Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

We flew out of Christchurch and into Sydney. The flight from Sydney to Singapore has a morning time, so the only way we could come back from Christchurch was on the previous day, and then stay over in Sydney for a day.

Which is what we had to do.

In fact, as per plan, we were to go and see the England-Australia test match that was going on at that time, and that one day that we were in Sydney, was the fourth day of the test match. We had taken advance tickets for the same too.

Except that Australia decided to win the test match in only 3 days, and there was NO play on the 4th day. So our tickets went for a refund, but we had not planned anything else to do in Sydney.

We went off to the harbour, and did some stuff there, before heading back to the hotel, as it was extremely hot out there, in Sydney.

Some photos from this one day at Sydney, on our way back:

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Post Sydney, we headed to Singapore, where we chose to take a short 3 days break, before returning back to Mumbai.

Singapore is a modern and efficient city, with new things coming up all the time.

Check pictures of our 3 days at Singapore..

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With the Singapore leg ended our fabulous vacation of Dec 2013-Jan 2014.

And we headed back home to Mumbai, and back to routine.. 🙂

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After the excitement of Queenstown, we headed to the small, quiet and scenic town of Twizel, a perfect contrast to Queenstown.

The town was in the middle of extremely vast stretches of flat and open land. You could see the horizon almost 360 degrees around, as you could stretch far away into the distance all around you. At a distance, you could see the peaks of Mount Cook and which was one of the places to visit, from Twizel.

We had 1.5 days in Twizel, so we did Mount Cook Village on one of the days and the Lake Tekapo on the other day. Both were great trips, very scenic and full of more natural beauty, which we had got quite used to seeing in New Zealand, by this time. The interesting thing about Twizel was that the small town also had a presence of a Thai restaurant! We enjoyed our meal at Jasmine Restaurant, the Thai place there!

Finishing these trips, we headed back to Christchurch, our last stop before heading out of New Zealand.

We happened to reach Christchurch on a Sunday and had half a day at our disposal. However, other than drive around and have a meal, we could not do much. Most of the shopping places were closed, and even the restaurants were open, only selectively. We used the half day to take a deserved break from constantly being on the move, and relaxed, before our departure out of New Zealand.

Some photos from the last leg of our New Zealand vacation (although some of the water may feel like it’s been coloured using Photoshop, rest assured that unbelieving as these may seem, these ARE the awesome natural colours of the water to see!)…

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As you will see from the table below, we did upwards of 2500 km, over our stay in New Zealand, not counting the trip to Milford Sound and back, from Queenstown.

One of the last lovely memories that we had, was to checkout of our Christchurch motel at around 3 am in the morning, to catch a flight. We were asked to simply walk out of the hotel, and shut the door behind us. We took out our rental car, drove out of the motel, on the empty streets of the city, went to the warehouse location for the rental car return (at that early hour, the main location was not open), from where they dropped us back to the airport. The people at the warehouse location at that early hour were professional, polite and friendly.

At that early hour of the day, everything went off smoothly and safely, and that meant so much to us, in terms of the impact that New Zealand and its people had created on us.

We had had an absolutely fantastic vacation, and we were leaving with some of the most amazing memories of our lifetime!

DIST5

 

The drive from Fox Glacier was through hilly terrain, and amidst drizzling rain. And it was a rainy Lake Wanaka that we reached and stopped at.

It would have been wonderful to have had a drier day at Lake Wanaka, because it is such a pretty location. In fact, quite a perfect tourist spot, with a great promenade to walk around, wide range of food options, and a generally fun feel to the place. When we were there, not only was it drizzling, but it had become chilly too, so we did not spend much time, except to walk around a bit, find a place to eat, and then head out.

We did however, stop at a very interesting place in Wanaka called “The Puzzling World” – a place full of a variety of puzzles, a place where parents can come with kids and hang around all day, amidst a variety of puzzle types.

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From there, it was straight to Queenstown, and what we had been eagerly looking forward to. Even as you enter the town, you see this absolutely stunning, and huge lake, surrounded by hills and really nice looking houses all over. It’s a fabulous picturesque impact, that first view of Queenstown. The downtown is full of life, with several food places, ice cream shops, the lake and the boats, a promenade to walk around. In fact, there are food places with a variety of cuisines – we tried Indian and Mexican over the two days that we were there, and both were great!

