[ADV] One direct ticket to Kiwi land
The last time I went to New Zealand was in 2004. It was the second time I had visited the country – the first was in 1997 when my sister graduated from Auckland Institute of Technology (now a University).
In fact, if fate didn’t change its course, I would have ended up studying in Auckland myself. In fact, I was all ready to head to Auckland back in 2000 when a twist of fate led me to Australia.
But I digress.
I really enjoyed my first trip there with the family. We flew into Auckland (via Sydney), rented a car and drove all around the lower part of the North Island. That’s all we had time for in the few days we were there.
During my second trip with Adam, my best friend, it was even more complicated. I had visited him in Perth where he was living then before we took a flight, also via Sydney, before we managed to get to New Zealand.
Well, these days, you can get to New Zealand on a direct flight from Kuala Lumpur, thanks to AirAsiaX’s Xperience New Zealand! That’s right, your friendly neighbourhood airline (the CEO of whom was just recently named Forbes Asia’s Businessman of the Year) takes you all the way to Kiwi land!
The flight leaves Kuala Lumpur and flies right into Christchurch, which is really one of the best bases for you to be at in New Zealand. All you need to do is just take one of the many day trips out and you can get to some of the most amazing sights, and action spots, in the world.
I kid you not.
Or you could do what me and Adam did. We rented a car and from Christchurch, we were able to drive out to the gorgeous Akaroa, just over an hour out. There, we had some nice meals and took the harbor cruise (just bring a jacket – we didn’t bring one along and froze on the boat).
We didn’t manage to go swimming with the dolphins however, but we got wet enough when we went white water rafting on one of the days that we were there too.
We made a day trip white water rafting at the closest grade 5 rapids to Christchurch. It was also just about an hour away but we didn’t have to drive. The folks at Rangitata Rafts picked us up, suited us up, got us wet (it was amazing!) and then fed us lunch before we headed back to Christchurch.
I think that picture (that’s me and Adam having our heads knocked together at the front) says it all. That was one of the highlights of our trip.
We also used Christchurch as our base as we explored the rest of the South Island. We drove a few hours out (and made a pit stop) to Franz Josef, where some spectacular glaciers were located.
Adam was going to treat me to an amazing helicopter ride up to the top of one of the glaciers, but due to bad luck, the bad weather didn’t allow us to head up that way.
So we did the next best thing … we hiked up instead. We were all padded up, and it was cold, but so worth it (albeit a bit tiring). But the view was spectacular and so worth it!
A few more hours south (and, unfortunately, a speeding ticket – the first of two I got during the trip!), and we were in Queenstown. The city itself was beautiful, quaint and not too quite.
But what it is most known for is its activities. We took the 180 degrees Shotover boat which, I swear, at times I thought was going to knock into the mountains considering how close we got to it. But we got wet again; still it was exhilarating and so much fun.
We also went bungee jumping. Well, almost. We were going to register when we saw a sign that said they were going to be open only three hours after the time we were there. So we had lunch first and after an hour of waiting, too many things ran through out minds and we decided against it.
Thank God Adam did, otherwise I might have chickened out!
Still, going up there wasn’t a waste. The view was wonderful.
If the South Island isn’t exciting enough for you, Christchurch is also a good place for you to fly into and then head over to the North Island. You could take a domestic flight over or if you’re more adventurous, spend half a day driving to the tip of the South Island and take a three hour ferry over to Wellington.
Wellington is a city, like Christchurch, so it’s good for food and some shopping. But it is also really, really close to Rivendell – that’s right, home of the elves in Lord of the Rings.
When we were there, we were told that the Tolkien Family allowed only this spot to be named based on the book only because the park rangers were too often bothered by visitors with queries, until they could not perform their jobs properly.
Our guide even had a map to show us exactly which part of the park was where in the elven village.
From Wellington, you can drive north and make a few more stops (if you have time to spare).
Among the places we visited are Napier, home to the most beautiful art deco building’s I’ve seen. It’s a whole town of really interesting architecture.
Further north is Rotorua, where you can see sheep, head to smelly (but fascinating) geysers, visit a Maori Village (like at Whakarewarewa – The Thermal Village) in the picture below and …
Now, that was one of the highlights of my trip.
I’m sure you’ll have some amazing Xperiences to share too if you were there. Now, it’s easy (and cheap too – I just checked and you can get tickets as low as RM499) thanks to AirAsiaX’s Xperience New Zealand.
Speaking about being in New Zealand, if you could be in my place in any of the picture above, which would you choose? Nowadays, with Photoshop, it’s quite easy to superimpose yourself in my pictures.
But AirAsiaX is making it one step easier. They have created some templates for you to put your face to very easily just using your webcam! This is part of their Faces Go Places Facebook activity!
Best part about it is that you get to have fun (and a giggle) as well as potentially winning a 7D/6N (that’s seven days and six nights!) trip to New Zealand!
The details are all on the AirAsiaX Facebook page – all you need to do is upload your picture, write a caption and fill in your details. It’s as easy as that!
Make sure to check it out soon because then you might not need to imagine superimposing yourself into my pictures – you’ll be able to take your own pictures live!