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Old 19th January 2014, 22:24   #61
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Arrow Re: New Zealand: End to End

Nice to have your company in the journey, my comments in Bold:

Originally Posted by prasad14 View Post
I'm sure they are, thanks to stunning photos and great narration. Nevertheless, its definitely been a god send for me (and my family too would promptly take a look at every post and getting little impatient when we realize that April is still far away).

I can assure you your family will have a holiday of a life there time!

BTW, do you reco staying for a night in Wanaka or do Wanaka as a day trip
from Q-town?
If you're going down the West coast, MUST stay at Wanaka, you'd realize when I post the next segment. You need to travel the Crown range in day time to enjoy the scenes and Lake at Wanaka.

The only advantage I see staying in Q-town is that we can
sort of "settle" for 3-days in one motel, as against 1-day in Wanaka, pack-up and stay 2-days in Q-town, pack-up and move on. Also, how strict
are the motels w.r.t check-In/check-out timings - many seem to have a
10AM check-out and 2PM check-in?

They are thinn on staff in most Motels, mostly a couple run it and have 1-2 hired helps, have seen the couple also work as hired help is expensive. So they need time from 10-2 to keep the rooms ready, they do a very thorough job of the room EVERYDAY. Clean it, bed in proper place, sheets tucked in, electric blankets checked (most motels have one on each bed) and smelling nice, bulbs changed, very professional. Most places they'd allow you to stay for 1-2 hours extra and if you need more you can negotiate on the spot for a part settlement of the rent. It's better to plan for check out on time. Depends in April on the crowd and particular day you're there. If you want to check out late, talk to them early on when you arrive.


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Old 20th January 2014, 00:21   #62
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Arrow Re: New Zealand: End to End

Another section after the Haast bridge and till Pleasant flats with the river on the left in many places. Some sections on this stretch are incredibly beautiful... you can actually spend one week in and around Haast, trekking, camping or just chilling out. There are many camping sites, huts and very basic stay options all along if you can rough it out.

There are lots of OTR trails too, as I heard form one tourist at Q town, we saw many of them on and off, caught one crew at the end of this video.


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Old 20th January 2014, 12:17   #63
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Default Re: New Zealand: End to End

Dear Ramkya1,

Mesmerized by your pictures and clips and eager to see more of these. Waiting for details of the entire trip-in A Tabulated form-that is the cost factors as well as the Names of Motels/hotels though you have named them on various days. Planning a trip about the same time-Nov 14


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Old 23rd January 2014, 12:54   #64
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@ Jude: Tnx for your post. Will upload them in the end, need to work on more details there, hang in there.


11-11-2013: Wanaka to Q-Town. Wanaka deserves more than it gets! Living in the shadow of Q town, most people do not give it a second glance, but this is a true gen to be lived in. What is there in Wanaka? Get a size of this:

Wanaka Lake is a heaven of tracks, about 750 kms of it!! Mt.Aspiring NP is flush with walking tracks, glaciers and valleys. You can spend half a day a the Puzzling World, we lost 3 hours quickly there.


Got up early, had to wash the car, was dirty with about 1500 kms drive, gave it a thorough wash, Wanaka was cold at 9 degrees in the morning, so was the water, but was worth it. By the time, I finished, breakfast with toast, jam, omelet, fruits with hot coffee was waiting. Had a quick bath, pack, put it in the car, check out etc., is a routine by now, all down to a routine of 1 hour maximum for me and Anu now. We were out and heading towards puzzling world by 0830 AM, it opens early and we wanted to finish quickly, see the lake and head out to Q town ASAP.

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Cardona range is the short route, scenic route and full of twisties. Need to avoid if there's lot of rain and snow, could be lethal in snow! Would post picture of this drive in the next segments.

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Puzzling world is a must see at Wanaka, children would love it. We spent quite a lot of time inside the maze, ultimately we had to use the emergency exit to get out. The illusion room room was the best part, lots of other things there to experience.

See for yourself.

