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Old 28th February 2014, 18:38   #76
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Default Re: New Zealand: End to End

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post
12-11-2014: Day 2 at Adventuretown
Couple of questions:

1. Are the first few pics from that GoPro2 camera?
2. What do you meaning by "planning carefully" for $5 king's breakfast.

BTW, is there anything at all available in NZ for less than $100? Every adventure, hotel, ride are all super expensive.

Thanks,

Prasad
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Old 28th February 2014, 18:46   #77
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Arrow Re: New Zealand: End to End

The last few where you can see me with the camera are from the Go Pro camera they have attached to a sling under the chute. Rest are all mine!

You buy provisions from a departmental store, cook your food in the room, you'd average 5$ per person per breakfast and between 8-10 $ for lunch. We usually pick up provision which lasts us for 3 days, for about 100 -120 $ excluding wine and alcohol. We are careful eaters, watch the calories, if anyone goes to town eating, with careful planning you can buy 3 days provisions for 2 pax in around 150 for 3 days. If you do the maths, 100 / 3 days / 3 meals for two pax is around 6 $ per pax / meal! Can't do that even in India! The vegetables, eggs, milk, fruits are cheaper there than in India, pick up rice from Auckland, you get Basmati rice, you can make lovely veg fried rice, puloa etc., with the right masala. We loved what we cooked and enjoyed each meal.

Activities are expensive, there are many below 100, around 80-90 but what the heck, Q town is the most expensive place in NZ and they survive with tourist money. Need to check out on the web what to do what not to do, we dropped the Hot Air Baloon, costs a bomb at 450$ per person and we had planned to do the Helihop at 400$ per person, but could not do it due to weather, so felt had saved lots of money

Quote:
Originally Posted by prasad14 View Post
Couple of questions:

1. Are the first few pics from that GoPro2 camera?
2. What do you meaning by "planning carefully" for $5 king's breakfast.

BTW, is there anything at all available in NZ for less than $100? Every adventure, hotel, ride are all super expensive.

Thanks,

Prasad

Last edited by ramkya1 : 28th February 2014 at 18:54.
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Old 28th February 2014, 19:22   #78
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Arrow Re: New Zealand: End to End

I am loading story and pictures fast now, not waiting to thread pictures into the story, that takes too much time! Those who are interested would read the story, most would want to look at the pictures anyway, so will answer specific questions.

================

Something interesting I forgot to mention, we tried our best to locate this thing around Wanaka but could not find it. Reportedly, the city council removes it on and off, but it keeps coming up again

THE CARDONA BRA FENCE:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardrona_Bra_Fence

========================

Nomad Safaris s one of the top rated operators for adventure there, well rated for the Quad trips. Again pricey at 245$ per person, you get a guiding tour, a friendly guide who stops on the way and explains the views, lands and history on a quad for every 8-10 quads, lovely tracks to the top of the mountain, excitement beyond compare!

http://www.nomadsafaris.co.nz/tours/quads/

We took the reach the Nomad parking lot and walk up to the office. The girl there says, we’re waiting for the pick up from the city to arrive in 15 mts, after which we’re good to go. In 15 mts the bus from the city arrives, they pick up from all over town and some more! We get into the mini bus 20 seater, 5 already there, we pick up 4 more from 3 different hotels all were waiting for the bus and were off in a jiffy, till we reach a hotel at the end of the town, a big time resort, the driver honked, nothing happened. He apologized and went in to the reception and came back and said the guest are coming down any minute now…. 10 minutes waiting, everyone starting to become restless, the narrow driveway of the hotel was soon congested, other guests arriving, parking etc., the driver cursed under his breath and took our bus out for a circle, by the time came back to the driveway again, the reception guys were waiting for the bus, but no guests!! They they come out....

Sure enough, we have 2 from Surat!


The typical rich guys, gold all over the body and blaring Govinda type branded things, no wonder people abroad sometimes keep away from us. This was the worst form of courtesy you can demonstrate outside our country, total disregard and disrespect to others time! We got to know them pretty well during the drive, very nice guys doing diamond trade, the incident at the hotel did not seem to bother them at all, heard them talking, “we’re paying good money, tourists are here to spend time, so what does a few minutes mattter?” . Just can’t understand how such nice guys are not sensitized to the paradigms to the world outside, that too in the Diamond Trade! Don’t have an answer to that, beats me! Was not a proud moment for us, we felt very bad as we make it a policy to stick to timings, respect the norms of other county and are super sensitive about the role models others see in us.

