June 15, 2016

Magnificent New Zealand - Part 2

(Warning! This post is LONG. And full of pictures. Don't say I don't warn you okay?)


From Matamata, we then headed to Rotorua, which took us another hour. 
We stayed for 2 nights in Rotorua at Greenview Hotel (formerly Rotorua Motor Lodge), near the Te Puia where the Pohutu Geyser is located at. It’s around NZD 100 per night. And since the place is near the geyser, there's quite a strong smell of sulphur around, if you don’t mind it.

Back from buying food~
The salted caramel Tim Tam was sooooooooo good!
Dinner at Ali Baba

The initial plan was to explore Rotorua the next day but we decided to go for Bungy / Skydive in Taupo (an hour away from Rotorua) instead... I’m not sure if that’s a miscalculation from our side or not because we ended up only able to do Bungy only- due to the weather (it was raining and the wind was strong) we can’t proceed with the skydiving on the same day.

So in the interest of time, we only managed to visit the The Puia after we came back from Bungy jumping and visited the Museum the next morning before departed for Taupo and then Wellington.

In Te Puia, you will have the chance to experience the Maori culture and visit the Pohutu Geyser on the guided tour. They have different packages, you can check it out here: tepuia.com Our ticket cost about NZD 64


Waiting for the Hakka performance to start

The storage place. Notice how the Maori arts look similar to those in Sarawak?

Geyser! But this was small eruption

Kiwi bird museum. But it was so dark you could barely see it.... They spend most of their time sleeping XD

To be honest, if given more times, we would love to do these in Rotorua! Perhaps next time we’ll spend more time here!
  1. Agroventures ( agroventures.co.nz ) : Bungy jumping , shweeb and swoop!
  2. Rotorua Canopy Tours ( canopytours.co.nz ) : well, canopy walk and zipline! (the zipline tu yang exciting sebenarnya)
  3. Skyline Luge! ( skylineluge.com ) : Honestly, after a taste of Luge in Singapore, you’d surely want to experience this again! Afterall, this is the origical Luge!
  4. Zorb ( zorb.com ) : saw this when we reached Rotorua, on the way to our hotel and I thought it would be interesting to try this if we had the time.
  5. Agrodome ( agrodome.co.nz ) : The farm experience!
More interesting places : http://www.newzealand.com/int/rotorua/

And on 19th, we dropped by Rotorua Museum -which opens at 9 am- for some photos , before heading to Taupo.
The weather... didn't really look that promising right?

But we love the classic-ppoi building!

The arch-gate at the main entrance

Great Lake Taupo

Taupo in itself is an interesting place to actually stay at and explore ( greatlaketaupo.com/things-to-do/must-do/ ) And that includes Huka Falls River Cruise , Rapid Jets and River Rafting!

But the 2 main reasons we went there are for bungy jumping and skydiving! We bought our tickets via Air Extreme combo promo for NZD488  http://taupotandemskydiving.com/combos.html /  or http://www.taupobungy.co.nz/en/other-pages/deals-and-packages/air-extreme-package's/ ). We called up the day before and made payment and just went ahead the next day. For Bungy, it came with video of our jump, so I screen-capped mine here. For skydiving, the package comes with 15,000ft jump and an exit photo.

Taupo Bungy NZ ( www.taupobungy.co.nz ) was where we went and did our jump; the jump from a cliff over the beautiful Waikato River. They also have Extreme Swing a.k.a. Cliffhanger, which was so tempting as well! You can check out their package in the link. If you go over during summer, you’ll get the chance to be dipped in the Waikato River during your bungy!

When we went there, it was starting to drizzle and by our turn, it was actually raining (hence the unclear pictures). I had been dreaming of doing bungy jumping since I was studying in Perth back in 2003-2004, but never had the chance till now. But! As you grow older, you’re not that adventurous anymore you know, so I wasn’t exactly that brave to be honest XP The moment I stepped at the edge, I was like “what the heck have I got myself into?!” and if it wasn’t for the staff to count “1 , 2 , 3 , go!” I’d probably back off at the last minute!

If you change your mind at the last second, they won’t force you to jump (but you won't get back whatever you have paid laaa)

From far, that's where we'll do our jump

Up closer... well, not that close ^^;
The opposite view
Okay, this is up closer view XD
Jaja just did her jump, we're waiting for our turn
My turn!! Started to have palpitation here
See how tight I was holding the rope? I wasn't that brave okay. Berbekalkan adrenaline rush sket je.
Nervous smile before the jump
And OFF we goooooooooooooooooooooooo~~~
And the adrenaline rush never felt so amazing! XDD
-till I forgot to read the note before I jumped informing us to grab the pole... so yeah, air-head moment there XP
And we got our cert!
Muka puas hati lepas lompat ok!
I won’t show you my video because I was howling the whole time I was in the air XD Call it... literally screaming all the stress off my chest XD

Like I said, after our bungy, the weather didn’t look too good and we couldn’t skydive on the same day so we headed back to Rotorua and changed into dry clothes and just had ample time to visit the Te Puia. We checked the weather forecast and next day was expected to be partly cloudy but days and days after that it would be raining until the day we fly home, so we were really praying that next day would be good enough for us to jump.