One of the must-do things that people had recommended in Queenstown was to go to Milford Sound. It is a 4-hour drive each way, and a 2-3 hour cruise at Milford Sound, in between. I wanted a break from driving, and also 8-9 hours of driving in the day, was not exactly what I was looking forward to. So we wanted to do the trip by bus instead, and not need to worry about driving, at least for the one day! Except that on Jan 2, in the middle of a busy tourist season, almost all buses were full, and we had a struggle to find seats for ourselves. After several attempts, we managed to get those bus seats and we were set for Milford Sound, our first big sightseeing activity at Queenstown.

Milford Sound was an ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING experience, and it deserves those capitalised letters!! As the guide explained to us, the place is one of the rainiest of all places in the world, with 300 days of rain in a year. And in fact, 200 days of gale force winds in a year! And yes, we were there on one of those very rainy days, though not gale force winds, thank God!

And it made the entire experience surreal. Going out on a cruise at the fjord, with tall mountains on both sides, and large number of waterfalls coming down from great heights, several at a time! And amidst clouds that were low, the wind blowing strong, including some falls where the wind was literally taking the water UP, instead of down!!

It was pretty much out-of-the-world experience. The pictures may or may not do full justice to the place, you have to be there to experience what Rudyard Kipling called the “8th wonder of the world”!

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So the whole day was devoted to Milford Sound, and that left us the next half of a day to do other things in Queenstown. One of the things that Queenstown is known for, is adventure activities like Skydiving, Bungee jumping, etc. As my daughters, especially the younger one, were keen to try some of these out, we were looking out for these options.

Skydiving was the preferred one, but again, on account of weather issues, the skydiving was not happening, and my daughter was very disappointed. So the next day, we just thought of going up the gondola ride, at the top of which, there was going to be luge rides and a great view of the town.

And indeed, the view was fantastic, and the girls enjoyed the luge ride too. And there was some awesome food up there, as well. But what was a surprise discovery once we went up, was to find a bungee jumping option out there. And my younger daughter was very game to go for it. And she did. And that was clearly the big highlight for us.

Here are some pictures from the rest of our Queenstown experience, including the bungee jumping.

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So that was the breathtaking and awesome Queenstown. We would have loved to stay here some more, but the rest of our tour plan beckoned, and we needed to leave, and get to the next place.

The next stop was to be Twizel, another small town, but from where we would be visiting Mount Cook Village and Lake Tekapo.

We headed out of Queenstown then, towards Twizel.

DIST4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having driven close to the ocean on the east coast, while reaching Kaikoura, it was now time to cut away from the ocean, and go across the country, towards the west coast of New Zealand.

All drives in New Zealand were a mix of driving by oceans, on vast stretches of flat land, and driving through thick greens of forest land. Most roads were single or at most 2 lane highways, and some were even smaller roads in the middle of large stretches of farmland. Often, you’d not see another soul for several km. The east coast to west coast drive was a fun drive, like all others, and we headed into Greymouth, our first stop.

More precisely, we stayed at Paroa, a kind of sister-city to Greymouth. Although both of them are really small towns anyway! What we missed by oversight was a place called Punakaiki, which came on the way, about 50 km before hitting Greymouth. As we reached Greymouth / Paroa at around 8 pm in the night, it was just a little too much to travel back, see and then return back. Must mention at this point that, since we travelled in Dec-Jan, in proper summer of Southern Hemisphere, we enjoyed the benefits of really long days. Routinely, we would be out, driving and seeing places, or reaching places, till 9/9-30 pm, when it was quite bright! That allowed us to make the most of any day, in terms of things we could do, and distances we were able to cover.

However, it was not possible to head back to Punakaiki and come back, so that option was dropped. Essentially, we just hung out in Paroa, not doing much that evening.

Next day, we were to drive in to Fox Glacier, and started making enquiries about the helicopter ride option, to land on to Fox Glacier. Unfortunately, as the weather was not too good (overcast and a little rain), all of the calls that we made, conveyed to us the message that the helicopter rides were not happening.

So we headed out of Paroa, towards a cute little town called Hokitika. A very typical small town, with open streets, cafes, some local art, and generally kind and friendly locals, that is what I would describe Hokitika as. We walked around the town, saw some of their shops and had breakfast at a local cafe.

