Tag-Archive for ◊ getting around Auckland ◊

17 Aug 2010 Memoirs: Journey of a lifetime

Journey of a Lifetime

The toughest step had been taken, the decision; the decision to begin the journey. All kinds of rumbling emotions had flooded. On one end was the charm to explore the unseen but the other end was not so charming, leaving your loved ones behind. The joy to witness new wonders overpowered the distress, as I knew I am coming back.

The day was well awaited and it came as had been proposed.

My husband and I had the tickets to Singapore and then to Auckland and from there to Napier in our hands. Bid farewells and boarded the plane. It was like the rocket launch 10 9 8 7

November 14, 2007, we spent the night at “The Mirador” in Bombay; next day early morning was the flight to Singapore. November 16, 2007 we touched Auckland and the view was amazing. The flight landing on the runway of the largest and the busiest airport of New Zealand; right in front the clear deep waters of Tasman Sea. It seemed as if one could dive fathoms deep into it and still be visible.

From Auckland it was a short flight to Napier where the agent received us with a broad smile on his face and drove us to “Tennyson Motor Inn”.

Early morning November 17, 2007 we were supposed to report to the vessel.

My husband is a Merchant Navy Officer, he’s 3rd Engineer and employed with the largest container ship giants. According to the company policy I am allowed to accompany him and so had I.

Napier was quiet that day, we’d reached at around 4 in the evening, shops were all closed and it was really cold. People were mostly in their cozy homes enjoying tea/coffee. We kept our bags in the hotel, got fresh and decided to roam around outside. We went to a park, clicked a few snaps and then kept walking till we got to one of the loveliest beaches we’d ever seen Napier Pebble Beach. Water was crystal clear and the ambiance was calm and serene. It was all so dreamy and perfect; to all this there was an added touch we were newly married. As the darkness grew our steps moved towards the hotel and though we never felt we were tired; we were. Ears expecting the ring of the telephone and eyes just giving up. We didn’t have to wait for long as the bell rang and the familiar voices brightened up our spirits. Speaking to parents had always been a delight but this was simply great. When one is totally satisfied, he/she enters a different world altogether and that night I snuggled into the bed and slept like a baby.

Morning was lit with a light sunshine and my husband’s pleasing

14 Aug 2010 Travel experiences: Hitchhiking in New Zealand

My experience as a native New Zealand hitchhiker:

Although New Zealand would probably be about the safest country you could hitchhike in, this is a practise I would no longer recommend. I can however tell you of my experience and let you decide for yourself.

As a child in the 1970′s and even up until the 1990′s I would have recommended my home country of New Zealand as the most beautiful and safe land in the world. Violent crimes were extremely rare and you could go a year without hearing of a murder in this country.

So hitchhiking was not something that was considered risky to do and was a viable method of getting from point A to point B. As a poor University student in the early 1990s I practised a little hitchhiking. It was a completely positive experience as people were friendly and helpful. Hitchhiking with trucks was a great option as they could often take you a good long distance. And just to help out in return I would assist with any unloading of goods at stops on the way or buy the weary driver a coffee.

Hitchhiking was a great way to meet people from all walks of life and they always had a good yarn, or story to tell.

Important points concerning hitchhiking in New Zealand:

1) Traffic drives on the left side of the road. This is most important to remember when crossing any roads. I can attest this can be easy to forget for as a kiwi girl in the United States I had to constantly remind myself traffic was the other way around!

2) Waiting on the side of the road can often be a lengthy process as traffic is not as dense in many areas of the country. If you keep to main roads however, you should not have to wait longer than 15 to 20 minutes.

2) There are only motorways (highways) around major cities such as Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. It is both illegal for you to hitchhike on these highways and illegal for motorists to stop on highways.

3) As a tourist hitchhiker you will often find New Zealander’s or Kiwi’s going the extra mile and giving you a tour of the town you have arrived in or inviting you to stay overnight or for a party. In most instances I would say this is legitimate and safe.

4) New Zealander’s are on the whole a friendly bunch of people and very down to earth. We love helping others and this includes helping visitors to our land see our beautiful nation. But you will still need to keep yourself safe which leads us to the next section.

Safety and hitchhiking

09 Aug 2010 Getting to Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, is a favourite travel destination for both nature lovers and shopping enthusiasts. It is also a popular family destination due to the wholesome local culture and abundance of family-friendly attractions, not to mention the famous tantalising Wellington cuisine and the fascinating practices of the local indigenous people. There are a number of ways you can reach Wellington – by air, boat, car and train.

