New Zealand

Choose Your Own (Māori) Adventure

With it being our last day in New Zealand, we booked a tour, which was scheduled to last the full day in Rotorua. First stop: Waitomo caves. Our humorous guide showed us through his ancestors’ ancient dwelling place, discerning the difference between stalactites (“holding tight to the ceiling) and stalagmites (“one day might reach the ceiling). He even sang for us a traditional Māori welcome song in the holiest depths of the caves, which were highly conducive to such an exercise. Naturally, it was also a place of prayer. After a brief tour, it was now time for the long […]

Harboring Great Grub

South Island’s natural beauty spoiled us so after spending several days there, we experienced a strange (albeit brief) culture shock when arriving back in Auckland. Diverse faces and food options, traffic lights, noise, and a faster pace were a sharp contrast to the tranquility of Queenstown. From the airport straightaway, we boarded a local bus into town and an hour later, we found ourselves winding the hilly cityscape to our hotel, The Quadrant (many musicians have stayed here while on tour!). The room was very quaint so despite having commuters fatigue we visited the bustling wharf and fish market, stopping […]

The Sound of Silence

“In the following moments please do not talk, make noise, walk around, or use any electrical device that will beep or chirp. Just listen.” These were the instructions given to us by our captain on our boat in the Doubtful Sound just before the engine shut off and we were left in the complete absence of any sound. Well… human-made sound that is. Bird song, water undulating, foliage rustling against the wind – that’s it. Without a doubt (wah wah), this was such a unique way to experience this Sound. We debated visiting Milford Sound, which is the other, smaller […]

Wanaka? … Sure!

Most forums and expert travelers have told us that we need a car to fully appreciate New Zealand. As full supporters of public transportation (thank you, 139) and drivers who hadn’t been behind the wheel in almost two months intimidated by backwards (read: left side) Kiwi driving, we wanted to avoid the task as much as possible. Enter the Connect-A-Bus. For less than the price of a daily car hire and the absurdly high cost of NZ gasoline, we honed in on our love for the bus. The Connect-A-Bus shuttled us from our apartment to the lovely town of Wanaka […]

Dart River FunYak Tour, the Slang Misnomer

Spoiler alert: Luckily, there was no yakking while kayaking! We eagerly arose at 6am, hopped on our bus and were greeted by Rosie, our driver and guide for the day. She tried her best to keep everyone entertained and informed throughout the drive, but the bus was a tough and silent crowd for most of the way. After picking up a couple more FunYak-ers, we took the scenic drive over to Glenorchy, which is a very popular route and a “must do” in the forums. Attempting that drive on our own would have been pointless in retrospect, considering how beautiful […]

Converting Vegetarians One “Big Al” at a Time

We promised more details with the infamous burger that often plagues cab drivers with intoxicating smells on the airport runs for tourists itching to squeeze in their last fix before departing. The only way it can be described, as cliche as this word has become, is epic! Feast your eyes on …the Fergburger! Three rounds, and countless pounds (both consumed and gained). Round 1: The Fergburger with cheese, and the Little Lamby with a side of fries (with all sauces), and Ferg’s Crumbed Calamari with wasabi mayonnaise Round 2: The Codfather and Bombay Chicken with a side of onion rings […]

Must We Leave?

R: [looking at fireplace] “Can we turn this on?” C: “Yeah, it’s electric.” R: [starts doing electric slide] Surely, we had a moment. A moment, which threaded the line between stressless bliss and reservation abandoned. The ingredients to this holiday brew were surely to blame. Between Bob Ross scenery and activity overload, the air was ripe with satisfaction. We perused the pamphlets over toasted PB and J’s and set off for the main office to book our excursions. With the next few days planned, there really was nothing left to do except to try out Amit-recommended Victoria Bitter (biggups!!), pop […]

Curiosity Killed the Fat

After a short domestic flight to Queenstown, we hailed a cab to our apartment rental and bam! “Can we move here.. for good..tomorrow!?” Check out the view, from our living room! It was immediately clear to us why all the hype surrounds South Island. With less than a third the population engulfed by multiple national treasures, New Zealand is very much a real life screen saver! Upon checking in, we loaded up on adventure pamphlets to weigh our thrill-seeking options. With so much to choose from, we started getting hungry and shuffled into town to see what was on offer. […]

Tower of Babelfish

Though we arrived in Auckland, it wasn’t necessary to settle in as we were planning on heading to Queenstown first thing the next morning. With just a night to hold us over, it was a “choice” (hi, New Zealand) chance to keep our pockets full in order to save our tokens for South Island. Enter Best Western. Close to the airport, free transfers, free internet and a plaza within walking distance sporting cheap eats and a liquor store, it was a no-brainier really. We spent most of our day planning the rest of our time in NZ and recuperating from […]