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DansDeals Forum => Trip Reports => Topic started by: moish on November 03, 2013, 08:11:30 PM

Title: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on November 03, 2013, 08:11:30 PM
Part 1: Introduction, Miscellaneous Tips & Getting There

I always wanted to see New Zealand. I had originally thought I’d combine it with Australia, and when planning my Australia trip that’s what I had in mind. After researching both countries it became apparent, however, that to combine them into one 3 week trip wouldn’t do either country justice. It had to be two separate trips. And so it was.

This was to be our most ambitious trip to date. Travelling with a 5 year old and a 2 year old is never easy, and did I mention my wife was 6 months pregnant at the time? After consulting with my wife’s doctor who assured us it was safe, we decided to go ahead.

- As far as kosher food is concerned, there isn’t much outside of Auckland and Wellington, cities not really on the tourist map. Armed with the local kosher list and plenty of food from Israel, we made do, primarily eating protein out of a can or box. New Zealand has somewhat strict customs guidelines, but after reading through them carefully, you can see that chicken and meat is allowed as long as it’s shelf stable and contains no bones. Thus, there is a large variety of kosher shelf meals produced by Meal Mart and Kiryas Joel that are permitted. I bought some Mountain Oven bags from Amazon to heat up the meals if I ever found myself without access to a microwave.


(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/IMG_3747Large_zps308d8d0c.jpg)


There is a kosher list which we loaded onto our phones, and we made frequent stops to the supermarkets. Many cereals are kosher including the Australia/NZ favorite, Nutri Grain. Additionally, most of the lox had a hashgachah on it, and some supermarkets even had fresh packaged salmon with a hashgachah that we would bring back to our room and cook up. We also bought fresh eggs which we cooked up in the morning. It was always an adventure going to the supermarket to see what could find.

- I knew we would be taking long flights and long drives, so I made sure to have 2 tablets on hand for the kids loaded up with various kid friendly videos. I also downloaded some talking books (Cat in the hat etc.) and Marvelous Midos Machine type stuff. Of equal importance was bringing tons of nosh and treats.

- To be honest, the proper way to “do” New Zealand is to do it the way the myriad of young Israelis we encountered do it. They basically come after finishing army service, buy a car, and basically drive & hike for 3 months. There is so much natural beauty, the way to properly experience it is by going on these multiday hikes, something obviously I couldn’t do in my situation. Nevertheless, I think we got a nice taste of the country in the 18 days we were there.

- I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up the dateline issue. Without going into specifics, there are some serious halachic questions as to when Shabbos is. Is it the local Saturday or Sunday? It would be wise for someone thinking of taking this trip to discuss the issues with a competent orthodox rav. For what it’s worth, I basically kept 2 days of Shabbos. So in the 18 days we were there, only 12 were actual touring days. It was either that, or not to go at all. For a short overview of the issues, see here http://www.star-k.org/kashrus/kk-trav-dateline.htm

- As far as our routing, we booked an AA All Partner award TLV-HKG-AKL on El Al & Cathay in Buisness for 45k miles, and then a United award CHC-SYD-ICN on Air New Zealand & Asiana, ICN-HND-LAX on Asiana & ANA, and finally EWR-TLV on United, all in Business Class for 127,500 (I think). Remember that I needed 4 seats, so it was kind of a miracle that I was able to get pretty much everything I had wanted. 

TIP – In the beginning, Cathay had only 3 seats available HKG-AKL, so I voluntary downgraded myself for that leg hoping/assuming it would open up as we got closer. But even within 2 weeks of the flight, KVS showed no availability for the flight, even when searching Cathay’s website. For some reason I got it in my head to call AA who told me they saw availability and put me in business. So it would seem that AA sees availability even when Cathay’s website doesn’t.


Getting to New Zealand from TLV is a real doozy, to be quite honest. Unlike on our trip to Australia, where we cut the trip by stopping in Abu Dhabi, our trip to AKL entailed a 9pm departure for an 11 hour flight to HKG, arriving at 2pm, then after a mere 1:30 layover, we took the 3:25pm flight from HKG to AKL, another 11 hour flight which got us in at 7:30am Friday morning. I figured we would be zonked when we finally arrived, so I planned a light day in Auckland with the idea of spending our 2 day Shabbos resting up for our adventure.

I don’t remember the flights anymore as much time has elapsed, but I do remember my 2 year old, which I might mention is a very hard age to travel with, absolutely refusing to go to sleep on the second flight when they turned out the lights, and struggling with him not to make a racket while the other Business passengers were trying to get some shut eye. I couldn’t help thinking, “Have I made a huge mistake by attempting this..."





To be continued at some point...
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: SuperFlyer on November 03, 2013, 08:18:12 PM
Very entertaining, keep going...
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: E on November 03, 2013, 08:45:48 PM
1+ keep going !
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Dan on November 03, 2013, 09:13:26 PM
Keep it going!
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: AJK on November 03, 2013, 09:49:16 PM
Loved to be proved wrong :P

Looking forward to the rest.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Marco Polo on November 03, 2013, 10:04:20 PM
Great write up so far!
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Deal Guy on November 03, 2013, 10:18:21 PM
And add some more pics plz
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: DovtheBear on November 03, 2013, 10:19:16 PM
Great write up so far!
+1
And add some more pics plz
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Ergel on November 03, 2013, 10:23:04 PM
And add some more pics plz
Of what? his pregnant wife???
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Deal Guy on November 03, 2013, 10:34:54 PM
Of what? his pregnant wife???
C'mon... the scenery ect.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Ergel on November 03, 2013, 10:40:15 PM
C'mon... the scenery ect.
He hasn't written anything about that yet. How could he have added pics? If you look at his previous TR there are plenty of pics
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: DovtheBear on November 03, 2013, 10:41:54 PM
He hasn't written anything about that yet. How could he have added pics? If you look at his previous TR there are plenty of pics
Boys!
I think he (DealGuy) meant it as a request for the rest, not criticism on what he (moish) already posted.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on November 04, 2013, 08:14:23 AM
i was thinking of doing something similar to my australia and prague/vienna with regards to pics. is that good or should i do more, or less?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: SuperFlyer on November 06, 2013, 03:58:47 AM
i was thinking of doing something similar to my australia and prague/vienna with regards to pics. is that good or should i do more, or less?

Just perfect !

Nice pictures, and written in a way that I live the situation (=avoid writing about not feeling well etc ::) )

I need to follow classes by you in trip reporting.

Mine didn't get too much attention 8)

Maybe they need to publicised again under your auspices C:-)

That might give me the boost to make some more reports, although frankly speaking my destinations aren't on people's bucket lists here, so technically I won't be helping anyone out.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: DrDanny on November 06, 2013, 06:25:45 AM

That might give me the boost to make some more reports, although frankly speaking my destinations aren't on people's bucket lists here, so technically I won't be helping anyone out.
Oh come on we all have Somalia and Iran somewhere on our bucket list  :P
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: SuperFlyer on November 06, 2013, 07:55:16 AM
Oh come on we all have Somalia and Iran somewhere on our bucket list  :P

Okay agreed, but did you have in mind Serbia and Kosovo? my last winter holidays.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: DrDanny on November 06, 2013, 03:02:49 PM
Okay agreed, but did you have in mind Serbia and Kosovo? my last winter holidays.
So basically no I don't go to Serbia that often in fact I go so infrequently that I forgot exactly where the country was. I searched it on Google maps and as it turns out it's not all that popular, no one has reviewed them yet. Ya that's a thing apparently you can reviews countries now. I'm pretty sure they're getting a bit to desperate for posts on Google plus if they want you to review countries. But anyways SuperFlyer feel free to put in the first review.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: yoruel on November 10, 2013, 11:26:49 PM
waiting for the rest
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Dan on November 10, 2013, 11:27:13 PM
waiting for the rest
+1
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Devorah on November 10, 2013, 11:37:19 PM
waiting for the rest
+1
love the pic
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: HP58 on November 11, 2013, 02:04:23 AM
Okay agreed, but did you have in mind Serbia and Kosovo? my last winter holidays.
For vacation?! What are the attractions there?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: SuperFlyer on November 11, 2013, 09:23:33 AM
For vacation?! What are the attractions there?

I went Skiing there.

Best I've experienced ever.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: SuperFlyer on November 11, 2013, 09:37:01 AM
For vacation?! What are the attractions there?

I don't want to post pix here, and deface moish's thread.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: BrooklynCPA on November 11, 2013, 04:22:28 PM
We are anxiously awaiting the rest of the trip report!!!

I don't want to post pix here, and deface moish's thread.

So start a new thread!!!

Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: HP58 on November 12, 2013, 01:35:31 AM
We are anxiously awaiting the rest of the trip report!!!