By Air – Wellington has one main airport – Wellington International Airport. It is located southeast of central Wellington. Although it is a relatively small airport, it is quite busy as it is commonly used as a transit point to places such as Auckland and Christchurch. The two main airline services at Wellington International Airport would be Air New Zealand and Qantas. Most visitors reach Wellington from the Australian cities of Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane taking Qantas. You can also take Air New Zealand from the Australian city of Gold Coast. International flights arrive twice daily, and these are usually full, so be sure to book your flight in advance. Once you have reached the airport, you can take the regular airport bus, shuttle van or taxi to your eventual destination. These transport services are all available directly outside the terminal.

By Boat – If you are coming from Christchurch, you can take a bus or train to the New Zealand city of Picton where you can board a ferry to Wellington. These are regular ferries and are quite popular among tourists. There are also a substantial number of leisure cruise ships which stop at Wellington. Such cruises usually make a two or three day stop.

By Car – If you want to drive to Wellington, you can choose between two main highways: State Highway 1 or State Highway 2. While both roads are fairly easy to handle, the terrain can get quite tricky at times so be sure to watch your speed and drive carefully. You are highly recommended to avoid driving during winter as snowfall makes the journey dangerous and the road may be blocked at certain points.

By Train – Entering Wellington by train is also a viable option for if you are coming from Auckland, Palmerston North, Masterton, Johnsonville, Hutt Valley, Porirua or Paraparaumu. There are daily commuter services and occasionally, express services too. Train tickets are reasonably priced and taking the train also allows you to enjoy New Zealand’s beautiful terrain on the way to Wellington.

21 Jul 2010 Whats The Future Of Air Travel?

Air travel is great when it works, when it doesn’t, it’s a nightmare. It is safe for infants, even newborns and no matter where you’re going, it seems air travel is an essential part of your trip. One reason why there is such fast growth is that air travel was under-priced until higher fuel prices came along but yet demand for air travel is at its highest levels since 9/11. It is governed by International, European and Domestic legislation and even private corporate air travel is now accessible. Traveling by air is the fastest way to travel but it is still very tiresome but is frequently the most practical method of covering the large distances between sights around the world. A century after the very first flight, air travel is no longer a miracle, it’s something we all now take for granted. Commercial air travel is a comfortable, speedy and a safe means of transport like buses in the sky.

This pattern is not seen for all airlines in all regions. Aloha Airlines received the fewest complaints for any airlines recently. Different airlines have different policies but they all make them as safe and profitable as possible. When it comes to prices now a days, the best deals are offered by Aeroflot, Quantas Airlines, Japan Airlines and Southwest Airlines. More and more airlines are cutting out a lot of their business class air travel and sticking with just coach and first class flights because business travel is way down. Some airlines are better than others at providing a quality air travel experience but there are so many flights to chose from. That’s why the member airlines of the Air Transport Association have set forth their commitment to improving air travel and making it as safe as can be.

With the geography of aviation and airports, air travel is a fascinating subject since it involves the immediate movement of people around the globe. Canada’s new government announces increased security measures for airports and air travel. European airports are handling the second largest air travel market in the world and are talking positively about their future. Whether on a domestic or a multinational trip, airports really can save you money. All airports in the United States are certainly focused on optimizing safety because millions of people are moving through our airports every day of the week.

Be smart while you travel: Make sure you follow travel safety tips while you are on your trip.The Airport Authority always offers tips for travelers and you should always follow them for smooth traveling.

Air travel is still growing and the key to successful air travel is planning, preparation and communication because it is such big business and can easily become a nightmare.

Happy Traveling

Auckland Semper Jr loves and studies Traveling since 1993. He loves doing research to contribute to ezines,newsletters and websites.You are more than welcome to use his articles as long as a link to his website is provided that search engines can follow.For more information about Air Travel visit http://www.infoairtravel.com

21 Jul 2010 US manhunt for man after his wife was murdered and his child abandoned

Last Saturday morning at 8 am a little Asian girl was found wandering around alone at Southern Cross Railway Station in Melbourne. Video surveillance footage revealed that she had been left there by a man who had brought her into the station, wheeling a suitcase. The little girl, who was correctly assessed as being about 3 years of age, was calm but unwilling or unable to give any information about herself or who had left her there. Nicknamed “Pumpkin” because of the fact that she was wearing clothing with the New Zealand children’s fashion label, “Pumpkin Patch” on it, the tot was put into foster care while efforts were made to find her parents.

Eventually it was discovered that the person who had left her there was her own father, Nai Xin Xue, aged 54, a quite well-known Chinese magazine publisher from New Zealand. He had then taken a flight to Los Angeles. He is now being urgently sought in the United States by Interpol, who have a warrant for his arrest.

