Northland, New Zealand

Retreat 2 90 Mile in Ahipara is a nice, relaxing place to stay when visiting Cape Reinga. 


The sunset was just perfect! 


Ahipara town is about 2 hours drive to the northern end of New Zealand’s North Island. 

Cape Reinga is believed to be the place of leaping for Maori spirits to begin their final journey. 

Breath of fresh air! ๐Ÿ˜Œ

With the lighthouse and the sacred tree from afar. 


This is the second northern tip of a country I’ve been. The first was in Cabo de la Vela in Colombia which was equally beautiful. One thing they have in common? Peace! Such a very peaceful place! Definitely a must visit. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Queenstown, Wanaka, ย Glenorchy, Te Anau, Fiordland (New Zealand)

So I recently turned 30 in New Zeaand. It was such a sweet and crazy celebration for me. Check outย My 30th Birthday Celebrationย andย Skydive at 30ย ๐Ÿ™‚

As part of my 30th birthday celebration doing Queenstown bungy jumping and skydiving, I also got to wander around Wanaka, Te Anau and Glenorchy and Fiordland Milford Sound.

Prior to Queenstown, I was in Fox Glacier for a month so being in a city was not so exciting for me.


I went to Wanaka to see that famous tree. ๐Ÿ™‚


Then to Hawea Lake which I fell in love with.


Glenorchy was also my favorite. The views were just amazing.


Te Anau was also nice.



But Fiordland (Milford Sound) was incredible.


I stayed at Milford Sound lodge and booked their cruise as well.


It was such an awesome 30th birthday celebration. I’m so blessed. Thank God! ๐Ÿ˜Š

My 30th Birthday

My 29th birthday last year was my best birthday ever because I was on top of Machu Picchu in Peru which was my top dream destination then.

They say “life begins at 30” so I decided to start mine crazy. I had the craziest birthday ever on my 30th.

I initially wanted to do Skydiving on this day but the mother nature didn’t cooperate. I went bungy jumping instead for the first time.

I did the 43m Kawarau Bridge Bungy in New Zealand through AJHackett for NZD 195. The photo and video cost NZD 80 and they were having a promotion then to just add NZD 15 for printed photos on USB which I availed as well.

It was a little scary just before I jumped off the bridge but just a little! As you can see, I was having fun. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Awesome staff who made my day.

Adrenaline rush indeed. Here’s the bungy jump video. ๐Ÿ˜Š

 


Was that crazy? Yes! I still went to do something crazier than that though couple days later. My first ever Skydiving! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Skydive at 30ย 

I wish I got to do this Skydiving on my birthday itself but due to the weather, I ended up doing Bungy Jumping instead.

However, mother nature gave a lovely weather couple days later which allowed me to Skydive. That’s right, I DID IT! Skydiving has been in my bucket list for a long time and I finally got to tick it off for my 30th birthday.

There are several beautiful places in New Zealand where you can do skydiving but I chose to do it in Queenstown through NZONE.


I decided to do the TROPOSFEAR for NZD 339. There was about 15 minute scenic flight to altitude then I jumped from the plane 12,000ft above New Zealand’s stunning alpine scenery. It was a 45-second freefall at 200kph which was the craziest, longest 45 seconds of my life so far! Then, there was about 5-minute parachute ride above New Zealand’s stunning surroundings.


This was a once in a lifetime experience for me so for my proof/souvenirs, I opted for The Ultimate Combo for NZD 319 which includes 4GB NZONE Skydive branded USB containing 40 mixed photos (although mine got 52 photos in it) and HD video footage combining freefall and handicam.

The photos were uploaded online 30 minutes after the jump and I got my USB after couple hours. I received my certificate to my email 3 days later.

I didn’t find NZONE’s staff in Queenstown’s office friendly except for Bill who was amazing. Other staff didn’t do anything but chat to each other despite having customers in front of them. The staff, the tandems (specially my tandem, Lima) and photographers at the drop zone are nice, friendly, crazy people though. Other than the bad customer service in Queenstown office, the overall experience was amazing.


