Author Topic: New Zealand with some Seoul  (Read 28258 times)

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 »







Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #45 on: December 01, 2013, 09:22:13 PM »









Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #46 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.





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.


Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #47 on: December 01, 2013, 09:22:39 PM »


Glowworms in the light




My unsuccessful attempt at shooting them




We then drove back to Auckland to catch our flight to our next destination: Queenstown!

Offline Drago

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #48 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?

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #49 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

Offline Dan

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #50 on: January 27, 2014, 12:40:04 AM »
Bump.
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 meshugener

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #51 on: January 27, 2014, 12:36:36 PM »
Love me or hate me. I still love you.

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #52 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.



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.







Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #53 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).







Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #54 on: February 12, 2014, 02:45:26 PM »






Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #55 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.









Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #56 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.







Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #57 on: February 12, 2014, 02:49:13 PM »


seals




Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #58 on: February 12, 2014, 02:50:40 PM »




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

Dinner...


...and a view


Offline Marco Polo

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #59 on: February 12, 2014, 03:00:11 PM »
Looks really good. Love the pictures.
Quaerite et Invenietis.