Not surprisingly, the welfare of the child’s mother – Anan Liu (aged 27) was immediately a matter of grave concern. It transpired that her body was found in the boot (trunk) of her car which had been parked out the front of the family’s Auckland home. In fact she had not been seen for nine days and would have been in the car boot for at least a week. Neighbours told of hearing a violent argument between the couple the day before she disappeared. Mr Xue was known for violence and, according to a friend, he had spoken on previous occasions of his intention to kill his wife, but his friends had talked him out of it.

New Zealand police have been severely criticized for taking what seems an inordinate amount of time to find the body in the boot of the car. For two days they were coming and going from the home – along with journalists – and no doubt there were plenty of other people hanging around out of morbid curiosity and genuine concern too. Who knows how many different people’s finger prints would be all over the car? This in itself will surely make forensic testing more difficult than it might have been. Even when they finally took the car away, it was another 16 hours before they opened the boot and found the body. Excuses have been made about legal protocol that was involved in getting the locked boot open. It certainly makes one wonder about the powers and efficiency of the law enforcement authorities when it takes so long to complete a routine investigative matter in such a

29 May 2010 Mapping the Land of the Kiwi folk

New Zealand isn’t in the news very much because it is a very peaceful place with rarely any political, religious or social upheaval. People are often surprised to learn therefore that it comprises a large expanse of land almost one hundred and three thousand seven hundred and thirty eight square meters of area. It comprises of two main islands, The North Island and The South Island .The South Island is the largest body of land of New Zealand. In addition to these a number of smaller islands such as The Great Barrier Island, Chatham Islands and the Stewart Island or Rakiura Island as well as island nations that are in free association with it (the Cook island and Niue) They are located in the South Pacific Ocean and are completely independent and autonomous except for the fact that their residents are considered citizens of the country of New Zealand.

New Zealand’s’ territorial claim on the frozen continent Antarctica is known as The Ross Dependancy.

New Zealand is part of a mostly submerged continent called Zealandia (which is almost ninety five percent underwater).The Norfolk Rise, Challenger Plateau, Campbell Plateau is some of the regions of the continent of Zealandia.

Most of the initial geographical knowledge about New Zealand was acquired by Captain James Cook in his sea faring voyage to map New Zealand. It consists of fifty seven districts with sixteen cities and twelve non unitary areas. It is a little larger than The United Kingdom and a little smaller than Japan. It has recently been used as a location for filming many Hollywood (all three Lord of the Rinds movies and the Last Samurai) as well as Bollywood films.

It is located adjacent to Australia in the South Western Hemisphere of the earth and is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and separated from Australia by the Tasman Sea. A sparsely populated country it has a population density of fifteen people per square kilometer of area which is less than the number of sheep per square kilometer of area!

The capital city of New Zealand is Wellington. It is the second largest urban area in Oceania, in the region of Wellington on the North Island and at the centre of the country.

Auckland is the largest metropolis of New Zealand. It is situated on the North Island of the nation and is the most populated urban area as it is the biggest. It is the city with the largest number of people of Polynesian descent. It is home to the busiest air port in the country The Auckland International Airport. Flights from all over the world make port at this air port.

New Zealand has a vast reserve of marine resources and under the law of the sea has is seventh in this respect.

New Zealand houses many natural wonders such as numerous hot springs, geysers, active and dormant volcanoes (A number of which are in Auckland), volcano cones, snowcapped mountains, fjords etc. The hill of Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu on the North Island has the largest recorded place name in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Record!

27 May 2010 In Search of Hobbits: A Small Adventure

We couldn’t very well visit New Zealand without seeing some of the Lord of the Rings locations and our first stop was the small town of Matamata on the North Island, which became famous as Hobbiton was filmed around there.

All either of us knew was that it was filmed somewhere on a sheep farm near there, but that was about it. My husband John was driving and I was navigating with a map we’d just bought a few days before in Auckland. The map had Lord of the Rings locations marked on it, but places still seemed to take a little bit of finding.

“What does the map say?” asked John.

“It just says ‘Matamata’ for ‘Hobbiton’,” I replied, which wasn’t much help to us as we both knew that the film location was not in the town but somewhere outside of it. We decided to go into Matamata and see if they had a tourist information centre who would know where the location was.

As we drove into town, there was an information centre sign three hundred metres ahead. Three hundred metres ahead of us was a car park and a small building that looked as if it was in the process of being built or being demolished. There was no information sign anywhere and we wondered if we’d taken a wrong turn somewhere.

