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 Accommodation was a guesthouse at Takapuna, 10km from Auckland city. Name of the place isiHoliday 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.
We were chatting with the owner, Mr Kevin who are originally from China.
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
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.
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.
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;
Located at Kerikeri.
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.
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.
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.
Day 4 – 14 November 2017, Monday
Total km: 530km
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.
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.
Earlier, we flew from Auckland Domestic terminal via Jetstar at 1:55pm.We arrived at 3:45pm in Dunedin Airport Terminal D. Cost for 2 adult NZD148, 20kg bag NZD17, infant is free.
Destination: Dunedin – Balclutha – Kaka Point – The Nugget Point Lighthouse.
TOTAL KM: 97.7
3:45pm : Arrived Dunedin Airport
4:30pm : Pick up car rental with Ezi Car rental. We rented Toyota Rav4 for 11 days for MYR2281 + NZD40 for 1 child seat.
5:40pm : First stop was Balclutha town. Stop at subway for dinner. After that continue drive to Kaka Point for about 20km.
7:00pm : Checked in to guesthouse. We stayed at Mike & Jenny’s Accommodation Kaka Point for NZD100 per night. Continue drive to The Nugget Point lighthouse for about 10km.
7:40pm : We start walk from carpark to the lighthouse. We arrived after half hour (30min) walk. We catch sunset here at The Nuggets Point Lighthouse. This Department of Conservation Wildlife Reserve at Nugget Point has dramatic views of “The Nuggets.” These wave-eroded rocks, which are likened to the shape of gold nuggets, can be seen from the viewing platform at the Nugget Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1869-70, is 9.5 meter high and situated 76 meter above sea level.
Along the way you may see the fur seal colony on the rocks at sea level to the left of the track and also below the lighthouse, or the many seabirds that make The Nuggets their home.
The Nuggets Point
9:00pm : We drive to Roaring Bay to checkout some penguins. Roaring Bay, which is on the road to Nugget Point, is only a short walk (15 minutes one way) from the car park to a bird-viewing hide. Yellow eyed penguins can be seen here as they move from the sea to their nesting places in coastal vegetation. These shy birds are best viewed late in the afternoon when they come ashore after fishing at sea. Yellow eyed penguins (hoiho) are one of the rarest penguins in the world and they are unique to New Zealand and the sub-Antarctic islands.
We only saw 1 penguin from far. There’s a observertary deck for us to observe the penguin. The deck is like a small hut and very limited window size to watch the penguin, but there’s 1 binocular we can use. Unfortunately, we don’t have any picture of penguin because we don’t have tele- lens to shoot long distance object. Below picture was taken at 9.08pm at night. We do enjoy road trip during end spring season which have long daylight hours.
9:30pm : Drive back to guesthouse, freshen up and making dinner. Rest & sleep.
Destination: Purakaunui Falls – Florence Hill Lookout – Bluff – Stirling Point – Cathedral Caves – Te Anau
TOTAL KM: 543
9:00am : Heading to Owaka for breakfast. Since the cafe here offered very high price, we decided to buy some bread and milk at FourSquare supermarket.
10:15am : Arrived Purakaunui Falls car park. 10 minutes walk from carpark to the waterfall. Here, we spent about more than 1 hour.
The Purakaunui Falls is one of Otago’s iconic, most-photographed sights.
The track through mature beech forest, is suitable for anyone to the top viewing platform. From there the track descends to give the view of the three-tiered falls that’s often seen on calendars and postcards.
Facilities such as carpark, toilets and picnic area are available on site.
11:30am : Heading to Florence Hill Lookout for 20 minute drive.
12:30pm : Arrived at the entrance of Cathedral Caves. Unfortunately, opening hour (low tide time) is at 6pm. Since the low tide time is late evening, we put this on our last visit of the day. Then we decided to come back later at 6pm.
2:00pm : Arrived The Stirling Point near Bluff. Very unfortunate too when the bluff oyster isn’t in season.
3:00pm : Late lunch at local chinese restaurant in Bluff town. We did take away some food for dinner later.
4:00pm : We drive back to Cathedral Caves. We planned to go Curio Bay using the coastal route which is unsealed road for 10km start from Haldane. Another unfortunate event, we were almost reach to Curio Bay but the road was closed. We have to turn back and continue straight to Cathedral Caves.
Situated just off the Southern Scenic Route, Catlins, New Zealand at the northern end of Waipati beach, south of Tautuku.
