North Island, NEW ZEALAND

Our New Zealand adventure started from North Island. We choose to explore Auckland city, Bay of Islands & Northland for 5 days, then the rest of the trip was in South Island, which I will share the story in another page.

Journey start from Kuala Lumpur KLIA2 terminal by Airasia X and arrives at Auckland International Airport on 11 November 2017. For your info, I was planned the trip a year before the departure date. Flight booking done in November 2016 and accommodation booking done in march 2017. Indeed, there were some minor changes prior to departure date.

This time me and my husband together with my little girl on board for the adventure. Despite of the stressed and drama traveling with toddler, we still smile and enjoy the rest of the trip until we got back to KL.

Travel Period: 10 – 15 November 2017 North Island

Travel Period: 15 – 26 November 2017 South Island

10 November 2017, Friday

Kuala Lumpur -> Auckland (Layover Gold Coast)
D7 206 Low fare
Depart: Friday10 Nov 2017, 2355 hrs (11:55PM)
Arrive: Saturday11 Nov 2017, 1755 hrs (5:55PM)

Day 1 – Auckland | 11 November 2017, Saturday

Landing in Auckland;

We flew in with Airasia X from Kuala Lumpur and transit in Gold Coast, Australia then landed at Auckland International Airport after 13 hours flight.

We grabbed a simcard deal at the dutyfree shop (before the arrival exit door). Spark 3-IN-1 sim travel pack only at $25 (normal price $29). What’s included? 1GB mobile date + 200 local & 100 international minutes + 200 local & 50 international texts + Free WIFI 1GB per day at designated wifi booths.

We rented a car from Drive NZ for 4 days. They don’t have counter at the Airport, hence we called them for pick up. Cost for renting the Toyota Corolla was MYR343, paid during booking. We travel with toddler so we have to top up another NZD30 for child seat.

Our rental car for 4 days.

Our Accommodation was a guesthouse at Takapuna, 10km from Auckland city. Name of the place is iHoliday cost 1 night for economy double room was NZD79. The room has private entrance and private bathroom. They only have 2 rooms with private bathroom, so make sure you check first which room to book. Common area and kitchen are shared. They also provide Self-prepared breakfast in the fridge such as egg, milk and bread.

Book iHoliday Hotel Here

iholiday

 

After we checked in to the guesthouse, we seek an information where to eat around the neighborhood area from the host. He’s very friendly and helpful. The neareast town was Takapuna, only few shops are open late night. We managed to get fish & chips for takeaway.

 

Day 2 – 12 November 2017, Saturday

Auckland city – Paihia, Bay of Islands.

Total KM: 231km

Auckland City;

From our stay, we just drive for 10 min to Devonport Ferry Terminal. At this terminal, they have several parking type, from 24hr free parking to charged parking space. We were lucky to get 24hr free parking when we were got there.

We bought return ferry ticket for NZD12.50 per adult to Downtown Auckland via Fullers Ferry.  It just a short ferry journey, as you can view Auckland city from far. My kid enjoy it!.

Nothing much to do at the Queens Street, apart from cafes, restaurants, shopping outlet and souvenir shops. We spent time for lunch and shopping at grocery store, Countdown Auckland Metro.

Around 3pm we continue driving to Paihia, its about 3 hours drive.

Auckland

 

Auckland

Paihia;

We reached Paihia in the late evening. We had nice dinner at Alongside, Paihia. Its a seaside restaurant. The blue hour at Paihia was so amazing but a little bit cold though. Make sure to wear thick jacket if you want to stay longer outside.

 

Our accommodation was Aloha Seaview Motel. Cost NZD110 per night for 1 bedroom apartment. The room complete with kitchen, kitchenette and electric blanket in bed.

BOOK PAIHIA HOTEL HERE

Aloha Seaview Paihia

Day 3 – 13 November 2017, Sunday

Total km: 222km

First in the morning, we heading to Opua Ferry terminal and cross over to Okiato. 2-way vehicle ferry tickets are NZD26.

Bay Of Islands;

Bay_of_islands_05

 

Bay_of_islands_06

Haruru Falls;

Located at Kerikeri.

haruru_falls_02

haruru_falls_03

 

Kaeo;

We stopped at Kaeo for takeaway lunch since we were late to reach to Ahipara. You can buy Fish & Chips here or have a meal at Indian Restaurant.