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Found this beauty in the Motel, belongs to the owners:

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Last edited by ramkya1 : 23rd January 2014 at 13:03.
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Old 23rd January 2014, 13:24   #65
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Default Re: New Zealand: End to End

More clicks from Puzzling world, only selections...

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Trying our luck at solving puzzles. Anu could solve most of them, I don't have the patience

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Another 4x4 beauty!

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Lots of these everywhere in NZ, most popular camper.

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The funniest toilet in the world. The most photographed one in Puzzling world!

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Trying my luck at lifting the tower!

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This 3 lt GV was sitting there asking to be clicked!

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The green mini camper from Jucy, OK for two people, is also the most popular mid-size one you see all over NZ.

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What all do you get to see inside? Have a look...

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Last edited by ramkya1 : 23rd January 2014 at 13:40.
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Old 23rd January 2014, 15:26   #66
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Arrow Re: New Zealand: End to End

Lake Wanaka, what can I say that has not been said before? Little! We just spent about 2-3 hours on the lake side, one can loose a day easily, there are facilities to have a full picnic. We saw many families spending time and having fun. Linky again:


Maybe the picture would speak...

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The most photographed tree in Lake Wanaka:

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Crown Range road: Highest main road in NZ at 3700 feet! Winds its way up, at a lookout you can see Arrowtown and Lake Wanaka below you. The peak is further up from where below you can see Q-Town some part of the Lake Wakatipu. Early into the climb you would come across Hotel Cardona, one of the oldest in this area. Many people prefer to take the faster and longer route through Cromwell.


The forums scared the pants off you when you read about the range, something like the Honister pass at Lake District, UK. It turned out to be NOTHING, as the road was dry and was no challenge at all! I am sure in snow, this could be a killer, but other times, even in moderate rains, anyone can drive through, the road is so good, well maintained, marked and people drive with extreme caution anyway. For us, anyone who has driven our hills, this would be a back hand job. The scenery was to kill for..

I was so pissed off with the anti-climax.. we decided to push off to Q town and enjoy what's there. Was a good decision. This a just a good hill road with a good scenery during the time we drove through.

Anu wanted a spot of driving, handed over the car grudgingly.. on the road to Frankton and Queens town.

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Some pictures below of the Crown Range and the twisty roads:

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Old 26th February 2014, 22:19   #67
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Been snowed under with work and personal commitments. Sorry I did not respond to some mails on this, picking up the story form where I left it, hope to complete it this time.


11-11-2013: Still on the day we started from Wanaka through the Crown Range to Q-Town. When we reached Alexis Motor Lodge, http://www.alexisqueenstown.co.nz/ it was about 3 PM. The check in was smooth, they were expecting us, rush was light at Q town, we were staying for 3 nights, so they give us one of the very best big rooms looking out to the lake, the view was… awesome.

Motel was a little away from town but in a very quiet place, lots of walks around, the lake Wakatipu just down the road. From the room and form the balcony you can spend lots of time looking out to the lake and the boating activity. Great place to stay. Facility wise too, this was one of the best we had in NZ, the kitchen was superb with whatever you want for great cooking. This was also the kitchen with the best view in the world!

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Lake Wakatipu http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Wakatipu is one of the longest in NZ and also the most beautiful reported and as seen by us. Lots of sporting action on the lake, we discovered this is one ofd the most vibrant lake fronts in NZ, life, energy, music, sports, action, culture, food, you name it its all there. Anyway, no way you’d miss the lake once you’re in Q town.

After settling down, we found the day still bright and wanted to make the best of the Q town, this is the Adventure World Capital! Picked up the brochures from the reception and called Shotovoer Jet, they said we’re open common in. As we had a car we decided to drive out to the place, the GPS pointed the road clear to their place and we were there in 30 minutes of slow drove. From Qtown, you drive to Gorge Road, Arthurs Point and Coronet Peak, cross over the small bridge and on your left you’d find the office and launch base of the jet boats.

