A Travellerspoint blog

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Fun 1

Getting ready for Take-Off!

semi-overcast 28 °C
View Yeo Family's NZ South Island 2019! on stanleyyeo's travel map.

All of us met at the airport at about 5pm, with our lugguges in tow, one checked-in each plus a small carry-on. After checking in, we were told to collect our lugguges at the international terminal, proceed to the domestic terminal and check in again. Due to insufficient meals being carried on board our outbound flight from SIN-ACK, the plane was delayed for almost 2 hours. We eventually took off at about 0100H on 24 March, Sunday, and arrived at ACK International terminal at 1030H. After clearing immigration and collecting our lugguges, we proceeded to check in for our domestic flight to CHC, only to find out that we have missed our flight. Fortunately, there were regular flights from ACK-CHC, and we boarded the next available one at 1200H. We touched down at CHC about 90 minutes later. The YEO NZ Adventure officially started!!!
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Posted by stanleyyeo 14:29 Archived in Singapore Tagged changi_airport check_in air_new_zealand international_domestic_flights Comments (0)

Fun 2

ACK, domestic flight to CHC, and here we go!


View Yeo Family's NZ South Island 2019! on stanleyyeo's travel map.

Upon collection of our lugguges, we exited the belt counters. Jenrine went to settle the local SIM card, while Eddy called the car rental company, APEX, to get our transport. Weather was good, not too cold, sunny. After getting the SIM card, we walked to one corner of the domestic terminal to wait for a van that will take us to the car rental place. We waited for quite a while before a van picked us up. The drive to the car rental place took about 15 mins. Upon arrival, Eddy, XT and I registered with our driving licences as drivers for the trip. We had to take a short quiz on local driving rules and regulations. Eddy and I passed. So we were the official drivers. But Eddy was the main one, of course.

Our vehicle was spacious enough for all 6 adults, and our lugguges. It was an IMAX, KBM 558. Eddy and Jenrine took the front seats, Papa and Mummy took the back seats, and XT and I took the middle row. After inspection and setting the GPS up, we were on our way to the first AirBNB apartment of this trip!!!

Eddy was a little apprehensive, since it was our first time in NZ, and also first time driving the new vehicle. He drove slowly and steadily to our apartment in CHC. It was a short 20-30min drive. Upon arrival, we had difficulty locating the apartment. Jenrine and I alighted, and went in search of the apartment. We eventually found it. We unlocked the MASTER with a code, took the keys, unlocked the apartment, opened the garage and here came our first challenge! The garage SEEMED too small for our IMAX. So we got Eddy to drive in and tried to park inside the garage. Alternatives were to park just outside the garage, or along the street (free parking). But we wanted to try the garage. So P and I helped E to look out for the tight corners, shifted the flower pot here and there. After much ado, the car was finally in! Then we went into the apartment and started exploring...

It was a 2-storied apartment, just like the usual terrace houses in sgp. after a short break, we went out for our late lunch. We drove to C1 Express, and had some difficulty finding a parking lot. After some circling, we managed to find a lot with metered parking. We paid using J's CC.

C1 express had an unique interior. they used a traditional sewing machine as a water dispenser, and had pipes all over the ceiling to deliver their food orders. but the food was less than ideal. at least for my fish and chips...

after C1, we went to countdown for grocery shopping. countdown is one of the supermarkets in NZ. after groceries, we went back and after another tight round of garage parking, we rested for the night.

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Posted by stanleyyeo 15:27 Archived in New Zealand Tagged chc imax apex ack 3_374_worchester_street Comments (0)

Fun 3

Castle Hill, Arthur's Pass and Hokitika!

rain

after bf, we started our drive towards Hokitika. we stopped at castle hill on our way there. castle hill is a collection of rocks. when we reached there, the weather was overcast and windy. the entrance has a toilet that is environmentally-friendly (no flushing system and no water to wash hands, only hand sanitizer). we stayed there for about 2 hours, and continued our drive to Arthur's pass national park.

it was drizzling when we reached arthur's pass. windy and slippery too. hence the walk was called off. we drove to stumper cafe at hokitika for lunch. ordered one main each couple, and shared a seafood platter. due to the rain at hokitika, we could not do the treetop walk as well. so, after lunch, we went to visit the glass-blowing studio and the jade studio. we also stopped by the beach to take some pictures. by this time, the rain had gotten heavier, and we went straight for our IMAX. we continued our drive to our Hokitika Airbnb.

our apartment at Hokitika was large. one level. with farms near us. it had 2 living rooms, and some plots of land for flowers. it was still drizzling when we got here. what a bummer. we wanted to order takeaways, but instead went out to new world for groceries. we bought dinner from new world, and went home to eat. we also bought a new fruit called kiwano. yellow skin, green flesh. after dinner, J, XT, P and I played monopoly. then we retired for the night.