From the car park at the end of the 2km access road (an old logging road) there is a pleasant 20 minute walk through natural podocarp and kamahi forest, over a metalled track leading down to a 10 minute walk along Waipati beach. At the south end of Waipati beach is Chaslands Head, the historic Catlins site of the shipwreck of The Otago.
6:30pm : We reached at the car park. After paying the entrance fee of NZD5 per adult, we quickly walk to the caves. Bush walk to beach is 15 minutes (one-way). Along beach to cave is 10 minutes (one-way). Always check low tide time before the visit. Visiting hour is strictly 2 – 3 hour only.
Access is open two hours before low tide until one hour after low tide. Exceptions – no access before 7.30am or after 8.30pm. Access is checked daily and may be closed at short notice due to weather or sea conditions. Information Centres can be found at Balclutha, Owaka and Waikawa , or official website https://www.cathedralcaves.co.nz will usually have the latest information however due to the remote location the most up to date information will be on the notice boards at the Southern Scenic Route entrance to the Caves Car Park.
Cathedral Caves are a highlight for visitors to The Catlins. Located in cliffs at the northern end of pristine Waipati Beach, they have attracted international interest for their length – the two sea-formed passages together measure just on 200 metres – and their impressive height, up to 30 metres.
Popular for decades, this outstanding natural feature is 15km south of the village of Papatowai and 2km off the highway. From the car park a one-kilometre walking track descends through lush coastal forest to the beach. Visitors cross Maori freehold land, which is managed by a trust.
Fact about The Caves
Over tens of thousands of years, crashing waves have gouged out the caves in a cliff of Jurassic sandstone about 160million years old. The two caves, which have separate entrances 40 metres apart, eventually became joined at the back during the long process of forming them. Because the transport of beach sand is affected by storms and currents, cave entrances may have rocky pools or sandy floors, depending on the sea’s actions.
In contrast to limestone caves, which are formed from chemical action as well as physical process of water pounding on rock, the Cathedral Caves were created by waves eroding the harder sandstone. Near-vertical fractures in the sandstone provided weak points for the wave energy to slowly dismantle the sandstone faces. In time the overhanging rocks collapsed, creating caves with cathedral-like formations. – courtesy from official page.
8:45pm : We started to tracked back to the carpark. This time, I feel a little bit harder to climb up to the cliff. Ascending is lot more tiring than a descending. The night getting dark, I was the last person walking back to the shelter, yes I feel eery walking alone in the forest.
9:30pm : Once arrived at the carpark, the guard was waiting for us to close the gate. Then we quickly leave the place and had dinner in the car while continuing our journey to Te Anau.
1:00am : Reached Te Anau after 3 hours drive with 1 stop at Gore for fueling petrol. We stayed at Te Anau Top 10 Holiday Park, MYR446 per night. The hotel reception was closed but we already informed them that we are late, so he left the note sticked on the reception’s door and the key was in the room. Good job!.
Day 3 – 17 November 2017 , Friday
Destination: Mirror Lake – Milford Sound Cruise – Lake Gunn – Te Anau – Queenstown
TOTAL KM: 404
6:45am : Woke up early and enjoy the lake Te Anau with my little girl.
7:30am : Prepare own breakfast.
9:30am : Checkout from the lodge and continue drive to Mirror Lake.
10:30am : Arrived Mirror Lake.
12:00noon : Arrived Milford Sound. We took Milford Sound Cruise nzd50 pp. We booked best deal 12:30pm cruise time with Go Orange! but when we arrived at the jetty, they were not sailing today. They put us at Real Journey Cruise. What a wonderful opportunity they upgraded us to Real Journey Scenic Cruise (normal price NZD76 pp). Cruise duration was 2 hour and we get free picnic lunch box.
12:30pm : Cruise start.
2:30pm : Cruise finished. We continue driving to Te anau and make few stop along the journey. There are plenty of viewing point and scenery not to be missed.
4:20pm : We stop at Lake Gunn. A small lake between Lake Te Anau and Milford Sound, it lies close to the New Zealand State Highway 94 (the Milford Sound Road) and the Divide of the Southern Alps.
4:55pm : Stop at Mackay creek doc campground for taking pictures of lupins.
7:00pm : Arrived Te Anau for dinner.
11:00pm : Arrived at our lodging in Queenstown after drive more than 2 hours. We stayed for 2 nights here.
Picnic Lunch box
Having lunch on the cruise.
Day 4 – 18 November 2017, saturday
Destination: Lake Hayes – Arrowtown – Queenstown – Kawarau Gorge – Cromwell – Queenstown Skyline
TOTAL KM: 158.7
9:00am : We do some laundry and breakfast.
