Author Topic: New Zealand with some Seoul  (Read 20240 times)

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #30 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.



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.



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.





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.

Offline SuperFlyer

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2013, 10:28:16 AM »
Excellent, keep going.

Offline meshugener

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #32 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?
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Online Ergel

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #33 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.
Life isn't about checking the boxes. Nobody cares.

Offline meshugener

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #34 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?
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Online Ergel

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #35 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
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Offline E-MAN

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #36 on: November 13, 2013, 12:21:02 PM »

Offline HP58

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2013, 02:37:46 AM »
Excellent, keep going.
+1 Even worth giving up our important Serbia/Kosovo discussion! ;)

Offline Dan

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #38 on: November 14, 2013, 01:04:34 PM »
Keep it coming.
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #39 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.



Can you pronounce that word?



Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #40 on: December 01, 2013, 09:21:01 PM »
Natural Oven




Cooking Corn

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #41 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.



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




Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #42 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).




Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #43 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.







Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #44 on: December 01, 2013, 09:21:59 PM »