Day 10 – Christchurch

December 7, 2015

The morning was so bright because the sun was rising from our side of the bedroom and that woke us up by 6.30 am. I wish I could have slept more and my feet was so sore. I wanted to have a foot massage 😀 .

We decided to go around Christchurch today. It was a walking distance from our motel to the Tram station. We got the Christchurch Pass which had the Tram, Garden Tours, Punting on the Avon and Gondola ride. It was one of the best decisions because we got to see all the things which is touristy.

First we took the tram tour and got down at the Tram stop No.12 and then went to Punting. It was a beautiful, soothing ride on the boat with the ducks. It was so calm and quiet on the ride and I just loved that you sit in the boat and just watch people on both side of the river. There were so many ducks swimming in the river.

Then we took the Garden tour which was boring except for the Rose Garden. Then we took the shuttle to see Gondola. It took us about 25 minute ride to the edge of the mountain. It is a ride up the top of the mountain to see the entire Christchurch view.

I was dreading the ride up because of my Acrophobia and it wasn’t bad because half of the way is just the mountain and I could see them but when it started going on too high that I couldn’t see the ground that’s when I started panicking. I just closed my eyes and the worst thing is sometime the Gondola just shakes and I was convinced that it was going to drop and we were all going to die. But the view from the top is out of the world. I just wanted to sit there and just watch the view.

By the time we came back to the city, all the places started closing and we were so tired that we returned to the motel. On the way, we had a quick stop at New World and got some groceries. BIL made us some Vegetable rice and by the end of the day, my feet were killing me. I really needed a foot massage at the end of the day 😀 .

Day 9 – Christchurch

December 6, 2015

This was the day we had to catch the flight to Christchurch and we started from the house around 11 am and drove to Auckland. We reached at the airport around 3 pm. It was a long drive and all I wanted to do was just lie down in the bed and just read.

It was a very short flight to Christchurch and we took our rental car and decided to have dinner at a south Indian restaurant called Southern Spice. I was really craving for some good south Indian food and the food was quite good. It is run by Malayali chef and the place was small and it took time for us to get out food but the food was really good.

By the time we reached the motel, it was 9.30 pm . The motel was pretty neat except for the one bathroom we had to share. The whole street was full of motels and they all looked pretty good from outside. FYI, one bathroom for 5 people is hard 🙂 especially in the morning.

It was a long day for us and by this time, I was just sick of the road trip. All I was craving for was a quiet day and a book.

Day 3 – Paihia

November 30, 2015

We had a long day ahead. We had to drive to a place called Paihia which was North of Auckland and it was about 3 1/2 hours drive. We started early and left the hotel by 7.30 pm. Anya was getting bored in just 1 hour so we had a short stop over for breakfast and then continued our journey. Once you go outside of main cities, the New Zealand you see is beautiful. 95% of them were farms and Anya loved watching all the farm animals and horses. It is so green and so quiet. You feel this rush of calm when you see them. I loved it.

We reached Paihia by 11.30 and decided to check in at our hotel. The hotel was amazingly clean and very comfortable. We had a quick stop in our room before we continued to our Dolphin cruise. The cruise started at 1.30 and it was beautiful. The day started with Grey clouds and by the time we went into the ocean, it was so sunny that the ocean looked beautiful. The cruise was for 4 hours. We saw lot of Dolphins and we even say a baby Dolphin with their mother. They were very playful and was showing off to all the tourists.

 

Dolphins following our boat

Some part of the cruise was very bumpy which I hated but once it stopped moving, I felt better. There was a Hole in the Rock in the middle of the ocean and it was huge. Huge as in, we actually went inside the hole in the rock and came the other way. We also saw some Seals sunbathing. It was so cute.

We then stopped in Okehei bay to stretch our leg but I didn’t want to go out since I didn’t feel good with bumpy rides. Most likely I was seasick. So hubby and company went out and walked to the light house which was on the top of the mountain. The view was just amazing. By the time we returned from our cruise, it was 5.30 pm. We were so tired with all the travelling from morning.

Note : You will find me describing the New Zealand with the repetitive words like Amazing, Beautiful and Calming a lot because I couldn’t describe it any better. 

We then went to a Supermarket called Countdown to get some veggies and groceries. We decided to make dinner at home. My BIL is a very good cook and he took over the cooking on our trip. He made puliodarai and aloo gobi. We were very tired and by the time we went to bed, it was 10 pm.

And so it all started, the busy days.

Day 2 – Auckland

December 29, 2015

We missed a day because of the time zone change. We reached Auckland at about 5.15 am and I was looking forward to a warm weather coming from Seattle. And when we came out, It was cold  and I wasn’t expecting it at all. By the time we cleared the immigration and had our breakfast, it was almost 8 am. I still had to wear my spring jacket because it was chilly not warm as I thought.