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Posted by stanleyyeo 15:32 Archived in New Zealand Tagged castle_hill arthurs_pass hokitika arahura_valley Comments (0)

Fun 4 - 5

Bad weather, and Waiho collapsed!

rain

we packed our lugguges and drove to Stove Oven for bf. weather was not good. after bf, we refuelled at BP. then proceeded our drive to franz josef. along the way, there was news on the radio that a certain section of the road leading to franz josef was at risk of flooding. we decided to press on, figuring we would come back to this small town called hana hana should the road be closed. in the end, we won and reached franz josef, with the rain still on.

the apartment at FJ had a garage big enough to park our car and 2 washing machines. but the height was just nice. we had to climb stairs to reach the main living areas. also quite huge, with a fireplace as well. by now, the rain was really heavy, and weather forecasts said rain will continue for next 2 days. our trip to FJ glacier may be affected. after a while, we went to the Kiwi centre in town, and managed to haggle for senior discount for P. we saw 2 kiwis at the centre. they were in a dark room. it was still raining heavily when we left the kiwi centre.

we walked over to the 4 squares mart for grocery shopping. then home for dinner. (what did we have for dinner???) (did we play monopoly?)

the next day, the weather still did not improve until afternoon, when the sun came out for a while. but then, we received news that the WAIHO bridge had collapsed. FJ glacier was a no-go. we had to change our plans. we cooked instant noodles for lunch, and rested at home for much of the day. late afternoon, we went out to visit the collapsed bridge, had dinner at snake bites, went grocery shopping, then back home. we watched queer eye and triple frontier. we also discussed the travelling route for tmr. we had to leave very early, because we had a huge detour to make...

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Posted by stanleyyeo 15:43 Archived in New Zealand Tagged franz_josef 23_kamahi_crescent waiho_collapsed Comments (0)

Fun 6

Eddy's Ultra-Marathon Driving to Glenorchy!

today was the day eddy saved the day! we had a BIG detour to make due to the unforeseen collapse of the waiho bridge, and the detour was expected to take us the entire day. we departed FJ house at 0650H (before sunrise). we drove back to hokitika, wanting to try the treetop walk, but eventually decided against it due to the detour. we refuelled here and pressed on to greymouth. we had lunch at maggie's kitchen at greymouth. thereafter, we drove to amberly where we had dinner, grocery shopping and refuelled again! we also had a brief toilet stop at lake tekapo (already dark when we got here). we refuelled once MORE at cromwell before reaching our log cabin at Glenorchy! it was already 0130H when we reached glenorchy. eddy drove for 16 hours!!! (after deducting lunch break at maggie's and toilet break at lake tekapo). today was the day IMAX drank the most - 3 times in total!!!

initially, we could not locate the log cabin. the driveway was under repair, and the whole place was in darkness. after a while, we managed to locate the cabin. the keys were kept at the top of a pair of ice skis. eddy drove onto the gravel pathway and parked outside. no garage.

the log cabin is enormous man. but too bad we had too little time to properly enjoy this space... it was already close to 0300H by the time we had settled down. what a day!!! no thanks to natural disasters... waiho... why...

Posted by stanleyyeo 23:09 Archived in New Zealand Tagged eddy_marathon_drive glenorchy_log_cabin_huge! Comments (0)

Fun 7

Te Anau Glow-worm caves, Ferg's Burger and Gelato!

we woke up late this morning. made a last minute plan and reservation to visit the te anau glow-worm caves. we also made a booking for the milford sound cruise for the following day. after a late bf, we drove to te anau tourist centre which is about 2.5 hours away. we walked around a bit before making our way to the tourist centre to pick up our tickets. the ferry ride to the caves took about 30mins. we went to the upper deck and had some fun taking pictures.