12:00pm : We start our driving trip very late today. First stop was Lake Hayes.
12:40pm : Arrived Arrowtown. Arrowtown is charming and quirky – a delightful gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River. You’ll be enchanted by Historic Arrowtown, a New Zealand treasure.
1:30pm : Shotover jet.
2:30pm : Arrived Queenstown for lunch. We had lunch at Erik’s Fish & Chips.
4:00pm : Kawarau Gorge suspended bridge.
4:45pm : Pillars of the king (LOTR).
5:30pm : Jones Family Fruits stall in Cromwell for Tea time & Ice cream. After that, we back to lodging and get changed.
8:00pm : Queenstown Skyline Gondola. Ticket for gondola ride was NZD35 pp, infant is free. We aimed for sunset and night view of Queentown skyline. We had drink at the restaurant while enjoying the sunset.
Skyline Gondola opens 9am daily. Access closes at 9pm for uplift from the bottom terminal. The last departure from the top terminal is when the restaurant closes.
10:00pm : We descending and look for late dinner at Queenstown.
10:30am : Checkout guesthouse and went to the lake Tekapo again before heading to next destination.
12:30pm : Stop at Farm Barn Cafe near Fairlie town for tea & snacks. We spent time feed the sheeps.
2:00pm : Stop at Geraldine for some shopping & late lunch.
Best Salmon meal we had in Geraldine town.
5:00pm : Checked in to our B&B at Staveley in late afternoon. The host welcomed us at the front door once we reached to their place. The place called Staveley Heights Bed & Breakfast, rate per night we got from booking.com was NZD155 per room. Its very nice room facing the farm. This is one of the finest B&B’s we have ever stayed, the couple who run this place keep it the place very comfortable and clean. Location, views and the measure of comfort is of the highest quality. Unfortunately we only had the one night. Could have easily stayed longer!.
8:00pm : We drove to nearest town, Methven for dinner. We had thai cuisine there.
10:00pm : Rest & sleep
Day 8 – 22 November 2017, Wednesday
Destination: Lake Clearwater – Rakaia Gorge – Darfield – Castle Hill – Lake Pearson – Arthur’s Pass – Greymouth
TOTAL KM: 406
6:00am : Woke up and drive to Lake Clearwater. Journey approximately 45KM from my accommodation. The journey consists 10km gravel road to reach the lake.
7:00am : Reached Lake Clearwater. We spent about an hour here. After that drove back to guesthouse for breakfast at 9:00am.
10:30am : Checked out guesthouse and continue to Rakaia Gorge.
11:15am : Stop at Rakaia Gorge
12:00noon : Bought takeaway lunch and some snacks at FourSquare.
1:45pm : Reached at Castle Hill. The grand limestone rock battlements of Kura Tawhiti led early European travellers to name this unique area Castle Hill. The area is rich in Maori history.
4:00pm : Lake Pearson.
5:00pm : Otira Viaduct Lookout, Arthur’s pass national park.
7:00pm : Greymouth. Shopping at The Warehouse Greymouth and had dinner at KFC.
10:00pm : Arrived at our accommodation at Punakaiki. Rest & sleep.
Day 9 – 23 November 2017, Thursday
Destination: Punakaiki – Westport – Hanmer Spring
TOTAL KM: 298
8:00am : Prepare own breakfast.
10:30am : Reached at Pancake Rocks & Blowholes. This is an all weather walk around the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Looking like giant pancakes the curious limestone formations are especially spectacular at high tide in a westerly sea. The blowholes are at their best around high tide when there is a westerly swell.
3:30pm : Arrived Tauranga Bay Seal Colony. Walk from Tauranga Bay carpark to Tauranga Bay Seal Colony viewpoint (30 min return) overlooking the New Zealand fur seal/kekeno breeding colony. Kekeno can be seen here all year round, numbers changing depending on the season. The busiest time of year is the breeding season from November to January. There are picnic facilities, interpretive displays and public toilets here.
4:15pm : Arrived at Cape Foulwind lighthouse. Walk from the carpark to Lighthouse (15 min return).
7:00pm : Stop at Victoria Forest Park.
7:45pm : Poplars Range near Lewis Pass. Stop when we encountered a rainbow.
9:00pm : Checked in lodging at Hanmer Spring.
10:00pm : Went out for supper & drinks.
3:00am : Stargazing.
5:00am : Rest & sleep.
