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Our Story : Trip to New Zealand: Auckland – Part 34

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

We spent the last few days of our holiday in Auckland. It was autumn but Auckland was still wet. We stayed in the middle of the city and our hotel was nice and close to restaurants and shops.

Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill

After looking up what to do in Auckland, we made our first stop at One Tree Hill. One Tree Hill, also known as Maungakiekie, is a 182 metre volcanic peak. The summit provides views across the Auckland area, and allows visitors to see both of Auckland’s harbours.

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It was a short drive from our hotel. It was still drizzling when we parked our car but both AS and I were both in the mood to enjoy the day no matter what. We had brought umbrellas the day before so we were well equipped for the day J.

Steeped in Maori history, this dormant volcanic hill set in the beautiful Cornwall Park was the perfect outer city escape. The volcanic cone was the centre point of the Maori occupation during the 18th century, and the obelisk acknowledges its importance as a sacred and special place as it is also the final resting place and grave of Sir John Logan Campbell.

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We made it to the top of One Tree Hill and joined a few others who were taking photos. After a walk to the summit and when all of the necessary photographic shots had been taken, we decided to simply sit for a few moments.

Auckland sky tower

One of the days we decided to go and visit the Auckland sky tower as it was on the top ten places to visit on trip advisor.

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The Sky Tower Observatory perches at the top, like a doughnut, resting at the top of a giant stick.

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The doughnut-like shape allows you a 360 degree panoramic view of Auckland and its surroundings. The views are amazing from the viewing platform. There are some glass floor parts and it was just great to stand on it and see the ground far, far feet below.

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From the top, we saw people doing Sky Jump and were eager to do it as well but we had not booked it in advance. By the look of people doing it, I think it would be a great adventure.Auckland (1)


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One evening went and explored the wharf around Auckland. It was beautiful with many nice restaurants and cafés but it was windy so we didn’t stay long.


We were out and about in city a few times. We went shopping and eating at different places and enjoyed our walk. I love the place, which was so multicultural, and reminded me of Sydney a lot. We saw a few churches and bought a few souvenirs.

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From Auckland, we drove to our car hire company and then to the airport. Our exciting holiday came to an end and we left New Zealand with heaps of memories.

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Take care everyone, more on next post.

M from nepaliaustralian


Go to Part 35

Our Story : Trip to New Zealand: Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu – Part 33

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

We had booked a hotel at Rotorua and from there we had plans to go around in the rental car. As we were driving towards Rotorua, we could smell the distinct smell. It smelled like rotten eggs and me and AS looked at each other and thought how could we stay in this place for the next 48 hours.

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Luckily after you are in the area for more than 30 minutes, your nose kind of adjusts and you don’t notice the smell all the time.

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Rotorua stinks because the whole place just reeks of sulphur. It comes from all the geothermal stuff going on underground, close to the surface. It’s the reason there are so many nifty mud pools and hot springs in town.

Once we checked into the hotel. We were glad that we had a big hot tub in the room. We both relaxed on the hot tube and ordered dinner in. We both slept like a baby, as we were very tired.

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The next day we went to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Wai-O-Tapu (sacred waters) is New Zealand’s most colourful and diverse volcanic area, it’s full of stunning geothermal activity and colours of every tint in pools, lakes, craters, steam vents and thermal terraces.Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu (7)Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu (5)Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu (20) Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu (13)

Forming a part of an eighteen sq.km reserve administered by the department of conservation (although Wai-O-Tapu itself is owned by a Maori tribal business group) it has the largest surface area of thermal activity in the local Taupo volcanic zone. Scattered with collapsed craters, boiling pools of mud and deep hydrothermal springs the reserve provides a wealth of colourful phenomenon to discover.

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After buying our ticket, first step was lady Knox geyser. Lady Knox geyser was a short drive from the main entrance. We parked and follow the map to the area. A sizable crowd had gathered around the geyser by then.

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AS and I managed to garb a seat and we had a good view. We were eager to see some geyser action.