Anniversary and New Zealand 008 copyIn fact, an old lady (no younger than 80 years.. perhaps older) walked up to us and chatted. She was from the Netherlands originally, had been to many parts of the world, but had settled down here, for last 50 years. And she loved it. She said that this was a place if you wanted to slow down. That they liked it slow and easy. What’s the rush for, anyway, is how they saw it. And she also said that the cafe we were in, was most popular with the locals, and that one must judge a place by that – if the locals like it, it must really be good! Good wisdom, that was.. nice encounter!

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From Hokitika, we headed off to a very interesting tourist attraction. This is called the West Coast Tree Top Walk.

Here you’ll find a large number of very tall trees. A small trail takes you upwards closer to the top levels of the trees. And here in the midst of the tall heights of the trees, they have constructed metal walkways, so as to give you the feel on how it is to be at the top levels of these tall trees. Quite an interesting construction and experience.

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After completing the Walk on the Tree Tops, we headed straight to Fox Glacier. At number of places on the way, where the helicopter rides were being offered and advertised for, we kept stopping to see if we could book one. And everywhere, we just heard that the weather was bad, and they were still not flying. We headed to Fox Glacier and checked into our hotel anyway. Resigned that at least that day, the helicopter ride may not happen, and we pray for better weather the next day.

There were other means to see and experience the glaciers. One is from a distance, by going to a closest point, and the other was by walking in the glaciers, and which required a certain effort, dexterity, fitness and intent. The latter was not the most attractive option for us! And so we were hoping for the heli rides to happen.

And as we kept asking, we got lucky, and the weather opened up just that little bit to enable us to take the heli ride, though it was not good enough for us to land on the snow. We opted not to wait and take a chance for the next day. And glad that we did not, since as it turned out, the next day was even worse, as far as weather went, and if we had waited, we would have not even got the experience that we did!

In addition to the heli ride to the glaciers, we also went out to Matheson Lake at Fox Glacier, for some of the most breathtaking views of nature, reflections in water, and the blue sky that one could get.

We also happened to be at Fox Glacier on the night of the 31st, so we had hopes and plans of doing something special to bring in the New Year. However, as the locals informed us, in the small town that it was, there were no major celebrations or parties for New Year’s Eve. We did hang around at a nice small cafe, sipping our wine and enjoying some pizza, waiting for 2014 to arrive. Also considering that we were a good 7-odd hours ahead of India at that point, we were welcoming 2014 before most of our Indian friends! Which was an interesting highlight of sorts.. !

Fox Glacier photos are shared below..

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The first day of 2014 broke in Fox Glacier and it was drizzling and overcast. There was an idea to see if we could head straight to Queenstown, as there was a one day cricket match scheduled that day, between West Indies and New Zealand. However, seeing the way the weather was shaping up, we wondered if the game will at all be one, and whether it was worth rushing down. We decided against it.

And just left Fox Glacier as per our original plans, with a scheduled stop at Wanaka on the way, before reaching the most exciting destination in New Zealand, Queenstown.

DIST3

Wellington was barely a few hours stay. Reached there in the night, slept the night over, and early next morning, headed for the ferry that was to take us over to the South Island, and to Picton, to be precise. The ferry was an amazing experience, large, several hundred people, and the very large number of vehicles on board, and the many views one could get by walking to different sides of the ferry. And the restaurants and the coffee shops on board. On reaching Picton, we did not stop, but rather, carried on straight away, to our first stop in South Island, which was Kaikoura. Some pics from the ferry ride, and till the point that we reached Kaikoura..

 

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Kaikoura is a small town (one of the many that we visited), best known for the whale watching opportunities that it provides. We reached by afternoon, and it was supposed to be well in time, for the afternoon whale watching trip. However, as luck would have it, due to the weather conditions in the Ocean, they were not taking out any trips that day. And we had half a day in town, with nothing major to do. We did drive around town, and did a few things like seeing a sheep shearing show, watching seals, and hanging out at a pub in town, and drinking Guinness beer there. In short, it was an easy going afternoon. Our hope was that the next morning opened a little brighter, and we got the chance to do the whale watching trip. And that was exactly how it turned out. We went on the whale watching trip in a catamaran, and managed to see two sperm whales from real close. We got even more lucky to spot a whole pod of Orca Dolphins, also known as killer whales. It was an awesome experience to spot them from real close. The catamaran journey, at high speed with huge waves, was a rocking one, and nearly 50% of the 48 persons tour party, threw up on board. But apparently, this was quite usual to happen, as per the organisers, who had ensured the necessary facilities to handle these situations! Here are some photos from Kaikoura..

