Saturday, 31 May 2008

New Zealand Trip : Day 2 Auckland

The Scenic Circle Airedale Hotel on Queen Street was where we stayed for a night before heading on to Rotorua the following morning. All of our hotels have been prepaid since we bought tour packages for 3 persons (mum, sis and me) from Freme Travel Services. I'd strongly recommend anyone traveling to New Zealand to do self-drive tours with your own group rather than going on tour packages. It's probably cheaper and definitely way more flexible (you will realise the attractions you really want to go are not included in the tour packages) in terms of the places of attractions and time. Accommodation is in abundance and the tourist information centres provide you with just about all the information you need for traveling. The people in New Zealand are friendly and helpful, some are very kind, especially in Rotorua and Queenstown. The towns are generally safe, "if you use your common sense" - direct quote from a friendly bus driver. You could easily plan your trip as you go along when you get to New Zealand.

Our room was cosy and well-furnished with a stove and oven (both conventional and microwave). It's ideal for small families who intend to cook instead of eating out.

Since there wasn't much of a day left, we took a walk along Queen Street (picture above) and Wellesly Street West (picture below) to Victoria Park before heading on to the Sky Tower to catch the sunset.

The tallest building in New Zealand is the Sky Tower, reaching 1076 feet in height. There is a observation gallery and a restaurant in the tower.

My sister had wanted to go on the Sky Walk but they've closed admissions for the day. If you can spot the tiny black dots on the edge of the tower, these are actually people who went on the Sky Walk. They walk around the tower with safety cables and what not and those who dare, can lean out of the tower like here.

And, if that's not exhilarating enough, one can try the Sky Jump.

There was a huge Maori carving by the ticketing booth to the Sky Tower.

We could see the whole of Auckland city and much more from up the observation room.

It was a pity we didn't have time to go to The One Tree Hill. Apparently, it's a no-tree hill now since someone had the last tree chopped off out of a protest. This was the least I could managed with my camera. The hill with an obelisk in the middle of the picture below is One Tree Hill. It is a historical Maori Pa site.

People gathered with anticipation at a section of the circular observation room for a jumper to appear. They laughed and said in Chinese that the next jumper was afraid.

The waiting was waning everyone's excitement when suddenly, a jumper dropped from the sky!

The next couple of pictures were just random ones that I fancied taking.

We dined at Tony's Restaurant and Bar, as recommended by the bus driver who dropped us at our hotel earlier in the afternoon. Located at Lorne Street, the restaurant serves extremely good steak! It was a delightful meal.

I had stuffed steak with crab meat and prawn. Yummylicious!

For desert, we had chocolate mud cake. It tasted just alright. We couldn't wait for the camera so, someone made a cliff by taking the pointy corner of the cake.

Tomato sauce is stored in bottles like this one. How cute!

Next to our table, there was a man who kept making random jokes to us. At one point, he asked for his picture to be taken, so there!

This is just me and my sis having nothing better to do.

The view right outside our hotel looked rather nice.

I initially mistook the eatery for a clinic, thanks to the crescent with a star symbol.

Friday, 30 May 2008

New Zealand Trip: Day 1 Singapore

The Changi Airport, a popular flight stopover, is impressive beyond words. It definitely lives up to Singapore's high standard of living. Beautiful and colourful orchids populated the airport. Comfortable lounges with flat screens made even the longest and most tiresome of flights less dreadful as one would forget the feeling once alighting here. The pond below houses the biggest kois I have ever seen!

The interiors are modern and tastefully-detailed, from the carpeting to even the lighting.

Random clicks got me a picture of the carpet looking like tyre tracks under the buggies.

There's something for everyone to do. Free internet for travelers to check their daily mail or to surf, lazy couches for tv or book lovers, shops for just about anybody and there's a gym too!

Even the toilets have got a cosy and classy feel to it!

We had a light meal at Lerk Thai but it was less than satisfactory. I found my beef stew noodle too salty despite good presentation.

We tried to catch glimpses of the sun rise when we were above Australia, heading towards Auckland.

Equipment used throughout the trip:-
Camera: Canon 450D
Lens: Sigma 18-50mm

Go here for bigger pictures.