We booked a slot for 10 am, reached TTS by 15 to 10 am. The wind was still strong so we had to wait for a while and was informed that we would probably proceed at around 11 am. Some who made bookings were called in as well and in total there were 7 of us initially.

The downside going nearing winter time was the rain and the wind. We can’t jump in both conditions- one of the groups that were waiting with us apparently had been in NZ for almost a week and nearly at every place they tried they couldn’t skydive because of the weather and when they heard TTS might be flying that day, they rushed in.

Came 12 noon, we were still waiting... We had to make a decision as to until what time we would want to wait- we still have to make our way to Wellington which was roughly around 4 and a half hours of driving. In the end, we decided to stay until 2pm... if we couldn’t jump, it was just not our luck to skydive in NZ (and maybe a sign for us to come back here? XD )

At around 1 pm, they informed us that they would gear us up first and if the weather clear up, we can proceed. Baru la rasa ada harapan sket… Thank goodness around half an hour after that, we were given the greenlight to jump! Oh, we upgraded our package to Gold Package (additional NZD 260) and received Platinum package (exit photo, handycam+pics, freefall cam+pics and a T-shirt) via their Autumn special. Why did we upgrade? Because it's once in a lifetime experience (I mean, really you don’t know when else you’ll get this kind of chance, right), you feel like you have to document everything!

Jumping with TTS was so awesome! They just had friendliest staffs, excellent tandem masters, the scenery was gorgeous and the whole experience was just.... breathtaking. My tandem master was Hamish and Andy shot my freefall video- they were both wonderful in making me comfortable and at ease. Zeti, Ira, me and another guy were the first group to go and each of us had our tandem master and another diver for freefall vids so at one jump, there were 8 of us. My initial excitement turned into nervousness once we reached up there but there was no turning back. It took me a few seconds to compute that I was freefalling after we took off but after that, it was just an unforgettable experience.

Even now, just recalling the whole process gave me an exciting adrenaline rush! XD So if you go to north island and planned for skydive, this is definitely the recommended place!

Waiting for the weather to clear up
Nervous + excited smile

Before the jump
Walking to board the plane

Mula2 excited, dah terbang tinggi baru nak rasa nervous!
My head was basically blank at this point of time
Until we jumped off-
All I could remember was 'blue... the sky was blue...'
and only a few moments afterwards that the brain was finally working again-
Thank goodness!
Missed the cue that I can let go of both hands XD

Hamish taking the handycam photo and that's Andy shooting my freefall video :D

And Hamish let me maneuvre the parachute after he opened it.
If you are not wearing glasses, you can take off your goggle afterwards

And it was bloody heavy that I couldn't even pull it until he helped me!
Preparing for landing~
And this guy has been doing this for the past 20 years!
Yeeeaaayyy! Thank you for making this an unforgettable experience!
Checking the photos afterwards
You'll get the cert afterwards; and you'll get all your vids and photos in the USB.

And why stop at pictures right? 

The freefall vids of all 4 of us

My handycam video

So after you’ve landed, they’ll quickly prepared your videos and pictures into the USB and if your package includes the T-shirt, you’ll choose your pick. Payment (if there’s pending) will be made after the jump as well. You can check your USB to make sure you get everything in your package- cool yeah?

So while we were doing that, our tandem masters and photographers were already on their next round of jumping!

It was almost close to 3 pm when we headed out, being hungry, we thought we stopped by the lake and eat- wrong move because it was so windy and so cold, we ended up eating in the car instead! But we did not leave Lake Taupo before a few mandatory photo shoot! (last group of photos for this entry, I swear!)

Konon2 nak lunch tepi tasik, but then angin kuat sangat and it was so cold!
Last2 makan dalam kereta (tapi menghadap tasik jugak). Jadi la kan.... XD

 Next : Wellington & Waitomo Cave

あの日のように 変わらぬように
We admired the flowing clouds
Nothing at all obstructing them
The colors of the sky we engraved in our memories
Are like that day and we hope it won't change
(Where should we go? To a place we haven't seen yet)
Time won't stop, Reach out your hand
[To Be Free, 嵐 ]