Who has not heard of the world-famous Shotoveor Jet? http://www.shotoverjet.com/ This is one of the must do actions in Q Town. The jet boats, twin engine, 350 HP each, does about 70-80 KM on a cull clip, goes through narrow gorges, does 360 degree spins and you get splashed on plenty. They give a life jacket, splash jacked but no helmets! I know what the cold winds would do to my face, head and ears, so had a tight cap on, good that we did, the wind was cutting, the water was cold and with your mouth open with the thrill of the ride and screaming, lots of wind would travel down to your gut in no time. This was one of the highlights of our tour.

The ticket is pricey...

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Old 26th February 2014, 22:41   #68
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Default Re: New Zealand: End to End

Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post
Been snowed under with work and personal commitments.
Great to see you back. Thought you lost interest. Great pics and narration as always. Waiting for the next part.

Do you recommend Alexis Motel in Qtown for my family too?


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Old 26th February 2014, 23:53   #69
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Originally Posted by prasad14 View Post
Great to see you back. Thought you lost interest. Great pics and narration as always. Waiting for the next part.

Do you recommend Alexis Motel in Qtown for my family too?


Prasad: Thanks. Absolutely!! Book in early and take the corner room which we took, view to die for! At night and early in the morning, when you pull the blinds back and look out, it's a fairy tale scene, you'd feel truly blessed.

Hire a car and then you don't have to walk to attractions, hopefully.


Actually, the best part of our journey starts from here. Most of Q town and rest of our journey, many parts which many package tours / Indians DO NOT DO, the photographs are good, but do not hold a candle to the actual scenes.

I am hurrying through the story, though I want to write so much form hereon, the photos will speak better! The best part of our tour by any standards, the beauty of Southland would take your breath away. I was singing under my breath most of the way, my heart was swelling with joy and I was so lost in the land, Anu reminded me she was there too

Queenstown: Playground of NZ, Adventure Capital of NZ, Triology playground, 220+ adventure activities, one can go on and on. The life of the city has to be lived to understand i! Life, excitement, joy, silver through the veins, wine through the arteries, soulful street music, heart-in-mouth para-sailing, Leuge ride, mountain bike, quad and what have you!


Around 9 AM after soaking in the views around us, we drove to skyline luge, another must do in Qtown. Parking can be a pain, the area around here is filled with cars form tourists wanting to park near the gondola station, but nobody out of line! We were there during the shoulder period, low crowds, I don’t want to imagine the situation in peak times, I guess you’d have to park at least 2-3 kms away or walk all the way. We took a combo ticket, one for the sky lift and 3 rides each for me and Anu.


The lift itself is something, you can see all around you and lake Waitipu peppered with boat rides, steamer and the waterline a beehive of happy people. The skyline restaurant is pricey, we skipped that and went in on the next stage of the lift that goes up another 800 mtrs to the Luge. This is a 3 wheeler that goes down fast and twisty, an awesome drive down the mountain track, but safe as the controls are simple.

Let the photos speak for themselves.

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Old 27th February 2014, 21:35   #70
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The luge and exciting trip over, we spent lots of time on the observation deck, the bungee jumping deck was directly below us, we watched in awe many people trying it, unfortunately, the doctor had clearly said, no bungee, you’re just had an operation! So I let that one ride and did not want to tempt fate, we still had about 9 more days to spend in NZ.

Around 2 PM we got back to the Motel, enough time to make lunch, eat take a cap nap till 5 PM and go to the Wakatipu lake front to catch the action there, it would not get dark till late, around 8 PM, long days still, will get longer in months to come.

At 0530 PM we circled and parked at a place which said 120, we thought it’s a lot number, an expensive mistake, for which we got ticketed 20$, which we realized much later. Most places there have boards like 15, 30, 90, 120 etc., we thought they were lot numbers, they were actually the time allowed to park, they have not put minutes there, so arguably, the system was not right! Anyway, that’s a story that would come much later.

The waterfront is an electric place, side walk cafes, milling life, people singing, street performances, jumpers of all kinds, people just gazing out into water, necking couples, you can easily spend a whole day there just doing nothing. Let the pictures speak for themselves. I’ve about 300 pictures form here, so selecting a few.