 

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Next up, we would be criss-crossing the country. From being on the East Coast, we will drive across the breadth of New Zealand, to go to the west coast, with our next stop being Greymouth.

DIST2

auckland sky towerWe were to take the evening flight from Sydney, and would get into Auckland, close to midnight. Bear in mind, this would have been about 36 hours since we left home in Mumbai, and would have spent all that time, either in flights on at airport terminals or on the road in Sydney! And after such a long flight, we were entering a new country, close to midnight, and we needed to get to a hotel at that time! Originally, I had booked a hotel in the city, but with the late night arrival into Auckland, I chose to find out if the hotel will have someone to receive us at that time, and whether it would be comfortable to get into the room so late! Ordinarily, you don’t even need to check these things as they would be assumed to be obvious. But I am glad that I thought of checking. For what I was informed was that there would be no one from the hotel at the reception, at that late hour, and that a key would have been left for us, and we’d be able to find our room and get into it. I visualised a midnight arrival, getting bags and getting out of the airport by half-past midnight, then getting a cab, driving into the city to the motel, removing the bags and letting the cab go, then heading to the reception to find our keys kept somewhere, and then trying to find and reach the room. With no human to help. After nearly 36 hours of travel time! What if the keys were not there or they didn’t work? At that time, with all those bags and stuff, what would we do? Maybe there would be no taxis to find easily, even if we needed to go somewhere else.. All of this was kind of a scary thought, so I looked out for options. And found an IBIS Budget hotel, located close to the airport, and where they confirmed availability of people, all 24 hours! The change was made, and we reached that hotel, after landing at midnight. We took our time to get started next day morning, and after breakfast, we went and rented out our car, from Apex Car Rental Services. That same day, we were to drive down to Rotorua, a roughly 2.5 hour drive. So we had just 3-4 hours to drive around Auckland and see what we could see of the city. We went and saw some parts of Auckland Central area, then an area referred to as One Tree Hill, Davenport and Mission Bay. We got a good quick view of Auckland city, before heading out to Rotorua.

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We headed off to Rotorua, our first city-to-city drive, in New Zealand. There was some rain in the course of the drive, and we got the first taste of driving at speed, with rain splattering on the windshield. We quickly realised how useful the GPS unit was, as we could reach our motel in Rotorua, precisely, with the voice commands of the GPS unit. It was evening by the time we reached the motel, and when we enquired about the Maori dance programs, we found that the shows were already under way, and we would not be able to catch them. As we needed to leave in the morning the next day, we resigned to our fate that maybe, we would not be able to catch the Maori dance. We did head out to the other big attraction in Rotorua, which was the Polynesian Spa. And enjoyed the hot spring waters’ spa, under the moonlit sky. The spa was full of Japanese people – I guess, they like spas more than others?! While this was a fancy and very busy spa, what took me by a little surprise (shock?) was the large changing room (and showers) for men, where folks were comfortably walking around in full monty! Honestly, I was a little taken aback, as I had never had the need to see 10-15 males walking around without clothes, quite comfortably! That apart, the spa was an enjoyable experience. One bit of a worry hit us that evening. The GPS unit stopped functioning – it had frozen! And it was too late to contact anyone and get help. Considering that this was the first day of a long trip, I was worried about having the same challenge later on as well. After returning to the room, I managed to look up the Internet to troubleshoot and luckily managed to find the solution. Went and checked the same, and was happy to find the GPS unit start working fine. It was good to have gone through this experience so that we knew how to manage the GPS unit little better. Next day morning, as we left Rotorua with the intent of heading off to Wellington, we managed to catch Te Puia in Rotorua, and which was alive and active early in the morning. Here we were then able to do the Maori dance event, and also see the amazing thermal geysers, sulphur and mud pools. Some pictures of our Rotorua stay…

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We headed out from Rotorua, and after a stop at Huka Falls, went ahead towards Taupo. Some photos from Huka Falls and Lake Taupo are as below:

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Finally we made it to Wellington, late in the evening, with really no time to see the city, except for admiring the sunset and the beautiful skies, as we entered the city. The next day morning, we needed to leave by ferry, with our car, to get to the South Island.

