time, the walk crossing old volcanic craters was not really suitable for our young troop.

We anyhow did not give the mud pool a miss. Traveling with a toddler & a 4-year-old made me extra cautious. Especially after having read this warning...

The Hot Bubbly Mud Pool

This was the closest I allowed them to be & it was merely for a photo shoot.

Next, we made a move to Rotorua. The infamous smell of this city was what worried me the most. The reason of our 2 nights stay in Taupo was basically to avoid the "rotten smell" due to geothermal activity which releases hydrogen sulphide.

As we were getting closer the smell became more prominent but none of the girls complained. Approaching the city, the smell sort of vanished. Either it really had disappeared or our olfactory system was getting used to this new odour.

City Centre

Rotorua was indeed a city for tourists. We should have put up a night here. There were many attractions & activities offered. It was only that time did not permit.

Remember the cable car Wardah missed in Queenstown? Again in Rotorua we had to opt for other priority. Sorry dear...

I wanted to introduce the girls to the Maori cultures. Well, the truth was it was me who really wanted to. In order for me to get closer to them, the girls should be OK with the idea. I had exposed them to pictures & stories about the Maori. Even Balqis was thrilled in meeting the indigenous people of NZ. Unfortunately, all cultural shows began after 5pm. Another event that I had to pass...

A couple of the Maori villages which offered cultural shows.

Later in the evening I found out from my friend that I should have gone to the Te Puia Pohutu Geyser. Not only to experience the local geyser & mud pool but at the same place we could also observe the Maori cultures & NZ's national icon, kiwi birds.

It was not yet noon. HB suggested for us to explore the city for awhile. He parked the Britz in front of some stores & we continued by foot.

Heading towards Rotorua Visitor Information Centre

Yasmin & Balqis inside the centre.

The Visitor Centre Building

The Convention Centre

Guess what HB discovered... A public park! I really can't recall the many parks we had been to in NZ. This was a shot at the entrance. No! That man was not my husband!!

Now, the girls at the park. I was with Nadeen at a shed nearby... was too comfortable with the cold weather & the hot sun at noon in Rotorua did not agree to my skin ;=D

10 minutes later we were on our way back to the Britz but had to make another stop as Wardah insisted on a shot with this public phone.

The girls & I had a light lunch in the Britz before we started off to the place the girls had been looking forward to go.

The Agrodome

It was their first farm experience. Yasmin had her share in OZ but she was as young as Nadeen & could not remember anything.

The girls really enjoyed the farm tour. Frankly, their parents too! We were taken to experience a real farm on a tractor. It was such an unforgettable experience.

This was the first livestock in the farm we encountered. I was asking myself... "Why is it covered with a piece of white cloth?" But what came from HB made me laugh! " What's a tapir doing here?" Hehehe...

It was a Belted Galloway. A breed originating from Galloway, Scotland.

Neighbouring the "Oreo Cow" were a group of other livestock.



Cows of an unknown breed

Wardah posing with the cows

We moved on & came across these mini horses.

No doubt this was a bull but I'm not sure of the breed.

Captain Cooker, named after the person who first brought them to this Kiwiland.

The Kune Kune which means "chubby" in Maori

We then were brought to the plantation farm & came face to face with a kiwi tree. I am no fan of this fruit unlike the girls. But the kiwis in their native land tasted far sweeter & I helped myself quite a lot ;-)

The plant

The girls with their favourite

A close up of the fruit

Stopped to have a look at how the fruits were processed for the juice.

Seemed to be so interested...??

Not sharing my mine!

Back in the tractor, we approached an open area with sheep, llamas, alpacas, deer & ducks. Our vehicle made a stop & the driver announced that we were allowed to feed the animals!

Waiting for our turn

They were coming towards us

Making our maiden contacts with the llamas


Alpaca, a cute little thing!

A closer look of a llama

Wardah & Yasmin spreading out to feed the animals

Baa Baa Black Sheep, Have you any wool?

This excited mom with her scared girls was surrounded with hungry animals =)

Running to papa for safety...

Holding Nadeen & at the same time making this shot ... was not an easy attempt.

Wardah feeding the deer

Nadeen looked amazed with this new creature.

Getting more food supply

The whole family playing farmers

HB trying to coax Balqis to feed the sheep. She hated the stickiness when the sheep licked onto her palm & ended up throwing the food on the ground.

The ducks couldn't be happier...

After so much fun with the animals, it was time to go. Our final visit was to this herd 's territory. We were not allowed to step down. Just look at their sizes & sure nobody wanted to mess around with those horns.

Jersey cows. Huge! Take Balqis as a comparison.

The Highlander breed all the way from Scotland

Glad none of us was wearing red!

We returned just in time for the sheep show. It was very entertaining. The host made the show even livelier. It was really worth the money paid!

We were without the headphones as we understood English well =)

The translators positioned at the back

Our host, introducing the many different breeds & later a demo shearing a sheep

In the middle of the shearing the other fellows fell asleep..... =D

It took him less than 7 minutes & the sheep survived the ordeal with no cut at all.

Milking a cow. The host requested for some volunteers. My Yasmin raised up her hand but others walked up straight to the stage. Hmmm...

Dog show. He sure knew how to handle those ducks & sheep.

The show was amazing. Credits should be given to the host. He was a real dynamic & very informative too. There were 3 shows scheduled daily & I wondered whether it was only him doing all the hosting.

