Month: October 2016

My kind of NZ Town is a toss between a Queen and an Arrow

When I have already spent a couple of days in New Zealand, I was starting to realize that this fresh country is giving Japan (my most favorite country) a good run for their money.  Everything seem so fresh, nice and clean in New Zealand.  Crime rate in NZ is basically nil like that of Osaka and even the public toilets were as clean as those found in the Nippon country.

Actually, I have long realized that if I will be given the opportunity to live in Japan, without a batting an eyelash, I would easily choose Osaka.  But in New Zealand, it would be a toss between two awesome towns.  I would like to live either in Queenstown or Arrowtown.

who would not want an afternoon sight like this
who would not want an afternoon sight like this
colors of queenstown
colors of queenstown
seating by the bench...
seating by the bench…

Queenstown is a bit small in terms of size and population for it to be considered a city, but the vibe and energy it displays is sweepingly large in scale.  I particularly loved the cosmopolitan restaurants.  The multi-ethnic offerings of these restaurants to its residence and visitors are impressively wide ranging.

No one should get bored when staying in this modernized town.  From bungy jumping to jumping off a plane or riding a crazy rough speedboat, Queenstown can be considered as adventurer’s haven.  But what I particularly love about this town is that aside from doing adrenaline-filled activities, you can take time to a slow down.  You can simply find a lakeside bench and engross yourself to the beauty of the nature.

early arrowtown spring
early arrowtown spring
colors of arrowtown
colors of arrowtown
taking it easy at arrowtown...
taking it easy at arrowtown…

Arrowtown on the other hand is a quaint little town just minutes away by car from Queenstown.  The tree-lined avenues (which I suspect changes its looks and color depending on the season) as well as the fashionable shops at the main road (Buckingham Street) are two of the nicest areas that this town boasts about.  And like Queenstown it also has a wide array of excellent restaurants.

This historic gold-rush town seem to possess an alluring character that is uniquely of its own.  It is so charming we actually drove twice in this town to further explore the sights and we even walked a short riverside nature trail to breathe some of the freshest air on earth.

Arrowtown has a much slower pace as compared to Queenstown.  Another impressive character of this town is that it is uncrowded. I suppose this is the place that Queenstown locals go to if they wish to have some quiet time for themselves or with their family.

I live at the most densely populated city in the world.  There is never a day in my city that I would not see a human being.  Everywhere I look, everywhere I go and everywhere I smell there is someone near me.  Thus, the uncrowded yet colorful places like Queenstown and Arrowtown for me are true gems of a place.

Samdey… samdey… titira din ako dyan!

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Glacial Facial at Milford Sound

Milford Sound has been considered as the most visited tourist place in New Zealand.  It is the crowning jewel and quintessential spot of New Zealand.  Many visitors say that it is the most beautiful place they have ever seen.  It so beautiful, it is usually included in blogs and publications that enumerates the places to go to before an earthling dies.

Milford Sound is a body of water, thus, one has to take a boat ride to really appreciate its beauty.  And that’s exactly me and my friends did.  We took the tour as operated by Southern Discoveries which is inclusive of a sumptuous buffet lunch served right inside the boat.  It was actually a smooth connection between the 5-hour bus ride and that of the ship ride.  No worries, no hustle and surprisingly, no overcrowding!  Everything went smooth and organized.

cruising...
cruising…

And when the boat embarks into the water, further excitement about my NZ experience sets in.  The sights of the Sound were just gorgeous.  Limestone cliffs, snowcapped mountain peaks, amazing waterfalls and the clear water of the fiords were all so stunning.

I particularly loved the part when the boat would get so near the waterfalls throwing water down the sides of the sheer cliffs.  And according to the boat’s tour guide and narrator, water coming from above the cliffs were actually melted glacier from the mountains.  The narrator told all passengers to be ready to get wet and secure a raincoat because the bow of the ship will go right underneath the pounding falls.

The up-close look of the waterfalls were simply spectacular!  Only when the ship maneuvered right at the bottom of the falls did I realize how high, how strong and how massive the waterfalls were.  The sprinkling, the shower, the downpour of the glacial water on my face was something to behold.  I totally agree with the boat narrator’s description that the feeling would be like having a “glacial facial”!

Another add on about the Milford Sound cruise were the animals that tourists got to see.  We were unfortunate that we did not see pods of dolphins or rare penguins.  But what we found were lazy seals sunning themselves on low lying rocks.

getting ready for my glacial facial!
getting ready for my glacial facial!
strike a pose!
strike a pose!