upon arrival at the caves, we were split into 2 groups. john was assigned to our group as our guide. after a briefing on the layout of the caves, we entered them and started walking behind john. he stopped at several stops, one of which was the "hole" in the "sky" where we tried tasting the water that fell through. after that, we went deeper into the caves and reached a platform. we waited for the passengers to disembark before boarding the boat that john guided in the dark towards the glow-worms. throughout the caves, we saw patches of glow-worms. the nicest and biggest patch was the one right at the end of the dark tunnels which john navigated with ease. this patch was almost a perfect circle, with equal distributions of the worms. the worms were glowing green. john navigated through the tunnels a few rounds before bringing us back to the platform. upon disembarkation, we slowly made our way back to the entrance.

after we exited the caves, john brought us to the main hall for refreshments. Here, he also gave an introduction to the life-cycle of the worms. after that, we took a picture with him and left for the ferry.

the ferry took us back to te anau tourist centre at around 7pm. we decided to head back to queenstown for dinner.

when we reached queenstown, it was almost 9pm. we walked around a bit, choosing restaurants before we made our way into a korean restaurant. while we were having dinner, we talked about buying ferg's burgers for our bf or lunch tmr. we walked over to ferg's. it was packed. we ordered and waited. while waiting, we tried their gelato. after collecting our orders, we drove back to glenorchy.

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Posted by stanleyyeo 23:14 Archived in New Zealand Tagged te_anau_glowworm fergs_burger_gelato Comments (0)

Fun 8

Milford Sound Cruise, then off to Wanaka Criffel Farmstay. Bye Glenorchy!

this morning, after bf, we packed our lugguges and drove to queenstown to meet our bus which will take us to milford sound. at about 730am, the bus arrived and the driver Adrian ("awesome with adrian")[yup, i thought he was a woman] started to take attendance and handed us the boarding cards for the cruise and our lunches onboard. he gave us an extra card, which P kept as a souvenir. along the bus ride, we stopped at a place called "the mirror lakes". the lakes were perfectly calm, just like a mirror. after this stop, we proceeded to milford sound cruise centre where we boarded the cruise.

we were given seats on the upper deck, and lunch was something like Subway with a cookie and a drink. during the cruise, a pair of dolphins were sighted and almost everyone started taking photos like they saw Loch Ness. the captain of the boat then brought us closer to one of the waterfalls, and showered some of the passengers with it. he then brought us near to the mouth of the milford sound, which will lead to the open ocean. suddenly, waves started to pick up and the cruise ship rolled side to side. the captain then made a U-turn and went the same way he came in. he slowly brought us back to the pier, where we then boarded the bus back to queenstown.

when we got back to queenstown, it was already dinner-time. we headed straight for the flamegrill restaurant that we saw the previous day. the place was packed. fortunately for us, a party of 6 did not show up, and we got the seats!we had our dinner there. then we took a short walk back to IMAX, and drove to wanaka criffel farmstay.

when we reached criffel, it was almost midnight. we could not locate our cabin, and drove around in circles until the lady owner spotted us and gave us the right directions. we unloaded our stuff and found that one of the rooms was filled with insects. we all spent the night in the main cabin instead. (did we play monopoly here on the first or second night???) i also booked the criffel explorer tour for the next day.

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Posted by stanleyyeo 23:20 Archived in New Zealand Tagged milford_sound wanaka_criffel room_full_of_insects Comments (0)

Fun 9

A day of wine-tasting, deers and alpecas, and claybird shooting with a shotgun!

this morning, after bf, we drove to Rippon Vineyard for some wine-tasting. it is one of the top 5 vineyards in NZ. we tasted some reds and whites. i bought a 2014 pinot noir for NZD 135, which was finished before we left twizel. we then took some pictures at the hill overlooking the 2 plots of lands used for growing the grapes. at about 130pm, we drove back to criffel for our explorer tour.

at 2pm, at the wanaka crossfire office, we met our guide (what's his name again?) who took us to the highlands of the farm. the land area here is huge, and the poor guide had to open and close all the gates each time he drove through them. he had to get out of the van, open the gate, drive through, close the gate and then move on. i think he did this almost 20 times during the 2.5 hour tour. it was only supposed to be 1.5 hours, but he overran and we got to see much more.

we visited many sections of the farm, and got to see deers and alpecas. we even saw a deer carcass, with the flesh almost gone. the guide was very informative, and allowed us to take pictures with the deers. at the alpecas station, he also gave us some food to feed the alpecas. there were a total of 6 of them. we spent quite some time here feeding them.

after that, he brought us to an enclosure that was just next to our cottage at criffel. here, we also fed the animals. this was the last stop. after this, he drove us back to the crossfire office.

once here, E and I were interested in the claybird shooting range. a double barrel shotgun was used. but each time, we only loaded 1 round to avoid burning through the rounds too quickly. it was NZD 50 per 20 rounds. but a discount was given as we also signed up for the explorer tour. total came up to NZD 85 for 40 rounds.