Ahipara;

We arrived at Ahipara at 3pm. We stayed at seaside holiday home called Escape to 90 mile. This very nice house cost us NZD145 per night. The house complete with kitchen, balcony, living room and 2 bedrooms.

SEARCH AHIPARA HOTELS HERE

Escape to 90 Mile

 

Ahipara

Ahipara

Kataia;

Nearest big town is Kataia. You can get your grocery from Pak’NSave. Distance from Ahipara is 15 min drive. Very small town

We did a bbq dinner that night and stargazing.

Stargazing at Ahipara

Day 4 – 14 November 2017, Monday

Total km: 530km

Cape Reinga;

Lookout PointCape Reinga

 

Giant Sand Dunes;

Giant Sand Dunes

When it start drizzling we decided to leave the place and continue our long journey. We stopped at Kataia for dinner at Indian Restaurant. Then freshen up at public toilet before continue our 4 hours driving to next destination.

We experienced the most scary route i ever encounter in North New Zealand. Why I called it scary? because we were driving at night and its raining on winding road, foggy and dark. The visibility was so bad, we can’t drive fast and whenever we encounter the car from opposite direction, we have to be extra careful because the road is bit narrow. We passing through Raetea Forest and become so foggy.

Kawakawa;

Finally we arrived at Kawakawa around 9:30pm at night. We stopped for awhile for toilet break and stretch our legs. There’s only reason why we stop here in Kawakawa is because of infamous public toilet, The Hundertwasser.

The Hundertwasser Toilets is a public toilet located at 60 Gilles Street, the main street of the town Kawakawa on New Zealand’s North Island. The structure was completed in 1999 and named after architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who conceived the project. It is one of few toilet blocks seen as an international work of art and a tourist attraction in its own right.

 

After the break, we continue another 2.5 hour drive with 1 stop at Wellsford to refuel.

Our stay for tonight was Duncansby Road, whangaparaoa. Distance to Auckland Airport is about 60km. Cost for a night was NZD100. Nice & cosy guesthouse room. Very warm-hearted and friendly hosts, very clean and comfortable accomodation made with love. The views from the room were beautiful, and the location quiet at night.

 

 

Day 5 – 15 November 2017, Tuesday

Total KM: 60km

Heading to Auckland Airport after breakfast. We flew with Jetstar direct to Dunedin (South New Zealand). Fare for 2 person was NZD148 and additional NZD17 for baggage checked-in. Infant is foc.

Boarding pass

 

DOWNLOAD PDF FILE FOR NZ TRIP TOTAL EXPENSES HERE.

Continue to next pages for South Island adventures!.

 

RETURN TO NEW ZEALAND HOMEPAGE  |  SOUTH ISLAND, NZ

 

 

Day 1 & 2 in Munich, GERMANY

Munich was our stop for Germany trip. Why we choose Munich? Munich is the capital and the most populated city in the German state of Bavaria, on the banks of the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. Munich is also the third largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg, and the 12th largest city in the European Union.

Bavaria’s capital, is home to centuries-old buildings and numerous museums. The city is known for its annual Oktoberfest celebration and its beer halls, including the famed Hofbräuhaus, founded in 1589. In the Altstadt (Old Town), central Marienplatz square contains landmarks such as Neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus (town hall), with a popular glockenspiel show that chimes and reenacts stories from the 16th century.

Things to see in Munich was another reason, we want to see Fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle. It is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany.

Trip in December 2015  |  €1 = MYR4.60

Flight details:

Departure: 15:05 Helsinki (Vantaa), Terminal* 1
Arrival: 16:05 Riga
Flight: BT304 / Economy class / Basic ticket, E
Operated by: airBaltic, Boeing 737-500

Layover at Riga for 1 hour then catch Air Baltic to Munich.

Departure: 17:00pm Riga
Arrival: 18:15 Munich, Terminal* 1
Flight: BT223 / Economy class / Basic ticket, E
Operated by: airBaltic, BOEING 737-300 (WINGLETS)

Adult/-s Fare: €170.00
Taxes: €31.94
Fuel surcharge: €108.04
Checked baggage: €19.99
Transaction fee: €5.99
Total: €335.96

| 21st December 2015 |

In this page, I will tell about how I maximise 1 day in Munich. On the first day, was traveling day, we flew from Helsinki to Munich via Airbaltic. It was night time once we reach at our accommodation.