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The geyser doesn’t blow up automatically. A staff member comes out, gives a short introduction, and then throws a bag of soap into the geyser. The soap triggers such a massive reaction that the water comes out of the geyser and goes up to 10 m into the air. It was really amazing. After the demo was done, we took a few photos and headed to our next stop.Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu (24)Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu (8)Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu (22)

There were three options for us to walk around the place. Walk 1, Walks 1 and 2, Walks 1, 2 & 3. We decided that we would do it all; otherwise we would not be able to see all the sights.

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And we start. It was a good day for walking, cloudy and not too hot. Along the way, there were many signs that explain what we were seeing. We did see some fascinating sights and some great pictures were taken, boiling mud pools, gushing geysers, thundering craters and sizzling earth 🙂

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The path is very clear. Follow the path. Stray at your own peril. Falling into that hole will surely spoil your holiday.

Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu (16)Overall we had a great time and we had some awesome photos for our memory.

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Take care everyone, more about beautiful New Zealand  on next post.

M from nepaliaustralian


Go to Part 34

Our Story : Trip to New Zealand: Black Water rafting – Part 32

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

Black Water rafting started as a sport back in the late Eighties in the Waitomo cave system in New Zealand’s North Island. Waitomo is famous for its huge network of subterranean caves but what make them extra special is their inhabitants.

Glow worms, which are actually gnat larvae, live within these caves attaching themselves to the roofs in order to grow and feast on passing insects. This is why they glow, if you make any sort of noise in the caves they all start waking up to the point where it looks like a carpet of fairy lights overhead. They shine like this to attract food and those who shine the brightest are in most need of dinner. They trap their food by hanging silk-like strings down around them, like a combination of fly paper and a spider’s web.

We had heard a lot about Black Water rafting so we decided to do it. We had pre booked our tickets online. Once we reached Waitomo, the office of the rafting company, we were asked to wait for a while as others in our group assembled and we were taken to the site in a van.

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They gave us wet suits and helmets fitted with lights to wear. It took everyone a while to get into the suit and then we posed for few photos. We were going to hike through a cave and jump into icy water, while surrounded by glow-worms.

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The van drove us down a dirt road to our destination to begin our adventures. We had to climb a big hill, clamber over rocks, scoot down steep, slippery stairs, to get to the rocky cave entrance. It looked bit scary as all I could see was a black hole.

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The guides asked us to put the tube, around our bum and jump into the water. My first thought was: Seriously! I didn’t know how deep the water was and felt a bit scared but when the first person jumped in, I was fine. We all took our turn and jumped into the water. The water was very cold but I was happy we landed safely.

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After that we basically sat in a giant inflatable ring and cruise the rapids downstream, the path ahead lit up by the glow worms. It was truly a sight to behold. We ended up covering a good few kilometres before finishing. Our guide had us lay back in the water and linked us together, each person taking the feet of the person behind them. Floating that way he pulled us through the caves so that we could continue to stare up at the lights above.

At one point, the guide asked us to turn off our headlight so we could see the glow-worms. Once all the lights were turned off we looked up and it was beautiful, like I could sit there for hours.

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As we moved on though, the sound of a waterfall got louder and louder. As we came upon it, we unlinked ourselves and took turns falling off of it. Not floating over it, but standing up and falling backwards.

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When it was all over, I came out of the cave exhausted and aching but with a huge grin on my face. Then it was back in the van to return to the changing rooms and some hot cups of soup.

The Waitomo caves are beautiful and magical. I am so glad we did it. The darkness and the cave were more exciting than white water rafting and it was a great adventure.

Share your own experience with rafting and water sports.

Take care everyone, more on next post.

M from nepaliaustralian


Go to Part 33

Our Story : Trip to New Zealand: Hobbiton – Part 31

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

On our first Easter long weekend, we booked a trip to New Zealand. As I had already been to South Island, we decided it was time to see the North. I had heard so many nice things about NZ that it was hard for us to decide what we wanted to do while we were there.