So start a new thread!!!
+1 Don't think we have any Serbia/Kosovo TRs yet.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: SuperFlyer on November 12, 2013, 08:36:52 AM
+1 Don't think we have any Serbia/Kosovo TRs yet.

Problem is that I don't really have spare time, quite the opposite.

I'd like to post stuff that are actually useful vs just interesting to read.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Dan on November 12, 2013, 09:48:05 AM
Nu, Moish?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on November 12, 2013, 03:03:34 PM
Nu, Moish?
i dont want to interrupt the kosovo/serbia discussion
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Dan on November 12, 2013, 03:09:48 PM
harhar.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: SuperFlyer on November 12, 2013, 07:23:58 PM
i dont want to interrupt the kosovo/serbia discussion

I'm moychel al kevoydi.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on November 13, 2013, 10:12:19 AM
Edit: UA infant fare is like jello. When I first called, they quoted me 730. Called back the next day, same thing. Waited a week, called back, and voila, price was 500.

Part 2: Arrival

Finally landing in AKL, we were horrified to see a passport control line literally at least three hundred deep. If you can believe it, it was even longer than the lines at Heathrow. But out of the corner of my eye I spotted, by the sign indicating the Crew line, the words “Global Entry”. I wasn’t sure if this was the same Global Entry that came free with my Amex plat, but I definitely was going to give it a try. We prepared our GE cards, and within 2 minutes we were by an agent. He never asked us to verify our GE status so I will never know if it’s referring to the US program of GE, or if there was some NZ equivalent.

It’s important to note is that when going through customs, it’s imperative to declare everything you’ve got since if you don’t, they’ll catch you anyways, as everything is put through the x-ray and you’ll be in deep trouble. The line to declare took about 20 minutes, but after the agent briefly looked inside our bags and determined we weren’t bringing in any contraband, she waved us through, bypassing the x-ray machines.

Walking through the airport, we couldn’t help but notice all of the Lord of The Rings signs and statues, such as ones welcoming us to “Middle Earth”, whatever that is. That seems to be a big theme in NZ and would constantly come up throughout our visit. “On the left side is the sea you might recognize from the second movie…” I guess I would then recommend watching them before you visit. I didn’t, but it wasn’t due to a lack of trying. I tried getting through them, but I fell asleep 10 minutes in…

We bought a local SIM card at the airport from Vodaphone and a mifi for NZD100 from to share internet on our phones and tablet for when were on the go. Oddly enough, my wife got BIS on her Blackberry as opposed to me.

A taxi to the city runs about NZD70-90, but we were convinced to take the Super Shuttle for cheaper. They have an interesting policy called the 10 minute rule, which means that the moment you agree to go with them, the clock starts, and after 10 minutes they leave, whether or not they get another customer. This means that the shuttle could essentially end up being a private taxi for you at a cheaper price. Ultimately, another passenger joined us with 2 minutes left on the clock.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/IMG_1765Large_zps32a0732b.jpg)

We then checked into our hotel, the Amora hotel on Greys Ave, next door to the shul and restaurant. Although quite far from the Chabad house where we were to eat our shabbos meals, the proximity to the shul and restaurant were the deciding factor. I should point out that for some odd reason, SPG doesn’t have a property in the entire country.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/IMG_1762Large_zpsa7eda5fa.jpg)

After settling in, we went next door to the Greys Ave Deli, the only kosher restaurant, where we had some lunch. Nothing to write home about, but it did the job. There is also a market attached and we purchased the foods we’d never seen before, and the obligatory, “buy all soda flavors you’ve never tasted.” They also had a frozen section with meat from Australia, but at $40/lb, we didn’t buy too much. However, they also had frozen New Zealand lamb, which we bought and was definitely worthwhile.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/IMG_1763Large_zps811a91d8.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/IMG_1764Large_zpsbf8da36d.jpg)

After lunch, I had plans to go to the Sky Tower, for sweeping views of the city and an opportunity to get my feet wet with extreme sports, as they have a controlled bungee jump off the side, called the Sky Jump. However, I was vetoed by the rest of my family, who were just too tired and too drained to attempt any sort of sightseeing, and elected to hit the sack for a few hour nap before Shabbos. Instead, I just went to the local supermarket and bought drinks, snacks etc. for our extended day of rest.

Shabbos we went to the local Chabad house where I got to lead the meal as at the last minute, the rabbi had to be in Australia for Shabbos. Sunday night, I went back to the airport to pick up a car for our trip down to Rotorua. Ideally, we could have saved time by driving there Sunday night, but as shekia was relatively late, we decided to go Monday morning. As with Australia, driving is on the left side of the road, so it takes a few minutes to get used to. Unlike with Australia where there are signs all over the place “Keep Left,” in NZ you really have to constantly keep that in mind.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: SuperFlyer on November 13, 2013, 10:28:16 AM
Excellent, keep going.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: meshugener on November 13, 2013, 11:26:42 AM

- I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up the dateline issue. Without going into specifics, there are some serious halachic questions as to when Shabbos is. Is it the local Saturday or Sunday? It would be wise for someone thinking of taking this trip to discuss the issues with a competent orthodox rav. For what it’s worth, I basically kept 2 days of Shabbos. So in the 18 days we were there, only 12 were actual touring days. It was either that, or not to go at all. For a short overview of the issues, see here http://www.star-k.org/kashrus/kk-trav-dateline.htm

How do you deal with the tefilos? Do you daven like shabbos or or chol? What about kiddush? Is that not a sofek broche l'vatuleh?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Ergel on November 13, 2013, 11:27:54 AM
How do you deal with the tefilos? Do you daven like shabbos or or chol? What about kiddush? Is that not a sofek broche l'vatuleh?
You daven chol. Wear tefilin. Just don't do melachos doraisa.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: meshugener on November 13, 2013, 11:35:04 AM
You daven chol. Wear tefilin. Just don't do melachos doraisa.
Both days? I'd imagine not. But how do you decide which one?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Ergel on November 13, 2013, 11:48:37 AM
Both days? I'd imagine not. But how do you decide which one?
No. I think usually keep Saturday as shabbos and Sunday as the safek
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: E-MAN on November 13, 2013, 12:21:02 PM
Excellent, keep going.
+1
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: HP58 on November 14, 2013, 02:37:46 AM
Excellent, keep going.
+1 Even worth giving up our important Serbia/Kosovo discussion! ;)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Dan on November 14, 2013, 01:04:34 PM
Keep it coming.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 01, 2013, 09:20:42 PM
Part 3: Rotorua & Waitomo

Sunday night we transferred between suitcases so that we packed everything we needed for the next two days into 1 suitcase. Monday morning we deposited the rest of our suitcases in the hotel storage to make our trip to Rotorua more pleasant. After 2:35 of relatively easy driving, we arrived in Rotorua.

Our first stop was the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village. This is one of two very similar villages – the other one being Te Puia. At one point they were connected and one admission ticket gave access to both sights, but this is no longer the case. In any event, it’s a real village where the Maori people actually live, and you can see how they live among the geothermal activity, and how they use this natural heat for their benefit such as for cooking and bathing. We chose Whakarewarewa as it’s supposed to be the more authentic of the two, with Te Puia being operated by a separate tour company – not the Maori themselves.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_3751Larg
e_zpsef82086b.jpg)

Can you pronounce that word?
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_3755Large_zps4783e0c1.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_3757Large_zps875a96a8.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 01, 2013, 09:21:01 PM
Natural Oven
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_3760Large_zpsc430e1e6.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_3764Large_zps9b06e648.jpg)

Cooking Corn
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_3770Large_zpsc580a05f.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 01, 2013, 09:21:16 PM
Included in the guided tour of the village was a cultural dance as well as a weaving demonstration.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_3838Large_zps4dda266c.jpg)

One of the highlights of the parks is the viewing of the Pohutu Geyser which erupts about every hour to about 100 feet.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_3861Large_zpsc6196cea.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_3862Large_zps57da84b7.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 01, 2013, 09:21:28 PM
We then drove to the Agrodome where we were hoping to see a sheep shearing demonstration. New Zealand is known for their sheep and the sheep outnumber humans 20 to 1. All along our drives in NZ, we were constantly passing just miles and miles of grazing land and tons of sheep. The farm show at the Agrodome is supposed to be good, but by the time we got there, the show had already finished. They did however let us go the pen and feed the baby sheep as well us some other animals which the kids enjoyed.

Strangely enough, on the drive to the Agrodome, I was randomly pulled over by a cop who administered a breathalyzer test. Apparently in NZ, a cop has the right even without probable cause. (I passed the test by the way)

We were unsuccessful on the next two activities we tried as well. The first one we tried was the Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter to get a look at the rare bird, but the time wasn’t good as the kiwis were sleeping. Nearby, we wanted to take the gondola up and ride the luge, but for some inexplicable reason, they shut the luge down a few hours early. We figured it wasn’t worth it to just take the gondola up Mt. Ngongotaha for the panoramic view of Rotorua and the surrounding mountains, as they have a gondola in Queenstown as well which was supposed to have even better views.

