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Semi backpack trip to New Zealand from age 10 months old to 70 years old

I always get overwhelmed with traveling stories, but all the travel books sold in bookstore are mostly about “How to travel alone”, “How to travel extremely hard by myself”, “How far I can travel alone” and etc. How about travelling with your parents and children? Our journey will be more meaningful to travel together with them. Therefore this New Zealand trip was a family trip of 16 members (3 senior citizens, 8 adults, 2 kids, 2 toddlers and 1 baby). We had learned so much about travelling in a big group, we learned to be tolerant, more understanding, be grateful and always be a part of the team.

I would like to give all the credits for this New Zealand trip to my sister. She was the one who proposed and planned it, which had given us a brand new experience. Semi backpack trip meaning we really did stay in backpacker lodge, but it was not as scary as we thought it could be. It was the funniest experience to see only our family have members from age 10 months old to 70 years old at the backpacker lodge.

Now, let’s talk about New Zealand. What comes first into your mind when you hear about New Zealand? Without denial, it will be the beautiful and well kept natural flora and fauna. But how about younger generation think? I believe they will think of the extreme sports such as bungy jump, water rafting or parachute and etc. So my question is, do you think New Zealand suitable for senior citizens and kids that do not go for extreme sports? For your information, New Zealand has so much qualities and activities which made it a wonderful place for seniors and kids too. 

In this post, I will write about the places we had visited, list of accommodations, accommodation and transportation expenses and some parent travel tips too.

First of all, you must know what items must declare if you bring into NZ. Most of the traditional medicine products are forbidden, such as ointment (minyak angin). You better keep all your declare items into a bag, so that you can take it out without messing up other things in your luggage.



Expenses

Total accommodation spent for 10 nights = RM13,750

(RM916.70 per person – exclude baby)

 

Total 2 units of 8-seats Toyota Estima from Jucy = RM 6,600

Total Petrol spent =RM 3,600

Total car rental cost = RM10,200

(RM 680.00 per person – exclude baby)

 

Domestic flight from Auckland to Christchurch and vice versa (Jetstar) = RM4,686.27

( RM 312.40 per person – baby is free)

 

International flight (Air Asia) to and flo to Kuala Lumpur

Adult – RM1,695.08 (Additional of check in luggage RM334 per family)

Baby – RM250.00

 

Please check out a short video of our trip.

 

 

 

Here some of the places we visited.

 

Cape Reinga/ Te Rerenga Wairua Lighthouse walk, Northland region. 

This place is located at the Northernmost part of New Zealand, if you are traveling from Auckland, it will takes you 5-6 hours driving to reach this lighthouse. A short walking distance to the lighthouse, you will be able to see the outstanding view of the Northern coast. Stunning view of infinite ocean. We were too ambitious that we traveled to this most Northern part of NZ from Auckland in one day trip, we were exhausted. Therefore It is recommended to stay overnight and take some time to enjoy this beautiful scenery. 

Te Rerenga Wairua Lighthouse walk

 

Giant Te Paki, Sand dune, Northland region

This sand dune is located about 15km from Cape Reinga, it is a huge mountain of golden sand. It felt like walking into a desert of sand, you can rent sand board there and do sand surfing. Imagine yourself flying down the golden sand hill, it must be thrilled. Unfortunately we were late, therefore we did not try it.

 

Auckland city

My first impression on Auckland was it was a busy city with plenty Asian food restaurants. So it wouldn’t be a problem if you are craving for Asian food. We also bought manuka honey products in a shop name WAN FANG, the price was reasonable. The staff were Chinese, they can speak multilingual, they were very friendly, you can ask for discount if you purchase in bulk. Just in case you want to buy more manuka honey, you can buy it in airport too.

P/S: Please do not put all liquid products, such as honey or facial cream or gel in your hand carry luggage, but it’s ok to keep in the check in luggage. Secondly, if you have transit in Australia, and you would like to buy honey in the NZ airport, remember to ask the seller whether it is allowed to pass through Australia custom check.

 

Lake Tekapo, The Good Shepherd Church, South Island

This is a popular tourist site, a lot of couple came here for pre wedding shooting. This is a famous to view stargaze, but unluckily we didn’t got the chance, it was raining whole night during our stay.

 

Dunedin city, South Island

Dunedin is the second largest city in South island New Zealand. It is a beautiful and quiet city, and its Scottish heritage had make Dunedin so unique from the other places in NZ. Searching Dunedin street art is one of the popular free attraction. Experience 28 vibrant, whimsical artworks by local and international artists on the Dunedin Street Art Trail.

First Church of Otago
Street art
Dunedin train station

 

Royal Albastros centre, Dunedin

Royal Albastros Centre offer wildlife and cultural tours to visit the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross and little blue penguin colony. For more information about the tours provided by Royal Albastros centre, can visit to their website. Royal Albastros Centre

 

Speight Beer factory and Cadbury factory, Dunedin

These were educational visits to see the making process of local brand beer and chocolate. There is some rumors that Cadbury factory in Dunedin will be closed of business soon. It will be a loss if it is true.