Our bus soon leave the city, another 20 kms into the woods, we reach a long green field with a wooden shed with lots of red Quads parked outside, your heart picks up the beat at the sight of that. Two guides take us inside the shed, gives you gumboots, inner gloves, gloves, skull caps, 10 helmets, jackets and pants, this is a must do procedure. The 400 cc, auto gear quads are monsters with huge power, about 10 of us in rows of 5 are lead out into a green field with ups and downs for them to check out who can ride and who needs to travel in pillion. The safety briefing was very thorough, these guys were pros. They separated us into experienced and slow riders, I was to follow Roger and the rest of the guys in our line behind me. The slow rivers were taken by another guide and Anu was put into that, they took a longer and less steeper route the top of the mountain.

Our group was taken through a steep 40% up and in some places 20 mountain track, climbed about 3K feets in about 15 kms through winding roads, dry lake beds, woods and into the open mountain track. 2-3 stops, Roger explained lots of things, the speed was never above 40 kms, but the Honda was gobbled up whatever track that was thrown to it. Half way up we met the slow group and then went to the top of the mountain from where we could see the entire country side for miles. We were given coffee, photos, wait for 20 minutes and then we all came down another track, regrouped at the shed. Was one hell of a day, only regret was me and Anu could not ride in the same group, but gave us a different experience. Both of us loved the experience. By the time we were dropped into the car park it was 6, we spent time at the waterfront till 8, watched the piano player and walked a lot to burn up some energy. A tiring, exhausting day, but a memorable one for sure!

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Last edited by ramkya1 : 28th February 2014 at 19:49.
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Old 28th February 2014, 23:55   #79
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Default Re: New Zealand: End to End

Hi ramkya1 ji, some of us do read the entire story but do not ask any questions

This time around I do want to know as to how did they segregate the drivers. Was it based on simple verbal exchange or did they make everyone take a trial run etc. ?
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Old 1st March 2014, 06:41   #80
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Arrow Re: New Zealand: End to End

Quote:
Originally Posted by khoj View Post
Hi ramkya1 ji, some of us do read the entire story but do not ask any questions

This time around I do want to know as to how did they segregate the drivers. Was it based on simple verbal exchange or did they make everyone take a trial run etc. ?
Thanks, great to hear someone does read the story, makes it worth the effort.

They have a backyard with a test track, levels, ups and downs, deep holes, circular track, sand and mud, each person has to do a full circuit, 2 guides watch you and instruct the right procedure like leaning to the opposite side on turns, using the right power, etc., they are pros and can sort people quickly, they do this daily. They also ask lots of questions on past history, we had done this in Cambodia, still they wanted to see us drive on the test track.

A clip from the drive up the Cardona Range and down to the other side to Queenstown, the highest main road in NZ, 7 hair pin bends, reportedly very windy in some section, was OK on the day we drove. They say, this is one of the most difficult, found the roads pretty good, this was like the Masanagudi bends of Ooty, a lot less steeper. Compared to the Gatta Loops or Hangroo Loops on the way to Ladakh, a very little brother. In winter with snow, chains are compulsory, many times this road is closed and people take the longer Cromwell road to Q Town. The best snow fields of NZ are on this range, many sections have LOTR locations on the way.




One of the oldest hotel in this region:

http://www.cardronahotel.co.nz/

We saw this on the way up, but did not stop as we had to reach Q town and spend time there.

------

Last edited by ramkya1 : 1st March 2014 at 06:55.
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Old 1st March 2014, 23:48   #81
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Arrow Re: New Zealand: End to End

Enjoy the raw & electric sounds in and around Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown and life around it.....



Select HD if you have the bandwidth to enjoy the full quality.

====

Last edited by ramkya1 : 1st March 2014 at 23:55.
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Old 2nd March 2014, 08:36   #82
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Default Re: New Zealand: End to End

This is one stunning travelogue! I have enjoyed every bit of it. The commentary, the images- they are all amazing. Thank you for sharing, I will surely come back for several revisions
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Old 3rd March 2014, 22:41   #83
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Thanks BasitAlvi, do come back!

========

Posting one more link on Piano Man, Mathias making magic at Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu waterfront.



==========
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Old 3rd March 2014, 23:48   #84
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14-11-2013: From hereon is the part where most tourists are confused, decision dilemmas, so many combinations possible, people end up doing suboptimal coverage. Most travel advisories are dead against driving Q-town – T Aneu to Milford Sound and back to Q-Town, a very challenging and long long drive if you have to do it in one day. Let’s look at possibilities.