I don’t think I got scared, okay maybe a little. I’d say bungy jumping freaked me out more than skydiving. I guess it’s because I jumped with a tandem so I felt secure. Here’s an awesome video of my Skydive! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

This once in a lifetime experience for my 30th birthday costs NZD 658 and is definitely worth it. I’m 30 baby! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Fox Glacier, NZ

I stayed in Fox Glacier for total of 33 days doing help exchange at the Lake Matheson Motel. I apparently liked this place a lot since this is the first time I stayed at one place for more than two weeks during my travels. This small town boasts a beautiful view of Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman. 

The best thing to do here is to do the heli hike which I couldn’t afford. ๐Ÿ™‚

My favorite place is the Matheson Lake of course. 



There’s the Lake Matheson Cafe with good food. I had breakfast and lunch here with my hosts and colleagues. But of course, this is perfect for coffee and a slice of cake.


I highly recommend The Last Kitchen restaurant though if you want good food. 

There’s the Fox Glacier viewpoint which was just okay. 


Franz Josef is the nearest town. Here, you’ll have more options for restaurant, they have a cinema and hot pools! I paid NZD 8.00 since I was with a local.


There’s only one store in Fox  Glacier and it’s expensive so people usually buy food before coming here or go to Franz Josef for Four Square. 

The good thing is there’s no shops to shop at so if shopping is your problem like mine, this is the place where you can save money LOL. 

Westport, New Zealand

This town is famous for gold and coal mining. I think there is not much to do here in Westport but I stayed here doing volunteering work for a week anyway.

Aside from my wonderful Punakaiki trip that I did while in Westport, I liked the Denniston Experience which is just around 17km from Westport.


I also visited the Seal colony but the viewing deck was too high so it’s far from the seals to get a good photo but I’ve seen a few of them and certainly was entertained. I took this photo because I saw a baby seal being breastfed so it’s up to you to find them among the stones. ๐Ÿ˜‚


From the seal colony viewing deck you have an option to walk to Cape Foulwind which is 2km, one way. Taking this track instead of driving was super nice and worth it. The views were stunning.


There’s also this newly opened track just by the fishing wharf. I forgot the name of it. I went but since it’s new, don’t expect anything but a walkway.


Pretty much these are all I’ve got to see while staying in Westport since I didn’t have a car. Not much but I still had a great time. ๐Ÿ™‚

Punakaiki, New Zealand

Punakaiki is located between Greymouth and Westport on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes which are both a picturesque must-see when visiting the West Coast.

I was staying in Westport when I went here. It’s about an hour drive and some are winding roads. 

So this is the walkway to the pancake rocks and blow holes. Beautiful walk!

Almost there…

Lots of pancake rocks! ๐Ÿ˜‰



And you just have to wait for the sea burst for those holes to blow! I did!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ 


Luckily, the weather was beautiful.

And on the way out is just as beautiful as when you enter. 


After enjoying the spectacular views, I’d say that Pancake Rocks Cafe is a good place to eat. They serve pancakes of course! I was with a french woman who never had pancakes before so we shared it with pepperoni pizza. Each meal cost NZD 18.50. They were both delicious and I highly recommend to try this cafe. 


Just about 3km away is the Truman Track which is just 15 minutes walk down to the beach. Be sure to check this out while in the area. 


Punakaiki is truly one of the must-see places in New Zealand. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Murchison, New Zealand

I spent two weeks in this little town in Tasman region of the South Island. Murchison is also known as the “whitewater capital” of New Zealand due to nearby rivers. 

I stayed at The Lazy Cow Backpackers which is an excellent, cozy place.

Right across is the Ultimate Descents where I’ve done my first whitewater rafting for free! This is because they just needed people to fill the raft for the practice of their future instructors which I believe are students from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. How lucky were we! Thanks again for this opportunity guys!


Me and this German girl, Beate were going to Kahurangi National Park but didn’t make it. These pictures are just on the way. ๐Ÿ™‚ 


I went to Maruia Waterfalls with the Swiss guy, Christoph. 


