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.

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. 

    Adventure Cove

    12 Dec

    The only photo we got of the whole gang (my sister in law was the photographer). 

    There was something for everyone. Being at a waterpark brought back memories of visiting waterparks such as fantasy island and wild wild wet as a child with my cousins, aunties and uncles. Now it’s time for my kids to visit waterparks with their cousins. They were too young to enjoy the big slides but they had a whole lot of fun at the kids playground which was pretty fun. 

    My brave little 3 year old is not so little anymore and he even went on big slides on his own! We started with slides with ummi and ayah then it seems he told his ayah that he wanted to go on his own and did so after I left to change the baby. 

    The lazy pool aka adventure pool was great fun as we saw dolphins, stingrays and eagle rays as well as reef fish. 

    The fathers did the adventure courses. If the water was not 4 metres deep, I would have bluffed my way and gone to get the adrenaline rush on the adventure course. I have to learn to swim soon otherwise. I think I can swim but not much. 

    The mothers dragged Mukhlis to go snorkeling at rainbow reef. Mukhlis initially was excited that he met the heights requirements to go for the snorkeling but after he realised that he was the only kid with the 2 mothers he chickened out. We practically dragged him with us and the poor boy learned the hard way to breathe with snorkel. After a while, he got excited that there were fishes below us. His verdict after snorkeling- not fun. At least he tried and I hope won’t have a phobia of snorkeling. 
    To the children’s playground we went till the end of the evening. 

    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.

    I like ummi milk very much

    13 Jan

    Said my elder boy last night.

    I usually give him his usual formula milk before bedtime. This time, I had a little of my milk from the second boy which he didn’t finish and can’t keep any more so I added it to his formula milk.

    At the first sip, he said he stopped drinking and smiled. I asked him why and he said ummi’s milk. I said yes I added a little, drink lah I urged him and promised a story to distract him from the different taste of his milk. He took the bottle and drank it up in no time.

    I noticed that he does try to please his ummi sometimes and it warms my heart but at the same time, I don’t want him doing things to please people. I’ll think about that at another time.

    When he was trying to fall asleep in bed, he mumbled in his muffled sleepy voice, ‘i like ummi’s milk very much’