continued from part 1
Day 6: Queenstown
The next morning, walk to town, after a cup of latte n scone, I continued exploring the streets throughout the day. There are some shops selling outdoor clothing’s from reputable brands there and bought a few things for myself. Basically most of the day was done window shopping and admiring all the stuff they had to offer.
Finished the whole day sight-seeing Queenstown and photographing while the rest of the group went bungy jumping. Cost to jump alone is NZD 180. If you want souvenirs picture jumping, that’s another NZD 45 and for picture complete with vid is NZD 80. I really liked walking the streets of Queenstown, It’s not a big city at and I finished walking the town area in just few hours, A beautiful place, so warm with everything telling you to just lay back and relax.
Night at Queenstown, the scene is equally interesting, blowpipe band playing at the street, tourist walking the jetty and enjoying the view. Dinner at prime waterfront restaurant, took more pictures and rest for coffee again.
I rejoined the rest of the group while walking about the streets and we were back to our camper van soon afterwards. Bought some cookies that they all liked at the local cookie muncher, which is way cheaper than we ever got.
Day 7: Leaving Queenstown.
Start today, 8:00am, breakfast with pre pack soup, bread and corn flakes at the camp site. Checkout as usual, regulation here is before 10:00am we are to clear the camp site, dump waste water, refill the water tanks, and head to town, going to do some souvenir shopping. Parking is not very easy as we have to find a proper place so not to get fined. The size of the vehicle made it even more tiresome. All went to town to get souvenirs. Got myself pair of silver fern, black T-shirt from global culture then went for coffee, couldn’t go along as the rest are really hard shoppers, they could just browse from one shop to the next until suns et for all that matters.
We left Queenstown at 12:00pm, driving through Arrowtown then Cromwell.
A short stop at Cromwell around 2:20pm. There was a fruit and ice cream farm, had a tub of yoghurt mixed berry ice-cream for NZD 5 and a cup of latte for NZD 5 The place is called. Freeway Orchard. We just can’t resist tasting the ice cream. I simply love the jam and marmalade there. Local fruits from the orchards are also sold and looks very alluring.
Reached Wanaka at 4:14pm. The attraction there’s called Puzzling World I think the entry fee’s about NZD 17 but we didn’t go in as we are running out of time, had to rush to blue pool.
Passed Lake Hawea, took a panorama picture with Iphone5 and I was just awed with the view. Then Lake Wanaka at 5:45pm, with similar breathtaking view. Both are in my opinion is among the two most beautiful, scenic landscape so far.
Just somewhere along the way, spotted a camp site, stop for some pic and went to relieve ourselves. I was surprised at the toilets’ good condition in the middle of the jungle.
When we arrived at Makarora tourist center, which is easily spotted beside the road, the info counter staff told us that A landslide, had blocked half of the road, so the road would be closed at 7:30pm to allow for maintenance. If we didn’t pass that section within time we might have to return back. Anyway we head on, arrived blue pool and unfortunately, could not take the risk losing time so we had to skip that and continued driving, soon enough, we passed the said section, lots of stones on the road with workers seen clearing the section, proceeded without much delay. Now we had to think to stop for the night or proceed to Fox Glacier.
Haast 08:24. Asked for direction and assistance from receptionist at the lodge there, borrowed phone to book our stay at Fox Glacier. Decided to proceed to Fox Glacier.
Arrived at Fox Glacier top 10 holiday park at 10:30pm. There was a note at the reception door welcoming us and telling us to park at space 141,142. Cooked something to eat, washed up a little bit and went to bed. Nice facility as usual, beautiful bathroom, TV lounge is very spacious, they’ve got huge kitchen. Laundry facility available for NZD 4 wash and NZD 1 for the dryer. Camper van accommodation for one night is NZD 170.
Something about Top 10 Holiday Park I can’t compare with the other park operators and tell which is best and better as we were there for only few days and have not tried the rest, but from our personal review, the company provides good facility at all the sites we’ve spent our nights, we were never disappointed with the amenities provided, clean, spacious, strategic locations. There may be cheaper options we didn’t know about, but we weren’t too picky at most of the time as we only needed a quick stop for the night.
Day 8: Fox glacier
Morning, made breakfast of eggs and bread, get ready to Fox Glacier and Lake Matheson walk and it was already 11:00am.