Other things we missed in Rotorua was a visit to the Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park. The attraction for me is the Pat a Lion Cub experience, but about two weeks before I arrived, they told me that it wouldn’t be available during my visit as the cubs were too big. Another thing we missed was the Birds of Prey show which was supposed to be good, but didn’t work out with our schedule.

We then checked in to our hotel, the Arista. Although not luxurious by any means, it did the job. It had a kitchenette which came in helpful as we grilled up the delicious New Zealand lamb and sausages we had brought with us from Auckland. (We bought pans, toiveled them in the lake and triple covered the stovetop).

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_1771Large_zpsc86c5ed3.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_1773Large_zpsbaffa917.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 01, 2013, 09:21:45 PM
The next morning, we rushed to check out, and drove a half hour to the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. We arrived early to buy our admission tickets and then drove a few minutes away to the Lady Knox Geyser. While a natural geyser, it erupts extremely unpredictably, so the park manipulates it at 10am every morning to erupt by dropping laundry soap down. After the spectacle, we drove back to the main park to see all the geothermal wonders which were interesting.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_3931Large_zpsb30011e1.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_3949Large_zpsb9fe126d.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_3956Large_zpsb1202a98.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 01, 2013, 09:21:59 PM
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_3979Large_zpsb1170ca8.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_3998Large_zps557846a7.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_4005Large_zps1a5c8b69.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_4013Large_zps68a5493d.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 01, 2013, 09:22:13 PM
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_4024Large_zps7cd7c147.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_4031Large_zps8487c889.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_4041Large_zpsb12d1bcc.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_4065Large_zps5ade7714.jpg)

Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 01, 2013, 09:22:27 PM
After going through the park (we did the short route) we then went to see the boiling mud pools, a 2 minute drive away, which was cool.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_4108Large_zpsb06ef68e.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_4127Large_zpsb5b44e02.jpg)

We got back in the car for the 2hr scenic drive to Waitomo, and the famous glowworm caves there.

The most popular attraction there is the Waitomo Glowworm Caves which is supposed to be great, but maybe a bit too commercial. Indeed, as we passed the location, there were tons of tour busses parked outside. As glowworms are sensitive to noise and light and when exposed to those elements shut down their light, I chose to go to a different cave with a private tour company.

When David Attenborough visited Waitomo to shoot the glowworms for his TV show, he used a company called Spellbound Glowworm Tours, and I figured if they’re good for him, they’re god for me. Although a bit on the pricey side (they wouldn’t budge on the price) we booked the 3pm tour well in advance (important).

The tour consisted of a small group of people and we visited 2 or 3 caves. We explored the various stalactites and even came across an ancient Moa skeleton, the giant bird hunted to extinction by the Maori. But the main event was in one of the caves where we boarded a boat in complete darkness and sailed along an underground river with millions upon millions of tiny twinkling lights above and around us. Definitely not an experience to be missed. Literally breathtaking. In other caves, there was a smattering of them and I tried to get a picture, but without a tripod, it’s close to impossible.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_4204Large_zpsdf26b55d.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 01, 2013, 09:22:39 PM
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_4227Large_zps12736b9e.jpg)

Glowworms in the light
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_4215Large_zpsd1b89752.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_4216Large_zps26269bf1.jpg)

My unsuccessful attempt at shooting them
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/North%20Island/IMG_4236Large_zpsc9dff236.jpg)



We then drove back to Auckland to catch our flight to our next destination: Queenstown!
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Drago on December 08, 2013, 08:28:53 AM
Great stuff.
I've also daydreamt about this routing, but it'd be too much w/ my kids.
Out of curiosity, did you consider routing on Qantas through Qatar, or would it have added on way too many legs?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 08, 2013, 12:56:48 PM
Great stuff.
I've also daydreamt about this routing, but it'd be too much w/ my kids.
Out of curiosity, did you consider routing on Qantas through Qatar, or would it have added on way too many legs?
didnt consider it. maybe i should have? it would entail 2 extra flights though
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Dan on January 27, 2014, 12:40:04 AM
Bump.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: meshugener on January 27, 2014, 12:36:36 PM
Bump.
Chill man.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 12, 2014, 02:40:15 PM
Part 4: Arriving in Queenstown & Dunedin

On the drive back to Auckland, we got in the mood for some more NZ lamb, so we called the kosher market, paid for a few more packages by credit card and had them double seal it and deliver it next door to our hotel for us, since we would be arriving into town after they would have closed.

Since we had booked an early morning flight for Wednesday, we decided to stay at the Novotel airport hotel which was supposed to be a 5 minute walk to the terminal. So we swung by the Amora, picked up our luggage we had left in storage and our lamb, and drove to the Novotel, returned the car and checked in. As an Accor platinum member, I was hoping for some sort of upgrade or at least free wifi, but we received nothing of the sort. The room was a bit cramped, but it was only for a few hours.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1775Large_zps633e00f0.jpg)

In a perfect world, we would have flown directly from Rotorua, which has an airport, to Dunedin, located in the southeastern part of the South Island, and then driven to Queenstown. But as there are no direct flights, it would have eaten into too much of the day, and the one way car rental from Dunedin to Queenstown was outrageously expensive, so we booked the direct flight from Auckland to Queenstown on Jetstar.

The next morning, we budgeted our time assuming a 5 minute walk to the terminal. To our horror though, while it’s only a 5 minute walk to the international terminal, it’s more like a 20 minute to the domestic one. We basically had to run the whole way, pushing a stroller and all our suitcases, with kids who didn’t get enough sleep. We got there by the skin of our teeth.

Something to keep in mind if you are ever flying into ZQN is that the approach is breathtaking. It would be wise to keep your camera handy for the last 10 minutes of the flight.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1782Large_zpsb93f7fcb.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1784Large_zpsaa6e0ccc.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1785Large_zps65758c0c.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 12, 2014, 02:44:59 PM
Arriving in Queenstown, we rented a car from Avis and drove around 7 minutes to our hotel, The Rees Hotel & Luxury Apartments. Originally I had booked the Hilton which is supposed to be great, but then DDF member ‘APoshiterYid’ posted a deal for 40% off hotel stays when booking through USAA’s partner, Explore Travel. I quickly booked the Rees for $867 total for 5 nights, 40% off the regular price of $1445. The Rees was supposed to be a nicer hotel, and better located.

The room/apartment was really nice, extremely spacious and had a great view of the lake. It also had a full kitchen with standing fridge/freezer and a cooktop. It was a perfect setup for us with the kids and for Shabbos (x2).

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1797Large_zps611c23bc.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1796Large_zps426aa6fd.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1800Large_zpsc49bd76b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 12, 2014, 02:45:26 PM
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1799Large_zpsc45c424c.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1798Large_zps569eb73c.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1801Large_zps6eca2700.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 12, 2014, 02:47:02 PM
On the spur of the moment, we contemplated driving the 3.5-4 hours to Dunedin, to see some of the wildlife. It would be a pretty crazy decision as I was a little tired, and I had never driven so far in my life (in one shot). But we threw caution to the wind and decided to go for it.
 
The South Island of New Zealand was definitely the appropriate place to undertake such a journey as the scenery is just amazing. Every turn leads to another postcard worthy view. And don’t forget the sheep. Literally millions of them.

The first place we went to was the Royal Albatross Center on the Otago Peninsula. I was first introduced to these seabirds on the Frozen Planet show, and was intrigued by their size (10 ft wingspan) and the fact that after they are born, they spend 3-5 years at sea never touching land in that time. The Otago Peninsula is the only mainland Royal Albatross breeding colony in the world.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4256Large_zpsed863965.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4268Large_zpsffa8d15b.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4271Large_zps9e5f168c.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4360Large_zps0c40be77.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 12, 2014, 02:48:40 PM
The center also offers blue penguin tours, but we had already seen them in Australia, and in New Zealand, they are more like an afterthought as they are plentiful there, unlike in Australia where they are rare. But we did go to see what is considered the rarest penguin in the world, the Yellow-eyed Penguin. Penguin Place leads tours through bunkers and tunnels with viewing areas to see the penguins in their natural habitat without disturbing them. They then took us along the beach to see some coming in from the day at sea. Even though we were there during molting season, most still had their feathers.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4397Large_zps86fbc256.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4430Large_zpscca133af.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4446Large_zps17150725.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 12, 2014, 02:49:13 PM
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4467Large_zps0210842d.jpg)

seals
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4486Large_zps752ace56.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4494Large_zps2c085c64.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 12, 2014, 02:50:40 PM
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4498Large_zps996a36dd.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4504Large_zps0c8fa564.jpg)

We then ate our Meal Mart meals in our Mountain Ovens, and headed back to Queenstown.

