Kia Ora! While on transit at Auckland Airport.
After hearing many interesting stories from friends, seeing amazing photos and watching movies showing NZ splendid scenery and sites (Lord of The Ring Trilogy, The Last Samurai, Xena etc), we were determined to visit NZ. Short listing the sites to visit was a difficult task, as there were too many of them. Having a continuous two week leaves during non-official holidays in Malaysia is not common. Being a multiracial country consisting of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Sikh and Indigenous people, we are blessed with so many holidays throughout the year. However the 5 of us Niza, Na, Saadan, Abang Yusuf and yours truly, managed to persuade our bosses and make all necessary arrangements to ensure our dream becomes reality.
Initially when we started planning for this trip we thought of joining the organized group tour based in NZ, but after much deliberation we concluded that we need flexibility in terms of transportation, accommodation & food. Then the answer was to make all arrangement on our own. Thank God everything went smoothly and we had 14 days of most memorable adventure.
Cathedral Square in the heart of the city.
Here are some basic info on our rental car and accommodation.
Car Rental Company: Ace Rentals
Type of car : Toyota Corona, Manual Transmission.
South Island : Pick up Christchurch April 24 and Drop off Picton May 4, Rate = NZ$39 per day
North Island : Pick up Wellington May 4 and Drop off Auckland May 8, Rate = NZ$55 per day
Accommodation: Goldenchain Motel - 2 bedrooms Motel equipped with kitchen and living room.
New Regent Street in Spanish Mission style.
Booking : Prebooked from Malaysia except for 1 night in Wellington and another 1 night in Christchurh (Unplanned)
April 24, we depart from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Singapore with MAS (45 minutes flight). Later we boarded Air NZ flight to Christchurch with a change of aircraft in Auckland. We had to collect our luggage in Auckland Airport and had to check in again for the domestic flight to Christchurch. Many have heard about Strict Custom Inspection at the airport. They are very particular about what you bring into NZ in order to protect its people, vegetation and animal.
As we can only eat Halal food, we brought with us a bag filled with foods from Malaysia. We prepared a list of all the foods with description of what it was and with its corresponding number marked and matched with the list.. We did this after getting advice from a M’sian friend living in Wellington. Thank you Kazi, for your useful advice.
Christ Church Cathedral
We arrived Christchurch at noon. It is the third largest city in NZ and tagged as the Garden City due to the its devotion for public parks, recreation ground, reserves and off course the famous Hagley Park and Botanic garden (186 hectare).
From the airport Ace Rental provide a complimentary shuttle to their office. We inspected the car, signed all the necessary doc and off we go to search for our Motel (Ashleigh Court Motel). Located in a quiet location, residential area and advisable if you have your own transport as it is not located near main road. After some rest we drove around the city and up to Victoria Park which is located above Christchurch on the Port Hills. We enjoyed the spectacular views of the city and ocean from the hill. To make it more interesting Saadan left his shoes at this hill. He removed it while resting and thought that he left it in the car. It was already dark. We tried searching for it but to no avail.
The very next day we have to stop by at some shops to search for his new NZ shoes