Cadbury factory (free Cadbury chocolate products)

Available: 7 days a week

Tour length: 60 minutes

Ticket prices:

  • Adults: $22.00
  • Seniors/Students: $20.00
  • Children 15 and under: $16.00
  • Pre Schooler: $6.00
  • Family Pass: $55.00 (2 Adults and up to 2 children – 15 and under)

 

Speight beer factory (Includes free beer tasting)

Tour length: 90 minutes

Ticket prices:

  • Adult $29.00
  • Children (5-17 years, under 5 free) – $13.00
  • Family (two adults, and four children) – $60.00
  • Senior – $26.00
  • Student – $26.00


Free flow of Speight beers

 

Baldwin street. Dunedin

This is the world steepest road, trust me, it is really steep. One of our car able to drive up, but they were stuck as there was not much space for them to make a u-turn, while another car were stuck half way up and slowly reverse back to bottom. It was quite scary as the road was really steep. May be you can challenge yourself by driving up or you can just go up by walking.

 

Tunnel beach, Dunedin

This place is quite windy, make sure you put on extra coat and wear a mask. Remember to walk through the tunnel, then you will reach the other side of the l beach.

 

 Central Otago

Central Otago is famous with wine. So we visited a vineyard and bought Pinot at the price of NZ $25 per bottle. It was a very tasty and smooth Pinot. Later we had a wonderful lunch at one of the famous restaurant, Wild Earth Wine which was recommended by the vineyard owner.

Gold medal Pinot wine
Dine in Wild Earth Wine restaurant
Alexandra

 

Queenstown city

This is a popular tourist town, plenty of activities can be done here. Activities such as bungy jump, boat riding at Lake Wakatipu, take gondola to see Queenstown nightview, skiing and you can join plenty tour package here too.

Remember to try this famous Ferg burg, it was really delicious

Kawarau Bungy Jump centre

 

 Lindis pass

On the way to Mt. Cook, we stopped by this Lindis pass. Climbed up the steep hill and captured this amazing view.

 

Aoraki / Mt. Cook national park and lake Pukaki

Aoraki / Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand, this is the place you can see spectacular glacier view. Activities such as glacier explore tour, skigazing tour and helihiking tour can be found here. This was my favorite place, hope can stay a few more days to explore some of the walking tracks to see the beautiful stunning scenery.

Tasman glacier

crystal clear water of Lake Pukaki

 

List of accommodations

 

Jucy Snooze in Auckland

  • shared public kitchen and bathroom (indoor)
  • no heater in room, but in corridor 
  • clean bathroom and kitchen
  • quiet
  • walking distance to city of Auckland

 

Christchurch Airport Lodge Motel (Two bedroom unit ) 

  • bathroom and kitchen attached
  • laundry facilities
  • big playground for kids
  • room heater and beds heater.

*Free shuttle from airport to motel*

 

Arosa Lodge in Lake Tekapo (one bungalow unit with 5 bedroom) 

  • bathroom and kitchen attached
  • room heater, beds heater and fire pit
  • free laundry facilities
  • plenty toys for kids

All the kitchen helpers

 

Leith Valley Holiday Park & Motel in Dunedin

  • public kitchen and bathroom (outdoor)
  • Some units have kitchen, bathroom and heater. (different unit)
  • facilities and rooms were quite old
  • next to Ross Creek Scenic walk. 

Mantra Marina in Queenstown (Three bedroom deluxe apartment)

  • beautiful lake scenery 
  • full kitchen facilities
  • room heater and beds heater.
  • free laundry facilities

 

YHA in Mount Cook

  • shared public kitchen and bathroom (indoor)
  • shared room (you rent the bed)
  • room heater
  • clean and cozy
  • personal locker
  • baby friendly (provide baby crib)
  • public dining area allow you to make friends around the world

Top 10 Holiday park in Christchurch

  • Shared public kitchen and bathroom (outdoor)
  • room heater
public kitchen and toilet

Ducky friends visited us in the morning

 

 

Travel tips for parents

New Zealand is paradise for kids, a place they can get closer to nature, eating local grown fresh fruits and vegetables, making friend with the ducklings that visited us in the morning, hiking and become a little adventurer. Secondly, most of the accommodations or cafes in South Island have playground, toys and even diaper charging area for babies. In some of the groceries store, you can get free fruits for kids, so they can enjoy their fruit while you do the shopping. 

Things you should bring are face mask and glove, so you can avoid cold nose and hand when the wind are strong. If you have a baby, better bring your baby diapers too, the diaper price was quite costly. One more important thing to bring is sun block and sun glasses. New Zealand has relatively high UV levels, and one of the highest melanoma rates in the world.  

Met this friendly horse when we stopped by to eat our sandwiches.

 

From this experience, I felt it is best to visit New Zealand in slow paced. Do not rush to cover most of the attractions, do spend a few days at a place to enjoy the beauty of the well kept nature. We did not visit Milford Sound, a friend told me “You’ve never been to New Zealand if you did not visit to Milford Sound”. Alright, a little regret will make me want to go New Zealand again. Many activities we had yet to try too. But the most important thing about travelling is able to spend our quality time with our loves one. We had an incredible trip by exploring new things and overcome obstacles together. (yes, our car broke down on first day). 

Now it’s your turn to encourage your parent to be an explorer, bring your kids and start your adventure. 

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