Dinner...
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4543Large_zpsdc9c9949.jpg)

...and a view
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4535Large_zps1f5cf0c1.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Marco Polo on February 12, 2014, 03:00:11 PM
Looks really good. Love the pictures.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: dovid2880 on February 14, 2014, 02:23:15 AM
Incredible. Please continue it!
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Dan on February 14, 2014, 02:29:02 AM
Incredible. Please continue it!
+1.
Never thought of bringing a flameless heating kit along. Did you like it?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 14, 2014, 08:03:07 AM
+1.
Never thought of bringing a flameless heating kit along. Did you like it?
yup, it worked great. each bag has 5 uses and we bought two but most of the rooms in NZ had microwaves so we didnt need to use them that much
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Dan on February 14, 2014, 02:21:22 PM
microwaves
Double cover or you kasher them out?
I'd use the flameless to heat up meals while out for day trips. 
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: smart brit on February 14, 2014, 02:37:40 PM
Wow! Absolutely amazing!
I'm really jealous
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Dan on February 14, 2014, 02:40:12 PM
I'm really jealous
+1. Gonna be many years before I can do this.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: smart brit on February 14, 2014, 02:42:29 PM
+1. Gonna be many years before I can do this.
I'm trying to get my wife to read it and hoping she will be tempted enough
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Dan on February 14, 2014, 02:43:46 PM
I'm trying to get my wife to read it and hoping she will be tempted enough
Do you have kids?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: smart brit on February 14, 2014, 02:56:26 PM
Yup 3 bh.
But they are used to travelling
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Dan on February 14, 2014, 03:01:20 PM
It's not about if they're used to traveling, it's how much of the things you can do with them.
Unless they're all over 10 you're going to be limited IMHO.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: smart brit on February 14, 2014, 04:16:25 PM
It's not about if they're used to traveling, it's how much of the things you can do with them.
Unless they're all over 10 you're going to be limited IMHO.
+1
That's why I'm jealous
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Dan on February 14, 2014, 04:24:45 PM
And that's why I don't envision an NZ trip anytime soon.
I pulled off a night in EZE and 2 in CDG but much more than that isn't practical for now.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 15, 2014, 02:02:09 PM
Double cover or you kasher them out?
I'd use the flameless to heat up meals while out for day trips. 
not so simple to kasher microwaves. i just double cover

we would only use it for dinners. for lunch we have tuna packets with mayo and crackers etc
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 15, 2014, 02:04:08 PM
It's not about if they're used to traveling, it's how much of the things you can do with them.
Unless they're all over 10 you're going to be limited IMHO.
its not only about if theyre used to it, but it certainly helps that they are.

they are used to/enjoy a break from routine, which includes possibly sleeping on a couch etc.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: how on February 15, 2014, 04:17:55 PM
This whole trip was this past November or more recent?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: how on February 15, 2014, 04:23:46 PM

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4271Large_zps9e5f168c.jpg)

Cool animal pictures

I never saw that flame less kit, interesting idea. It works the same way as the labriut meals heating packet?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 15, 2014, 05:27:44 PM
This whole trip was this past November or more recent?
lol, last march
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 15, 2014, 05:28:21 PM

I never saw that flame less kit, interesting idea. It works the same way as the labriut meals heating packet?
same idea, yes
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 15, 2014, 08:07:22 PM
Part 5: Milford Sound & Queenstown

Ever since I read a report on FTG, Milford Sound was high on my to do list. I was even going to go so far as making a quick stop to NZ on my way to Australia last year for the sole purpose of having a day to visit Milford Sound. That didn’t end up working out, so we had to do it now.

There are a few options of getting there from Queenstown. You can drive yourself, take a bus, fly, or a combination bus/fly. Being that we were with the kids, a 4-5 hour bus journey each way didn't sound like a great idea, and we also didn't want to miss what some consider to be one of the greatest scenic flights.

We used Air Milford and chose their Fly/Nature Cruise/Fly option, which is slightly more expensive but it goes on a smaller boat which gets into the nook and crannies better and focuses more on the fauna and flora.

They picked us up from our hotel and we flew with 2 other passengers on a spectacularly beautiful flight. The pictures just tell a tiny part of the story. It was breathtaking. Fans of the Lord of The Rings movies might be able to recognize some of the spots as the pilot was constantly pointing them out.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4572Large_zpsfa6b3800.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4577Large_zpse3ab7ec8.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4581Large_zps98994a6a.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 15, 2014, 08:07:47 PM
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4588Large_zps396f5080.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4595Large_zps8265fec1.jpg)

Pure glacial lake
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4621Large_zps5164ca2e.jpg)

On approach to Milford Sound
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4636Large_zps6f6af2f3.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: smart brit on February 15, 2014, 08:10:03 PM
Wow! Stunning
What type of plane was it? Do you have any pictures from the plane?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 15, 2014, 08:10:45 PM
One of the claims of this nature cruise was to be able to get you to see another rare penguin – the Fiordland Crested Penguin which I was hoping to see, but they couldn’t spot any on our trip.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4642Large_zps87149d95.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4653Large_zps678db543.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4672Large_zps775594fd.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 15, 2014, 08:13:00 PM
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4680Large_zpsfe8ff17d.jpg)

Seals
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4687Large_zpsd5686421.jpg)

A cool thing they do is they bring the boat right under a glacial waterfall so you don a provided raincoat, go out and open your mouth to taste the cleanest and purest water.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4746Large_zpsee4b5fd4.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4740Large_zps8553e841.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 15, 2014, 08:13:24 PM
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4692Large_zpse6ba29b9.jpg)

As seen from above
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4817Large_zps0d51b9b3.jpg)

At the end of the day, I thought it was a great place to visit, but I wasn’t as crazy over it as FTG was. It might be due to the high expectations we had, or it might be in part due to the fact that when we were there, the region was experiencing a draught not seen in over 100 years. Because of that, many of the waterfalls usually seen were not there. The only ones that were there were ones fed by melting glaciers, and even those were much smaller than normal. In a place known for its abundance of waterfalls, only a small amount were functioning.

Be it as it may, we still enjoyed it greatly. One of the cons of going with a tour operator is that you are bound to their schedule and as a consequence, we weren’t able to visit the Milford Deep Underwater Observatory which is supposed to be good.

The return flight wasn’t as great since we had more passengers joining us, and the weather took a turn for the worse, causing the pilot to take an alternate, less scenic, route home. To top off a great day, we had some delicious NZ lamb…

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4846Large_zps3e212c26.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4854Large_zps9a54aca0.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 15, 2014, 08:16:44 PM
The next day, we drove into town and went to the Kiwi Birdlife Park to finally see the kiwi. Besides for kiwis, they have other animals which we didn’t go to. They also have a small animal show which was nice.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4863Large_zps15b87b83.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4858Large_zps1cba3c63.jpg)

We then went next door to the gondola which took us to Bob’s Peak, 450m above Queenstown and the great views from up there.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4867Large_zpsdbd5f91c.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4870Large_zpse1f89642.jpg)

They have bungee jumping from there, as well as a swing, but my wife forbade me from jumping, and the swing wasn’t running. They also have a luge which we did a few times and thoroughly enjoyed.

There are some other places in Queenstown with some great swings such as the Shotover Swing as well as the Nevis Swing, the latter being the biggest swing in the world, but I didn’t realize that both of these places require reservations well in advance, and by the time I called them on Friday afternoon, they were all booked up until the next week which was a bummer.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 15, 2014, 08:17:41 PM
On Monday we decided to do something the kids would enjoy, and took a cruise on Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw – a 100 year old steamship.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5114Large_zps853c08b7.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5127Large_zpsfa604bd6.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4971Large_zps7b8a92d9.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_4997Large_zps2efa9b3a.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 15, 2014, 08:18:49 PM
The boat let us off at the Walter Peak High Country Farm where we took a tour of the farm, fed the sheep and deer, and watched a farm dog display as well as a sheep shearing demonstration.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5083Large_zps516b5ffb.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5101Large_zps08c1beb6.jpg)

Arriving back in Queenstown, they have this little place by the harbor called Underwater World which has giant windows showcasing life under the lake such as seeing eels and trout. What’s interesting to see are the diving ducks, and they have a machine which shoots food into the water for a dollar and the ducks come diving in.

 (http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5141Large_zps7f4a588e.jpg)

I finally got the guts to bungee and then drove the 20 minutes to the Kawarau Bungy Center, the first commercial bungee operator in the world. I figured that if I finally do it, it should be at the birthplace of bungee. However, when I arrived, they were closing up for the day, so until today, I’m still a bungee virgin.

