Sunday, 19 November 2017

NZ Road Trip: Wellington and Interislander Ferry

In the name of Allah.
The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.

Assalamu'alaikum, y'all!

"I'm the king of the world!"
~ Jack Dawson (Titanic) ~

As some of you might know, NZ has two major islands: NORTH island and SOUTH island. So the previous posts are from the north island. This post connects the north and the south 'cause we're going from Rotorua to Wellington, then on board the Interislander ferry to Nelson at south island.

Early afternoon on September 26th, a day after Hobbiton, we were off to Wellington but we were starving. You can mistake my rumbling stomach for a jet engine. So we went to a place called BurgerFuel (yes, it's spelled like that). Remember in Auckland where we met Abg Cik's friends and her family? Her dad mentioned BurgerFuel and said that they could prepare halal food. So, guys, if you get cravings, just find the nearest BurgerFuel and fill 'em up! We went to Taupo

Don't you just love puns? Haha!
It was raining like crazy outside. Otherwise we could've gotten a better view of Lake Taupo.

Another thing, the lakes in NZ are B-E-A-utiful. You see a lake, find a parking spot and just bask in the sun and see nature in its full glory. Believe me.

Anyway, after lunch, we had to Solat so we found an Islamic centre in Taupo.

Anywhere you go, just find an Islamic centre. In NZ, there are some places that have A LOT of 'em.

It was getting late so we raced --carefully-- to Wellington and spend the night there. Our host, Julian was this guy in his 60's working in real estate. He's pretty cool. We reached there around 10-ish and after Solat, the 4 of us just passed out. After breakfast, we were already heading out.

After saying our goodbyes to Julian, a furry friend wanted to say goodbye too!


She's fluffier than Shadow! After scratching her belly and behind her ears we were off to Wellington's city centre. We had some time to kill before our ferry.

For you history buff out there, there are a few museums you can go like the Wellington museum!

To be honest, we actually just waled around the city centre. That alone can already fill up your time.

We didn't see much of Wellington 'cause we were getting behind schedule. Even so, Wellington was...........

See what I did there? Haha!
Like in Taupo, we found an Islamic centre in Wellington to Solat.

We raced in our Corolla hatchback to the Interislander ferry! Just follow the signboards and you can go to the office or the waiting area if you're driving.

The ferry's pretty cool. After climbing a few flights of stairs, we got to the lounge where it was pretty comfy.

The ferry has a few floors and one of them is the cafe. To be honest, you'll be wasting your time just sitting in the lounge, watching TV. It's a 3-hour ride to Picton ferry port at south island. NZ is one of the best countries to take pictures. It got a bit cloudier as the time pass but it didn't matter. Haha!

We arrived at Picton quite late and it still took a few hours to get to Nelson where we were staying the night.

We stayed at Kea Apartments and the person handling our booking called and upgraded us! Tengok nasib la kan. Ada rezeki, dapat la upgrade. Haha!

Next post will be Taylorville where we met a few other furry friends. Check out the previous posts for flight preparations, Auckland and Rotorua.

See you guys on the flip side!!

P.S: I'm not technically working yet but I've already gotten the taste of paying commitments and bills.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

NZ Road Trip: Rotorua

In the name of Allah.

The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

Assalamu'alaikum, everybody!

"There's no Bagginses here. They're all up in Hobbiton"
~ Local hobbit after being scared by a Nazgul ~

This post is about probably my 2nd best day in of my life. I say 2nd 'cause nothing will beat Old Trafford.

Time to leave Auckland and off to Rotorua. Not before taking a picture of Sofia's flat!

I highly recommend staying here

It was quite a trip to Rotorua. About 3 hours. I think we took more than that. We sorta got lost in the scenery. One thing you have to know about NZ is that this country is FULL of insanely amazing views. Even if you're not a nature lover, you'd go "ooh" and "aah" too.

If you're going on a road trip like we did, be on the look out for signs that say "SCENIC OVERLOOK" or ones that have more or less the same meaning. Not gonna regret it.....

Most of 'em have picnic tables and stuff so you might wanna make a few snacks before you hit the road. Before we reached Rotorua, we went through Matamata. I swear, those are legit names. You can't make this stuff up. Haha!!

Just had to take a picture of this
I saw the sign from way before we got to the town centre. I geeked out. Say what you want. I'm a huge Lord of the Rings fan. Especially the 1st trilogy.....

