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NZ: Milford Sound, Te Anau 

3 Feb

My father generally drives the long distances while I drive around town.

This is because mother prefers father to drive and so I can take care of the kids at the back.

We booked a tour to Milford Sound as soon as we arrived in Te Anau for the next morning.

The above is a famous site for LOTR. I’m not a fan so can’t say much except that it was indeed gorgeous. Again I wished we had time to bask in its beauty while the kids could run around.

The rainy weather made the place look different I think from photos we gave seen of the bus trip to the cruise. It made beautiful waterfalls most of the way though. It rained almost all of the trip to and from Milford Sound.

Our first rainbow in NZ! 

Couldn’t decide I wanted more of the clouds or the grass to accompany the rainbow.

Some glaciers. Apparently they did not receive a lot of snow the last winter.

The husband and ds1 were sitting comfortably in front of the cabin. My mother and ds2 were safely in the cruise at the seating area. My father and I were right in front in the open end of the cruise admiring the beauty of the Stirling falls. When the captain announced that the cruise was entering the falls and only stay there if you want to get wet, I didn’t budge. My father was undecided so he stayed on. When father decided to go back up into the safety of the cabin so he wouldn’t get wet, the door was shut so he was stuck outside and got drenched too. I stood there stumped, thinking to myself ‘ what did I get myself into?’ I’m all drenched again. Being drenched in the cold is no fun. I just like to try new things and I yearn adrenaline rush so I decided to stay put…it was nice actually. 

MasyaAllah yhe rocks shaped by the water over the years, just beautiful! 

We had some alone time because father was carrying the baby while Ds1 was sleeping in the bus.

Ds2 watching the keas with grandpa.

This must be on our way to Queenstown from Te Anau.

Follow us to Queenstown next!

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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: 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.