Queenstown is known as the adrenaline capital of the world. I guess that’s more accurate if you visit single or at least without kids. Many of the extreme stuff such as the crazy Shotover River boat ride are simply not doable if you have kids. As Chabad doesn’t have a presence there, babysitting wasn’t an option. With that said, we still had a great time, and you can too, as long as you adjust your expectations.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 15, 2014, 08:22:02 PM
Wow! Stunning
What type of plane was it? Do you have any pictures from the plane?
a small one.

the ones posted are from the plane
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: meshugener on February 15, 2014, 11:23:49 PM
but much more than that isn't practical for now.
Why not?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: smart brit on February 15, 2014, 11:39:24 PM
a small one.

the ones posted are from the plane
I meant to ask of the plane?
Thanks again for the great tr loving it
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: how on February 16, 2014, 01:24:21 AM
lol, last march
[/quoteThat makes more sense
same idea, yes
interesting maybe ill buy a few for my storm kit
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 16, 2014, 08:14:30 AM
I meant to ask of the plane?
Thanks again for the great tr loving it
see here http://www.airmilford.co.nz/our-fleet.html

youre welcome.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on February 16, 2014, 08:15:46 AM
That makes more sense
out of curiosity, why?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: how on February 16, 2014, 12:41:01 PM
out of curiosity, why?
weather
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Dan on February 16, 2014, 01:50:46 PM
Why not?
Are you serious?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: meshugener on February 16, 2014, 02:24:54 PM
Are you serious?
Yes.
Take it easy and fly.
Don't push in too much in one day, take it slow, a few activities a day, take babysitter help. and you're good to go.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 04, 2014, 07:30:15 PM
continue with this or take a Maldives detour?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Dan on December 04, 2014, 07:31:32 PM
This.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: how on December 04, 2014, 07:40:24 PM
continue with this or take a Maldives detour?
this one was pretty interesting
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: ZCN on December 05, 2014, 02:19:03 AM
This.

+1.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: morgs on December 05, 2014, 03:49:19 AM
This.
+1!!
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 08, 2014, 07:56:45 PM
Part 6: Franz Josef

We bid adieu to Queenstown and headed towards Franz Josef. As usual with the South Island, the views were spectacular but since we left in the evening, we didn’t have too much sunlight. Eventually we were driving in complete darkness and through forested areas. The combination of the two meant that it felt as if it were raining bugs.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5172Large_zpsc59cc6bc.jpg)

Bug massacre
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5175Large_zps1938c398.jpg)

We made it to Franz Josef in under 4 hours and checked in to the Alpine Glacier Motel. Again, not too great, but not too bad either. There aren’t really too many options.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1820Large_zpsfd336f76.jpg)

The next day I walked over to the office of the Franz Josef Glacier Guides where I had pre booked the Ice Explorer excursion. We geared up and took a short helicopter ride onto the glacier. We hiked around a bit with our guide who was constantly carving steps for us. It was pretty cool to be up close to the blue ice and to take awesome pictures inside some of the crevasses.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5183Large_zpsc38178a1.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5208Large_zps3cbe9b2c.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 08, 2014, 07:57:58 PM
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5221Large_zpsceba3fb1.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5224Large_zpsd43bb199.jpg)

Included in the price of the excursion was free entrance to the Glacier Hot Pools so we figured we might as well take advantage. On the way towards the pools, we stopped off at the West Coast Wildlife Centre which of course had kiwis but also informative displays and mock ups which the kids enjoyed.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5271Large_zps890e72c4.jpg)

We then went to the hot pools planning to get a private pool which they offer, but they claimed that it was too hot to be safe for my wife who was pregnant.

That night, I drove a half hour to the city of Okarito where I had booked a kiwi tour. It is one of the few places in all of New Zealand where it’s possible to see kiwis in the wild. The eccentric owner Ian leads nighttime tours to spot the rarest kiwi in the world, the Rowi, aka the Okarito Brown Kiwi, with fewer than 400 remaining due to introduced unnatural predators.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5299Large_zps9b1eed42.jpg)

You need to be extremely quiet and have a ton of patience. Most of the time you’re just standing still, waiting anxiously for the kiwi to emerge from the bush and come onto the path. We tracked one kiwi for a full 2 hours. It’s hard to describe the excitement of locating one (they are very sparse, one pair per square km), hearing its calls and the crunching as it walks, and the exhilaration when it finally emerges.
In the end, we left at 7pm, came back at midnight, and ended up seeing 2 of them. In my opinion it was certainly worthwhile.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 08, 2014, 08:00:12 PM
As is my custom, I subscribed to the local Groupon type deal sites months before I left to see if they had any relevant deals. As luck would have it, there was a deal for a 40 minute scenic helicopter flight + snow landing operated by Glacier Country Scenic Flights from Whataroa, a city about 20 minutes north of Franz Josef. I bought it after confirming that the kids would be free.

I scheduled our flight for the following day while we were on the way to our next destination. However, when we arrived at the specified time, the owner delayed us for no reason other than to try to get other passengers to go up with us since he wasn’t making enough on us alone. After about a 2 hour delay, he finally found a couple willing to go, put them in the front and squashed us all in the back.

The flight itself was very nice with awesome views including Mt. Cook which we hadn’t yet seen. It was also neat to land on top of the glacier. In hindsight I wouldn’t have gotten the discount had I known he would have delayed us. It would have been worth it to pay the full fare to go on time and to have better visibility sitting in the front.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5312Large_zps4d3fa284.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5314Large_zpsde2a8429.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5315Large_zps0ec4f769.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5364Large_zpsbbb24827.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 08, 2014, 08:01:36 PM
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5368Large_zpsce7488e8.jpg)

Talk about living in isolation
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5408Large_zps9b3aac76.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5421Large_zpsfcc9b504.jpg)

Mt Cook
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5428Large_zpsd2f1fb70.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 08, 2014, 08:02:40 PM
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5433Large_zps47a129ec.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5435Large_zpse49625f9.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5446Large_zpsbe597e91.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5453Large_zps27bab8ef.jpg)

We then continued on to our next destination, Hokitika…
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: TimT on December 08, 2014, 08:24:00 PM
Awesome scenery pics.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Yaalili on December 08, 2014, 08:31:18 PM
Awesome scenery pics.

+1. Too bad that helicopter guy "scammed" you a bit, leave feedback on TA.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Yehoshua on December 08, 2014, 09:00:09 PM
Wow!! What an amazing TR. I'm glad I just found it now so I didn't have to wait so long between installments  ;). I can't wait for the rest! The pictures are amazing.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: smart brit on December 08, 2014, 09:53:56 PM
I just can't get over it! With a pregnant wife and kids!
Absolutely awesome
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: sam28 on December 08, 2014, 10:59:30 PM
wow  no words its amazing this pictures . the tr keep it coming .
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: morgs on December 09, 2014, 02:08:10 AM
Absolutely amazing-please keep going-enjoying every minute!!
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 11, 2014, 06:44:41 PM
Part 7: Hokitika & TranzAlpine

We continued on until we reached the town of Hokitika and went straight to the National Kiwi Centre. Besides for kiwis (no pictures allowed), they had other animals as well, such as the ancient tuatara which resembles a lizard but is actually more closely related to dinosaurs than anything living today. The main attraction, though, are the giant eels which are about 2 meters long. They are also pretty old, the oldest of which was 120 years. During feeding time, they allow visitors to take part in hand feeding them which the kids enjoyed.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5456Large_zps83f98b4b.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5456Large_zps83f98b4b.jpg.html)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5466Large_zpsf2574eeb.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5466Large_zpsf2574eeb.jpg.html)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5477Large_zps214e438c.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5477Large_zps214e438c.jpg.html)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 11, 2014, 06:45:23 PM
We then drove out to the Hokitika Gorge Scenic Reserve, a little bit out of the city, to enjoy the beautiful scenery and turquoise river. Beware of the sandflies, though. I got bitten and the scar of that bite was still visible a year later.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5547Large_zpsd47bbe36.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5547Large_zpsd47bbe36.jpg.html)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5600Large_zps7034bf62.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5600Large_zps7034bf62.jpg.html)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1828Large_zps5bfcc86c.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1828Large_zps5bfcc86c.jpg.html)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 11, 2014, 06:46:27 PM
(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5601Large_zps444e9482.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5601Large_zps444e9482.jpg.html)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5582Large_zps2b6e7816.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5582Large_zps2b6e7816.jpg.html)

We then drove back into town and went shopping where we bought stuff that were on the list including bread and found something very interesting. It’s called kiwi berries; they taste exactly like kiwis but are in berry form. Not sure if it’s available in the States.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5638Large_zps262d4fa7.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5638Large_zps262d4fa7.jpg.html)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 11, 2014, 06:47:11 PM
We then checked into our lodging, the Shining Star Beachfront Accommodation. Had the schedule been arranged differently, this would have been a great place to stay for Shabbos, especially a two day one. It had two bedrooms and a kitchenette. It also had a huge playground that was empty that the kids enjoyed, as well as farm animals. It was also a minute walk to the beach where we went out searching for jade.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1831Large_zps38c9543d.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1831Large_zps38c9543d.jpg.html)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1835Large_zpsbd8275a6.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_1835Large_zpsbd8275a6.jpg.html)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 11, 2014, 06:47:41 PM
It was also located across the road from a glow worm dell which I visited after dark. Although nothing like what we saw in Waitomo, it was still quite beautiful. I was able to get a slightly better picture, but not great. I did manage to get a pretty decent shot of the stars, however.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5641Large_zps083d05cf.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5641Large_zps083d05cf.jpg.html)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5653Large_zps22a543f2.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5653Large_zps22a543f2.jpg.html)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5654Large_zps76d186e3.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5654Large_zps76d186e3.jpg.html)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 11, 2014, 06:48:36 PM
The next day we drove up to Greymouth, returned the rental car at the train station, and boarded the TranzAlpine to Christchurch.