Got to talking with a HD biker, his blue bike below, he has traveled extensively in India and his wife a teacher there. I talked about Ladakh and bikes, and Anu talked schools to his wife, we spent about 2 hours over coffee, a great guy, friendly, we would keep in touch with Ben for sure.

Found an amazing piano player on the promenade, all his own works. Have taken video of some of his songs, awesome is an understatement. If you are musical, you can spend hours watching him play, you can also buy his CD'S, a real master at work.

There were jumpers galore, some trying out out on a stretched out rope, all kind of rope tricks, great photo OP against the setting sun!

We spent time till 0900 PM, took the car and went back to the Motel, took the movie Sound Of Music from the reception, just for old times sake and enjoyed the day over a glass of wine.

A memorable day which went on and on unfolding its wonders, one of our best days again in NZ, specially because we met Ben and his wife, kindred souls.

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Old 27th February 2014, 22:15   #71
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Default Re: New Zealand: End to End

Beautiful pictures and wonderful narration. Do keep the story coming. Hope to visit someday and drive north to south.

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Old 28th February 2014, 00:11   #72
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So you found jumping jacks in the other hemisphere too!
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Old 28th February 2014, 01:08   #73
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@ Saji: Thanks, it's wonderful if you can do a end to end there.

@ Khoj: I was surprised myself to see so many jumpers in Q Town, must be the water there


The Piano MAN... Reminded me of the old classic by Billy Joel!


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Old 28th February 2014, 18:09   #74
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An interesting video from Wanaka, Puzzling World.

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Old 28th February 2014, 18:22   #75
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12-11-2014: Day 2 at Adventuretown: Get up lazy, black coffee by the deck, watch the sun slowly rising behind the mountains around 6 AM, wonderful day break on to the lake, life and people waking up around the lake, birds singing, kayaks out, joggers plodding on, dog walkers, the morning chill creeping into your bones… what a setting! Dream Scape!
The breakfast was great. Bread, omelet, milk, fruits, slow and enjoyable breakfast on the deck watching the lake. Lots of department stores in Q town to replenish your kitchen, you can have a Kings breakfast if you plan carefully, all under 5$ per person!

We call the Paragliding company,


they say come along around 9 and we’d set you up. We leave early at 0830 AM, reach the waterfront and wait for the Paragliding guys, small 2 man outfit, not ready by 9, so we wait. Not many people around, people are still at the lazing stage, we get one more Australian couple who want to join in with us, the guys asks us, can you wait, we’d catch breakfast around join in? We said OK, had the entire day to kill, sitting on the sand there was wonderful, watching stragglers passing by.

At 10, we strap up, harness on the deck attached to the chute and rope, the boat roars away and we are up 500 mtrs above the ground. It was cutting cold, we were flying, the sights from up there was to kill for, the blue lake below, mountains all around, flapping wind, sound of the outboard and even people around! They take you around for 30 minutes, reduce speed and our chute comes down almost into the water, we got a scare of our life, getting into the freezing water of Lake Wakatipu is not our idea of fun! They guys were having fun, they speed up and we’re up again! In 30 mts they winch us down to the deck and strap on the Australian couple! We sit on the deck and go for another around with the other couple up in the air. Exciting activity that keeps you tingling all over! By the time we’re done its abut 1130 AM. The GoPro2 camera on the Parasail takes pictures every 30 secs, so they gave us the CD free being the first customers of the day, otherwise, its another 30$ !

We look for the Indian Restaurant, right in the middle of the business district. The food was OK, we had Rotis, Kadai Paneer, Dal, rice and pappads and ice cream! After Auckland, first Hotel Lunch in NZ, comes pricey, each dish is about 20$ so we blew up 120$ in no time, was OK for a change. The food tasted so good, in reality it was average by Indian Standards for the price. Auckland had better value for money. We reach the Motel by 0200, relaxed some and got ready at 3 PM for another adventure for which we had planned for months, something we had done earlier at Cambodia and jnjoyed thoroughly! The Quad Safari.

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