We parked the car and decided to have a look around the town, which took about ten minutes. Coming back to the car from a slightly different direction, we finally came across the information centre, which was at the other side of the dilapidated building we saw. And in big golden letters plastered across the window was ‘Hobbiton Tours’.

At last! You could only go on a guided tour as the land was privately owned, we just made it in time for the second to last tour of the day. There were about 15-20 people in our tour, although the bus could probably seat about forty.

It was about a twenty minute drive outside of Matamata to get to the Alexander sheep farm, where the movie was filmed. Of course, most of it has returned to its natural state of rolling hills and lots of sheep, but there are a few Hobbit holes left, including Bag End, Frodo and Bilbo’s house in the Shire.

The day we went, it drizzled constantly, but it didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirit, everyone was smiling and excited that they actually got to see the Shire. John and I decided that yes, we could quite happily live there. There was just something so peaceful about the area, you could see why they decided to film the Shire there.

Our guide Theresa pointed out the various places where some of the structures had been which were no longer there. There weren’t meant to be any structures left at all, but before all of them could be taken down, there was a very bad rainstorm and it was deemed to dangerous to remove the rest, so there are about eighteen Hobbit holes left altogether.

You really do feel that you are walking through the village of Hobbiton, not a film set, despite the Hobbit holes just having a wooden facade now, not gardens and brightly painted doors like in the films. It’s just the sense of the place. I

Once we arrived at the steps to Bag End the guide mentioned that she had a tour once where a girl kissed the top step because Elijah Wood had once stood on there!

“I wouldn’t recommend it,” she said. “There’ve been a lot of sheep walking around here since then!”

Despite her warning, there were a few people who seemed to be considering it!

Of course as you may know, Hobbits are very shy of the Big Folk, so don’t expect to see any on your trip, but if you look closely and are very quiet, you might just get lucky.

For more information, you can visit the Hobbiton Tours website: http://www.hobbitontours.com/

About The Author

Annette Gisby is the author of the novels “Drowning Rapunzel” and “Silent Screams” as well as the short story collection “Shadows of the Rose.” She enjoys travelling and seeing new places, despite getting travel sick and hopes to visit New Zealand again in the future.

For more information on Annette and her books please visit her website at http://www.annettegisby.n3.net

Article may be reprinted with bio information still attached.

25 May 2010 Testimonies: Traveling with a disability

My husband has a bad disability – me! Over the years I have got him trained. If I want to do something – I do it. In-laws questioned how I would cope getting in and out of a 4 Wheel Drive vehicle. I replied that I’d have to do an awful lot of walking if I didn’t!

My preparations were to:

[a] visit my homeopath and get drops for liquid leakage; I took them faithfully every three days. I also increased my intake of cayenne capsules for high blood pressure from 2 a day to 2 three times a day.

[b] visit my bank and get a Visa Debit card each on our joint bank account.

[c] update passports so they had 6 months left after the date we returned – they have tricky little catches these days!

[d] pay the deposits on our camper-van, travel plans and camping sites for specific dates.

[e] replace old suitcases.

[f] and at a later date, complete travel payments.

Selecting clothes for January and February was fairly easy. Where we live in Australia is extremely hot and dry. We needed summer, autumn and winter clothes (just in case) because of the areas we planned to visit over both islands of New Zealand.

I walk badly and use a stick, so the first thing the airport wanted to do was put me in a wheelchair. Fortunately I didn’t agree to one straight away, or we would have missed out on our planned Duty Free shopping. After we’d Duty Free-ed and I saw how much further we had to walk – I was more than willing to accept a wheelchair!

Airports are made long to tire you out so you sleep the whole flight through and never worry the hostesses. I could not believe how far I rode before we got into the plane. Unaccompanied children and wheelchair occupants are loaded first. My husband galloped along in the rear only just keeping up with my fast moving escort – such speed down the long sloping Adelaide Airport ramps was downright scary! Especially as I didn’t control the brakes!

We requested a wheelchair to meet us at Auckland. What a lot of fun that was. The beautiful Maori girl that had to push my weight around was a gem. She told me it was her privilege to escort me in a wheel chair through the airport and customs. We may have been last off the plane, but she had snatched and empty trolley and identified our luggage and had it loaded before my husband could get to the items.

Them we were whizzed through special doors and into the Customs area to lines where there were no queues and those who got off first were only just seeing the Customs Agents.

17 May 2010 New Zealand’s National Parks – North Island

New Zealand is a land of awe-inspiring beauty. Sea, sky and mountain come together in a visual collage that is both breathtaking and humbling – it makes you glad to be alive! Humans have been present in New Zealand for less than a thousand years. The amazing landscapes of this country are therefore relatively untouched by mankind, offering visitors the opportunity to commune with nature.