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Ahh..so that was a quick couple of days in North Island, and we were all set to head to the South Island, which was supposed to be far more beautiful and enchanting..

 

DIST1

 

How did the idea come? 

2013 was a big year in life. I completed 50 years in October, and 25 years of marriage in December.

The significance of the year had been on my mind for a while, and one of the things I wanted to do, was to take a good vacation, and celebrate the dual events in life.

I looked at options like Scotland, other parts of Europe, the Canadian Rockies and Alaska, and Australia-New Zealand. I was to travel in December, that was for sure. The key thing that worked out in favour of the Southern Hemisphere destinations was the fact that in December, Southern Hemisphere would enjoy longer days, and in fact, destinations like Canadian Rockies would see really short days! That was a clincher of a reason, and so it was to be – Australia and New Zealand were decided.

I planned a good, overall, month-long trip, with the first half being in Australia, across various interesting spots, and then New Zealand.

Unfortunately, due to some developments at work, I was not able to get out as planned, and had to push my departure date. And this was AFTER all tickets had been booked and plans were in place. At that late stage, it was impossible to reschedule everything and keep the original itinerary, and that ended up converting the one-month Aus-NZ vacation to a 17-day NZ-only vacation.

And that is how the trip came about happening..

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Preparing for New Zealand

There are popular destinations where several of one’s friends have travelled, or one knows many people residing there, and can take tips. New Zealand was not quite like that.

Few friends had visited (and I certainly got tips from them) but otherwise, it was left for me to do my own research, on the web. Combined with tips from a few friends and the web research, I was able to identify a decent itinerary for NZ.

This covered landing into Auckland, and driving from there in North Island, across various intermediate places, and down up to Christchurch in South Island, from where we’d fly back.

mapWhile one can use road and air to go across the country in New Zealand, one of the popular ways to see the country, is by road. The reason being that, there are several interesting locations right across the length of the country, and one can plan for a schedule that goes from one place to the next, by road, and thereby cover the entire country well. Moreover, driving on New Zealand roads is easy, for an Indian driver, and it is almost a pleasure to do a self-drive tour of New Zealand. So that is what we decided to do.

Then there were decisions related to travelling into NZ and out of it, the car rental within NZ, and where to stay in each place, etc.

In terms of air travel, my tickets were already booked into Australia, as per the original itinerary, and also combined with the fact that there are better connections to Sydney or Melbourne, than to NZ cities, I stuck to the same entry point. We had chosen to fly Qantas, via Singapore, where in fact, the Mumbai-Singapore sector was on Jet Airways, on a Qantas code-share.

So now had to figure out best option to get from Sydney to Auckland, and then from Christchurch back to Sydney.

Online research showed up several options including Qantas, Virgin Australia, JetStar, Tiger Air and Air NZ. Online research was necessary to find the best deals and we zeroed in on JetStar finally, as the airline of choice, to go from Sydney to Auckland, and then from Christchurch back to Sydney.

As for the car rental options within New Zealand, again, it was a matter of online research. I found Apex Car Rentals to have good options, easy to find the details that one needed, and also prompt and clear in responding to email queries. After making the original booking with them, I needed to make changes on 3 occasions, and all of those were smoothly done, with no friction at all. It was a pleasure to work with a service provider of this kind.

278With Apex Car Rentals, one needs to choose the vehicle, the plan, add accessories, the dates, the pick up and drop off point, whether one is taking the car across from North to South Island (on ferry), and give your credit card details. The card is not charged at time of booking, but only when you actually rent the car, after reaching the pick up point.

What I would recommend specifically, in regards to car rental, is to pick the right size of the vehicle. If you are doing (like we were), say 15+ days of travel, in the car, you would also be carrying bags to cover that kind of travel. Ensure that there is enough space in the trunk to accommodate your luggage, and then there is enough space to be comfortable, for all of the travellers. Also ensure that it is a vehicle that you can manage to drive. While a motor home / camper vehicle may seem interesting to use, you need to be sure that you can manage to drive a heavier vehicle. Also in that case, you’d ideally like to have multiple drivers in your group, so a driver does not get stressed out. Finally, if you are thinking in terms of a camper, you must recognise the need to look for, and park at specific camper locations, where you can refill your water and other supplies, and also clear your bathrooms, etc. That does take a little extra toll, and you also lose the flexibility that a simple car provides you. So weigh those pros and cons before deciding on a camper vehicle vs a car.

