New Zealand! Finally, I made it. It is one of my wish destinations and now I could write it off from my list.
It was wet because of raining when we arrived at Christchurch, the biggest city in the South Island of New Zealand. The song from ABBA, I Do, was played by the driver of the Super Shuttle, the service that would take us to the lodging. It made a more melancholic day.
We stayed two days and a half in Christchurch. Actually not many things to see in this city especially after the massive earthquake last year. The city center, where the old cathedral is located was ruined. The restoration was still on going when we were there. City tram, one of the city attractions doesn’t operate because the path is also not working.
On the first day, we couldn’t see many things because we arrived in the late noon. The activities we did were having dinner and doing the groceries. The next day, we walked down to the botanical garden. It was very large garden with quite complete collection. You could take the tour such as punting the avon by which you will be taken to the small boat and do tour on the small-shallow river surrounding the garden. There is a guide who will punt for you. All you have to do is just sit back and relax.
Next to the botanical garden is the Canterburry Museum. In this museum, you will find a story about Maori people, the native people of New Zealand. Besides, the museum also provides information on the south polar exploration carried out by scientist. New Zealand is one of the nearest country to the South Polar. Understandably, the information provided is relatively comprehensive. No admission fee in this museum however you are encouraged to give voluntarily donation for the maintenance program.
To get informed about the city and the surrounding, we took the city tour by the bus. The tour took about 1,5 hours. You can buy the ticket in the i-site, an official tourism information of New Zealand which are located in the strategic places around NZ. As for us, we bought the ticket in the i-site located in the botanical garden. The bus is typically tour bus with double deck. We sat on the top-less second deck in order to capture as many as possible views along the tour.
It was summer when we were there however the chilling wind concealed the hot of the sun. That was called summer breeze. After completing the tour, we went to the car rental nearby the airport. We did the reservation about one month before. The car we chose was Nissan Travella, a very convenient sedan that could accomodate up to 5 persons. The rent fee was 47 NZD per day. NZ strictly requires a baby or toddler or children to sit in the special car seat. So, car renter will ‘force’ you to rent the baby/toddler car seat if you bring a long minors.
On the third day we headed to Mount Cook. It is one of the highest mountains in the Australia-Oceania. Even in the summer, the cap of the mount is covered by snow. Exciting as it would be our mountainous experience with snow. Before arriving to the Mount Cook, we would be spoiled by beautiful scenery in Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. It was very breath-taking view we saw there. Understandably Peter Jackson chose this area as the setting of Lord of the Ring. The turquoise water was very calm. And because we came in summer, there were a lot of beautiful wild flowers in near lakes. Scenic!
Mount Cook or famously known as Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range that lies along the length of South Island. Our ultimate destination was Tasman Glacier. However, there are many sites that you can visit for example Sir Edmund Hillary Center where visitors can find various information about the mount. The center also plays 4D movie that family can go together.
To reach the Tasman Glacier, we should go to the starting point from the lodge by vehicle. It will take 45 minute return walking. The path is relatively steep but since it is nicely built up, visitors can easily go up to the viewing point. The Tasman Glacier is gradually melting due to the global warming. When we were up there, we could see that some part of the glacier melted and the water flew to Lake Pukaki. Should the global warming persists, it is plausible the glacier will disappear any soon.
After Mount Cook, we headed to Queenstown. Queenstown is a very small city that reminds me of Kuta Bali. It is packed with bungalows, hotels, cafes, restaurants and of course tourists. It locations is by a beautiful lake, Wanaka. Because the lake is very near, some locations of Queenstown resemble beach by the sea. In Queenstown you can find some places to go to do bungee jumping, which unfortunately we didnt do as we had a toddler going with us. So, what we did? As we only stay for one night, we walked to the city center to enjoy the scenery. As I told you before that Queenstown is very small city that we could do the city walk not more than one hour. We also dropped by at the Cow, a famous restaurant that sells the best pizza int town. Cow was located at Cow Lane. It is the “our pick” in the Lonely Planet then we went there. We met our anticipation as the pizza was soooo delicious. The garlic bread was served wholly with warm garlic butter to spread above the bread. Everything was so delicious and we were very content.
After full with seafood pizza and garlic bread, we went to souvenir shops around. There were many choices of souvenirs shops in the center of city. I bought somes for my relatives and friend in Indonesia. Another thing one should not miss while in Queenstown is stopping by to Fergburger. It’s located in 42 Shootover St. They served the best burger in town and it was not boastful. A lot of burger’s menus you can choose and all of them are awesome.
Unfortunately we only stay one night at Queenstown so we can not really enjoy all sceneries in the city. The day after we arrived, we had to drove to Milford Sound. I will elaborate the beauty of Milford Sound in the next post. Enough for now!