Me and my friends were just too glad to do a 2-hour Milford Sound tour!  We were so happy that such an amazing place with all its natural splendor really does exist!

Kakaibang pasyal na may peyshal!

The One Thing I Dislike About NZ

It’s been a week that I’ve been back in Manila and I have been struggling to identify what I dislike about New Zealand.  Everything seem to be so likable in that country: the people, the culture, the color, the weather, the food, the sights, the fresh air.  And finally I come to realize that at least I dislike something about the country whose slogan is “100% Pure”.

While watching a top ten scariest commercial flights in modern time video on Youtube, I suddenly came to realize that the one thing I hated about New Zealand is this…

Though it’s not bad, its definitely no good!  Yeah Air New Zealand, though they offer really nice airline services and facilities, got a very tacky and seem to be tasteless type of an airline safety video.  Though the video seem to have high production value and definitely thinks out-of-the-box in terms of catching a passenger’s attention, for me, the present NZ safety video is downright corny and at times annoying.  Too bad, my recent Air New Zealand fight featured this safety video.

I was actually looking forward to this epic type of a video when the flight attendant told all passengers to focus our attention to the screen…

If it was this cool and iconic 2014 LOTR-based safety video, it would be the first time that I would clap so hard and shout “Bravo!” over an aircraft’s safety video right inside the airplane.  Hahaha!  I know that the idea of the safety video is to get across the safety information to people but passengers (especially those seated at the economy class like me) I guess also needs to be entertained.

But honestly, I love New Zealand…

100% pure
100% pure

Ang kyut no. Sana ganyan din sa PAL.

 

Ridiculously Stunning Views: The Road to Milford Sound

Referred to as the 8th wonder of the world by Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling, I have zero idea on what and where is Milford Sound.  But with my recent visit to New Zealand, I can attest to what Rudyard Kipling has tried to imply.

The journey to Milford Sound from Queenstown (where me and my travel buddies were based) in New Zealand took about 5 hours.  But I can actually consider the 5 hour ride that we took (through a tour group bus) to Milford Sound as one stunning experience.

super cool bus...
super cool bus…

Reaching Milford Sound by land was half the fun of my Milford Sound encounter.  It is because the road to our destination is extremely scenic.  I can’t remember the number of times I uttered “Wow!” in the entire duration of the bus ride.

Part of the rewarding experience of the bus ride are the bus stops.  The modern and transparent ceiling bus would pull over so that passengers can go down, breathe the freshest air, take a short stroll and snap some awesome photos.

Three of the amazing stops that I particularly loved most were:

Egliton Valley

gorgeous! (parang ako)
gorgeous! (parang ako)

Monkey Creek

monkey!
monkey!

Mirror Lake

can't believe that I made this shot!
can’t believe that I made this shot!
picture muna
picture muna

I  definitely agree with most visitors of New Zealand declaring that the road to Milford Sound is one of the most scenic road trip on the planet.  This is particularly true on the super scenic State Road 94 which is the road between Te Anau and Milford Sound.

Can you just imagine? I am not even talking about my exhilarating experience yet in Milford Sound itself.  I was just talking about the road to this heaven of a place!  If given another opportunity, I would definitely do another bus ride to Milford Sound, may it take 5 or 6 or 10 hours and be amazed again by the beauty of these stunning places.

Mapapa-iyak ka sa wow!

Window Seat, Scenic Flight, Happy Me

With the pretty numerous travels I had, domestic and abroad wise, I developed the preference of being seated at an aisle seat.  I am no longer the kiddo who prefers to be assigned at a window seat and stick my nose on the glass window every time the plane has to take-off or land at its destination.

My reason for particularly preferring the aisle seat is because I hate excusing myself from other seated passengers when I need to stand and proceed either to the pantry or the toilet of the airplane.  Seating on the aisle seat also gives me the pleasant feeling of being seated at a much bigger space! I can even extend my “long-legged” legs towards the aisle especially during the hours when lights are off and almost all passengers are in deep sleep.

But in my recent trip to Queenstown New Zealand, I was left with no choice but to rest my skinny butt at the window side of an airplane.  It is because the airplane that I, Joesel, Karen and Denton took was a small cessna plane that goes around the Queenstown region.  It is so small it does not have an aisle and only fits us and the pilot.

happy inside the hangar
happy inside the hangar
the gang! (banggang)
the gang! (banggang)
pilot alex assisting denton on his seat...
pilot alex assisting denton on his seat…
selfie muna
selfie muna
up!
up!

