North Island 12 days Report

Nov 18th, 2013, 09:56 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 44
North Island 12 days Report

Hai everyone... I finally visited New Zealand... Yeay!!!! I am pretty proud of myself because I did all the driving and planning... We had 12 days journey in North Island from October 13 to October 24.. It was our birthday celebration trip since me and another friend have our birthdays on October. We had the amazing time of our life, and I would definitely go there again if I have the chance... Overall, everything was nice despite the rain (well, half of our trip was accompanied by the rain and fogs ..)

Day 1 -- Arrived in Auckland at around 12 PM to Rotorua
The weather was a bit windy and cold for the tropical island natives like us (we are Indonesians, BTW). We rented a car and the GPS from Omega, which I think has the decend price. The shuttle picked us up in front of the international arrival exit. After we got our car, we directly went to the local farmer market, and we chose the french market -- La Cigalle. At the time we got there, it was not that crowded as it was already pass noon. We had our first meal there, and I must say that was my first time eating New Zealand cuisine (with the french twist). To be honest, we were kind of surprise whenever we paid for the meal.. I got an eclaire that labeled for 7$--wow... Anyways, we drove to Rotorua and arrived at the hotel (mercure) at around 6 PM.. Not much we could do there because surprisingly, it was so quite there.. We ate at Fatdog Cafe-- Yummm... We were driving around town just to make sure that we would not be lost on the next day. We also went to a grocery store -- Countdown that opens till midnight (Hallelluyah!!!!). For travelers, buy souvenirs ( I meant chocolate ) here because it is much cheaper than in the shops... One more thing that we learnt from here.. People call "trolley" as "trundler", and it was something ney for both of us... We went back to have a rest in the hotel... The hotel itself is pretty cozy and nice...

Day 2 --- Rotorua
We were so ready to start our day, but unfortunately the rain got in our way.. It was like 5 celcius outside and it was raining on and off... We started our day by having a great breakfast in Lime Caffeteria, and I would soooo recommend it. When the rain stopped, we went to the governors garden and the museum. Then, we went to the Skyline Rotorua. we had a wine tasting there, and the wine master was Pretty nice and helpful.. we took some pictures even though the fog kinda covered almost all of the view..The next stop is the rotorua Lake, and the weather was being so mean to us.. Raining!!!!!! We didn't have the chance to explore more of the lake... Our next stop was the village of Ohinemutu where we can see the old church and also the real Maori Village. We were torn either having the hungi or not, but according to some of our friends that visited NZ before, they said it was a waste of money so we decided not to have the hungi and had a dinner in a local restaurant instead.. However, the restaurant we chose was not that great.. It was a thai restaurant, but i forgot the name since we were disappointed of the food they served. We went around the city center and found that a lot of cars parked outside the buildings but we rarely saw the people.. Lol... And it ends our second day...

Day 3 -- Rotorua and Hawke's Bay
Still raining, and we have not seen any geothermal yet... We were so bumped and we were being stubborn and still trying to go to Te Puia... We tried our best to enjoy the sightseeing time in the rain... LOL.. We even did not have any picture taken there... Oh well... We went to a cafe for a quick lunch before going to the Hawke's Bay. Urbano got the high rates from the customers, so we decided to have our lunch there.. It was as good as Lime, so it is a must try too... Soon after, we drove to hawke's bay -- napier. We checked in in the Parkside Lodge, a small and nice motel. We were driving along the coastline and took some pictures in the city center where the art deco buildings are. We ate in a steak joint -- Hogs Breath, but i found it not as good as I thought... We also went to Hasting but we were unlucky since it was already too dark that nothing was opened. We found a theatre and we watch a movie there... It was old but it was better than doing nothing...

