Sunday, August 16, 2015

New Zealand - North Island - 10 Days 9 Nights (Part 1 - Itinerary)

This is quite an accidental trip. The location is actually base on eliminating the places we wish to go and also the best flight on offer (Gasped!). Finally the winning contender: North Island - New Zealand.

After a detailed itinerary plan, i discovered (albeit unfortunately) that the north island actually has less to offer compared to the more diverse South Island. But never fear that there is plenty of adequate things to do in your itinerary.
Huka Falls - New Zealand

This trip is a slightly slow and relaxing (some places I've excluded from my trip like Wellington, Bay of islands and also Napier) as requested by my SO. On the bright side, we ending up waking up later in the mornings, spending more time together, enjoying long dinners and chill out time at a specific location.

I really wanted to do the world most amazing day walk. The Tongarrio Northern circuit but my SO chicken out and insisted that i have neither the fitness nor stamina for it. So out of the itinerary it goes. There are plenty of adrenaline rush activities for the more adventurous like Bungy jumping, black water rafting and white water rafting. The most exciting activity I did was OGO which turn out to be pretty wild. I am so glad I did it at least once in my lifetime.
Hiking at Wairere Falls

I also did hiking at both the Cathedral Cove at Coromandel and Wairere Falls at Matamata. Between the two, I deem Wairere Falls as the more difficult track to take. Do note that moderate fitness is a minimum requirement.

I did not rent a GPS from Hertz and use the app "HERE" instead. This app allows for offline access to maps and was a GPS map used exclusively by Nokia previously. Now its available for free to all including the maps. Initially, I was quite concerned and its quite a leap of faith on my part. But after this time, I most definitely continue using this as its completely reliable and trustworthy. On top of that is saves me $$$.

Air New Zealand Experience


I also like to comment on my first time experience on Air New Zealand. I am highly impressed by the high-tech nteractive touch screen which enables me to chat and play games with other passengers. This makes it extremely fun flight experience. I can also order in-flight drinks during the flight which i rated as highly efficient and effective way of communication. I also like the adjustable head rest. I am extremely entertained by the in flight safety procedures announcement, which is quirky and humourous. This is also the first time i see the additional comforts offered to the premium economy class. SQ definitely need to buck up big time!

The return night flight though  is nowhere near as pleasant. It was quite messy at the airport during check in. Somehow, we are not able to check in on the self help kiosk. We have to seek the help of an Air New Zealand staff which takes some time to spot. Everyone somehow needs their assistance. Next, is the very rude guy at the fragile and odd size items drop luggage area who seem more interested in chatting with his colleagues then fulfilling his duties. We actually got reprimanded for his own negligience, i.e asking us to push our luggage through before our luggage are tagged and when I stopped my husband we actually got reprimanded by him for not following instructions when there is no instructions to begin with. On hindsight, I should have taken down his name.

During the return flight, the in-flight menu is off all the time, so no orders of food and drinks can be made. So my 4 stars experience from first flight is now down graded to a 3.2 stars

Some of the mistakes I made on the trip is not looking thoroughly through the discount voucher book I got from the airport and end up paying more than I otherwise would have. Do also go to this website (www.bookme.co.nz). It's highly recommended by other travelers and offers good discounts on attractions. Though it might also be wise to refer to this website and verify if the original vendor can match the deals.

On the second day of our trip, we got a private parking fine by Wilson Parking in New Zealand. A 10 mins parking overtime cost us a NZ$65. Apparently, there is no recourse. They threaten to tow away your car should you fail to pay the fine. This is despite the fact that they are not government authority. I tried to google and search for recourse but online forum discussions all provide very negative reviews of this parking vendor. Quick to enforce the fine but slow to waive and response. This really a bummer for the rest of the day trip. Do AVOID PARKING at Wilson Parking unless absolutely necessary.

Overall, I am pretty satisfied with the itinerary which has little back tracking (in my humble opinion) and exposure to varied sceneries and experiences from the rolling hills to smoking volcanic regions.
Travel itinerary-New Zealand
Travel dates: 16 May 2015 to 25 May 2015. 

My itinerary:

Day 1:
 Day 2: 
*Money saving tip: Check out AWADS facebook page for discounts.

Day 3: 
Day 4: 
Day 5:
Day 6:

Day 7: 
Travel tip: Craters of the moon is a fairly short distance away. If you have 30 -45 mins to spare, you can visit the place.

Day 8: 
Day 9:
Day 10:
**Place was not visited due to last minute changes to itinerary. There is still sufficient time to visit this place.

 Details of the travel will be shared subsequent posts.

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