Tuesday, March 10, 2015

101 % Pure - New Zealand


I had planned for Australia & New Zealand for our honeymoon and was looking for a vendor who can give me the best experience. But later dropped Australia as it is huge country to explore, would require atleast a month's time to see major locations. I happen to try a new vendor as he was a specialist in New Zealand & was able to offer me customized itinerary. 

We wanted to avoid going in a group package tour, as they make you run everywhere in limited time which becomes very hectic. We were looking for a relaxed trip, explore the new locations as I am avid & amateur photographer (believe it or not I clicked 4000+ pictures there) & at the same time spend some quality time together with my wife. I just got that and planned it in such a way that half day was with the vast and beautiful nature of New Zealand while other half was at our discretion to explore. 

Bay of Islands

New Zealand is like gorgeous women with serene demeanor, who does not need to try to get attention. Once you have returned home, you will itch to get back there. It is difficult to get out of the hangover of the tranquility and calmness, seeing no people on the roads, grandeur of the mighty Milford Sounds, let me not make you more conscious. 

Amazing cotton-like skies of Rotorua - The land of hot water geysers

 It was a fantabulous experience to say the least. New Zealand is amazing destination for honeymooners or if you are photographer or seeking adventure, in short it is a must see once in lifetime. If you want to get away from maddening crowds, enjoy breath taking natural beauty, clean blue water & skies, photogenic locations, pure fresh air, friendly people, lot of great food & drinks you have to be there. We went in December which is suppose to be their summers, but to our disbelief, the climate was chilly and pleasant throughout New Zealand. The summers in NZ were colder than winters in Mumbai so we were very happy.

You feel fresh all the time when you are anywhere in NZ, the air is so crisp and invigorating, that you can take a walk for an extra mile after a long day travel. 

Kiwi people were a pleasant surprise. I did not know kiwis were so friendly people. They have preserved the aboriginal Maori culture in museums and encouraged their art and history at their cultural centers.

Wilderness of the Mt. Cook and lower Hooker valley

We started from Auckland in Northland, Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Paihia & then moved to South Island, Queenstown, Mt. Cook, Milford Sounds and back home from Christchurch. The journey by flight from Rotorua to Queenstown was incredible. The quaint airport of Rotorua followed by rugged landscapes, clean blue skies with cotton like clouds, snow capped mountains on the horizon and stunning crystal clear waters with every shade of turquoise. 

Rotorua is a region with low visibility and with all the geothermal activity underneath its soil a bit stinky too. It has numerous geysers. mud pools and parks. It also boasts of a centre of rich Maori cultural center. Its an ideal place for rejuvenation and relax to enjoy for eco-tourism The soil is enriched by minerals found in the region.  

When you are in a country with sheep's of all variety outnumbering the humans hands down, you cannot miss the Agrodome and the Sheep show. Yes you heard it right they have a sheep show. Its wonderful to watch the domestication of these animals found in that region.

Adding colors to the palate of azure lake

If you are looking adventure, you have to stay back in Queenstown for a week. It is the adventure capital of the world. It offers you host of adventures like Bungy Jumping, para-gliding, sky diving, river rafting and more. 

Amazing experience of para gliding over the landscape of Queenstown and the lake Wakatipu

The best part was we got to see Singapore for a whole day since we were travelling on Singapore Airlines. Singapore has a free city tour if your in transit to Australasia on Singapore Airlines. There is so much about this vibrant business hub cum world's leading tourist destination that it is very difficult to cover it in 7 hours in-transit.

Singapore city tour hop-in hop-off bus

Coming back to NZ, Everything there is meant for encouraging tourism industry, one of the mainstays of their economy. It is so well organized. We did not have to worry about missed bus, miss times, lack of co-ordination. It is most important for any traveler to experience a “perfect” holiday & especially if you are on a  honeymoon, you did not wanted to be in soup in front of your partner! 

When we first landed there I was so tensed about their "cleanliness" rules, but after roaming for 10 days we realized why they are so finicky about people carrying "dirt" in their country. We had got new pair of shoes and after roaming entire nation they were as new & clean as they were when I had taken them out of the shoes box! Kiwis value their cleanliness & natural resources so much so that their national bird kiwi is protected like a head of state. 

Glimpse of Milford Sound

How to reach and What to do?
  • Direct flights available from Mumbai and Delhi to Auckland - NZ via Singapore, HK, KL
  • Take the most efficient airlines - Singapore Airlines, as you get Singapore city tour with it, make sure you do not get the immigration check done at Changi Airport for it and SA has a super service. 
  • Once you are in Auckland, explore the city. You can take the guided city tour.
  • Pahia and the Bay of Islands where you can go for Dolphin safari
  • Geothermal sites of Rotorua 
  • Farm Show at Agrodome or zorbing nearby Rotorua
  • Must See - Milford Sounds, simply breathtaking! No picture can express the grandeur-ness of it.
  • Queenstown - adventure capital of the world for anything from Bungy jumping, Para sailing, Para gliding, Skydiving to Jet boating, helicopter and light aircraft rides, you name it.
  • Astonishing Mt. Cook and its wilderness 
  • Waitomo - Glowworm caves 
 The bare minimum requirement is you take 11-days off to cover all the major locations and  attractions. Not to mention the vineyards, cheese and sheep farms, parks, numerous other "sounds" and smaller islands surrounding New Zealand, for which you need a month. 

Hope this helps you in planning your itinerary. I would like to hear from you in the comments below, if you have already visited NZ or planning in near future.  

The most famous site for Bungy jumping in Queensland

Helicopter rides to the Mt. Cook ranges

Stunning visual feast, blue shades of the Lake Tekapo

The fern leaves of New Zealand, there are a variety of them all over the country. This was near Fiordland National Park on the way to Milford Sounds

Hare in the lush fields of the Hooker Valley near Mt. Cook

The Remarkables - yes they remarkably spectacular mountains overlooking Queenstown

Beautiful landscapes and open empty roads

Note - Please take prior permission before using any of the pictures or content.

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