6:15pm: Arrived Munich Airport and quickly catch train direct to Munich city then to nearest station to our accommodation at A&O München Laim. Total train journey was 45 minutes. We have to walk  about 8-10 min from the Laim station to our hostel.

A&O München Laim walking map

A&O München Laim walking map

Hotel: A&O München Laim
Address: Landsberger Straße 338 Laim,
München, 80687, Germany
Phone: +4930809475110
Cost: Twin Room with Private Bathroom – €126 for 3 nights

After checked in done, we went out to look something to eat. There are Italian restaurant just across the road named Nuova Italia. You can dining-in or takeaway from this restaurant. They make simple pizzas for takeaway which you can pay cheaper price than dining-in. So we prefer takeaway and eat it at our hostel’s lounge where we can get free flow of coffee and tea. Regular Pizza Tonno e Cipolla at €6.50 only.

| 22 December 2015 |

Today’s plan was visit to Top sight around Munich. We start early morning to visit some places on my wishlist. Never buy special pass for the public transport, we bought normal train and tram tickets throughout the day. Here’s places of interest we got a chance to visit for 1 whole day;

Haus der Kunst

Haus d.Kunst

  • National Museum/Haus d.Kunst

Haus der Kunst in Munich is a key global center for contemporary art located in Munich, Germany. We didn’t visit the interior of the building.

English Garden

English Garden

  • English Garden/Englischer Garten

English Garden is one of the largest urban parks in the world. The layout has undergone constant change throughout the centuries as new buildings and green spaces were added time and again.

Created in 1789 the English Garden is situated in the heart of Munich and offers many leisure activities: Not only is the park used for picnicking in summer by hundreds of people, you can also go for a swim in the Eisbach, an icy stream running through the area, and enjoy a beer in several different beer gardens, such as the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower) or the Seehaus (“lake house”) at the Kleinhesseloher Lake.

One of the most special attractions of the English Garden are the surfers in the Eisbach: A stone step constructed under water at the mouth of the stream creates a standing wave that can be used for surfing all year round. Spectators can watch the expert surfers perform daring stunts from a bridge on Prinzregentenstraße. We went on an absolutely freezing day and there were still people surfing

Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower)

Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower)

Lukas Church/St. Luke Church

St. Luke Church/Lukas Church

  • St. Luke Church/Lukas Church

Slightly off from the tourists beaten path, this beautiful church is undoubtedly among the most beautiful in the city, or perhaps better the outside facade and beautiful steeples. Really huge and absolutely a must-see attraction, but only if you have enough time, Munich reserve wonderful surprises, and this is one of those.

Church of St. Luke, also called Lukas Church, is the third Protestant-Lutheran church in Munich. The church was built in 1893-1896 according to plans by Albert Schmidt. St. Luke is the only almost completely preserved Protestant church of historicism in Munich. The location near the river Isar is beautiful, especially when the sun goes down behind the church.

Odeonsplatz

From left, The Feldherrnhalle, The Theatinerkirche and Mercedes-Benz Gallery

 

  • Odeonsplatz

It is used as a central square for the capital city. The square even has political importance: in 1923 Hitler’s coup attempt was stopped here; however, 10 years later National Socialism was glorified. Today the popular Open-Air Classics Concert take place yearly at Odeonsplatz. In the vicinity is the Hofgarten (“court garden”) in which many Munich residents meet to play boules and relax.

Odeonsplatz is also the northern boundary of the pedestrian zone and the starting point of Ludwigstraße. Around the square are the royal residence including court garden, the Feldherrnhalle, the Theatinerkirche, some city palace and the elongated bazaar building.

I should say this is nice spot in Munich to hangout and visit. Here, you will see many people having their a cup of coffee and sitting down watching sunset. You can buy yours at Starbucks and do the same.

Another good place to stop by was Mercedes-Benz Gallery. Not just another outlet of Mercedes Benz but more a real show room with big windows inviting you to stop and take a look. From old timer to concept cars, ever-changing exhibitions show you that cars can be quite exciting.

Don’t forget to get your personalized dummy card for free here. You can treat as souvenir to bring back home.