Day 4 -- Hawke's Bay to Wellington
Guess what... it was still raining... pfttt.... On our way to Wellington, we passed the Havelock North and we directly went to the city centre. There are a lot of cafes and restaurants there, and we decided to have a brunch at Diva's. the food was ok, but soon after, I realized that all of the food i had eaten had a similarity.. It was too salty for my taste bud... Well, it must be only me... We drove around and we found a gorgeous winery called Craggy Range... It was amazing... Huge and surrounded by beautiful views... We paid 7.50 for the wine tasting, yet we did not buy any bottles since we were still traveling... Te Mata Peak was our next stop... the road is kinda scary, especially for me that rarely drive in that kind of track... the view is amazing... I cannot believe my eyes... the greens, the city view, and the height combine all together into a spectacular must see destination... after taking some photos, we continued our journey to Wellington. We arrived in our hotel in Wellington at around 8 PM. I was so tired of the long drive and decided to call the room service for dinner..

Day 5 -- Wellington
The sun finally shone...We did not take our car today and walked instead.. Our hotel is located in the Featherston (Ibis) and it is not that far from the attractions... We walked down the Lambton Quay, and we took the Cable car to Carter's Observatory. We hiked (a little since the track inclines -- LOL) for around 1 hour and decided to go back to Lambton quay. We also found The Civic Center, The Circa Theatre, and Te Papa Museum. Wandering for the whole day in the same area, we decided to visit courtenay and cuba... There were plenty of choices in dining... We realized that we had walked a long way from our hotel and it was impossible for us to walk back plus the chance that we might be lost, we made a decision to take a cab instead... A long walking day made us tired and went to bed early...

Day 6 -- Wellington to Taupo
Our last day in Wellington was so windy, and I had to watch out everytime I opened the car doors.. In the middle of the extreme wind, we visited the St. Paul Cathedral and the Beehives. We drove to Taupo soon after we gave up walking in the middle of the raging wind blows... On our way, we passed a town called Foxton.. there is an operating Dutch windmill here... we went inside the windmill and saw that it does operate and produce flour... we also went to a Dutch Market there and found a lot of Indonesian-influenced food there. Again, we arrived a bit late and ate in the hotel's buffet restaurant which in not recommended at all... I wasted 30$ just to eat chicken nuggets and stale fries... Yuck...

Day 7 -- Taupo to Matamata to Hamilton
We had a lot of things planned for today.. And we were so ready... The first stop was the Lake Taupo itself.. The weather was nice even though it was a bit chilly.. We took a bunch of pictures basically from one spot to another spot... Lake Taupo overlooks the snowy mountain of Ruapehu and it is obvious from the Lake itself. Next, we had to fill our fuel -- eating... We ate in a cafe in the city center and directly went to Huka Falls. We planned to take the Huka Falls Jet Boating but we bailed out since it was too cold... LOL... We drove to Matamata and arrived a half hour before the last Hobbiton Tour... The tour was amusing since I am a a huge fan of the trilogy... It took us around 2 hours, and we found that some of our tourmates were a bit annoying... Lol... Well, everyting there was magical, and I could picture the movie when I saw the Hobbit houses and the props they used... I LOVE IT!!!! After the short break in the Hobbit's bar -- Green Dragon, we went back to the visitor center and drove to Hamilton.. We checked in in Ibis and had to park our car at the Skyhotel and Casino because our hotel has the limited parking. We had dinner in one of the English Pub, and went back to the hotel.

Day 8 -- Hamilton to Auckland
We started our day in the Hamilton Garden... It was so pretty and you can find a really big selection of spots you want to do picnic to.. Well, we did not prepare anything for a picnic and we were only strolling around and enjoyed the view. It took us a good 2 hours there untill our bellies rumbled and demanded for food. We are Asian anyways, and we had not eaten any rice for that several days, and we stopped as soon as we saw the first Chinese restaurant. We had a very nice meal, and it was much cheaper than others that we ate... I forgot what the name of that restaurant, but it is so good... We continued our trip to Auckland, and arrived just before 5 PM. Our hotel is located in the Upper Queen St, and it was the least preferable than other hotels we had been. The location is ok, but the room was too small and not that clean. Well, we decided to explore the area by walking... And we just knew that day was the Indian Diwali Festival at Queen.. It was close to our hotel and we decided to check it out... The festival is so festive with dancing and food... I enjoyed it a lot that I even danced to the music... Lol.. We were so tired from the celebration and we called it a night...