Day 10 – 24 November 2017, Friday
Destination: Hanmer Spring – Kaikoura – Hawarden
TOTAL KM: 286
10:00am : Checked out from lodging. Walked around Hanmer Spring town and had breakfast at local cafe. I met a malaysian lady who are on WHV.
11:30am : We started our long journey to Kaikoura. There are a number of ways to get to Kaikoura from Hanmer Springs. The most scenic route is via the Inland Road which takes you past the entrance to the ski village of Mount Lyford, or you can take the Leader Road. The Leader Road incorporates coastal and rural farming views which is start from the Waiau Township. On both routes there are plenty of photo opportunities for the avid photographer.
2:10pm : Finally we reached Kaikoura. Kaikoura is a base for wildlife experiences of all kinds – it’s also a great place to eat crayfish/Lobster. So, our first stop was World famous Seafood BBQ. Here, we ordered half of crayfish for NZD52.
3:45pm : We arrived at The Point Sheep Shearing show at 4pm. Ticket price adult was NZD12 and children was NZD5.
4:30pm : We visited Peninsula Seal Colony & Walkway near the Point Kean Viewpoint. Seals laze around on the rocks lapping up all the attention. Give them a wide berth (10m), and never get between them and the sea – they will attack if they feel cornered and can move surprisingly fast. Since the uplift of the coastline during the 2016 earthquake, the seals have moved further from the road and car park, so keep a close eye on tides. The best moment i ever had here i can watch seals very close.
6:00pm : We start driving to Hawarden, our overnight stay place.
8:00pm : After 2 hours drive, we reached to Bentleys Country Stay. Very nice country house. We prepared own dinner and we had a hot bath at Jacuzzi provided by the host. Rest and sleep.
Day 11 – 25 November 2017, Saturday
10:00am : Checked out from the house and heading to Waipara. Made a few stop along the journey.
10:45am : Visited Glenmark Station.
11:15am : Reached Waipara Hills Winery. We had lunch here and visit the winery. Farmland, vineyards and olive groves characterise the Waipara region, which is known for its wine and food – an excellent place to pause for refreshment.
1:00pm : Visited Lavender fields at Waikuku town.
3:00pm : Arrived at our stay in Christchurch. After get changed, we went out for walk at Christchurch town. Places we visited; Christchurch Cathedral Square, New Regent Street, Cashel Street for shopping, Antigua Boatsheds, Christchurch Botanic Garden.
8:30pm : We had dinner at Bloody’s Mary restaurant. Very long wait, suggest to make a reservation first before come. We waited for more than 1 hour for a table.
11:00pm : Rest & sleep.
Day 12 – 26 November 2017, Sunday
Last day in NZ. We went to Burger King for breakfast. Visited their shopping street before heading to airport.
12:00noon : Arrived airport. returned car rental and proceed to AirNZ counter.
Time: 2:00pm , arrive 3:20pm
3:20pm : Arrived Auckland Airport. Fly back to KL from Auckland Airport.
Austria is a country rich with history, beautiful places, traditions and activities that are distinct to the area. Visitors are drawn as much for the scenic beauty of this Alpine republic’s provinces as they are for splendid cities like Vienna (Wien), the historic capital, and beautiful Salzburg, birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. One of Europe’s smallest countries, Austria is predominantly a nation of upland areas and high mountains, with the Eastern Alps occupying a good 60 percent of its territory.
Trip in December 2011 | €1 = MYR4.60
First stop was Salzburg, stayed for 3 nights then took train to Vienna. From Salzburg we make a day trip to Hallstat. People says, stop by Hallstat when u are in Austria. Indeed it was a beautiful place to see and capture your great moment there. Its a small town and of course very touristy.
Day 1 Salzburg | 24 December 2015
We stayed at Best Western Plus Amedia Art Salzburg for 3 nights, double room with ensuite bathroom costs us €172 (around MYR791). One of the best hotels I’ve been to, the staff were extremely welcoming and polite. The hotel room was huge, clean and cleverly designed, which have some touch of Mozart’s music.
Location is not in the center but there are bus stops right in front of the hotel that will take you to the center or to the main station in few minutes (buses run quite frequently during the day). Nearest train station, Salzburg Gnigl is just 300 metres away.
Best Western Plus Amedia Art Salzburg location
Since we arrived hotel at night time, we only had a chance to eat dinner at the nearest eating place then back to hotel and rest.
Day 2 Salzburg | 25 December 2015
Today we spent full day in Salzburg Town. Didn’t purchase any special passes for transportation, from our hotel just hop on city bus and drop-off at Salzburg Makartplatz bus stop. From here, we start our walking tour towards to Fortress Hohensalzburg.
