Part 1 : Christchurch, Lake Tekapo, Mt Cook, Queenstown and Milford Sound

 

Kia Ora!

It means welcome in Maori language!

Day 1 & 2

After a transit from KLIA, we finally arrived at Auckland International Airport, New Zealand after 10 hour flight by MAS. Honestly if I tell you that I feel very cool and calm during the flight, then I must be lying to myself as this is my first flight by MAS after MH 370 tragedy. To be honest, I am glad to tell you that MAS has actually improved a lot in their in-flight service.

A quick check-out saw us rushing to the domestic terminal to catch the domestic flight Jetstar to Christchurch! We didn’t even have time for lunch, everyone just got a quick bite of sandwich or burgers.

Finally we arrived at Christchurch after another hour flight and we had our first meal in New Zealand at a Thai restaurant before we checked in at Ashburton Hotel for the night.

 

Christchurch International Airport

Christchurch International Airport

In front of Thai Restaurant, christchurch

In front of Thai Restaurant, christchurch

At the lobby of Ashburton Hotel

At the lobby of Ashburton Hotel

At the garden of Ashburton Hotel

At the garden of Ashburton Hotel

Day 3

After breakfast, we began our journey in New Zealand, ‘The Land of the Long White Cloud’  by travelling south across the fertile Canterbury Palins before arriving at Lake Tekapo. Enroute, we stopped at Ashburton’s Farmer’s Corner to enjoy a wholesale shopping.

Lake Tekapo is the third largest lake in South Island, New Zealand. It is situated at an altitude of 700m or 2,300 ft above sea level.  It was summer however it was still very cold with temperature around 18 – 200C. It boasts of beautiful scenery with Mt Cook as the back ground. There is a small Church of Good Sherpherd and Sheepdog Memorial Statue. The scenic lake is further enhanced by the blooming of a beautiful blue colour flowers known as lupins at the lake side.  Of course we didn’t miss to take pictures before proceeding to Mt Cook region.

Beautiful Lake Tekapo

Beautiful Lake Tekapo

With our tour guide, Jimmy Leong

With our tour guide, Jimmy Leong

Sui boh?

Sui boh?

At Sheepdog Memorial Statue, Lake Tekapo

At Sheepdog Memorial Statue, Lake Tekapo

IMG_3515

 

Must take more photos!

Must take more photos!

The lupin flowers, very common and abundant here!

The lupin flowers, very common and abundant here!

As we travelled into Mt Cook Region, we stopped at Pukaki Look-out for a closer look at Mt Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand with a height of 3,724m (12,218 ft) The snow-capped mountain is quite similar to the Alps in Switzerland. Here there is helicopter ride-up service to bring you up to the glaciers and experience the thrill of snow-landing. As the fee for the ride is not cheap, about NZD 355 (RM 960.00 ) per pax, only 6 of our group went up. So the rest  of us waited for about 45 minutes enjoying the cool breeze at the ground station.

Ready  to take off to  the summit of Mt Cook

Ready to take off to the summit of Mt Cook

On the way to Queenstown, the next stop of the journey,  was Cromwell, the fruits capital to taste some seasonal fruits. We also got to taste the famous homemade ice-cream from Mrs Jones.

Cromwell Fruit Market

Cromwell Fruit Market

 

Famous home made ice cream, one cone costs NZD 5.00

Famous home made ice cream, one cone costs NZD 5.00

On the way, we stopped at Farmer’s Corner to get a glimpse of alpaca, a cross-breed animal between donkey and camel. At Farmer’s Corner, besides selling carpets made from sheep fur,  they also sell  a variety of products made from sheep such as sheep placenta, goat milk candy. Of course you also find New Zealand icon products Manuka honey and omega-3 fish oils.

 

The alpaca animal, look like donkey and camel!

The alpaca animal, look like donkey and camel!

In the evening, we finally arrived at Queenstown, an exhilarating, year round alpine resort. We checked-in at Tenoa Aspen Hotel, situated at the lake side of Lake Wakatipu, the third largest lake in New Zealand.

 

Day 4

Waking up fresh and energetic, we were ready to start our exploration of South Island. Our bus slowly crawled through the thick and green forests with crystal clear waterways along some parts of the famous Fiordland National Park.

View from cafeteria, Tenoa Aspen Hotel, Wueenstown

View from cafeteria, Tenoa Aspen Hotel, Queenstown

We stopped at Mirror Lake to take some scenic pictures. This place is famous because the water in the lake is so clear and calm that you could see the reflection  of the mountains and trees in the lake.

Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake

On the way, of course we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to get some ‘holy’ water from the river at Mackay Creek. According to our guide, drinking the crystal clear water will make you look younger by 10 years! Wow! That’s marvelous  but ridiculous ! Anyway, no harm trying! But some of our tour group members dared not drink for fear that the water might be contaminated. Actually, the water is so clean that it is odourless and you don’t find any sediment in it!.

We also stopped at Eglinton Valley to take some pictures. Here it was really windy and you could enjoy a huge piece of flat land with some unique fauna and flora.

 

Like wedding photo?

Like wedding photo shooting?

 

We continued our journey through the breathtaking man-made Homer Tunnel which took 20 years to complete. It was constructed through the world war and depression.

At the pier waiting to board the cruise

At the pier waiting to board the cruise

Finally we arrived at breathtaking destination, Milford Sound, a World Heritage Site.  We boarded the Jucy Cruise.

The big cruise slowly navigated along the pristine  fiord in between the cliffs and along the way, there’s explanation regarding the history at each point of interest.  The most spectacular scenes at Milford Sound should be the cascading  water falls. There are quite  a number of water falls on the way to Tasman Sea. The highest one is Bowen Falls in which the water falls from a height of 160m cliff. According to the guide, if you get splashed by the water from the fall,  you will be younger by 10 years. Of course when the cruise reached this Bowen Falls, everyone rushed to the back of the ship hoping to get some splash from the Falls! And of course needless to mention to get a good shot of the Bowen Falls.  So altogether I am 20 year younger after this trip! Lol!   On the way, we also got to see the fur seals basking on the rocks.  Out at the Tasman Sea we didn’t miss the dolphins splashing in the sea water!

 

Bowen waterfall at Milford Sound

Bowen waterfall at Milford Sound

In the evening, we were back to Queentown where we explore the beautiful scenic town by strolling along the lake side, enjoying the cool breeze and got a chance to catch the sun set!

Famous Furberger at Queenstown. Of course we tried lah! Not bad!

Famous Ferberger at Queenstown. Of course we tried lah! Not bad!See the long queue!

Popular tourist spot, Queenstown

Popular tourist spot, Queenstown

Scenic Wakatipu Lake, Queenstown

Scenic Wakatipu Lake, Queenstown

Shopping area at Queenstown

Shopping area at Queenstown

Sun set at the lake side

Sun set at the lake side

More to come. Stay tuned!

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About HP Lim

An experienced Form 5 chemistry teacher from Johor Bahru.