Day 9 -- Auckland
The weather was warm... I met one of my friend that resides in Auckland. She promised me to take us around that day. Our first stop was a brunch in a Vietnamese restaurant and we went to the Victoria Mount to see Auckland's surrounding and view... Lovin it... Next, we went to the Harbor Bridge. Then, Parnell was our next destination. The rose garden was not blooming at that time, and we only spent a good few minutes there. Next, we went to Sylvia Park and we had a splurge.. Next on our list, the city center. My friend had a friend that works in the Skytower... And guess what? We got in for free... Oh yeah... The tower itself is the same like the one in Macau. On the fifty first floor, you can see the city in 360 degrees view and there are few glass floors just to see how far you are from the ground... I felt tingles in my tummy due to the height... After buying some souvenirs, we strolled around Auckland and we passed the Ferry Building, Viaduct, and many beautiful architectures. We had dinner in one of the restaurant in the Princess Wharf, but along the way, we got lost.. Lol.. That was the busiest day so far and we were extremely drained... When we got back, we slept like babies...

Day 10 -- Auckland
Well, thanks God that day was nice because my travel buddy had a skydiving appointment. I drove her to the meeting point, just outskirt of Auckland, like 1 hour drive from the hotel. I waited for few hours until she finished her thing... Well for me, doing those kind of activities is not interesting since i am a bit scared of the height.. Lol.. Our next stop is another destination for shopping... We found an outlet right in Onehunga, Dress Smart from searching online.. Lol.. Well, anyways, we stayed there the whole day. On the way home, we stopped by to a Korean restaurant near our hotel and we ate like pigs... The restaurant is small, yet the food is fantastic... We even went there once more on the next day...

Day 11 -- Auckland
Our last day there... We decided just to drive around since it was raining... We went to Eden To eat our brunch in a unique cafe, Circus. Soon, we drove to One Tree Hill.. Because it was raining, we only saw it from a distance... I bet it would be nice to visit in the sunny days. We went to Mission Bay Beach, Mt Wellington, Domain, Aotea, and some more destinations. In the end, we came back to eat at the same Korean restaurant like the night before.. LOL...

Day 12 -- Auckland to Singapore
Well, our journey ended. We returned the car and the shuttle took us to the airport entrance. It was a very great experience, but I think I need to visit the country again in the future... And next time, I will come on summer...

Overall, we did not have the chance to see a lot of things due to the unfriendly weather we had during the trip... Most of our time spent from a cafe to another cafe. However, the drive is the most favorite thing for me... You will be surrounded by the breathtaking views and it tempts you to stop everytime you find good scenary... Thank you for reading, I hope it will help travelers that want to visit NZ in the future.. I would be gladly to share more if you have any questions... Thank you...

julianaoctavia is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 01:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,474
I'm glad you enjoyed your trip despite the rain.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,987
Thanks for posting Julie, sounds like the weather didn't hold you back much. There's a reason NZ is so green!
Melnq8 is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 02:10 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,803
Your report brings back my own lovely memories of Craggy Range Winery and Te Mata Peak in Napier. Just yesterday, someone was telling me that Napier is even more fun during Art Deco Weekend in February.
You made Hobbiton sound enjoyable, too.
Sorry about the rain--next time try returning to NZ in February or March. But it seems like you made the best use of your time.
Thanks for sharing.
Diamantina is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 06:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 44
Thank you guys... People in this forum also helped me building my itinerary... Many thanks...
julianaoctavia is offline  

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