I have a colleague who is from NZ so with her help we finalised the following destination for our trip.

Auckland – Hobbiton – Matamata – Waikato – Waitoma – Hamilton – Wai o’tapu- Rotorua – Auckland

When we boarded the flight for NZ, both AS and I were really excited as it had been a while since we went overseas. The flight from Sydney to Auckland was short and smooth . As soon as we landed in Auckland airport, we took a cab and went straight to the car hire company that was outside the airport. When we arrived, the place was not busy so within few minutes, we filled the forms and we were ready to begin our road trip.

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We had booked our first night in Waitoma but had planned to see a few places before we reached the hotel that evening. It was so beautiful as it was autumn season in NZ and the drive was pleasant and scenic. Everywhere we saw green mountains, orange maple trees and from time to time we crossed a small town with unique features. Finally, after almost three hours’ drive we reached our first stop, Hobbiton at Matamata, Waikato.

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For those of you who are not aware, Hobbiton is on the most picturesque private farmland where some scenes of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit  movies were shot. As my husband is a big fan of these movies we decided to do the two-hour guided tour.

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The tour is described as heaven for the movie fans. The set has been completely rebuilt for The Hobbit and will remain as it was seen in these films and The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. During the tour we got to see Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill, the double arched bridge and other structures and gardens built for the films. Definitely AS was super excited for the tour.

He was ready to experience the real Middle-Earth in picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges. The tour cost us $65 per person and when we reached there, we saw that there were around 10-12 other people waiting to start the tour.

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A guide took us to the farmland. We had to sign a non-disclosure release to go on-site. Not sure why it was necessary since you see the same sets in the Lord of Ring movies with a few changes. AS was very happy as he had watched ‘The Lord of the Rings’ recently (again) and he could recall many scenes from the farm.

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We were lucky to be there on a sunny, cloudless day and the site was simply stunning with “Hobbit holes” built into the hillside locations. It was great to get a sense of the size, and the background stories about how they made the actors look smaller in comparison to the various set pieces were interesting.

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It was a thoroughly enjoyable few hours, we were lucky enough to see the beginnings of the rebuilding for the new ‘The Hobbit’ movie. You can see the party tree, the road around “The Shire” where Gandalf drives the cart and meets Frodo. You can walk into the Bag End Hobbit hole and have your picture taken looking out, and step on the actual steps leading up to the door, that were used in the film.

When we finished the tour, it was past 5pm so we jumped back into the car and drove to Waitoma where a warm bed was waiting for us.

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Take care everyone, more on next post.

M from nepaliaustralian


Go to Part 32

Our Story : Valentine’s day – Part 30

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

After the arrival of AS in Sydney, time just seemed to fly. We always made plans for the weekend and were having the time of our life. Then came another important day, our first Valentine’s day together. We had celebrated the last valentine’s day but as you know it was not together.

We wanted to make this Valentine’s day memorable so we decided that we would go to Sydney tower to celebrate the day. We choose Sydney Tower Buffet as we wanted the cliche and the novelty of a revolving restaurant overlooking one of the world’s most beautiful harbours – and we certainly weren’t disappointed with the view.

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The restaurant has panoramic views from the tallest building in Sydney.  The restaurant keeps rotating so you can spot Darling Harbour, Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Blue Mountains and more every time you glance out of the rotating restaurant’s windows. It was a perfect place for AS to go in Sydney.

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It was a weekday that Valentine’s day so we came back from work, changed quickly so we could catch a train to the city and be there at our reservation time.

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The atmosphere in the restaurant was beautiful and the view was amazing. We loved the food and everything that day was just perfect. The highlights of the dishes were probably the honey glazed ham, and the lamb braised in a yoghurt dressing with chickpeas. We loved every bit of our food.

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After dinner, we just roam around the city and I was really happy that finally both of us were together forever.

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More in the next post. Till then take care everyone.

M from nepaliaustralian


Go to Part 31