I consider my sitting at the window side for this specific flight as the most stunning flight I have ever had so far.  It’s a stunning 30-minutes flight that features the beauty of the whole of Queenstownship, the grandeur of the Gibson Valley region, the quaintness of Arrowtown, the intricacy of the Shotover Canyon, the serene Wakatipu Lake and the majesty of the Remarkables mountain ranges.

This scenic flight gave me goosebumps! I never expected that I would be so blessed to breathe, smell and see for myself up in the sky the magnificent beauty of Queenstown, New Zealand!  Only a crazy stupid soul will complain of being seated at the window side when the dazzling view out in the open would be an astonishing beauty such as this.

Sobra sobra! Owber sa ganda!

Awesome KJet was not in My Bucket

Bucket lists allows people to hammer our their thoughts, determine their hearts desires and resolve what the bones would want to feel.  It is a unique and distinct reminded of what sort of awesome things we want to accomplish, what terrain our feet desires to step on or what our eyes would want to see.

One of the items in my long and complicated bucket list is to see, feel and breathe New Zealand.  Which recently, with the blessings from the holy heavens, I have accomplished.  I could not ask for more when my feet walked the streets of Queenstown, breath the freshest air of Glenorchy and chomp on the luscious dishes of Arrowtown.

And throughout the visits in these lovely towns of New Zealand, I did not expect that I would be engaged in one awesome circumstance!  My visit, my plans and my list of things to do in NZ did not include my riding the KJet.  And I’m glad I did!  KJet is an exhilarating 1-hout jet boat ide on the deep crystal blue waters of Lake Wakatipu, the turquoise-colored waters of Kawaru Rivert and the shallow channels of Shotover River.

adrenaline rush
adrenaline rush
unforgettable ride...
unforgettable ride…

My riding the KJet has been one of the many awesome highlights of my visit to New Zealand.  The fast adrenaline rush was just spectacular!  Me and my friends particularly loved it when the expert driver would like throw the boat around and would do a 360 degree spin!  Add to this exhilarating ride are the stunning views of the remarkable snow-capped mountain ranges of New Zealand! The gorgeous view heightens further the already spectacular ride!

kjet groupie
kjet groupie
awesome!
awesome!

Here’s how fast and thrilling the jet boat ride is…

KJet was not in my bucket list, but this awesome thrilling ride will definitely be remembered…

Grabe! Ambilis-bilis! Angganda-ganda!

Unbelievable Photos in Glenorchy

I am convinced New Zealand literally has some of the most stunning sights on earth!  Everywhere you look, the view is ‘exploding’ with awesomeness!

Two photos (not just one but two) taken during my New Zealand adventure that everyone doubts its authenticity are these…

wharf shed in glenorchy
too beautiful!
is this for real?
is this for real?

Every time I would show these photos to friends and colleagues, they could not believe that such a stunning and beautiful place really exist.  Common comments I receive upon seeing these photos is that I just stood in front of a big backdrop of a very well executed painting or a massive high-definition printed tarpaulin or that such photo was a product of someone’s drawing and that I simply superimposed my body to make it look real.  Everybody says it’s too good, it’s too perfect and it’s too beautiful for a place to be existing here on earth.

But the thing is… these photos are 100% real.  This place is called Glenorchy which is located at the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu, the longest lake and 3rd largest lake in the southern island of New Zealand.

Thanks to my super friend Joesel who captured the perfect natural color and lighting, the perfect composition and the perfect texture using just my Samsung Note 5 mobile phone.  All these makes these photos seem to tell awesome stories.

an addition to my ref magnet collection
an addition to my ref magnet collection
iconic..,
iconic…

I actually was stunned to find a souvenir ref magnet being sold in a nearby souvenir shop that features the very site where my photos were taken.  According to the lady who was manning the store, the red wharf shed is considered one iconic spot in this unbelievably beautiful town! She said that the massive red painted shed is considered to be the hub of Glenorchy at the turn of the century.  It was built to receive supplies from Queenstown brought into the town via steam boats.  I was so awe-stricken, I just have to purchase the ref magnet so as to own my little piece of Glenorchy.

Nakaka-laglag panga sa ganda!