Done Odeonsplatz, we walk towards Marienplatz, along the way we stop for shopping spree. Among the well-known and affordable brands are H&M, Mango and Zara. During X’mas sale you will get a lot of good deals.

Mercedes Benz Gallery

Mercedes Benz Gallery

 

Marienplatz

Marienplatz

  • Marienplatz

This prominent public square, the largest in Munich, still stands as the center of social activity in the city, much as it has throughout history. From Marienplatz you can perfectly start a shopping spree. No matter which direction you go, there are shops everywhere. The pedestrian zone with the most shops is Kaufinger Straße, which leads from Marienplatz to Karlsplatz (Stachus). I went into my favourite shop, H&M and get a good deals for winter wear.

We went during the Christmas time was for the Christmas markets/Weihnachtsmarkt. The experience was fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone who loves Christmas. There were many things to look at and buy, the food was delicious and it felt so lively. It’s a very enjoyable experience for us and once again, I would totally recommend going for the Christmas markets.

What will you see around Marienplatz?

  • New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) – Impressive building. Must to see in Munich. Good example of neo-gothic architecture style. You can go also to the tower for nice sightviews of Munich old town. In the building is the city municipal offices, restaurant, clock tower. Went during christmas and it was bustling with people, music and christmas markets!. recommended!.
  • Marienhof (Park Marienhof) – Really nice park with many banches to sit and rest after walking along city streets. Big open green space and relaxing ambient in the middle of the city.Marienhof
  • Altes Rathaus – Town hall dating back to the 14th century with gothic facelifts after lightning damage & bombing.
  • Frauenkirche – Cathedral with 2 towers top, this restored Gothic church, bombed in 1945, known for its legendary Devil’s footprint.
  • Munich Christmas Market on Marienplatz.

     

End for today. Continue reading Day 3 in Germany here.

.

DAY 1&2  |   DAY 3   |   DAY 4

____________________________________________

.

 

HOME  |  FRANCE | SWITZERLAND | ITALY | SPAIN | PORTUGAL | NETHERLANDS  | FINLAND | AUSTRIA | CZECHIA

Tokyo, JAPAN

What is so special about Tokyo?. Tokyo was named the world’s most satisfying tourist city in a 2013 poll by TripAdvisor and its popularity is continuing to grow. There are so many reason why people like to visit Tokyo. As myself, I love tokyo because of Tongue-gasmic food porn, Youth fashion stores, Earth’s biggest fish market and Busiest Shibuya crossing.

Trip in January 2014  |  ¥1000 = RM32

We touched down Narita International Airport via Jetstar Japan from New Chitose Airport, Hokkaido at 9:45pm. Jetstar Japan offers a lowest fare during our trip in January 2014. To save cost, we took a bus ride from Narita to Tokyo. The fare only ¥900 per person one-way. The bus will stop at Tokyo Station.

booking.com

We stayed at Hotel Lumiere Kasai, ¥13,800 for 2 nights. Just 300 meters walk from Kasai Station (Tokyo metro tozai line). From tokyo station walked to Nihombashi station about 10 minutes then catch the train straight to Kasai Station without interchange within 15 minute. Train fare is ¥190 one-way per person. Before we reach hotel, we had late dinner at nearby restaurant. Called off the day and rest for tomorrow marathon.

Day 1 Tokyo, Japan | 17 January 2014

Today, I listed down places to go for 1 day. Our choices are Akihabara, Euno Ameyoko market, Nippori, Shinjuku and Shibuya. As usual, we didn’t buy any special train passes. We just buy normal train tickets like locals do.

These are our transport expenses for 1 day in Tokyo;

  • Train from Kasai to Akihabara: ¥230 one-way per person.
  • Train from Okachimachi to Nippori: ¥130 one-way per person.
  • Train from Nippori to Shinjuku: ¥190 one-way per person.
  • Train from Shinjuku to Shibuya: ¥150 one-way per person.
  • Train from Shibuya to Kasai: ¥230 one-way per person.

Nevertheless, above places are where we could visit for a day. We returned back to the hotel at midnight.

