I had overlooked NZ for the past years of my travelling life. I was in love with Australia and the Scandinavians, but NZ didn’t even cross my mind. But I knew that I always wanted to do a South Island trip. So when MAS had a ticket sale to Auckland (which wasn’t that much of a bargain to begin with), the whole family agreed to go.
It was a five-month planning and re-planning. Five months of reduced pay to substitute for longer day off.
In the end it was all worth it. I fell hard for New Zealand. How did I miss this gem of a country before??
On March 14th, 2015, I rushed through my day shift at the clinic. Left the clinic early at 430 pm in order to be able to leave for the airport at 5. Check in was a breeze; I really appreciate KLIA’s spacious and systematic check-in counter. So we had plenty of time to spare for maghrib and meals. Boarded the flight at 9.30 pm, and off we go to beautiful New Zealand.
March 15th, 2015. We landed at Auckland International Airport. One of the quirkiest airports I’ve seen so far, with the interactive walls lining the hallways, doing their best promoting the country. Customs was not as tedious as I expected it to be, I went to another level of kiasu-ness by preparing a list and brand names of all the foodstuff that we brought. I also made a point to ask my family members to buy new trainers in order to avoid their shoe germs being the cause of delay.
We were picked up by Supershuttle, which is really the most convenient way to travel to Auckland CBD. Much cheaper too if you’re travelling in a group. We were dropped off at our AirBnB accommodation, located very near to the harbour and the CBD. Again, AirBnB is much appreciated.
We spent two nights in Auckland. The first night in we were too tired to do much of anything, so Amma and I went down to the nearby kebab shop and bought us dinner. Of course my thambi gobbled everything up in record time. We also spent time watching X Factor NZ, and saw the trainwreck Natalia Kills practically killed a contestant with her cruel comments. You ugly, ugly woman. We were happy she was kicked off. Bah, semangat. Hahha.
And of course cyclone Pam decided to grace Vanuatu and northern part of NZ with its presence so it started raining heavily that night.
The next day, figuring we didn’t have much time and no transport, I booked us on the Auckland City Highlights tour. Auckland itself is a beautiful and a quaint little city (I called it little when compared to perpetually busy and eternally jammed-up KL), but there wasn’t much to see after 3 hours of touring. The tour guide tried his best entertaining us with the history of the town, which I really appreciate. The tour finished up at about noon.
We were supposed to go for an Auckland Harbour cruise but that was cancelled due to the typhoon report, despite the weather being superfine. Ah well.
My amma and I spent our afternoon (since my appa and thambi decided to sleep the afternoon off) walking to the CBD. I could khatam Auckland CBD on foot in one day. My kind of city.
The next morning, we left early for the airport. Again Supershuttle came through. Our Jetstar flight to Christchurch was on time, and I was seated next to a lovely Australian couple on their way back from visiting their son. The weather outside of the plane looked bleak, which worried me for awhile.
Landed in Christchurch on time to freezing temperature (exaggerated of course) and was so thankful for electricity and heat. Called Wilderness Motorhome up, and we were picked up by Claudia. The warehouse is only about 5 minutes drive from the airport. On the way, we asked her whether 7 degrees is the typical early autumn weather for Christchurch. Her answer: “No! It was still sunny yesterday. I had to dig out boxes to get to my parka this morning. Blame it on the typhoon.”
The check in was pretty smooth. They just got back their Summit 5 the day before and they were still running some checks on the vehicle.
First matter of the day was looking for food. So we went to the nearest supermarket (as per advised by Claudia) and made our purchases. Murah wei barang kat NZ, walaupun GST depa 16%. (Iklan sekejap).
After packing our motorhome with food and arranging our luggages into lockers, we set off to Arthur’s Pass, claimed as the most scenic highway in South Island.
And these people don’t lie. There were and still are no words.
From Wildernessts Book supplied to us from the hire, I picked out Mount White Bridge Station.
And yes, it was total wilderness out there.
“Mak takut nak tidur malam tu pasal takdak orang langsung kiri kanan.”
“Clear nya langit malam tadi, boleh kira bintang satu-satu.” My appa.
There was no amenities available. We gosok gigi by the river, while listening to the freight train passing by. It was so serene. So beautiful.