My English host Ali and Phil were kind enough to show me around. They first took me to see Rotoroa Lake in Nelson Lakes National Park which is so beautiful. 


Then, we had lunch at The Red Barn Animal Park and Cafe where I fun feeding these cute living beings. 


I did the Skyline Walkway which was harder than I thought it would be but the views were amazing so of course it’s worth it. 


Here’s the view of this little town taken while I head my way up to Skyline Walkway. 


Just the day before I left Murhison, I got to do whitewater rafting again but this time we had to pay NZD 20 per person which is super but this time, they had professional photographer so all these nice photos in action were captured. What a lovely experience! 


There is the Cow Shed Restaurant. Phil makes perfect cappuccino. ๐Ÿ™‚


Ali cooks delicious, yummy, sumptuous  food! These are what I got to try. Just yum!


And here are some beautiful photos I’ve taken during my stay in Murchison. 



Most people stay here just for a night to rest from a long drive but Murchison has a lot to offer and is worth staying for 3 days or so. This is now one of my favorite places in New Zealand. ๐Ÿ™‚

Nelson, New Zealand

I started my South Island trip in Nelson on August 15th. I stayed here for two weeks doing help exchange. I previously posted World of Wearable Art and Classic Museum and my Abel Tasman Full-day Trip.

I’d say that they are my top two favorites here. But aside from that, I also loved The Centre of New Zealand. It was so only 15 minutes easy walk to the top and the view was just amazing and serene.

There’s Founders Heritage Park which was kind of a throw back. Plenty of interesting little museums. There’s NZD 7 entrance fee for tourists.


The Queens Garden was also nice but since I came during the winter, still not much flowers.


Who would want to miss the Saturday market in Nelson? They’ve got pretty cool stuff and yummy food.



The Nelson Provincial Museum is tiny but worth visiting.


Nearby is church hill.


Tahunanui Beach is my 3rd favorite with another beautiful relaxing views!


And don’t forget to visit Penguino in town if you’re an ice cream lover like me.


And here’s a beautiful view from one of the lookouts.


It was mostly sunny during my stay in Nelson and of course this place is just one of the “a-must-visit” in New Zealand.

Abel Tasman National Park

Located between Golden Bay and Tasman Bay at the north end of the South Island, this national park in New Zealand is definitely a must do specially when you are in Nelson. I availed the full day trip package from Nelson for NZD 67 which was absolutely worth it. Details below;


When we arrived in Kaiteriteri, the bus driver directed us where to get the boat ticket. It was through Wilson’s. A small fast boat and it was full. At least 20 people in there. 


We made a quick stop to this big split rock and the seal colony where we got to see quite a few cute seals. 


It was a beautiful day although it was a little cloudy. 


When we arrived in Anchorage Bay, I was the only one they dropped off so apparently I was the only one doing this package! Well, it’s the cheapest package! Then I was left alone in this island which was quite nice. The boat driver told me I can do the Anchorage loop for 1 1/2 hour before I head to Marahau. I am however anxious about the time so I only went to Te Pukatea Bay which took 30 minutes walk going and back. 


Still alone in the island, I took photos before I headed my way to Marahau using my gopro, thanks for the app I can use as remote control. 

And selfies of course! 



At exactly 11am, I started tramping. So here we go, 4 hours to Marahau. 


I was literally alone but it wasn’t scary instead I found so much sanity walking alone with the mother nature. 

First stop was the Watering Cove, it was definitely worth a stop. 

Super clear water and I had it all for myself. It was so peaceful and I felt so isolated. 


As I continued my journey, there were lovely views on the way. 


Then there’s Apple Tree Bay which I checked out as well. 


There were few creeks along the way and the sound of water is relaxing.

It wasn’t until halfway when I started to come across few people who apparently started where I’ll finish. After 2 1/2 walk, I felt tired but at the same time relieved that I’m closer to Marahau lol. Then I saw the sign 55 minutes to go, woohoo! 

Finally, I reached the end of the track.

I did it! At least 13km walk in 4 hours. 

My feet and legs were sore but it was a good pain.