New Zealand’s natural heritage is preserved for all to see in 14 different national parks across the country. On the North Island there are four parks, with the remaining ten being present on the more mountainous South Island.

Te Urewera is the largest of the parks on the North Island, and is the country’s fourth largest park overall. At a height of 3000ft above sea level it straddles the Huiarau Range – a northeast-southwest alignment of mountains that runs through the heart of the North Island. The park protects a vast swath of ancient forest, which is dominated by native trees such as red beech, rata, tawa and rimu. It is a sanctuary for wildlife too, kiwi, blue duck and the great New Zealand Falcon (karearea) being resident in the mist-shrouded mountains.

In the south of the Te Urewera National Park is Lake Waikaremoana – a beautiful inland lake that resembles a Norwegian Fjord. It was formed more than 2000 years ago and is 800ft deep in places. The lake is now a centre for nature tourism as well as for inland watersports.

Travelling on westwards past Lake Taupo we find arguably the most exhilarating of all the National Parks on the North Island – Tongariro National Park. Located roughly in the centre of the island, Tongariro consists of a series of active volcanoes – Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. Snow covered for most of the winter, the volcanoes provide a unique skiing and snowboarding experience during the winter months, enthusiasts having to pick their way around steaming vents and geysers. During the summer the snow recedes to reveal a delightful network of paths offering hikers some exquisite views of the park.

Close by to Tongariro is the Whanganui National Park. It encompasses one of New Zealand’s longest navigable rivers – the Whanganui River – and offers spectacular countryside views that take in forest, snow capped mountains and razor-edged ridges. You can book a cruise down the river in a paddleboat, or for the more adventurous there is the opportunity to navigate the waters by canoe.

Further west again we arrive at the magnificent Egmont National Park, the last of our park quartet. Egmont is undoubtedly one of New Zealand’s finest gems, its centrepiece being the 8250ft high volcano – Mt Taranaki. With its perfectly formed cone shape Mt Taranaki is one of the most impressive sights on the North Island. Often snow-capped the mountain is a huge draw for hikers and mountaineers alike. The lowland forest that surround the mountain’s lower slopes and the enchanting ‘Goblin Forest’ on the volcano’s mid-slope area are also not to be missed.

To enjoy the splendour of the National Parks on New Zealand’s North Island it is recommended that visitors hire a vehicle, preferably a 4×4. Car hire can be booked in advance to pick up from Auckland International Airport, or from the regional airports at Taupo and New Plymouth. Hire car details can be found at http://www.your-carhire.com

About the Author

Seb Jay is a professional copywriter specializing in the origination of web content for http://www.your-carhire.com

27 Apr 2010 New Zealand Self Drive Holiday

A New Zealand self drive holiday, what a wonderful way to experience this beautiful country. Steeped in wonder and mystery this Land of the Long White Cloud will be much easier to explore with self drive car rental New Zealand. You could choose one of the many Auckland accommodation places to stay a few nights or you could leave on your self drive New Zealand holiday as soon as you land here. There are several brochures available at many of the tourist information booths you will see on your drive through this lovely country.

You can choose from a large range of quality, reliable, fuel efficient, cheap car hire deals. The vehicles are all well maintained and serviced after each rental to ensure reliability and satisfaction.

When planning your family’s next holiday, a local tour can also give you a much earned break from driving especially when you are in busy and unfamiliar areas. You can also purchase a New Zealand Travel Pass available at budget prices to get you around the many sights in our busy cities or you could also take one of the many travel tours that will give you a guided tour of our spectacular places of interest.

Driving around New Zealand will give you a holiday you will remember for long time especially if driving yourself around the country is your vacation of choice. You can organize and stop where your heart chooses on self drive tours to give you and your family the adventure of a lifetime.

Car rental is made easy with on-line bookings or you can make just one quick phone call for a car hire. It will be easy for you and your family to plan that special New Zealand vacation where you will find driving directions easy to follow and travel deals hard to beat.

Coach tours New Zealand can also be a part of your self drive holiday and they can help you to plan some great package holidays that are just right for you and your family.

New Zealand tours that are properly planned will provide you with holiday options that make you want to experience it all over again.

A visit to Queenstown is a must especially if you are the adventurous type. This city is recognised as the adrenaline capital of the world. Many tourists state that their stay in Queenstown was the highlight of their holiday in New Zealand.

A New Zealand self drive holiday gives you a much needed break from your everyday life especially if you select the right type of vehicle for your holiday.