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Published: January 3rd 2012
I’ve always wanted to go to New Zealand. Always. I knew that it’s a gorgeous country. But: a) it’s expensive, b) visa is hard to get for Indonesian that already had a history of visa rejection from other country – or at least that’s what I was told. So my love for NZ is like a puppy love back in junior high school. You can only gaze from afar, too scared to do anything about it.
But then, with encouragement from my nearest and dearest – I decided to pull the trigger and see what happened. Surprisingly, things started to fall into places. I got the visa easier than I thought – perhaps living & applying from Singapore plays a big part of it. Then I got the 2400 SGD Singapore Airlines peak season return ticket for only freakin 360 SGD, as I can use my dad’s mileage. Then one of my old friends M, contacted me & happened to look for a getaway as well, solving my last problem of solo travel (note: hubby cannot come because he ran out of his annual leave – as we went several trips earlier that year already). I still had to do
several legs of journey alone and we did have separate accommodations, but at least I’m not entirely alone all the time.
After playing around with several combination of itinerary, this was it:
• Day 1: Fly from SG to Christchurch
• Day 2: Explore Christchurch
• Day 3: Day trip to Akaroa
• Day 4: Day trip to Edoras/Mt Sunday (LOTR)
• Day 5: Enroute Christchurch to Franz Josef (via Arthur’s Pass & Hokitika)
• Day 6: Half Day Glacier Hike (Franz Josef) + Lake Matheson + Fox Glacier
• Day 7: Enroute Franz Josef – Queenstown via the scenic West Coast drive
• Day 8: Explore Queenstown + Glenorchy + Arrowtown + Wanaka
• Day 9: Day trip to Milford Sound (stopover at Te Anau)
• Day 10: Day trip to Walter Peak Farm + Enroute Queenstown – Twizel + Lake Tekapo
• Day 11: Mt Cook + Lake Pukaki + Lake Tekapo + Enroute to Christchurch
• Day 12: Fly to Rotorua + explore Rotorua
• Day 13: Enroute Rotorua – Auckland, explore Auckland
• Day 14: Explore Auckland + new year’s fireworks
• Day 15: Fly back from Auckland to SG
In total I moved 7 different hotels/motels, and there are legs where we drove rental
car, took a bus or took a plane. Not to mention it was in December – which is peak season and we can’t just wing it. On top of everything else, M is having a rough time in his life and left almost all of the prep to me. So it’s a bit complicated to plan with a full time job myself. But I’m proud of the result! I think it’s much value for money, customized & fun filled vs just joining a group tour.
These are the websites that have helped me tremendously:
• Tripadvisor forum for any consultations or hotel reviews: http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/ShowForum-g255104-i125-New_Zealand.html
• Discount vouchers for excursions: http://bookme.co.nz
• To compare hotels prices: http://www.hotelscombined.com/
and I must say, if you think booking.com or Agoda or wotif is the cheapest – you might be wrong. I found my deals viasome random Australian travel website based on my hotelscombined search!
• To figure out distance from point A to B: http://www.aatravel.co.nz/main/td-calculator.php
• And of course the official NZ website: http://www.newzealand.com/
but based on my observation – some of the articles seems to be written by local tour operator as some tends just to promote their particular excursions. So you must read it with a pinch of salt. Tips:
• Definitely drop by the iSite and picked up their brochures as many of them have discount vouchers that I can’t find in the internet.
• If you are renting car, try to search for “Relocation Deals”. Basically this mean you can drive the car from point A to B (predefined) in certain amount of days for FREE (well, you still need to pay petrol and the optional insurance).
• Pack light, pack light, pack light! You need to move (and walk) around a lot. I took 50L backpack (about 9-10 kg) which is perfect. I can survive 2 weeks with 2-3 times washing. But it’s easy to find washing machine + dryer in NZ anyway.
OMG, I still can’t believe I’m going to NZ. Is this a dream?
Tot: 0.823s; Tpl: 0.075s; cc: 21; qc: 136; dbt: 0.0741s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.6mb