It’s important to note that if you book your tickets ahead of time outside New Zealand, you will automatically be charged a higher price. In order to get a lower price, it needs to be booked from a local IP address. I tried a program to change my IP to a NZ one whilst in Israel, but it didn’t work. So as soon as we arrived in Auckland, I booked the tickets. After booking the tickets online, I called them to reserve seats. From Greymouth to Christchurch the better views are on the left side. I had read online that those seats were A&B but on my train that wasn’t the case so YMMV. They have a designated cabin without seats for photography, so I requested a car next to that one.

I booked the TranzAlpine due to the recommendation of a distinguished and esteemed DDF’er, however after spending so much time driving in the South Island, the views were not as amazing as what I had already seen. So I guess for someone visiting for short it’s a great way of getting a glimpse of the beauty of NZ, but for someone who spends as much time as I did, I would say pass.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5707Large_zps9ab16fd5.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5707Large_zps9ab16fd5.jpg.html)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5725Large_zpsff7781e3.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5725Large_zpsff7781e3.jpg.html)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5732Large_zps8831a901.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5732Large_zps8831a901.jpg.html)

Up next, Christchurch…
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Yaalili on December 11, 2014, 07:17:14 PM
The Hokitika water scenery place is something, the water is so blue, nice.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Yehoshua on December 11, 2014, 08:15:46 PM
The Hokitika water scenery place is something, the water is so blue, nice.
+1, reminds me of the Lake Piru and Lake Louise near Banff, AB.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Hershelsdeals on December 11, 2014, 08:20:21 PM
The next day we drove up to Greymouth, returned the rental car at the train station, and boarded the TranzAlpine to Christchurch.

It’s important to note that if you book your tickets ahead of time outside New Zealand, you will automatically be charged a higher price. In order to get a lower price, it needs to be booked from a local IP address. I tried a program to change my IP to a NZ one whilst in Israel, but it didn’t work. So as soon as we arrived in Auckland, I booked the tickets. After booking the tickets online, I called them to reserve seats. From Greymouth to Christchurch the better views are on the left side. I had read online that those seats were A&B but on my train that wasn’t the case so YMMV. They have a designated cabin without seats for photography, so I requested a car next to that one.

I booked the TranzAlpine due to the recommendation of a distinguished and esteemed DDF’er, however after spending so much time driving in the South Island, the views were not as amazing as what I had already seen. So I guess for someone visiting for short it’s a great way of getting a glimpse of the beauty of NZ, but for someone who spends as much time as I did, I would say pass.

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5707Large_zps9ab16fd5.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5707Large_zps9ab16fd5.jpg.html)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5725Large_zpsff7781e3.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5725Large_zpsff7781e3.jpg.html)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5732Large_zps8831a901.jpg) (http://s1302.photobucket.com/user/moishddf/media/NZ/South%20Island/IMG_5732Large_zps8831a901.jpg.html)

Up next, Christchurch…
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: efflpetzel on December 11, 2014, 09:11:01 PM

that thumbs up is starting to piss me off
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Hershelsdeals on December 11, 2014, 09:13:38 PM
that thumbs up is starting to piss me off
You'd rather get +1 ? What's the problem
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: efflpetzel on December 11, 2014, 09:33:37 PM
You'd rather get +1 ? What's the problem
I'd rather get an

'hey moish great TR' or

'great pics & an amazing TR!' or

'unbelievable TR, amazing doing a trip like that with the kids',

those are some of the thoughts that pop into my head
rather than an expressionless emoji, but hey thats just me

And my problem isn't here, I'm starting to see you're golden thumb pop up all over DDF
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 18, 2014, 01:39:08 PM
Part 8: Christchurch

After pulling into the train station, we took a taxi to the Amore Motor Lodge. The 2011 earthquake destroyed or badly damaged all the hotels in the CBD area, so the only options were motels and the like. We booked a 2 bedroom “suite” which was comfortable and convenient.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7551/15992226796_1690e47193_b.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8584/15992225196_0538a77e02_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7466/15992223766_f1da685c86_b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 18, 2014, 01:39:36 PM
(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8573/15830755060_dbfe76a968_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7565/15395745774_649d80fc2f_b.jpg)

The next day, Friday, we went to the Orana Wildlife Park. Besides for the regular zoo fare, they have interesting attractions that we wanted to do. First off was hand feeding the giraffes, which was enjoyed by all. For a cool picture, with your back facing the giraffe put the food over your shoulder for a great selfie.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7551/16016033771_2c5b38bf44_b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 18, 2014, 01:40:02 PM
(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7503/15832247607_7765f59a8c_b.jpg)
 
Morepork
(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7469/15832237959_5e71cdfc22_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7569/15395704714_6b220d426f_b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 18, 2014, 01:40:39 PM
After that, I did the feed the tiger attraction, which for NZ$30, they take you behind the scenes to the tiger cages and you feed a tiger meat with a pair of tongs.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7529/15992208846_5f3d940814_b.jpg)

Lastly, also for NZ$30 is the lion encounter attraction which is kind of a role reversal. You stand on a flatbed truck which is caged in and drive into the lion enclosure while the zookeeper feeds them. It was really neat to be so close to such powerful beasts and their roar. (The males were castrated which caused them to lose their manes.)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7580/15830895698_24ca99ae2e_b.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8615/15398355903_8db9d17562_b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 18, 2014, 01:41:00 PM
(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7473/16017295572_2b0f3bd0a0_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7548/15398693233_7644816d84_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7538/15992189306_9394f858ec_b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 18, 2014, 01:41:35 PM
They had another encounter which I was really hoping to do, called Meet A Cheetah where they take you inside the cheetah enclosure and you interact with them for $100. After being inside a tiger cage, I was looking forward to this. However, 2 weeks before the trip, they emailed me that the cheetah encounter was closed permanently due to the cheetahs reaching maturity. I guess the timing wasn’t great since if you recall, a similar thing happened in the North Island with regards to Pat A Lion. We did, however, watch them feeding.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7511/16017958135_e3708d4b4c_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7484/15830535818_89caf74ff7_b.jpg)

After Shabbos, on Monday, we drove out to the airport to visit the International Antarctic Centre. This is located in CHC since that is the gateway to Antarctica for all the researchers. It’s located right at the airport so it’s suitable even if someone has a shortish connection. First, we took a ride in a Hägglund – the all-terrain vehicle used in Antarctica. They take you on an obstacle course to show its capabilities which was cool.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8639/15830691220_34d2ab7fb6_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7492/15830684350_34a8a398da_b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 18, 2014, 01:42:10 PM
We then watched a 4D movie of visiting Antarctica which was great. If you didn’t have a desire to visit Antarctica before you watched the movie, you definitely have one after. They also have a room which mimics an Antarctic storm, which gets down to -18 degrees Celsius with the wind chill. Lastly, they have Little Blue Penguins which are swimming and running around, and you can get a glimpse into their ‘houses’.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7478/15395671374_f403dc5461_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7510/15830669960_54c39eb4f7_b.jpg)

We then drove down to the CBD, or at least what remained of it after the earthquake. It was crazy to see the state of ruin and devastation that still existed over 2 years after it hit. Most of the CBD was still a “red zone” with heavily restricted access. We visited Quake City, an attraction which documents the earthquake. Afterwards, we went souvenir shopping at the re:START mall, a shopping mall constructed from shipping containers, which is one of the most popular shopping areas for both locals and visitors.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7537/15398285053_ce394e0c63_b.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8598/15832175437_1dc661a8f5_b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 18, 2014, 01:42:43 PM
(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7509/15830665810_7e26496e8c_b.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8628/15830660220_09f8f60c2b_b.jpg)

(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag138/moishddf/IMG_51288Large_zps6f8670c4.jpg)

We then drove out to go “Punting on the Avon,” – boating, Venice style, on the Avon River, but since the weather was a bit drizzly, they shut down early for the day. I had seen an advertisement to drive a tank for NZ$800, a bit more to crush a car, and I seriously considered it for a good 10 minutes. Ultimately, I decided it was too expensive and passed.

