Everyone knows Aukland, Christchurch and Queenstown as popular holiday destinations, but if you are touring the Islands of New Zealand don’t overlook the capital, Wellington. It is worth a stopover and a little wander. The first place to investigate is Cuba street, which is central to the city and just a short walk from the harbour.
Cuba street is renowned for it’s cool cafes and funky eating houses. And if you are looking for interesting gifts you can meander the street checking out the little shops along the way. There is plenty to keep you enthused as local entrepreneurial designers survive by mixing up their own locally produced wares with quirky eclectic products from other parts of the world.
To get an overview of NZ’s rich culture and heritage head to Te Papa – their National museum. This is a fantastic building filled with contemporary and Maori exhibitions, artworks and displays. Start at the top viewing level for spectacular harbour scenery, then wander though the four stories of artefacts. If you love museums you will want to allow at least half a day here.
After a nice meal, stretch and more nick knack treasures packed to take home, you will be ready to hop back into the hire car or winnerbacker and head for the big local attraction, Lord of the Rings ‘Weta Cave‘, before heading to ‘Hobbiton‘ closer to Hamilton …nothing like a road trip, right!
When you think of Indonesia people of think of a relaxing holiday in Bali. But in a country with more than 220 million people, a richly diverse cultural and geographic landscape to explore, why would you stop your journey in Denpasar? For an adventure of a lifetime get away from Bali and head to Mt Bromo on Java Island, just like our mum just did. Here is her recap.
Fly into Mt Bromo itself or hire a car, driver and a personal guide ($300 for the lot) and get picked up from your hotel and transferred through to Mt Bromo National Park. Here, the local indigenous people of the mountain run the monopoly on entry and tours. Upon a arival, the guide and I transferred to a rustic jeep, driven by a local guide and were taken over a very bumpy and steep road up to the sunrise position. It was an amazing site to see the volcano emerge out of nowhere between 4.30 and 5.30am.
We then found our local guide and travelled in the jeep down to the Bromo Plains, which is like driving across the moon! The sulphuric volcanic dust is very strong, so a face mask or scarf is essential. The path across the plain is so powdery meaning the jeeps cannot go the whole way. Once there you have to decide whether to walk (very difficult) or ride a horse (amazing) so of course I took the horse (about $150 to reach the base of Bromo). After passing an amazing and very old Hindu temple I ascended the very steep and many stairs to the rim of Mt Bromo to have an internal view of the volcano, took in the spectacular view and then headed back down to our horse and jeep.
I thought I had seen everything but the local guide then drove me to the nearby Bromo Savannah and we crossed the whispering sands (actually volcano ash so thick it depicts a sand dune).
We transferred out of the park and back to my hire car by around noon and driven to one last stop – Madakaripura Falls. This is a fantastic short hike to see a majestic waterfall – totally worth the stop.
I was dropped back to the hotel in Surabaya by 5pm and it was a full day of adventure! Amazing day and recommended to all.