NZ: Wanaka

18 Jan

​Distinction hotels wanaka was the place we stayed in for a night. About the accommodation, it was nice and clean, a bit expensive. We had a garage to keep our car safe at night. We had all the amenities we needed and we felt safe. 

When I woke up early the next morning, I brought Ds2 out for a walk and he had breakfast amongst the bird chirping and the melodious sounds of the morning. 

Again I wished we spent at least 2 nights because Wanaka is a beautiful, pretty town surrounded by mountains. 

I loved lake wanaka! I like seeing animals in the wild and nature so pristine around us. 

We spent a couple of hours at the lake and playground near it. There were ducks and swans on the lake just waddling nearby and some other different birds hopping around. 

We the headed down south to Te Anau which was around 3 hours away. 

NZ: Drive Hokitika to Wanaka

17 Jan

I guess the effect of the trip has almost rubbed off thus I forgot to continue blogging. Ok maybe that’s not entirely true but the things to do in my personal life and work life engulfed me…

So back to beautiful New Zealand!

It was a long way from Hokitika which is a little north west of south Island to somewhere to the middle of South Island. We travelled along the coast to Franz Josef Glacier which was a manageable 2hrs drive from Hokitika. 

We stopped along the way and saw some beautiful alpine parrots, the kea, for the first time. 

Some of the views on the way to Wanaka from Franz Josef Glacier. We were supposed to stop by lake moeraki but we couldn’t really find a nice spot to look for penguins in the heavy downpour. 

This photo was taken when we all attempted to climb up to see the face of what’s left of the Glacier. Around 30 minutes into the hike a nice lady told us that it’s not suitable for a baby as it’s not the easiest hike. So we all went back down sent the kids and my mum to the car where they took shelter from the rain and had their lunch. 

The husband, father and I went all the way. Beautiful sights or nature all the way, it was drizzling all the way up and back. We were all pretty drenched after the 2.5 hours hike. 

Honestly I didn’t plan the details of this hike but alhamdulilah it worked out alright for us all. 

I would say that the Glacier wasn’t spectacular though, not sure if we went with guides it would have been better. The place though was beautiful and I love nature so being in nature with the husband was a nice experience. There was a beautiful waterfall, rock formations, streams and boulders. 

I think my hp battery went flat so I couldn’t capture much photos but the memories etched deep in my heart. That’s what matters most right?

After Franz Josef Glacier, we headed to Wanaka I think a 3 hours drive. That’s when we first spotted the lupins. It started with yellow ones then purple ones. As we travelled further, we saw so many beautiful colours of lupins lining the roads. 

Basking in the beauty of Allah’s magnificent creations surrounding us. I got the chance to talk about Allah and all his creations around us with Ds1. 

We arrived in wanaka at 8.30pm, grabbed dinner at an Indian restaurant ( there were a couple of them) and reached our accommodation at 10pm.

NZ:Hokitika, Hampden cottage 

4 Jan

We drove Rangiora to Hokitika which was around 3-4 hours drive. 

On hindsight I wished we spent more time in Hokitika, a beautiful cottage in a beautiful town. 

We loved the sparse cottage we booked on airbnb! There were toys, books, games, a backyard for the kids to run around in, a ramp at the back. My mum loved the toilet. The open concept kitchen was lovely. The host had some eggs, milk and seasonings to cook and even bake something simple. It was super clean and tidy. The cottage was tasteful decorated. We highly recommend the place to anyone who would like to visit hokitika. Even the garden was lovely and well-maintained. It’s pretty close to town, the beach and shops.

We only had time for dinner at an Indian restaurant, hokitika beach and the glow worm dell when it got dark.

The beach was very windy and the waves huge they almost engulfed my curious preschooler who wanted to get closer to the water. I grabbed him as soon as I sensed that the waves were more dangerous than it looked. We were drenched but safe, alhamdulilah. 

 I chose this glow worm dell instead of te anau because it’s free. It was actually quite magical but I wish we could get closer. It looked as if we were under a blanket of stars in the Dell. I’m not sure if it’s much nicer in Te Anau. 