We then went to the supermarket where interestingly enough, I found packaged fresh salmon with a hechsher. We went back to the hotel, grilled it up, and got an early night sleep for our early morning flight the next day to South Korea.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7567/15992120816_62558c998f_b.jpg)

Up next, Seoul…
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Yehoshua on December 18, 2014, 03:08:01 PM
Wow, it certainly sounds like you had a great time in NZ. Definitely makes me want to visit. I wonder how many of the activities you did in late summer/early fall are doable in the winter (July/August).
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 18, 2014, 03:15:58 PM
Wow, it certainly sounds like you had a great time in NZ. Definitely makes me want to visit. I wonder how many of the activities you did in late summer/early fall are doable in the winter (July/August).
we sure did.

probably most, since i dont think their winters are too extreme
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Yaalili on December 18, 2014, 10:19:09 PM
Great report, does sound like a lot of money for all the individual animal attractions, not a cheap country to visit.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Yehoshua on December 19, 2014, 12:39:51 AM
Great report, does sound like a lot of money for all the individual animal attractions, not a cheap country to visit.
Not to mention the lack of points hotels.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: smart brit on December 19, 2014, 02:42:52 AM
Not to mention the lack of points hotels.
or lack of any decent hotel's!
Specifically in Christchurch.
Do they have these type of attractions in any zoo's in the USA?
This is amazing
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 19, 2014, 03:03:59 AM
Great report, does sound like a lot of money for all the individual animal attractions, not a cheap country to visit.
around US$24 shouldnt put anybody into debt for an interesting experience, i would think.

in venice it costs $27 just for a beer at the piazetta san marco...
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 19, 2014, 03:07:02 AM
Not to mention the lack of points hotels.
if the alternative would be extremely expensive hotels, i would hear your point, but the hotels/motels are generally affordable
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Yaalili on December 19, 2014, 11:42:35 AM
around US$24 shouldnt put anybody into debt for an interesting experience, i would think.

in venice it costs $27 just for a beer at the piazetta san marco...

Around US$24 for just one of the parts if you want to get the full experience you are looking at close to US$200 per person. Compare that to a place like Lujan Zoo in Argentina where you get to go inside and interact with all the animals for under US$15.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 20, 2014, 12:43:58 PM
you are looking at close to US$200 per person.
not sure how you got there
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Yaalili on December 20, 2014, 06:46:24 PM
not sure how you got there

$25 for each of the two attractions that you did, plus $100 for the one that you didn't do, and giving another $25-50 for other stuff there.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on December 20, 2014, 07:17:51 PM
plus $100 for the one that you didn't do,
no longer exists
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 08:15:15 AM
Part 9: Seoul & DMZ

Tuesday morning we awoke early to catch our 7am flight from CHC to ICN via SYD on two mostly uneventful flights with Air New Zealand and Asiana. We had some problems on the Asian airlines this trip for some reason with regards to our KSMLs. It took many minutes of explaining, convincing and speaking with the purser that the cellophane wrappers were oven safe. It was always a struggle for them to not remove it before placing in the oven. Has anyone else experienced that?

Picking one of our duffels off the belt in ICN, we noticed a giant clamp like device had been attached to it, similar to a wheel boot for unpaid parking tickets. As we made our way through customs, something triggered it and it started belting out the latest Korean pop hits. We were immediately escorted to a secondary area where a customs officer searched fruitlessly in the bag for a good 5 minutes. Finally giving up, he asked us if we were carrying large sums of cash with us. Totally confused, he showed us an image on the screen and it became apparent they confused a package of baby wipes with a large wad of greenbacks...

We made our way outside and negotiated with the minivans for the best price into town. We got someone for ₩85k (~$76) including tolls for the slightly less than 1 hour journey to our hotel, the Park Hyatt. As a Category 4 hotel, it was a great way to use the free anniversary nights, although it’s changing to a Cat 5 soon. I was only a Platinum member at the time, but I tried my hardest for them to upgrade us to a suite, since a regular room would have been too small for the 4 of us. After conferring in the back for a bit, she came back to tell us that the hotel policy was not to give free suite upgrades to Plats, but could give us the suite for ₩150k/night. I countered with ₩120k (~$107) and we had a deal. It was definitely worth it, especially since the room only cost me the AF on the Chase Hyatt card.

We. Pack. Heavy.
(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7543/16251687082_a43209cba3_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7573/15630109764_99d433f6ee_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7530/16066379819_28619daf2a_b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 08:16:27 AM
(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7461/16252515275_4b78076c8e_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7535/16252514975_6c194816b5_b.jpg)

View from the room. Recognize it?

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7551/16252497185_2e2f5a79de_b.jpg)

Hint…

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7577/15630089234_d10f86818f_b.jpg)

That’s right, the hotel is located in the posh Gangnam section of Seoul, parodied in the YouTube smash hit. I found the hotel to be relatively convenient for touring and located near a 7-11 in the event you don’t want to be gouged for drinks.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 08:17:27 AM
For Wednesday I booked a tour of the DMZ, a must do if you find yourself in the region. The best/most popular way to do it is with the USO, but by the time I got my act together to actually make a reservation, they were all sold out. I looked around and booked with a company called TourDMZ for ₩120k. The tour wasn’t given by native English speakers which was certainly a negative. I had to actively focus in order to understand what the tour guide was saying. I don’t know about the USO tour, but if it’s given by a Native English speaker, that would certainly be enough of a reason to book in advance with them.

At the time of my visit in 2013, there was increased tension between North Korea and the US, leaving a real possibility in the cancellation of the tour. However, the night before, I was informed that the Army wasn’t cancelling the tour and we were good to go.

Wednesday morning, I took the subway to the departure point at the Lotte Hotel according to the directions they had sent me. I left with enough time to get there at 5 to 8 for an 8am departure. However, once I got there, I realized that the Lotte was a huge complex and there was no way I would be there on time. They had told me to be there at 10 to 8 and I was kicking myself for not leaving enough time. I finally found the office at around 8:20 fully expecting to hear that the tour had already left. G-d was smiling down at me that day, and for some reason they had a different delay and were still there. If you do take these guys, leave yourself plenty of time to find them.

The first stop was the Freedom Bridge in Imjingak Park. A former railroad bridge, it was used after the war in the exchange of POWs.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7489/16253527575_5e9f3db0ce_b.jpg)

Ribbons with messages of hope
(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8584/15630106614_fc0c648643_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7532/16066675267_b1b7427f32_b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 08:18:10 AM
Next up was a visit to Dorasan Station which once served a railroad line connecting the North and South.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8644/16252510325_0b304911da_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7569/16251682422_ce2e11e96e_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7480/16066671257_1ef1a74b03_b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 08:19:09 AM
We then went to the Dora Observatory where North Korea can be viewed through binoculars, including the giant flagpole in ‘Propaganda Village.’

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7476/16226606016_801db02897_b.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8571/16252508285_4808bb7d29_b.jpg)

The next stop was to the 3rd tunnel. North Korea has been building tunnels into South Korea so that in the event of a war, they could move full battalions right into the heart of the South. The South has developed methods in discovering these tunnels, and this is just one example of a tunnel they uncovered. You can hike the length of the tunnel right up to the border. There is also an interesting museum about the war.

On the way to lunch, we stopped off at a store, sort of like a duty free shop that’s licensed to sell Norh Korean products.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8635/15632632743_532b9d7cd1_b.jpg)

mana chama...
(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8585/16067721387_62d6fa4355_b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 08:20:23 AM
After lunch we drove to Camp Bonifas where we were transferred, as official visitors, to the control of the US Army. They drove us, on their busses, into the Joint Security Area. We had a briefing about the history of the area and watched a short film. We then walked outside to see an interesting scene of basically a standoff between South Korean and North Korean soldiers. The  South Korean soldiers were standing half exposed and half behind the meeting huts in case of North Korean aggression, to be able to quickly duck behind. They also wear sunglasses so that the North Korean soldiers, constantly monitoring us with binoculars, can’t see what the S. Korean soldiers are looking at.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8599/16250657911_ae5ed9d60a_b.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8577/16066363919_5b97efa301_b.jpg)

We then walked into the blue conference buildings which straddle the border, and you have the opportunity to be on what’s technically North Korean soil.