Accompanied by these birds while resting. 


Until my bus arrived and there I fell asleep on the way back to Nelson. I was beat but feeling accomplished. 


This definitely is one of the most beautiful trips I’ve done.

World of Wearable Art & Classic Cars Museum

I’ve never been this amazed to a museum. Located in Nelson, New Zealand, this museum is devoted to wearable art and classic cars. I paid NZD 24 to enter and I must say it was super worth it. 

Before I went in, I stopped at their cafe and had a cup of cappuccino for NZD 4.50 which is an average price. 

You’ll be impressed right when you entered. Lots of interesting items before you even in the actual museum. 


The wearable art costumes are unbelievably amazing. No words can describe how well the talented artists created these. 


I can’t help but stare.


They even have glow in the dark costumes. 


I love classic cars and they have an amazing huge collection of them.


If I live in Nelson, I’d purchase the VIP pass for NZD 55 which will allow you to visit all year. ๐Ÿ™‚

Matiu/Somes Island Weekend Gateaway

Matiu/Somes Island is only 20 minutes ferry ride from Wellington Queens Wharf. A roudtrip ticket cost NZD 23 per person. 

The first ferry on the weekend starts at 10am which we took.


We rented the Education House for NZD 200 which can occupy up to 10 people. It’s a beautiful 3-bedroom house, a fully equipped kitchen and has stunning harbour views. You can make a reservation here; http://www.doc.govt.nz 


Since it’s winter, it’a cold and unfortunately, it started raining after we got settled in which lasted through the night so we were pretty much stuck in the house all Saturday. I spent time coloring instead. 

And stayed warm with my cute Kathmandu thermals.



Blessed with a beautiful Sunday, we finally got to explore this little island. 

According to DOC  this Matiu/Somes Island lighthouse was the first inner harbour lighthouse in New Zealand.

Love this super clear water!


That was a great escape. It felt like you are isolated yet the city is still within reach. Overnight or day trip, this island is a must to visit. 

Karori, New Zealand

As I was walking around Central Wellington yesterday, it made me want to go somewhere where there are less to no buildings and traffic. Karori showed up on Google so today I got up and bought my first Snapper card for NZD 11.00 (just the card). 

I took the yellow bus 3 which dropped me off in front of Karori Sanctuary’s parking lot. The travel time from Central Wellington only took around 15 minutes and cost less than NZD 2.00 


Here’s the entrance which got me so excited to get inside Zealandia. 


And when I got to this sign, I didn’t hesistate to go up. 


Mostly uphills and there was nobody! ๐Ÿ˜‰

From here, I got this good view. 


Until I saw this and hesitated to go inside. I went back down but then I decided to go for it since I was already there. 


It wasn’t bad. I was probably alone inside this jungle only for couple minutes.


Then I just followed the trail with the fence.


I reached this sign and instead of going to the main road to head my way back, I decided to take the route to the wind turbine which I’m really glad I did.


I kept walking alone and witnessed such beautiful views.


Then there’s the windmill.



I decided to keep walking to see more of the windmills. I had no idea how far I was. 


Until I arrived here and saw that the rows of windmills are still very far so I decided to head back since I wasn’t sure if I can catch a bus on the other side. 


The views are just beautiful. It was windy and chilly but nice. 


Going up here took me a little more than an hour. Uh oh, I gotta head back in town.  There were few cars passing by and I thought to hitch-hike but I said I’d keep walking a little bit more until a car stopped and a man offered me a ride.

His name is Keith driving her sister, Molly around who just arrived from Auckland. They asked me where I want to go and I said The Terrace but I also told them they can just drop me off anywhere I can catch a bus. He then told me he will just take us to Holloway Road then go to The Terrace. 

Holloway Road is a place with interesting old houses. Keith said the people here are conservative, like hippies. 

Had such a nice little tour with them. The next thing I know, we are in The Terrace and they dropped me off right in front of the building where I’m staying. 


How blessed I am to meet very nice people! Such a wonderful experience with the Kiwis for the first time. ๐Ÿ™‚