Places we were encountered while walking towards Fortress Hohensalzburg;
First part walking map.
Dreifaltigkeitskirche, Catholic Church. This building just right on your left once u stop at the Salzburg Makartplatz bus stop. This is nice Roman Catholic church in the center of Salzburg. Anyway, we didn’t go inside the church. we proceed to walking to the next places of interest.
Dreifaltigkeitskirche, Catholic Church.
Mirabellgarten ( Mirabell Gardens). A beautiful formal garden but only once the flowers have bloomed. Until then it’s just a bit bland and waiting for late spring/summer. Visit during winter, only few flower can be seen here. Mirabell Gardens is one of the most important shooting locations from the famous Hollywood musical “The Sound of Music”. In the film, Maria and the children dance around the Pegasus Fountain in front of the palace, singing the song “Do Re Mi”.
Mirabell Palace. Mirabell is a woman’s name from Italy, a compilation of two words: mirabile “admirable” and bella “beautiful”. Mirabell Palace and Angel Staircase open daily from 8 am-6 pm and admission is free.
After that we walked towards the Salzach river and enjoy the riverview of Salzburg. As your eyes roam across the city of Salzburg, it’s almost as if you are leafing through the pages of a fairy tale.
Day 3 Hallstatt | 26 December 2015
Today we make a day trip to Hallstatt, 75km from Salzburg. Catch a bus to Bad Ischl Bahnhof (Bus terminal) about 1 hour, then you’ll have to transfer to a train. Then get off the train at Hallstatt Station and take a ferry across the lake. This route will take you past some of the most scenic lakes of the Salzkammergut.
Day 4 Vienna | 27 December 2015
Early morning catch a train to Vienna, 2hour 30min journey. Our initial plan was skip Vienna from our itinerary. Since direct train to Prague was canceled and changed to new route which is stop at Vienna first then connecting train to Prague, why not we detour in Vienna. It’s like we have won a jackpot!.
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
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)
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
Hotel: A&O München Laim
Address: Landsberger Straße 338 Laim,
München, 80687, Germany
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;
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/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)
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.
From left, The Feldherrnhalle, The Theatinerkirche and Mercedes-Benz Gallery
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
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.
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.
My visit to The Netherlands was back in December 2015 and its winter season. Although it was winter cold but no snow for the rest of the trip. I spent 4 days together with my husband alone. There are few places we visited during the trip based on our interest. In day 1, we already missed few places for visit since we were jet lagged. We decided to walk around the hotel for food and back to sleep. Our day only started on the second day.
We didn’t buy any special passes for transportation. We use daily tickets bought from the machine like what locals do. We don’t have any proper itineraries, but we do have what’s in mind. Throughout the 4 days trip, mode of transportation we took was train and walking.
About meals, mostly we eat fast-food, street-food and Indian restaurant. Breakfast was in the hotel package, means we don’t have to worry about what to eat before visiting places of interest. I was on 6 months pregnancy during the trip, means I have to stop whenever i feel uncomfortable. Later I will share some tips about traveling while you’re pregnant.
Our flight was on 12 December 2015 from Kuala Lumpur International Airport direct to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Flight: MH0016. Departing time was 11:40pm (23:40) and arrived on Sunday, Dec 13, 06:30am. Flight cost for return tickets was RM3512 per person via MALAYSIA AIRLINES.
View from the hotel.
Park Plaza Hotel Amsterdam
Once arrived airport Schiphol we catch city train to Amsterdam Central Station, nearest station to our hotel. We stayed at Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam for €530.91 for 3 nights. The taxes and services was included in the price.
We checkout the nearby town first since we were too early arrived at the hotel. The earliest we can checked in that time was at 11am. I stumbled upon when stepped my foot on Amsterdam Central. No wonder people are interested to repeat their trip to here. Very fascinating and unique town. Let me share places which I managed to visit and do in my 4 days trip.
Just get lost in narrow alley Amsterdam Central, checkout their building architecture. High number of tourists who visit each year, Amsterdam is known for its historical attractions, for its collections of great arts, and for the characteristic colour and savour of its old sections, which have been remained in good condition.
You may grab any walking tour map from the hotel or airport, plan yourself for 1 or 2 days walking tour around Amsterdam Central. Definitely you won’t get bored walking to the same alley repeatedly.
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Dam Good Coffee
Looking for Giant Windmills ? Head over to Zaanse Schans, only 40 mins by train from Amsterdam Central Station. Alight at Zaandijk Zaanse Schans Station and walk about 17 min.