The distances, Q-Town to Te Aneu, 170 KMs, 2 hours without stops, I would plan for 3 as you need to stop for photo ops. Te Aneu to Milford, 120 kms 90 mts without stops, mountain roads, photo stops, tunnel, so best to plan for 2 hrs minimum. So, Q town to Milford, you’re looking at 300 KMS 5 hours one way, drive up and down and a cruise is not a prescription on a holiday. There are coaches plying from Q town- Milford- Q town, doable but then they keep running, limited stops as they have to do the distance in a day. A chopper service operates from Q-Town to Milford and back, expensive and you miss the whole drive from Te Aneu to Milford, the best part of NZ drive.

Up to Milford and back is what most tourists do in NZ in southland. We decided on a different plan, drive to Te Aneu early morning from QTown, check in to hotel at Te Aneu, not many options there, just a transit town, drive to Milford, do the cruise, come back to stay at Te Aneu. After that is the most exciting part of the drive, few Indian Tourist would have done. Take the Menapouri, Riverton route or South Scenic Route, SSR which is longer, all country side and one of the most beautiful parts of South land, beauty of a different sort.

0700 AM: Check out from Alexis Motel, take HW6, follow long arm of Wakatipu for a long long time towards Kingston, lovely country, riot of yellow all the way, wide open country, grazing country in shades of green. Anu wanted a piece of drive, so she took over the wheels all the way to Te Aneu, I grudgingly settled down to listen to songs and watch the country zipping by. We cross Kingston, there’s an old steamer rail here, could explore if you get time. On to Dipton, turn right at Winstron on to HW 96, we did not stop much as the plan was hectic, we were in Te Aneu by 8 AM. The glassy lake, a taxi plane on the water and Hotel Distinction Luxmore right at the edge of the lake was too tempting not to take photos. We checked in at the hotel, beautiful, big and well located, but there was NO kitchen, only a coffee making machine and pricey at 130 $! We also met a guy at the reception form Delhi working there, was helpful for information. Lots of group tourists pass through here, you would find rooms difficult during high season, this is mostly a transit town.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Te_Anau

We check in and go to the gas station to fuel up. We were ecstatic to find an Indian Takeaway in the gas station and packed away doas and vadas for lunch! We also ordered the next day’s breakfast as we would be checking out and driving away into the hinterlands of the South. The take away is manned by a couple from South, we were very happy to speak Malayalan and Tamil in NZ, an unexpected pleasure!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Solge...822?ref=stream

The route to Milford is the most scene of all drives, true to its word, it was stunning. There were snow caped mountain, lakes, vast glass lands, twistiness, climbs, downs and forests something akin to the Uttranchal, special Almora drive. First stop, Mirror Lakes, true to its word, it was glass still and mirrored the mountains. We kept driving slowly, stopping driving, stopping driving until we cake to Monkey creek with a brook running down, we made a long stop there.

http://www.milford-sound.nz.com/milford-road.aspx

On the way there are so many places to stop, Knobs Flats, lake Gunn, The Divide for mountain buffs and climbers, Monkey Creek, Homer tunnel, The Chasm and then the Milford Sound.

At Monkey creek, we met the famous NZ bird, Kia, a big parrot native to NZ. This guy is pretty popular as he is supposed to be intelligent. Has an affinity to car beadings and anything flashy, he would peck away at shiny things. He perched on the top of our car but fortunately did not destroy the beadings of the car!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kea

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Last edited by ramkya1 : 3rd March 2014 at 23:50.
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Old 3rd March 2014, 23:59   #85
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Default Re: New Zealand: End to End

Have so many photos on this route, just selecting a few more... no photograph can do justice to the beauty of this route, has to be lived.

It's around the tunnel entrance and Monkey creek you're likely to see Kia the Parrot, so plan to stop here! Also this is an awesome photo stop near Monkey Creek, a small rivlet, lots of grass, snow covered mountains and place to park, if you have packed food this would be the place to eat.

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Last edited by ramkya1 : 4th March 2014 at 00:03.
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Old 4th March 2014, 00:51   #86
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Default Re: New Zealand: End to End

So finally you got your jump(s), time for a profile picture update!
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Old 4th March 2014, 07:36   #87
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Arrow Re: New Zealand: End to End

Quote:
Originally Posted by khoj View Post
So finally you got your jump(s), time for a profile picture update!
@ Khoj: I did do many Jumps in NZ, will collate all of them once I finish this T Log

=====

In the meantime, here's another link to a clip from high up in the Skyline into Lake Wakatipu waterfront. You'd see the Jet boat doing one of those famous 360 degree spins at 0330.