I was buzzing, man. We got to our place at Rotorua and it was cool. Fiona, the owner of the place, gave us these flyers of the cool things to do at Rotorua.

And we had a friend!

His name's Shadow and he's so manja! And to quote Agnus from Despicable Me, "He's so fluffy I'm gonna die!". Haha! Fiona, the current owner of the house, told us that the previous owner left him there. How can you do that??!! Shadow's so good. We tried leaving the door open to see if he'll come in. Not even once did he went in. Hope he's ok.

There's a few things you can do here:

1. Gondola (luge optional)

Right, this is basically a cable car ride to a station that they have way up hill. Sort of like the ones in Langkawi and Genting Highlands. Don't ask me why it's "gondola". I thought they're used on water but hey, whatever floats your boat..Or gondola..Anyway, to get down, you can ride down on a luge. It's like a go-kart without the engine. Looked like a lot of fun but we weren't actually up to it. Funding-wise.

2. Whakarewarewa - The Living Maori Village

Ever seen a rugby game where the All Blacks play and they do the Haka before a game? Imagine seeing it up close and personal. And I'm telling you, these Maoris are HUGE. You add their size and their tribal tattoos, you'd think they'd wanna take your wallet. But they'll just come up to you and say, "Hey, mate. How's it goin'?". So no worries. We stopped by here our on our last day in Rotorua....

3. Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest

I get it, you hear forest and you'l just think "Why am I just gonna look at some old trees?". Trust me, it's not like in Malaysia where the creepy crawlies are all around and it's so humid that you're straight hair become an afro. It has some paths and walkways were you can lose yourself in the nature. Take a walk up hill and see Rotorua from above. Also, you can take the bike trail down and get that adrenaline rush.

4. Te Puia

Adding to the Maori village is Te Puia. It's home to the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. Another thing NZ is known for is their geysers. And Te Puia has the world famous Pohutu geyser. Geothermal landscapes, man. Full of 'em.

5. Hobbiton Film Set

Now THIS is what most people travel to NZ for. I mentioned before that I'm a fan. When word got out that they were maintaining the Hobbiton film set, I just daydreamed about going. And people, dreams -- no matter how ginormous or minuscule -- THEY HAPPEN.

At the time, it was like NZD 79/adult. Best to book your tickets way in advance online. Could make things easier. It was early spring but people were queuing up for tickets. That shows how big the franchise is. While waiting for the tour bus to take us to the film set, we browsed around the gift shop which is next to the cafe...........

The bus brought us to the set and we had the bubbly Jade was our guide.

That background right there is just a glimpse of it.

A little fact about the set and the area: It's owned by a local! When director Peter Jackson was looking for a place to shoot hobbits' village, he found this place. He made a deal with the owner and the rest as they say is history. Here's some shots we took.

I feel right at home. Haha!

Apparently, to actually be a hobbit, you must be like 5 ft 1 inch to 5 ft 7 inches. Last I checked, I was about 5 ft 2 or 5 ft 4. So like I said. Right at home.

Had to give Abg Cik a chance to play tourist. Pfffft. Kasi chan la. Haha!!

And here's one without him blocking the WHOLE view. Hehe...

Pretty cool view, eh?
I made a new friend too. A local guy name Nav....

He worked in Singapore for a year so he guessed that I was Malaysian. Either that or Indonesian. Haha!

The last stop before going back to the cafe and gift shop was the Green Dragon pub. Those of you who've seen the movies know what it is. They served a few snacks and drinks. Luckily enough for my family, and all you future NZ-goers, you can have a ginger ale if you don't wanna/feel like drinking alcohol.

And the staff are so cool. I bet they take pictures with visitors plenty of times.

Went back to the shop and got me some trinkets to remember this place.....

A bookmark and Gondorian keychain
Last photos before going back.

Hobbiton is a must-go even if you haven't seen the movies. Worth the money.

Oh btw, if you guys feel like buying some fresh stuff to cook or maybe snacks for the road, you can go to Countdown or Pak n' Save. It's like Giant or Tesco basically.

That day was awesome. I think I smiled myself to sleep. Haha!

The next day we were off to Wellington. That's almost a 6 hour drive..WITHOUT any stops. I'll post another one tomorrow In Sya-Allah. To see my 1st entry (arrival) and 2nd entry (Auckland) click HERE and HERE, respectively.

See you guys on the flip side!!

P.S: If you think Shadow's fluffy, wait till you see Bailey in Wellington