Black things on table mark the border (SK soldier standing on NK side)
(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8601/15632627613_6e6b9d6000_b.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8605/15630096764_2e91cca724_b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 08:21:57 AM
(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7569/16065131870_848fbd9147_b.jpg)

Demarcation line
(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7487/16064974018_a2711bcaba_b.jpg)

We boarded the busses and passed by the site/memorial of the Axe Murder Incident and the Bridge of No Return (GIYF).

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8608/16064967438_3a26e9bfe9_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7531/16251669302_fee3133b81_b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 08:22:48 AM
We then headed back to Camp Bonifas, shopped for souvenirs such as pieces of the border fence, NK currency etc., boarded our tour busses and headed back to Seoul.

Back in the hotel, the front desk had a message for us that the manager felt so bad about our experience the night before in securing a suite. They offered us a complimentary city tour the following day for the inconvenience, which we gladly accepted.

As we love doing in Asian cities, we inquired about the shopping area and headed out. However, we had in mind more of an Asian market with crafts, souvenirs etc., but what we found were behemoth malls selling everything under the sun….retail. No thanks. We walked around a bit but realized we were just wasting our time and headed back. Like most of the times we meet people of Asian descent, they go ga ga over Western children and they will crowd around and take pictures of/with them. I’m already quite used to this, but if it’s your first time, you might find it to be a bit overwhelming, especially when they start touching them.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8639/15630087954_a4a0313a26_b.jpg)

Thursday morning we got picked up by the tour company for our free city tour. The first stop was a Buddhist Temple in town but we sat that one out. We then rushed to the Gyeongbokgung Palace to catch a reenactment of an ancient changing of the guard. I have seen many changing of the guards around the world such as in London, Monaco, Athens, Copenhagen, Beijing and Prague at the top of my head, but this one was refreshingly different.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7536/16066356839_0870109b1a_b.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8666/16226587446_3c45676478_b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 08:23:21 AM
(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7534/16226621906_7e8a64bd1c_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7536/16252524005_b71cd7c861_b.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8626/16064991218_c994b04e0b_b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 08:23:45 AM
(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8630/16252522435_65a89debdc_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7467/16064988628_eb947b44e3_b.jpg)

We then went to a museum of Korea which was somewhat interesting.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8627/16066679887_5b15884cda_b.jpg)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 08:24:59 AM
Afterwards, they took us to a jewelry shop specializing in amethyst. Amethyst seems to be quite popular there as many stores we encountered were selling it. I recognized the oldest tourist scam in the book and was sure the store would be a tourist rip-off with a cut getting kicked back to the tour company. I realized we were near a nice pedestrian area so we decided to end our tour at that point and wandered around the various shops where we bought local crafts as well as some amethyst jewelry at a fraction of the price of what we were just offered on the tour.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7533/15630111704_2b5d78cdec_b.jpg)

Street food
(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7515/16065144940_ca47924c06_b.jpg)

We then headed back to the Park Hyatt, checked out, and took a taxi to the airport where we passed a curiously familiar looking bridge. We flew ICN-LAX via HND on Asiana and ANA where we were to spend the Passover holiday.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7538/16066380539_d703176c90_b.jpg)

The End.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: AharonInIsrael on January 11, 2015, 08:42:08 AM
Thanks for sharing! Really great and detailed TR! Odd to see the ugly bridge in Seoul too
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 08:52:06 AM
Thanks for sharing! Really great and detailed TR! Odd to see the ugly bridge in Seoul too
your welcome. i actually like the bridge of strings
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: AharonInIsrael on January 11, 2015, 09:43:21 AM
Didn't mean to judge ;-)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Yordai Dooma on January 11, 2015, 09:48:09 AM
Great TR. Thanks for sharing. Adding some destinations to my bucket list :)
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Ergel on January 11, 2015, 10:21:44 AM
Thanks for sharing. Did you take the kids to the DMZ? Or was that solo?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 10:46:20 AM
Thanks for sharing. Did you take the kids to the DMZ? Or was that solo?
didnt take
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Yaalili on January 11, 2015, 10:49:28 AM
Great report! Tks.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Yehoshua on January 11, 2015, 11:35:04 AM
Wow, thanks @moish for the great TR! Great pictures and writing.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 11:48:04 AM
glad to see people appreciate
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: TimT on January 11, 2015, 11:52:11 AM
Great report. Sure is a different kind of changing of the guard.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Devorah on January 11, 2015, 12:21:23 PM
Great report!  Was wondering what the minimum number of days you think one can go to New Zealand for.  We will be in Australia in July but can only leave the kids for a couple of days.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 12:34:09 PM
Great report!  Was wondering what the minimum number of days you think one can go to New Zealand for.  We will be in Australia in July but can only leave the kids for a couple of days.
if you will be there anyways, i would think a couple of days should be nice if you dont plan on returning, but only if it doesnt cannibalize the australia part
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: Devorah on January 11, 2015, 01:01:04 PM
We go to australia every other year to visit family...is 2 or 3 days enough to see anything?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 05:28:20 PM
its enough time for a quick trip to milford sound
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: morgs on January 11, 2015, 05:29:03 PM
Wow!! Simply amazing -I am speechless...thanks for finishing this one up-now eagerly awaiting the next one!!!! ;D
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on January 11, 2015, 06:01:16 PM
Wow!! Simply amazing -I am speechless...thanks for finishing this one up-now eagerly awaiting the next one!!!! ;D
thanks, which one is that?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: morgs on January 12, 2015, 07:13:08 AM
thanks, which one is that?
maldives!
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: CS91 on March 22, 2016, 08:45:55 PM
Been looking for something on DDF about Seoul for a while now and just found this TR! Great stuff! I have a couple of questions about Seoul because we're stopping there for a day and a half in August if you don't mind...

Do you need a visa to enter South Korea or no? Also, any reason you took a cab into Seoul vs. taking a train (which is cheaper)?

We're also planning on going to DMZ but when I was looking for tours, it just seemed like all the different companies offered the same exact thing so I just reserved one of the cheaper ones (something around $40 USD). Any reason why I should only go with specific tour companies?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: AJK on March 22, 2016, 09:11:06 PM
No visa needed for ICN.

Moish can answer the balance.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: CS91 on March 22, 2016, 10:31:46 PM
No visa needed for ICN.
Thanks!
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: moish on March 28, 2016, 07:32:32 AM
Been looking for something on DDF about Seoul for a while now and just found this TR! Great stuff!
Thanks!

Also, any reason you took a cab into Seoul vs. taking a train (which is cheaper)?
With family (2 kids and a pregnant wife), a ton of luggage and after a long flight, taking a train would have been too much of a pita

We're also planning on going to DMZ but when I was looking for tours, it just seemed like all the different companies offered the same exact thing so I just reserved one of the cheaper ones (something around $40 USD). Any reason why I should only go with specific tour companies?
Make sure they actually go into the DMZ (off limits to regular South Koreans). My main concern would be the quality (clarity) of the English spoken
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: CS91 on March 28, 2016, 08:14:39 AM
Make sure they actually go into the DMZ (off limits to regular South Koreans). My main concern would be the quality (clarity) of the English spoken
By going into the DMZ, do you mean that room with the guards inside that you posted a picture of?
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: CS91 on March 28, 2016, 08:49:53 PM
By going into the DMZ, do you mean that room with the guards inside that you posted a picture of?
Ok, I checked back with the tour company that I reserved with and they do offer another tour that goes into the Joint Security Area but it's a full day tour so I won't be able to do that because of my flight and also more importantly, we're traveling with our daughter and children are not allowed in the JSA area.

So the sites that I would see with my current tour are:  Imjingak Park - The Bridge of Freedom - The 3rd Infiltration Tunnel - DMZ Theater & Exhibition Hall - Dora Observatory - Dorasan Station - Pass by the Unification Village - Amethyst/Ginseng Center

Worth it to still go or better off doing something else in the Seoul area? I'll have more or less the entire previous day to see Seoul.
Title: Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
Post by: CS91 on March 31, 2016, 10:05:49 PM
Ok, I checked back with the tour company that I reserved with and they do offer another tour that goes into the Joint Security Area but it's a full day tour so I won't be able to do that because of my flight and also more importantly, we're traveling with our daughter and children are not allowed in the JSA area.

So the sites that I would see with my current tour are:  Imjingak Park - The Bridge of Freedom - The 3rd Infiltration Tunnel - DMZ Theater & Exhibition Hall - Dora Observatory - Dorasan Station - Pass by the Unification Village - Amethyst/Ginseng Center

Worth it to still go or better off doing something else in the Seoul area? I'll have more or less the entire previous day to see Seoul.
BUMP. Would love your input, moish.