We then got our rental car and drove to our hotel. We stayed in Waldrof St. Marting Apartments in the central Auckland. It was right in the city. We were too early in the morning for our check-in so after taking to the receptionist, we decided to go around the city.

Mt. Eden

We went straight to Mt. Eden where they have a fantastic view of Auckland and there was a crater as well. We had a good walk around the crater and took some amazing picture of Auckland. We then drove to the Supermarket called New World. I wanted to see what they have and I wasn’t expecting much. But I was fascinated by such a big supermarket. I went and checked our every aisle. The food aisle had more influence of Asian and British products.

I loved that they had such huge varieties of Noodles. We got Uncle Ben’s ready made food which was available in Dublin. We had that as a back up for Anya and she loved it. Since we had lot of time on our hands, I wanted to visit a stationary shop nearby . I have know about the stationary shop, Typo but I have never been to one. We don’t have them in Seattle. I loved looking at all the items. I decided to get some pens for my planner buddies and of course, for myself as well.

They were having a cultural even on the main street of Auckland so they shut down the whole street. We waited outside to see the event. Then hubby dropped us in the hotel by 1 pm and went on to pick up our BIL and SIL from the airport. We were tired by the time we went to our room. So I decided to bathe and have a short nap for sometime. I got up at about 3.30 pm. We still had some jet lag but Anya was very happy to see her uncle and aunt.

We decided to take it easy and went to the Farmer’s night market in Auckland. I loved it. They had amazing food stalls that I didn’t know what I wanted to eat. I had some awesome Gyoza and some fresh fruit ice cream. We reached there by 6 pm and came back to our room by 9 pm. And we decided to sleep by 11 pm because we had a long drive the next day.

The first day was very exciting and jet lagged but I wish I had more time in Auckland to see more sight seeing.

Day 1 – Journey to New Zealand

December 25, 2015

This was the day after Thanksgiving and I couldn’t sleep at all during the night. My mind was full of  lists and I was anxious that I was going to forget something. With barely 5 hours of disturbed sleep, I got up at 7.30 am. We woke up Anya only by 8.30 so that we could just put on her dress and she would be ready. Our shuttle picked us up by 9.30 am since our flight was at 12.55 pm.

One of the best decisions we did was to get a travel stroller which can be used by a 4 year old. I did lot of research and found that Maclaren Techno XLR will fit perfectly but we really didn’t want to spend about $450 because we knew that it was going to be destroyed with all the travelling on what not. I decided to check on craigslist and lo behold, we found one for $60. FYI, it was well used and had some scratches and stains but we didn’t mind. The only problem was we got them only on the day we were leaving. Hubby left by 8 am to pick it up. I just wish we could have washed it because it looked like it was stored in the garage for a very long time.

Moving on, as soon as I sat on the shuttle I couldn’t contain my excitement. I was also nervous about travelling with a 4 year old for 14 hour journey. The airport security was smooth and we had some breakfast before we got on our plane. Our stop over was at Vancouver which was about 55 min trip from Seattle. I don’t know what I was expecting but as soon as I saw the plane, I was shocked. It was tiny as in only 30 people flight. I have never traveled in such a small plane and I was nervous.

Mt.Baker view from the plane

But the flight was really good, no turbulence and we reached Vancouver at the correct time. We had an 4 1/2 hrs in Vancouver till our next plane. We did our immigration check, Anya played in the play area and then we had our early dinner in the airport. Our check in started by 5.30 pm because we had a child under 5 years old  (yayyyy). The flight was full and that surprised me and it started late.

We flew in Air New Zealand and our seat which was the only faulty one in the whole plane  was uncomfortable because we couldn’t move the arm rest in between our seats. I was worried about how Anya will sleep but she found it easier to sleep with her head resting on the arm rest. Once we were on the air, our dinner got delayed. Thank God, we ordered Indian meal because that was the first served but we were waiting for the kids meal. Seriously airline, please give the kids meal first. We waited for about 45 minutes for our food from the time they started serving. She got so hungry that she ate the Indian meal.

In between all this drama, our flight hit an turbulence and it was bad. I usually don’t fare well with flights because of Acrophobia and the turbulence freaks me out. The flight was shaking so badly that I thought we were going to die, my heart felt heavy and I was holding the arm rest tightly and taking deep breaths. I think I even screamed once or twice .

Other than this, our flight was good. We slept by 10.30 pm and I surprisingly slept well and got up only because they were ready to serve breakfast. The view of the sky from the plane was beautiful. The almost sun rise, the sky had the orange hue and it was amazing.

And then we landed in Auckland. All I could think was, “Finally, Vacation.” Little did I know that this was going to be a jam packed vacation that I would need a vacation from this vacation.