Lake Matheson, was a 5 minute drive from the camp site, so we visited it first. It’s a quiet place, even has it’s own souvenir shop and a very nice cafe. I walked the route and circled the lake in an hour while taking pictures. Took a break at the cafe, enjoyed some real coffee.
Then from there, a 10 minute drive to Fox Glacier. Again another breathtaking scene and landscape. Just can’t resist taking pictures. When we arrived, there was already a number of vehicles parked at the site. Most of them came by rented cars and camper van while a few with tour bus. I walk to the viewing point which took about 30 minutes give or take with quite a bit of climb. When I reached the viewing point, I was sweating and had to take off my jacket. Loved the view and all. If we were staying there for another night, we might have walked the long trek, a total of 4 hours return and enjoy the scene better. Unfortunately, with just an hour to spare, we had to hit the road again.
Stop at Franz Joseph 10:45 for a short break and continued until we arrived Ross town 6:20pm, rest for few minutes before continuing on. Ross town is a small town established in the 1860s, during the West Coast Gold Rush, where it became an important centre for miners. I could see lots of tourist sightseeing opportunity there and there was many historical sight about gold to be visited. Nice place to spend few hours. A very quiet town as we didn’t even see anyone at that time.
Continue drive another 65 km to Greymouth. Refuel at Hokitika 8:00pm, and finally reached Greymouth, Top 10 holiday park at 8:40pm. Had our dinner and I washed some laundry and dry for NZD 8.
The camp site is NZD 165 for 2 camper van. That night, we packed our things and be ready to return to Christchurch tomorrow. This would be our last night with the camper van that have been our home for the past week.
Day 9: Greymouth.
Morning 30.3.2014 9:30am. start drive to Christchurch via Arthur’s Pass and were there by 12:00pm. Stopped at the viewing points to take some pictures, visited by a flock of incredibly friendly and smart Kea birds, and taken aback by the awesome scene. The temperature was recorded at 13 deg celsius. The Otira Gorge Road, was a gruelling climb, had to use the second gear to climb the steep road.
Arrived Christchurch 2:50pm. Refuel, then we send both camper van back and after cleared the documents with the rental company, drove all of us to the airport at 5:00 pm. Our Flight to Sydney is 6:00am.
Day 10: Sydney
Arrived Sydney, 6:30am local time. Transportation fee from airport AUD $15 per person to our hostel “Elephant Backpackers” located somewhere at 50 Sir John Young Crescent, Woolloomooloo NSW, Australia. Cost hostel for one night AUD $20 per person. Shabby rooms and place. The floor was creaking and the multiple story building really is scary as I felt that the floor might just give way and collapse anytime with all the weight. Surprisingly nobody seemed to care. The awesome thing about the building is that the architecture seems so antique and location of the place is just great for walking and sight-seeing the city.
After leaving our bags, we went out the streets, I separated from the group and explored the area alone, taking pictures, looking for food and all.
Back to the hostel in the afternoon. Nap for few hours, woke up at 4:00pm walk out sight-seeing, take pictures at Edward’s Street, Sydney opera house, Harbour bridge, street photography, etc.
Returned to hostel late at night and went to bed.
Next morning, Michael was already waiting downstairs at 7:00am. Very punctual guy. The drive took about 30 minutes to the airport and we arrived very early. Had breakfast of coffee and croissant and some eggs omelette. Checked in the bags after a few hours, did some shopping before we boarded the flight, and soon was on the way back home. That’s another 7 hours fight. 11:10 am Sydney time airborne. Arrived 5:30 pm Malaysian time, we all said goodbye and went our own separate ways. see again next time next trip.
Had an amazing time when in New Zealand, the place with such an amazing landscape and the people being super friendly. Enjoying NZ, there’s no better way doing it then being able to drive yourself and exploring the scenic landscape as you can stop at your own time and place to take pictures or just having a moment of awe. There are lots of option, I’ve seen solo travellers even on road trips like these and there’s no problem of acquiring vehicles for the trip as there’s a lot of tour company and rentals to choose from. Information is always free and available everywhere, you can just ask for maps, pamphlets and books for free at most of the information centre and holiday parks.
Internet on the other hand is not free and the data rate can be very expensive. So better get one local telecommunication company to provide you during your stay. Coverage is somewhat 90% available all the time so that wouldn’t be much of an issue. Makes GPS navigation easier when driving.