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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: 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.

NZ: Road trip to New Zealand with kids 

13 Dec

Until today, I don’t know how I convinced my husband to go to go on a road trip in New Zealand WITH THE KIDS.

Perhaps it might be quite common to travel with kids but husband was not so fond of the idea. It turned out to be a fun-filled, tear-striken, wild-life seeing, picturesque trip alhamdulilah. 

  1. Plane trip to Christchurch
  2. Collection of apex rental car
  3. Drive Christchurch to Takaka 
  4. Takaka sightseeing 
  5. Drive Takaka to Rangiora 
  6. Drive to pick the parents at 12mn
  7. Rangiora farm stay @ Pete’s Farm
  8. Drive Rangiora to Hokitika 
  9. Hokitika sightseeing 
  10. Drive Hokitika to Wanaka
  11. Franz Josef Glacier
  12. Wanaka sightseeing 
  13. Drive Wanaka to Te Anau 
  14. Milford sound cruise by July
  15. Drive Te Anau to Queenstown 
  16. Queenstown sightseeing 
  17. Drive Queenstown to Twizel
  18. Dinner in Timaru 
  19. Drive Twizel to Christchurch 
  20. Plane trip Christchurch to Singapore 
  21. Tips for the Muslim traveller
  22. Tips for driving in New Zealand
  23. Tips for travelling with young children in New Zealand 

    This is what I plan to cover in the following posts.

    We travelled from 17 to 29 November 2016 which was supposed to be the end of spring and beginning of summer. 

    There was a moment we just connected

    14 Jan

    It was a beautiful moment I didn’t want to end. There was some Islamic zikir (rememberance of Allah) going on in the background leading to my inner peace. I gazed at my beautiful son and he flashed his toothless grin which can melt any hearts, masyallah. I hugged him tight and he bounced around in my arms excitedly. Tears streamed from my eyes. I don’t know what it was…or maybe I do…I pacified myself and my son, wiped my tears and went back to getting ready for work.

    Leh to Nubra Valley

    30 Dec

    Leh – Nubra valley

    We arranged for this trip with Haider Ali, owner of Mountain Call which is located opposite Master Chef in main bazaar area. He is really friendly and a nice guy. He didn’t expect us to pay a single cent before the trip and only after everything, we paid. No receipt nothing as well haha…

    I see the pattern, the Muslim tour operator arranged for a Muslim driver while a Buddhist tour operator arranged for a Buddhist driver when we went to Pangong Tso. But then again it could be a coincidence.

    The sights were gorgeous beyond words!

    The company was good; Saumi, a Japanese girl who lives and works in Delhi as a Japanese teacher, Ian, a Singaporean guy who lives and works in Slovenia and our Ladakhi driver. I again realized that I didn’t take extra effort to get to know the locals, the driver in this case, because it means not being able to speak comfortably in English. I shall make effort next time.

    We went from Leh to Khardung La, the highest motor-able pass in the world. On the way up, it started to snow :)) when we were up there, we were shivering like crazy! It was snowing and freezing cold. Im not a tea person but when you are up there, you just must have something hot so kashmiri tea it was.

    Our driver was really good at maneuvering the never ending curves of Ladakhi road. Even then, I couldn’t help but feel sick, had to have a sweet in my mouth most times.

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    We arrived at Diskit Monastery at 1pm. We were not really into monasteries but just went up and have a look at the scenery which surrounds it and went back down. Most monasteries in Ladakh are built in the mountains.

    After that, we stopped by at a open air restaurant for lunch. It was more like a coffeeshop. The husband and I shared a vegetarian fried rice. For the journey, you don’t really want to have a full stomach.

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    We headed to Hunder village soon after and the driver brought us to a Jamshed Guesthouse and hotel which I believe is his friend’s guesthouse. We negotiated for Rs500 for the room. The owner was a nice person but it was Saumi who did all the talking since she speaks Hindi.

    We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out at the guesthouse and we even tried to trek up a gompa which we caught sight of from the terrace of the guesthouse. Ian had the cube puzzle thing we messed with all afternoon. We chatted with one another. We plucked apples from the apple tree from the owner’s garden, washed it at the stream and ate them. We sat by the garden and spotted a rainbow after the rain. We went to the kitchen where the owner was cooking our dinner while Saumi was talking to him and leaning how to cook. Ian asked if I wanted to smoke some Indian medicine which he obtained from Jammu. Saumi smoked some. When I asked her how it was she said she didn’t really taste it. I declined the offer as he said you get a high feeling after smoking and I felt it was wrong. We took photos from the terrace. We wandered around to see some ponies. We saw some tourist camping in the ground near our guesthouse. We went to see the double-humped camels of Hunder. We had some Maggie which Saumi stole from the driver of another group of tourist who came to live in the same guesthouse. We all had a taste. We rushed the owner to prepare our dinner. We had sumptous dinner comprising of dal, chappatis, plain rice and aloo gobi with cauliflower. Saumi bargained for mint tea to be served after dinner. We paid Rs120 per person for dinner that night. We turned in at 8.30pm.

    Saumi speaks Hindi like an Indian! You should see her mingling with the locals and how friendly they were with her. Another resolve to learn Hindi before my next trip to North India in the future InsyAllah.

    During my last trip to Thailand and Vietnam, I resolved to learn riding so that we can go around in a bike instead of a car. Alhamdulilah I managed it with His blessings. Sadly, husband doesn’t allow me to rent a bike here because he said Leh’s too dangerous 😦 but it wouldn’t be called an adventure if I can’t ride in Leh.

    Delhi

    20 Sep

    Travel around in Delhi in an auto. Even from the airport try to do so as it can be 5 times cheaper than getting airport transfer.

    Traveling by metro which was what we did is cheap but not a good idea because;

    1) Of all the 5-6 sites we visited, only Khan Market Metro station was walking distance to the khan market shopping area.

    2) Metro can get so crowded and stuffy (the carriages are mostly full of men) There are women carriages but the husband cant go there so we usually go into the normal ones. The husband still prefer the metro because its less dusty and noisy.

    However, the metro stations are clean, looks alot like Singapore’s MRT and is cheap, much cheaper than auto/taxi.
    We visited;

    1) Khan Market

    2) Qutub Minar

    3) Nizamuddin Railway station

    4) Jama’ Masjid

    and a few other places but we were beat by the end of the day.

    The weather was also super hot and humid so you feel like getting into the shower 5 minutes after stepping out of the hotel.

    We went to the famous Taj the very next day! Stay tuned for more 🙂

    Can’t wait for my trip :)

    25 Aug

    Reflections

    13 Mar

    It just hit me suddenly how great He is…

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    On another note, I hope that I will be utilizing this space for more self reflection. This was what I said I would do more of at the workshop. I’m really excited for more courses, which I hope would come soon so that I will be more equipped.

    Ever since work started it has been a roller coaster, like literally. I really need to have time for self care, personal development, family time ( I think this component has quite enough time) and health.