The Zaanse Schans is a residential area in which the 18th and 19th centuries are brought to life. Stroll past the bakery museum and enjoy the smell of fresh cookies, or take a look at the warehouse where clogs are made. You should be sure not to miss the cheese factory where you can sample them too, pewter foundry and the various windmills. The Zaanse Schans is a unique part of the Netherlands, full of wooden houses, mills, barns and workshops. Make a cycling or sailing trip, browse the shops or treat yourself at the pancake restaurant. A day out at the Zaanse Schans in North Holland is fun and educational.
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With its ancient buildings, cobbled streets and winding waterways, the medieval city of Haarlem is one of the most photographic destinations in the Netherlands. You can easily reach here by train (just 15 min from Amsterdam Central Station).
What bring us here is because of Arashiyama’s famous bamboo groves and Fushimi Inari Shrine, its famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates.
We spent about 2 days 2 night in Kyoto. After landed in Osaka Kansai International Airport, we went around Osaka city for shopping and eating then around late afternoon we took train from Osaka station to Kyoto Station.
We didn’t purchase any special train passes for this trip. We purchased one way ticket rapid train from Kansai Airport to Osaka city at ¥1160 per person, journey about 1 hour and one-way train ticket to Kyoto Station from Osaka Station at ¥540 per person.
Our journey begin from KLIA2 at 1am Air Asia Flight. AA flight costs us about RM1360, so 1 person fare was RM680. We purchased 20kg baggage and meals on flight for RM160. It’s normal for us bringing only 1 large bag and 2 small cabin bags. why not just travel light?
Trip in January 2014 | ¥1000 = RM32
Day 1 Osaka – Kyoto | 10 January 2014
Arrived Kansai Airport at 8:35am. Leave our 2 bags in coin-operated lockers for 2 days. Daily rate for large size locker is ¥600.
Spent a day in Osaka for shopping only.
Train from Osaka to Kyoto station, fare ¥540 per person for an hour journey.
In front of Kyoto train station
We stayed at Sunrich Kyoto Guesthouse station, 15 mins walk from Kyoto train station. 2 nights stay at ¥13,600 per room. Nice and cozy guesthouse. Unfortunately, this guesthouse was permanently closed as at today.
Day 2 Kyoto | 10 January 2014
Breakfast nearby kyoto train station. What i really like about this restaurant was you can refill steamed rice and green tea.
– Catch train from Kyoto Station to Inari station ( nearest station to Fushimi Inari ) approx. 6 minutes. ¥140 one-way per person.
The Romon Gate at Fushimi Inari Taisha
Torii leading to the outer shrine
Fox Ema Wishing Plaques
Train from Inari Station to Saga-Arashiyama station (inter-change at Kyoto station, track no32 sagano line). ¥230 one-way per person.
From Saga-Arashiyama station, walk to Bamboo Forest about 600m, approx. 9 min. Suggested tour is 1-2 hour.
We catch train back to Kyoto Station then ride a city bus no 100 to Shijo Kawaramachi. Initial plan was go to Kiyomizudera Temple, since we’re too late, The temple closes at 5pm so we detoured to Kawaramachi street.
Kawaramachi is crowded with many visitors and shoppers, all taking in the many department stores and shops that line the streets in this main area of Kawaramachi dori in central Kyoto. The street run north to south, and this is considered the premier center of Kyoto, focused around Shijo Dori.
Places like the Nishiki Market, in existence for over 400 years and the ancient city mall called Teremachi Kyogoku shopping market are very popular with young people.
Our last stop was Kyoto Tower. We only viewed it from far then we headed back to guesthouse and rest. We need to wake up early to catch Haruka train to Kansai Airport. Next destination is Hokkaido. Fly from Kansai airport to New Chitose airport via Jetstar.
Explore the unique places in Tasmania. Mind-blowing nature landscapes along the journey makes you don’t feel tired driving from North to South regions. Tasmania is easy to explore by car – it is compact, the roads uncrowded and scenery varied.
Our journey start from Melbourne Airport. We took Jetstar Flight direct to Hobart, Tasmania. Jetstar offers very affordable fare to and from Hobart, Tasmania. This makes so easy to fly to this region.
Day 1 Hobart, TASMANIA | 2nd April 2012
We arrived in Hobart airport at 8:35AM after 1 hour flight journey then, catch airport shuttle to Hobart city. After we checked in to our stay, we went around Hobart City by foot and bus.