Ameyoko

Ameyoko is a busy market street along the Yamanote line tracks between Okachimachi and Ueno Stations. The name “Ameyoko” is a short form for “Ameya Yokocho” (candy store alley), as candies were traditionally sold there. Today, various products such as clothes, bags, cosmetics, fresh fish, dried food and spices are sold along Ameyoko. Opening hours and closing days depend on individual stores, but stores typically open around 10:00 and close around 19:00. Many stores remain closed on selected Wednesdays.

Nippori, or Nippori Sen-i gai, is known as the fabric district of Tokyo. Located in the northeast part of the city, Nippori is easily accessed by the JR Yamanote line and is a great place to go if you want to spend a day shopping for fabric.

Nippori Textile Town

Shinjuku Station is the world’s busiest railway station, handling more than two million passengers every day. About a dozen railway and subway lines, including the JR Yamanote Line, serve it. Shinjuku is also one of Tokyo’s major stops for long-distance highway buses and city buses. Northeast of the station lies Kabukicho, Japan’s largest and wildest red light district, while department stores, subterranean malls and electronic shops surround Shinjuku Station on all four sides, including the recently redeveloped Southern Terrace.

We plan to enjoy The Robot Restaurant but the entrance fee is too expensive, about ¥5000 per person. We decided not to go and we had dinner at Shirokiya restaurant at one of district there instead.

Shinjuku

Spent ¥2793 for 2 person meal at Shirokiya restaurant

Last stop was Shibuya, busiest crossing intersection, a prominent landmark of Shibuya in front of the station’s Hachiko Exit. The intersection is heavily decorated by neon advertisements and giant video screens and gets flooded by pedestrians each time the crossing light turns green, making it a popular photo and movie filming spot.

Shibuya crossing

Shibuya crossing

Day 2 Tokyo, Japan | 18 January 2014

Second day in Tokyo, we decided to go Tsukiji Market and Ginza Shopping Street.

We checkout from hotel and bring our luggage to Tokyo Station. We kept all luggage in coin-operated locker. Then catch train to Tsukiji station then walk about 5 mins towards to Tsukiji Market.

Transport expenses:

  • Train from Kasai to Tokyo: ¥190 one-way per person (from our hotel to tokyo).
  • Train from Tokyo to Tsukiji: ¥160 one-way per person.

Tsukiji Market (Tsukiji Shijō) is a large wholesale market for fish, fruits and vegetables in central Tokyo. It is the most famous of over ten wholesale markets that handle the distribution of fish, meat, produce and flowers in metropolitan Tokyo. Instead of visiting the inner market, tourists are encouraged to visit Tsukiji’s outer market, which is located just adjacent to the inner market and caters to the public. The outer market consists of a few blocks of small retail shops and restaurants crowded along narrow lanes. Here you can find all sorts of food related goods, knives and fresh seafood and produce for sale in smaller (than wholesale) portions.

Fresh sushi restaurant nearby the fish market.

Fresh sushi restaurants nearby the fish market.

Tsukiji Market

We had lunch and snack at Tsukiji outer market area. Spent about few hours then we walk down to Ginza District. Not very far from Tsukiji outer market, walking distance between 10-15 mins.

The Ginza is Tokyo’s most famous upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district, featuring numerous department stores, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, nightclubs and cafes. Most shops in the Ginza district are open every day of the week. A visit is most pleasant on weekend afternoons when the central Chuo Dori street is closed to automobile traffic and become a large pedestrian zone. The road closure takes place from 12:00 to 17:00 (until 18:00 from April through September).

 

Done shopping and night photography, we returned to Tokyo Station. We had quick dinner there and catch a night bus to Five Fuji Lake (lake kawaguchiko station). Journey by bus is about 3 hours including 1 quick stop at R&R. Bus fare for return ticket per adult is ¥3000. Lets continue reading my journey in Five Fuji Lakes in the next page. Thanks!.

__________________________________________________________

Download PDF file for complete here Japan Winter Itinerary JAN 2014

Summary Cost for 2 person:

ACCOMMODATION: Hotel Lumiere, Kasai : ¥13,800 for 2 nights

TRANSPORTATION:

  • Bus Airport to city: ¥1,800
  • City trains for 2 days: ¥2,940
  • Bus Express to Fuji Lake: ¥6,000

MEALS & SNACKS : ¥8,456

SHOPPING : ¥13,214.

 

HOMEPAGE JAPAN | KYOTOHOKKAIDO | FUJI LAKES