J and XT took one room with the shorter gun, and E and I took the other room with the normal gun. we each took 10 rounds. and guess what????!!!! XT emerged the champion!!! she got 4 claybirds!!! awesome!!!! we wanted to bring the spent cartridges back, but decided against it due to strict customs and border control.

after this, we drove to wanaka city centre to get some dinner. we were all famished by now. after dinner, we walked around, and headed to the playground. we also had ice-cream, and spent some time at the beach before driving back. we played a round of monopoly at criffel before retiring for the night.

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Posted by stanleyyeo 00:21 Archived in New Zealand Tagged rippon criffel_explorer_tour crossfire_claybird_shooting Comments (0)

Fun 10

Wanaka Helicopter School, Wanaka Lavendar Farm, and Twizel!

We checked out at about 1000H, after a continental style bf at criffel cottage. we first drove to the wanaka helicopter school, where i met with academic coordinator Brian. he brought us around the school and the hangar, and showed us the various helicopters used by student pilots. i wanted to try the "hot seat" flight, where i will go up with an instructor for a trial flight for about 60 minutes. but the wind was too strong this morning, hence all flights were cancelled.

after this brief 1 hour visit, we proceeded to the wanaka lavendar farm enroute to twizel. it was not the lavendar season, so the lavendars were few and far between. but we were treated to the sights of other types of flowers. we were also pleased to see some animals in the enclosures on the other side of the farm. we plucked some grass and fed the 2 horses there. then we went to the shop for some ice-cream and tea, and M bought some massage cream for herself. then we moved on towards twizel.

we reached twizel around late afternoon, and selected Jasmine Thai restaurant for lunch. the thai food was surprisingly good here. the place is owned and run by a granny and her grandson, who forgot one of our orders. (was it the green curry ordered by J?) then we drove to our apartment and settled in.

our apartment was quite isolated, at the end of the driveway. and at night, we can clearly see the milky way just above us. (no need to pay to go observatory to look at stars!!!) XT, J and P tried to take pictures of the stars. in the end, J's camera won hands down. there was a swimming pool, a garage and a wide backyard with 2 swings, a BBQ pit and space for laundry. we tried to get the BBQ going but to no avail. Until E came along and used the spark to start the fire for the BBQ pit. but we found out only one of the stoves could be used. in the end, we gave up the BBQ pit and went indoors to cook our beef and venison. Oh, and E, XT and I drove to the supermart to get the dinner stuff. it was my first time driving since i got my licence donkey years ago. J, P and M walked to the mart and met us there to finalize the stuff for dinner.

E and J cooked the beef and sausages, while XT and i took care of the venison. this dinner was mostly meat, with some salads to reduce the guilt.

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Posted by stanleyyeo 12:33 Archived in New Zealand Tagged wanaka_lavendar_farm wanaka_helo Comments (0)

Fun 11

Lake Ohau, Mt Cook. Walk and walk and walk!

this morning, we drove in search of lake Ohau. there are 3 lakes near us - pukaki, tekapo and ohau. we drove for a while before locating it. we spent some time here taking pictures. P and M found an apple??? tree. then we moved on towards mt cook. when we were near there, we stopped for a group picture with the mountain as the background. then we continued driving towards Mt cook aoraki village.

we had a hard time finding parking. there were many hikers there. we circled a few rounds before parking by the side of the road. but everyone else was doing that. we then entered the information centre and toured the souvenir shop. after a while, we exited and began our "hiking" in mt cook.

the first trail that we did was the Bushman trail (correct name?) which took us about 1 hour, round-trip. the second one took us to the blue lakes and the tasman glacier. the blue lakes were actually green in color, due to the type of water flowing into it. initially, the water was blue due to the glacier melting and flowing into it. however, the lakes turned green due to rainwater flowing into them now.

the climb to the top of the trail was quite tiring, with steep steps along the way. but we were rewarded with the view of the tasman glacier, the biggest one in south island. there were some floating ice-bergs, and P pointed out a pair of them that looked like shoes. after some pictures, we descended and headed to Imax.