Visited places by foot are Shopping Street at Elizabeth Street Mall, Salamanca Market, Fresh market, art centre and Square. Apart from walking distance attractions, we took city bus to go some other places like Kangaroo Bay, Rosny Park and Coles supermarket.
Day 2 Hobart to Queenstown | 3rd April 2012
Second day in Tasmania, we drive from South to North Tasmania. Early morning pick up car rental from Europcar office. Walking distance from our hotel was 600 meters away. Rental cost for 5 days was AUD196 for small car. Comfortable for 2 person.
Hobart to Queenstown
Hobart to Hamilton: 73km
Hamilton to Tarraleah: 53km
Tarraleah to Lake Saint Clair: 55.2km
Lake Saint Clair to Nelson Falls: 63.8km
Nelson Falls to Lake Burbury: 14.1km
Lake Burbury to Queenstown: 14.2km
We arrived Queenstown at late evening. As soon we checked in to the hotel, we went out for quick dinner. Here, around 7pm all shop were closed, luckily we found a pizza restaurant which is also was closing during that time. The girl who taking care the restaurant was so kind to cook 1 regular pizza for us before she close.
Queenstown just like a death town and quiet to me. Feel so eerie at night. The next morning we continue driving to Strahan after we filling up petrol at Caltex in Queenstown.
Day 3 Queenstown to Cradle Mountain | 4th April 2012
Queenstown to Cradle Mountain
Queenstown to Strahan: 40.7km
The West Coast Wilderness Railway (Strahan). A great little train ride through the rain-forest. Trips run between Strahan and Queenstown on the track which once served as the life line between the mining settlement of Queenstown and the harbor at Strahan. Built during the mid 1880s, with sheer dogged determination, this train service closed only in 1963 when road replaced rail. The line was dismantled and the engines and carriages abandoned until the 1990s when the line was rebuilt and rolling stock restored or replaced. Make sure you book to avoid disappointment as seating is limited, A cafe car serves light refreshments only at stations.
Strahan to Rosebery: 74.2km
Montezuma Falls, near Rosebery on Tasmania’s west coast, is Tasmania’s highest waterfall. Its easy 3 hours return walk along a level track takes you to the base of the 104 metre falls through pleasant park-like rainforest of leatherwood, myrtle, sassafras and giant tree ferns.
The track follows the historic route of the former North East Dundas Tramway right to the base of Montezuma Falls.
Once at the Falls a narrow suspension bridge crossing the gorge below provides a brilliant viewpoint to witness the sheer magnitude of Montezuma Falls. Beyond this suspension bridge, it looked like the track kept going though we didn’t proceed any further to find out where it went.
Its a great walk if you visit Tasmania. Asian like me, only can finish 4 hours return walk.
Rosebery to Cradle Mountain: 76.2km
Reached at night time, checked in hotel then we went out for night safari on our own. If you’re lucky you can see Wallaby, Tasmanian devil and other animals.
Day 4 Cradle Mountain | 5th April 2012
We stayed at Cradle Mountain Chateau, early morning woke up there’s a wallaby searching for food just outside our room.
Today we spent whole day in Cradle Mountain National Park. You can easily catch the Cradle shuttle to see the mountain and lakes. The bus will alight you at Dove Lake registration booth. From here, you can choose the overland tracks according to your phase. The overland tracks are not challenging, it was an easy walk at the plank. Find the map at the registration booth.
Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain.
We finished our trekking in late evening. We return to the hotel and fetch our luggage and continue drive to Launceston Town approximately 140km away. We stay 1 night in Launceston before fly to next destination on the next day.
Day 5 Launceston | 6th April 2012
Today, before we proceed to the Launceston airport, we made a detour to nearest attraction, Cataract Gorge.
The Cataract Gorge Reserve on the South Esk River is a unique natural formation just minutes from central Launceston. The Gorge has walking tacks, swimming pool, the world’s longest single span chairlift, a restaurant, cafe, a suspension bridge and panoramic lookouts with spectacular views. Peacocks and native wildlife add to the experience.
On the southern side of the river is First Basin, featuring a swimming pool and an open area surrounded by bushland. This part of the Gorge is popular with locals for picnics and barbecues. You just search in google map, “Gorge Scenic Chairlift” it will lead you to first Basin.
This Elm Tree was planted by William and Sarah Bowen to commemorate the birth of their triplet daughters, Sarah Faith, Louisa Hope and Grace Charity. Born 1905.
We only spent about 2 hours here then we were rushed to the Launceston airport to return our car rental and catch flight to Sydney, our next destination. We flew from Launceston to Sydney via Jetstar at cost AUD 249 for 2 person including 20kg checked in baggage. Departed at 12:45noon and arrived at 2:20pm.