NZ: Pete’s Farmstay, Rangiora 

29 Dec

We had a nice relaxing breakfast at Pete’s cottage. There were the usual bread and spread, cereals and hot drinks and cold juice. 

Their kitchen opens up to the fields where you can see the sheep’s grazing and the clear blue sky. 

We had to drive to Christchurch for our meals, which we did. We had Nandos which serves halal chicken and they only serve chicken. 

We actually went to this place called Argee Bhajee but they served pork even though the chicken was halal. 

On our last day we went to this Afghan restaurant. 

I think I’ll have a separate post for food as I had difficulties finding information on halal food in South Island, NZ.

NZ: Takaka to Rangiora 

28 Dec

We drove a long way from 10am and arrived in Rangiora at 6pm.

It was a pleasant yet eventful drive. The husband who doesn’t usually drive decided to get behind the wheels so I have a break from driving. We had some encounters on the road with police officers which I will share more in my tips in a later post. 

Pete’s Farmstay in Rangiora was a beautiful place to arrive in after a long drive. Rangiora is around 30 minutes from Christchurch. 

They had toys for the kids, a nice wooden playground with a trampoline and very comfortable beds in the spacious cottages. I felt that they were a little too pricey though. The price includes breakfast at their cottage and a farm tour.

NZ:Takaka, Tasman 

27 Dec

I woke up bright and early to do my prayers. It’s bright by 6am and fajr is around 4am. 

I had some time to myself to explore the garden in front of our cottage, take in the fresh air and enjoy the melodious sounds of the birds chirping until the cold (13 degrees) got to me. 

I layered up, got dressed then headed out to town to get groceries and fuel up. The fuel tank was empty! 

When I arrived home, ds2 was just stirring and slowly waking up. I layered him and ds1 who woke up soon after and out we went to explore the garden.

We walked barefoot on the damp grass, ds1 brought his toys to play in the grass, we watched birds. Ds1 enjoyed it running in and out of the cottage. 

Cooked some fish soup for us all and porridge for the baby after I sertu the kitchen. We headed out after our lunch.

The kids were having a nice time playing and having their breakfast while I watched them from the kitchen window, while I was cooking. We felt right at home in this airbnb in Rangiheata, Takaka. 

Yuriko and Michael were wonderful hosts who gave us our space and freedom as they went on their own work in their garden and farm. Now I wished I took more photos of their place; very nicely decorated with flowers, trees, gardens, gravel driveways, a goat and 5 black chickens. 

Well it’s a balance between enjoying the experience and being busy recording the beautiful experience and I chose the former in the essence of time. 

We headed out for a bit to Waikoropupu springs, tata beach and pohara beach.

Ummi don’t go to work

21 Dec

Now it’s the holidays, the first part of the holiday was spent in NZ and we’ve been having around 3-4 days work week for the rest of the year.

Ds2 has been more clingy of late, not wanting me to go to work. Yesterday, he was asleep when I left for work and boy was he disappointed when he woke up. 

Today, he rushed out of the room while I was praying subh, went back to bed yo lie then. I think he was afraid we have left for work again. After I changed into work clothes he asked why ummi change?  I asked him what should I wear and he said the purple dress ( home clothes I changed out of). 

He kept asking me to stay and play with him and that he does not want yo study with Emma and that instead he wants to do art n craft. I said we can do a simple craft now but he couldn’t find cardboard. I said I’ll think of some ideas and we’ll do a craft at night. 

He was not really convinced. 

Just as I was about to leave, he carried his father’s work bag and said he was going to work with me. And below is his serious work face.

NZ: Christchurch to Takaka 6-8 hours

15 Dec

​It sounds crazy and it was. I would not recommend driving for more than 3 hours especially if you just arrived in NZ. Takaka was a last minute plan because of the earthquake in NZ on 13 November thus we had just 4 days to assess the situation, check which parts of the itinerary we wanted to change, make cancellations, try to get refund and make new plans. I hate making last minute changes because I didn’t have time to thoroughly think through the plan and check it’s feasibility. We were also driven by fear, we wanted to be as far away as possible from the East Coast where the earthquake affected most. 

