Waitomo Glowworm Caves

 

Location:
39 Waitomo Caves Road  RD 7, Waitomo Caves, Otorohanga 3977, New Zealand
Tel: +64 07 878 8227

Website:
http://www.waitomo.com/waitomo-glowworm-caves.aspx

Hours: Everyday 09:00 – 17:00

Admission: NZD48 per person (only glowworm caves). There are also other caves combo at different prices.

We are not allowed to take any photos of the glowworm while in the cave. With any kinds of lighting, we are not able to see the worms glow. It would not look as nice as the picture below but it’s a magnificent wonder of the living world, just like looking at stars inside a cave. You can appreciate more of it watching the documentary done by National Geographic understanding more of glowworms upclose.

Picture source: Waitomo caves website

Auckland

This was what we can do when we arrived late evening in Auckland, left us only time to have a dinner and a small walk around town.

The Ferry Building

Built in 1912, this building serves as the centrepiece of harbour activities in Auckland and it is celebrating is 100th year this year, while a partial of it is being refurbished.

Harbourside seafood bar and grill

Located inside the Ferry Building with a nice harbour view but due to rainy cold weather, we are not allowed to sit outside. So, no harbour view to enjoy during dinner.

Location:
Ferry Building Level 1/99 Quay Street  Auckland 1010, New Zealand
Tel: +64 09 307 0556

Website:
http://www.harboursiderestaurant.co.nz/

Hours: 7 days from 11:30am. Continuous service all day.
Open Public Holidays, except Christmas Day.

The “peeping” view of the harbour from inside the restaurant

Bluff Oysters (1 dozen NZD50)
A well-known oyster of South of New Zealand, we thought we could try it, although it was no longer in season. *Fingers crossed* but … the freshness is better than Malaysia / Singapore but not as good as Sydney’s Fish Market.

Seafood Paella (NZD39.50)
A little spicy rice cooked with mussels, prawn, fish, etc. It’s a mexican-taste rice. The mussels are good, the others are just alright.

Seafood Linguini (Entree: NZD24; Main: NZD35)
It’s rather nice with tomato based pasta with mussels, prawns, fish and scallops. The mussels are most fresh among them.

On the month that we were there, they had a promotion of 2 course meal for NZD45 or 3 course meal for NZD55 with appetiser, main and dessert choices to choose from.

Crisp Fried Squid (one of the appetiser)
Yes, it’s crispy but I think the taste of the flour is less fragrant as compared to those typical fried calamari but not too bad.

Pan Fried Market Fish (one of the main)
We didn’t know what type of fish were served and waited for the surprise. It is a surprised when served. It’s a small little piece of fish (still don’t know the name) with not much taste. You would want to add on some sauce to increase your enjoyment of the fish. If you have a big appetite, this is definitely not enough for you.

Fish and chips (one of the main)
The fish is not as fresh as I expected it to be. It has a little “powdery” texture on the tongue. Still edible but not fantastic. I like the fries though. It’s “potato-ish” enough for me.

Pear & Walnut Pudding (one of the dessert)
The best dish served out of all our choices. It’s a sweet cake pudding topped with cooked pear, maple syrup and cream. It’s really good, not too sweet for my taste. You’ll love it if you have sweet tooth.

Viaduct Harbour

Less than 10 minutes slow walk to the right of the Ferry Building, was a commercial harbour many years ago but now resides many restaurants and residentials. It’s a very nice night view of Auckland.

For more info, visit http://www.viaduct.co.nz/

Skytower

A visible icon of Auckland at nearly everywhere you stand in Auckland city. With the height of 328m, you can have a great view of Auckland city at the top or gamble your night away at the Skycity Casino below.

For more info, visit http://www.skycityauckland.co.nz/Attractions/Skytower.html

ACCOMODATION: Bianco off Queen

About 10-20 minutes walk to the main attractions of Auckland, this is quite a comfortable and convenient service apartment to stay.

Location:
2 White Street  Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
Tel: +64 09 975 9500

Website:
http://www.vrhotels.co.nz/hotels/auckland-city/bianco-off-queen

Price range: ~NZD40-50 per person (includes free internet usage and breakfast – milk, yogurt, fruit, muffin, and muesli bar)

It’s cheaper to book through www.booking.com or check tripadvisor webpage for any offers before making any reservations.

Embarked at New Zealand

We arrived Christchurch and would need to take Air New Zealand to Auckland at about NZD90.

Air New Zealand was so advanced with all DIY check-in inclusive of boarding pass and luggage tag up to bag drop. Just follow the instructions or ask the Air NZ staffs nearby.

 

When you are in New Zealand, it’s important to visit brochure stands for catalogues or magazines for visitors, at airports, some of the attractions or hotels, as there would be introductions and most importantly, discount vouchers to use! Either that or visit the i-Site (visitor information centre) for these brochures with discount vouchers!

Can’t stop connecting to the outside world? Don’t wish to keep looking for wifi spot? You can consider getting a prepaid simcard at the airport or at town. We got it from Vodafone which has the widest coverage in New Zealand, whether it’s from direct 3G station or extended 3G signals, while there are 2 other operators. It’s NZD30 for 50 mins call, 5,000 test messages and 300MB data. It’s enough for my 12 days trip for facebook-ing, google mapping, checking information, and whatsapping. Alternatively, they have a package with 2GB data at NZD75. It comes in micro and regular simcard size!

If you’re not picking up your rental car from those famous car rental companies like Hertz, Budget, etc. (where their counters are easily spotted inside the airport), you may be asked to take a shuttle to their office located 5 minutes from the airport. You must check your confirmation letter to see where they said to take the shuttle or call the office or locate the below sign outside the airport and wait for 5-10 minutes.