What I also cannot overemphasise is the need for the GPS unit, in the car. This is offered as an optional additional accessory. It is definitely worth the money to ask for that one, and get it. As one drives around New Zealand, at close to 100 kmph, there is no way that a navigator sitting next to you, with printed maps, can cope up with the turns and the bypasses. A GPS unit, giving voice instructions and of course, a moving map, is definitely the answer. I may also add that at various places, where we drove, the cellular signal was often not there, but the GPS still functioned. So any thought of using Google Maps on your iPad instead of the GPS unit, is not such a smart idea, please note!

Anniversary and New Zealand 024We were just the four of us, and I was likely to be driving for most, if not all the time, and we opted for a simple sedan. While I had estimated trunk size to be sufficient, when I booked, by the time we reached there, and our bags were finalised, the trunk was very tight, and needed some creativity to put all luggage in there. But we managed!

Coming back to the car rental company and choice, once in New Zealand, besides cars of Apex Rental, we also spotted a lot of vehicles of Jucy Car Rental service, which must then be, one of the other very popular service providers. We did see the popular global brands like Hertz and Thrifty, but they were very few in comparison with Apex and Jucy.

Once you have your broad dates frozen, and broad itinerary done, you want to figure out the hotels at the various places. In most cases, one just needed a place to spend a night at, as one would be out and seeing the place, most of the day. And yet, you do need a good bed to lie down at, a clean room, good bathroom, and hopefully, free Wi-fi. Additionally, as vegetarian Indians carrying some food items as backup supplies (to restaurants, etc.), if you get a kitchenette with your room, it is a good bonus.

Motels work well, in such cases. Also as one travels from one small place to the next in NZ, motels are indeed, the most likely place where you will stay. And several of these motels offer kitchenettes too.

New Zealand is not cheap, one must appreciate. If you compare with the US, you would find all costs, like car rentals, air fares and hotels, to be little more expensive, for the same quality. That may primarily be because there are fewer people and a lesser business, from which people still need to make a living. So the per capita spends go up, to cover that!

That overall fact being accepted and recognised, as you look for hotel options, you can find a wide range of places and prices. That’s when you dig in to see what really works for you. You want to be sure the location is not too far off. You want to see some pictures so you know the real feel, beyond just words of description. And perhaps, you want to see some reviews. Perhaps. Once those are taken care of, you look at the best price.

Enquiries of this kind can be done on a whole host of sites. And they are not too different from each other. So you need to find one which gives you comfort. For me, that turned out to be hotels.com.

hotelsdotcomEasy to find places, terms well laid out, searching options was easy, and in most cases, either I did not need to prepay, or full-refund cancellations were possible, till almost the last day. Then there were advantages like getting one free night for every 10 nights booked, etc. So with all that, did all of my bookings via hotels.com. And since my program went through a few changes, it helped to have that flexibility of easy cancellations.

One thing to watch out for, while looking for hotels, is to see specifically, that the room has its own private bathroom. Several cheaper options may look good in all other respects, but you might have not realised, and they may actually NOT have a private bathroom for the room. Unless you are comfortable to go and use a common bathroom in the corridors, also frequented by others who are staying at the hotel, you would want to have a private bathroom in your hotel room. So ensure that you look for the clear mention of this, as you search for your perfect hotel room!

We were four of us, and it helped to look for and find, a room for four pax. That was definitely cheaper than 2 rooms for 2 pax. I did not find those options everywhere, but wherever I did, it was useful to get the price benefit. Plus, when we used those kinds of rooms, in most cases, they were extremely nice and roomy, with a few of them, even being large suites, in fact! Across the country, the average cost per room that I got was about NZ$150 per night, but that included a huge skew to a very expensive rate, on Dec 31st and 1st Jan, when we were in Fox Glacier and Queenstown areas.

A few other things to keep in mind while planning the trip:

1. The Indian driving license works just fine, to rent cars in New Zealand. Although, I took the effort to get an international driving permit, it was not even found to be necessary, as they did not ask for it. Make sure you carry your Indian license with you, if you intend to drive in NZ.

2. The visa takes a few days to come, and demands a fair amount of paperwork. Budget for the time to get it, if you are planning a trip.

With all this preparation, we were set for New Zealand and couldn’t wait to get there.. !

Sanjay's iphone 362 copy

Sanjay's iphone 358