I must say though I realised through the last minute frenzy, my and my husband worked well as a team in times of crisis. Alas it was not the best plan. We learn together as well.

We had to stop by at Culvedron to buy groceries as the supermarket near Takaka closes by 6pm. We had some sandwiches and biscuits all the way. Thinking back I wondered how the kids managed to keep still (mostly anyway) throughout the journey. We stopped once more for me to nurse ds2. And then it was 5 hours non-stop from bright sky to darkness (really pitch black) through mountainous terrains and curvy roads. 

I recall wanting to give up because I was so tired and my eyes were begging to rest but I persisted because there were no other choice. 

My kids drifted in and out of sleep while the husband directed me using his map so I know whether we had a straight or curvy stretch if Road ahead of us. 

When we eventually reached at 12am, I collapsed into the warm bed and slept like a baby ( after bathing the kids, layering them up with fleece, gloves and socks, preparing a dinner of tuna and bread for us adults, feeding ds1 cereal).

I don’t know where this photo was taken but landscape is as beautiful as the above photo until it got dark at 9pm.
More photos to come in the next few posts!

NZ: Collection of Apex Rental Car

14 Dec

I searched high and low for an affordable car rental company and this was the best for a 8 seater car. The customer service was good and fast; I emailed to make changes a number of times and they were understanding but I have to say they did not go out of their way to help you. They provided good service but they didn’t go the extra mile. For instance j asked them how much would petrol cost for a full tank, they could have given me a range instead they just said they are unable to do so. Otherwise the service at the rental place itself was fast and efficient, the were professional and ensured we knew the rules of driving in NZ before they allowed us to go on our way. 

I was made to read through the manual of around 5 pages on their Road rules and had a simple verbal theory test and a practical test as well.

Can you imagine having a theory and practical rest after travelling for close to 16 hours?! It’s for the best anyway, I got accustomed to the car while the staff sat next to me. 

After setting up the GPS, off we went on a what was to be a 6 hour drive which ended up to be a 8 hour drive all the way to Takaka.

NZ: Plane to Christchurch via Qantas and Emirates with kids 

13 Dec

Our plane out of Singapore was an evening one which makes it easier to manage kids. They had home cooked dinner at the airport before we checked in thus what was left then was slumber in the plane.

For me, it is important that they have as many home cooked meals as possible especially since travelling usually means they won’t stick to their usual food.

After priority boarding into the plane and settling down, the pilot announced a delay of around 1hr45mins so we had to leave the plane. 

After prayers in transit area, we realised that we could have dinner for $20 per boarding pass at burger king so that amount to $60! We managed to spend $40 but had to throw away the drinks as it was almost boarding time. 

The kids slept after an hour of taking off and ds1 slept through most of the flight while ds2 woke up a few times to nurse. It was great having the bassinet seat but a shame ds2 don’t like to sleep in it. I wondered though if it is because he is used to sleeping with me on the bed and not in a cot on his own. 

Due to the delay, we headed straight to the gate for boarding for our connecting flight from Sydney to Christchurch on the Emirates flight. Emirates was simply amazing when travelling with kids! We got the bassinet seat but who needs a bassinet in the morning right. Extra room and leg space for our stuff and kids to move around while the crew gave out toys and an activity book for ds1 to entertain himself. The crew were great with the kids and considerate that we would have our meals later because of the care of the kids.

Tips for travelling into NZ: 

Don’t bring fresh food and fruits otherwise you’ll have to declare and they will throw it away. It is also a waste of time having to go through the customs checking your luggage thoroughly so we were delayed quite a bit because we brought some vegetables to cook for the kids in case we did not have time to go to the supermarket.the customs were very nice about it when I asked for an explanation, they said that it was because of fruitfly contamination and spreading to their fresh food.

Don’t bring meat at all.

You can bring biscuits and dry food stuff.