Remember the incident in Christchurch? Yeah.. how I was so careless leaving my dslr on the coffee table. Nadeen felt like trying out her skill in photography & whooshed my bulky camera fell onto the floor. I was still lucky though. The body was OK unlike my poor lens. So, besides using the point & shoot we also opted to make use of the dslr as well but with a 90mm macro lens instead.

After the sheep show, we were allowed to pet the various breeds of sheep on stage. HB took the girls & I chose to shoot. Using a macro lens to snap a big stage obviously I needed to step back. Stepped back far, I mean very faaaar....

Imagine me about 10m away from the stage focusing my lens onto my family with the other tourists crowding the stage. HB kept saying,

"Excuse me, you're blocking the camera."

"Oooops! Sorry. Where's the camera?"

"Over theeeeerreeee...."

Hahaha! But I managed ;-D

Even the girls were not aware of their mom somewhere down there looking for the best angle ;-)

A better one

The best shot...

By then it was already half past 3. We had to make a move to Hamilton. We were having a BBQ with my friend, Zu at her place.

Not that far

She wouldn't miss the chance to slumber...

Along the way we stopped by a lake. The girls were hungry. We didn't really have a very proper meal that day. HB put on his chef hat while the girls & I looked out for a good spot.

A lake

Lush greenery

A picnic table

Great food

A perfect place for the family. We tried not to stuff our stomach too much. Didn't want to spoil our appetite at Zu's ;-)

Finding Zu's place was not that difficult. The GPS helped a lot though we were quite confused with the address. Reached her place before sunset & found her at the front yard barbequing fresh lambs. The smell was out of the world!!

Not only that, she cooked briyani rice! Waaa... imagine us helping ourselves to the rice. We had not consumed rice for more than a week. Thank you dear Zu. You & Khairul were indeed such wonderful hosts.

The lamb

Lamb curry

Too bad my battery went flat. Did not have the chance to share the Briyani Rice....

Balqis & Amily, good friends in no time ;-)

* to be continued


MrsNordin said...

I haven't been visiting here in a while and I see that you still haven't finished your NZ story? There must be a lot to write, but it's a good travelogue. I'll definitely refer to here again whenever we decide to go to NZ. Cheers!

ibu,mommy,mom... said...

Amazing write up and amazing shots...amazing scenery,amazing food...oh how amazing ...

kay_leeda said...

Beautiful pics..the landscape, nature, animals and of course of the big happy family :)

Like MrsN, I am also gonna use yr travelogue should I wanna do NZ next time :))

Thanks for sharing.

Desert Rose said...


Ur post about NZ ni never fail to amaze me like before....

And watching the geyser bestnyer...

A good fren is moving there soon, could this mean something??/ Oh how i wish (verangan la minah ni tak abis lagi, kwn tu baru je cakap pls come n visit us nanti' kite dah teruja nak mati)

Neway nice knowing u

Dalam Dakapan Ibu said...

Dear Ja,
Awesome pix! Bestnya geyser tu. Sceneries pun cantik!

tireless mom said...

Dear Ja

Beautiful pics. Lots of NZ's adventure. Sure penat you mengupload gambar.

jabishah said...

Hi Mrs N,

I still hv another 2 more entries of the trip. I come to realise that if I do not jot down any holiday experience somewhere, we will forget easily. As for this one I can guarantee that Nadeen wont remember a thing.

jabishah said...

Hi ibu,mommy,

You know, can I hv your name? It's so weird addressing as ibu,mommy ;-)

Tx dear. Appreciate it. The entries will come to an end & I can't wait to do so... It's been 3 months & it is still not over.Sigh...

jabishah said...

Hi Kak Kay,

No prob at all. I can even plan the trip for you FOC. Well, I'm just a phone call away...

jabishah said...

Hi you desert rose,

Hehehe... tx.

Verangan tak salah cuma jgn verangan mat jenin ;-)

Angan but work your angan lah kan? Im sure your friend will look forward to your visit. Apa lagi? Mulakan angan mu ;-)

jabishah said...

Hi Kak Ja,

Geyser tu mmg best tapi rasa mcm tipah tertipu... Ingat it will erupt naturally. I was wrong. Anyway tx. I didn't shoot all the pics. Half was taken by HB.

jabishah said...

Hi kak yatt,

Tx again. Upload gambar tak penat. The editing was tiring. I still hv another 2 more entries & I can wrap this up! Pheeww...

Sakinah said...

Dear Ja,

I've been reading your travelogue since your Day 1 and I tell you that it is worth reading. Thanks for spending time to write and share this with us. Your writing is beneficial not just to you and your family, but to others which could be used as a reference to those who intent to travel to NZ, me included.

Everytime after reading your travelogue, I would brief my hubby about your journey. We do have plan to visit NZ when our children are much bigger. I've been there a few times but without the family.

May I suggest that you publish this travelogue to NZ and other travelogue of yours as a book so that your children especially could use as a reference in the future? I would definitely buy the book and get your autograph!

Can't wait to read your 2 other entries.

jabishah said...

Dear Sakinah,

Thank you so much for finding the time reading my posts on NZ. I have just published Day 9 & I mentioned you there. Have a read ;-)

ibu,mommy,mom... said...

hi ja:)
i'm rene:)