Dinner today was at a pizza place. each couple ordered a pizza. so we had 3 in total for sharing. we also ordered buffalo wings, and eddy ordered churros as desserts.

Posted by stanleyyeo 14:40 Archived in New Zealand Tagged hiking mt_cook tasman_glacier blue_lakes Comments (0)

Fun 12

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon, High Country Salmon, Lake Tekapo!

today, we drove to mt cook alpine salmon at lake pukaki tourist information centre to try the salmon. this was highly recommended by eddy's colleague. it was really good. 500g for NZD 35. we shared one box at the table, with lake pukaki as the view. after we finished eating, i bought another 500g to share tonight, our last night at twizel.

after this, we went to high country salmon for lunch. this place had a cafe for meals, a section where salmon and trouts are farmed, and a shop to buy fresh and frozen fish. we had our lunch at the cafe. the guy who took our orders issued 2 receipts, and missed out on one. there were kids running around, and 2 girls were feeding the fishes indiscriminately. damn their parents. after lunch, we drove to lake pukaki for some pictures. and i drove 15 minutes back to twizel centre for dinner. my second time driving! it was quite tiring for my right leg. i could not feel the accelerator. i think i wore the wrong shoes. after we got back, jill came by with a swiss army knife to open our Rippon wine.

we also made a trip to lake tekapo with the famous church. i built some stone thing there.

dinner was at G5 restaurant. we had chicken, lamb, salmon and T-bone steak.

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Posted by stanleyyeo 14:44 Archived in New Zealand Tagged lake_pukaki mt_cook_salmon high_country_lunch Comments (0)

Fun 13

Glamping! Glamorous Camping with a View! (and also rain...)

rain 2 °C

this day, we were on our way to valley view for our first-ever glamping experience! what a way to end our trip. the tents had nice interiors, and the owners were very hospitable. (what were their names???) he even brought us around his house, and gave us a carrot that he planted in his backyard. (what were the names of his dogs???)

he also told us there will be rain from evening till tomorrow morning. we showered, and got ready for dinner. dinner was prepared by the hosts. chicken, salad and really thick chocolate mousse. after dinner, we played monopoly. the monopoly set which i bought from (where? i remembered we made a stop at a warehouse-like store. i bought monopoly and jumanji, P bought the lego car set)

Posted by stanleyyeo 14:52 Archived in New Zealand Tagged dogs carrot valley_view_glamping Comments (0)

Fun 14

Home Sweet Home...!!!

we took a group picture with the hosts, and left for CHC city centre. along the way, we stopped at a shopping centre for some last minute shopping, and also a cafe for late lunch. we also went to the CHC's apartment's owner's house to retrieve XT's phone charger before proceeding to APEX car rental to return Imax. the guy told us there was a dent on the left side of imax. luckily eddy bought full insurance, which meant no extra expenses on our side. the van then took us back to the domestic terminal, and home sweet home for us!

Posted by stanleyyeo 14:54 Archived in Singapore Tagged going_home Comments (0)

Mother's Day 2019!

Samsui at Jewel, Changi Airport. So crowded!!!

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i initially wanted to make a reservation at Violet Onn restaurant at Jewel Changi. but the place was fully booked! so i tried other places at Jewel, and to my dismay, most of them have been booked for Mother's Day. so Papa offered to go check out Violet Onn, and he confirmed that they are indeed fully booked. So we decided to meet at Jewel at 6pm to try our luck.

Upon arrival, Eddy said there was a table available at 815pm. i felt it was too late, so i suggested going to Samsui instead. we managed to get a table, and our orders soon came in. we ordered a set meal for 6 pax, along with some additional dishes like the potatoes leaves.

after dinner, we walked around. jewel was absolutely packed. do not go there during weekends, at least not during the first 6 months. we then went to the basement to shop for food. we bought something from the hokkaido toast shop, and also some pineapple and durian tarts. we left jewel about 9pm.

we then made our way to simei eastpoint NTUC for shopping. then home sweet home for all.

Posted by stanleyyeo 14:59 Archived in Singapore Tagged mother_day_2019 samsui_jewel_changi_airport Comments (0)

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