===

Last edited by ramkya1 : 4th March 2014 at 07:40.
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Old 4th March 2014, 13:22   #88
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Arrow Re: New Zealand: End to End

We stop at the Homer tunnel for 10 minutes for the light to go green, its one way inside the tunnel and about 4 kms, smooth run. The other side is sheer mountain green and wilder than this side, during rainy season and winter landslides are common, access to Milford remains closed for days. We stop at many places on the way for photo shoots and to enjoy the scenery, the road reminded us of the drive from Joshimath to Baradinath or the road on the other side from Guptkashi to Gaurikund, the trek to Kedarnath, sheer mountains, forests, drops to the other side of the mountain into rivers, snow- caps and the alpine cold smell. It was pretty cold for us at 5-7 degrees.

Milford sound to NZ is what Taj Mahal is to India, everyone has to see it. It’s a Fjord land a finger of Tasman sea jutting inland for 15 kms from the open sea. Some of the cliff faces are gigantic, breath taking and awe inspiring, the water falls, animal life and the cruise all auger for an unforgettable experience. Some of the landmarks on the cruise are, The Elephant, The Lion, Lady Bowen Falls and Stirling falls.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milford_Sound

http://www.fiordland.org.nz/About-Fi...ford-Sound.asp

1230 PM: We took 3 hours to do this distance with plenty of stops, I guess if you want to enjoy you need to plan as much, if not more. We reach the big car park at MS, walk to the reception; you have a choice of cruises, big, small and a variety thrown in between. Many cruises operate, you can do advance bookings, would be best in summer and peak times to lock up your seats. We did not as it was not a busy period.

Some of the top operators links under, with Jucy joining in recently and reported to be good. Most reviews suggested to choose smaller boats as they tend to go very near to the waterfall, though in practice they are all more or less same. Anything you choose around 80-100 $ per person would get you a 2-3 hr cruise which will cover the mountains, falls and animals there to see with a commentary through the PA system with coffee.

http://www.mitrepeak.com/

www.realjourneys.co.nz

http://www.southerndiscoveries.co.nz/

http://www.jucycruize.co.nz/

The Southern Discovery Red boat was small and cosy, about 60% full, so plenty of space to walk around. Fortunately we were rigged for the cold wind, by the time the boat was into the sea, the temp dropped down to around 3, the wind was a killer with razors, always be prepared with layers when going to MS and the cruise. We were on the open deck only when the boat neared waterfalls, seals and penguins and when the scene outside was magnetically attractive, it was too cold for comfort, we settled inside with a coffee and snacks. Most cruises have a naturalist (so they say) on board, who explains the story of the land and animals and keeps you entertained, you need to choose the cruise based on what you want out of it.

The drive to Milford and the cruise is everything that is reported and some more, a real journey to be lived. For those who have planned about 5 hours at MS, the underwater observatory would be worth a visit, children would love it.

http://www.milford-sound.nz.com/unde...servatory.aspx

Our 1 PM cruise ended around 4 PM, and we slowly walked back to the car park, claimed the car and drove back to Te Aneu.

Some tips: Try to reach MS before 0900 AM, as most coaches from far reach there around that tim, the rush starts, early cruises also have concessions. We feel a 3 hour cruise is enough to get most of the MS after which it could get boring if you have done boat trips, cruises earlier. If you have never done an overnight cruise, it would be worth while trying that out for a night. I would also spend more time on the drive form Te Aneu and explore all the side attractions, a whole days drive would be more like it. Pack your own food, have a picnic on the way and just chill.

On the way back, we took a stop only on the Knobs flats for a break, did the trip in 2 hours. The lake front right in front of Hotel Distinction Luxmore was inviting, we went out for a short walk. We were tired, had driven a long long way, stopped in many places and had done a cruise with a zapping wind, still the lake front was a magnet, the view was to kill for!

http://www.distinctionhotelsluxmore....xmore-location

Went to the Indian takeaway, packed lovely rotis, rice and curry, with ice cream and fruits it was a star Indian Dinner.
More exciting roads ahead the next day.

============================
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Last edited by ramkya1 : 4th March 2014 at 13:34.
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Old 4th March 2014, 16:13   #89
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Default Re: New Zealand: End to End

Those are some excellent captures ramkya1 !!

Just love reading your journey. Keep it going
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Old 4th March 2014, 19:20   #90
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Default Re: New Zealand: End to End

Sir jee, could not see the jet boat! But what beautiful vistas

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You'd see the Jet boat doing one of those famous 360 degree spins at 0330.
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