Goodbye Tassie, ’til we meet again. Next destination, Sydney!.
This is our first destination in Australia. We landed at Melbourne Airport, colloquially known as Tullamarine Airport, is the primary airport serving the city of Melbourne. We flew with Air Asia on 29th March and arrived on 30th March, 9:30am. Rented a car for 4 days with Hertz.
Trip in March 2012 | AUD$1 = RM3.1
Day 1 Melbourne, VIC | 30 March 2012
Since we arrived early, we cannot checking into the hotel yet so we went to St. Kilda Beach. This was our first attraction place we visited. Located in St Kilda, Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia, 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) south from the Melbourne city centre. It is Melbourne’s most famous beach.
After that, we drive to our hotel, City Centre Budget Hotel. Cost us AUD$252 for 3 night stay for Double room with shared bathroom. Its located at 22 Little Collins Street Melbourne, Victoria, 3000, Australia. Great location, excellent reception! Room was small and not a lot of wardrobe space, but to be expected for the value price! Safe and clean. Plenty of showers and bathroom facilities which is also clean. Wifi signal are also good.
Melbourne’s Chinatown, is an ethnic enclave in the Central Business District of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Centered at the eastern end of Little Bourke Street, it extends between the corners of Swanston and Spring Streets, and consists of laneways, alleys and arcades. We had nice lunch at Vietnam restaurant around there.
We walked around Flinders Station before heading back to hotel to rest. Since we traveled 8 hours by airplane from KL, we need some rest before long activity tomorrow. Dinner time we just walked to nearest place to eat.
Day 2 Melbourne, VIC | 31 March 2012
Today’s itineraries are driving to Yarra Valley, Healesville, Dandenong Range & Phillip Island.
We start very early before the car free parking is over. You may click here for On-street parking info in Melbourne. Then we ate breakfast outside from Melbourne centre. Then We stop by at Woolworths to buy some snacks.
The Yarra Valley is the name given to the region surrounding the Yarra River in Victoria, Australia. The river originates approximately 90 kilometres east of the Melbourne central business district and flows towards it and out into Port Phillip Bay.
There are many winery estate around Yarra Valley, you just pick the good one and make a stop for winery tour and wine tasting. We Choose Yering Station, located in the heart of the Yarra Valley an hour’s drive from Melbourne, Yering Station offers an unforgettable wine and food experience. Award-winning wines are complemented by breathtaking views, superb architecture and established gardens to make this a Yarra Valley destination not to be missed.
We also made few stop around Yarra Valley for other winery scenery and photographed them.
Next stop was Healesville. Initial plan was visit the Healesville Sanctuary, since we not enough time and rushing to the next destination, we skipped this visit. Anyway, we will be visiting the animals on the next destination in Gold Coast. So, we had our lunch here in Healesville.
On the way to Phillip Island, we decided to stop at Apple Orchard to pick some apples. I can’t remember the name of the orchard. We had a great time because this was my first time picking an apple from the tree. I will not forget this experience.
We also encounter Australian’s cow. First time seeing these, why not we take a selfies.
We arrived Phillip Island in the evening.
Phillip Island, a popular day trip from Melbourne, lies just off Australia’s southern coast. At Summerland Beach, spectators gather daily at sunset to watch the Penguin Parade, when Little penguins come ashore in groups. The Nobbies outcrop is the viewing site for Seal Rocks, home to a large colony of Australian fur seals.
I aimed for Penguin Parade in Phillip Island. Penguins arrive at sunset every night of the year. You need to checkout their websites to check the penguin arrival time calendar so you can plan your visit.
Unfortunately, no photography is permitted at the Penguin Parade to protect the penguins. We did took few shots without their knowledge after the parade using my small camera. So, the quality of the picture not so good at night. Here, i shared some photos inside the gallery.
After the show, we drove back to our hotel and rest early.
Day 3 Melbourne, VIC | 1 April 2012
Last day in Melbourne, we were spent whole day driving in Great Ocean Road. This was the highlight of our Melbourne Trip. Our journey start from Torquay towards Twelve Apostle.
We arrived at Twelve Apostle at sunset. I think we only spent an hour there then we quickly drive back to Melbourne city.
Next destination is Tasmania. Click on it to see the gallery and itinerary.
City Centre Budget Hotel – Double room with shared bathroom: AUD$252 for 3 nights.
AirAsia Flight KL to Melbourne: RM656 – included 2x15kg luggage, Insurance & 2xMeals