Not like the previous years where I headed home to Malaysia during summer holidays, this time I spent roughly a month travelling around New Zealand. I was in the Northland region from 15 November to 2nd December and then another trip to central South Island from 9th to 22nd December. In this entry, I would like to share with you my travelogue that I have written before hand during the journey to Northland. I will, in the future writing up on my journey to South Island.
Whangarei (16th - 21st November)
I left Palmerston North on 15th night, taking the overnight Intercity bus to Auckland. It was a pretty long journey with couple of stops along the way to Auckland, be it for toilet / refreshments or drop and pick up passengers. After 10 hours of the journey, finally I reached Auckland safely at morning of 16th.
|Intercity Overnight Service from Wellington to Auckland.|
From Auckland terminus, I took another bus to Whangarei. It took about two and half hours to reach Whangarei from Auckland. As I was pretty tired, I slept during most of the journey, but sometimes I did wake up and look around. The bus route did pass through some beautiful places such as Wellsford, Waiwera, Shakespeare and many more. Northland region is diverse in terms of the vegetation (thick rainforest), beaches, rivers and waterfalls, and I just seen less than quarter of these during this journey.
Finally, I reached Whangarei safely. I was initially requesting pickup from the accommodation staff but somehow they did not respond so I have decided to take city bus from town to the hotel. In Whangarei, I was staying at the Whangarei Falls Holiday Park which is located at suburb of Tikipunga which is about 5 km from town. It costs me $3 for bus fare to go there.
|Waiting for bus at Rose St Bus Terminal Whangarei.|
While waiting for bus, I was approached by this Maori guy. Friendly fella, I supposed. We chat while waiting for the bus since he is going the same way I am going. I told him I'm from Malaysia and he seemed surprised because he was also been to Malaysia for mission work. Bus arrived and I went aboard. Finally after a while I reached hotel safely.
At the hotel, I was greeted by the owner, Mrs Alison. She was nice and friendly. She explained to me on the stay and showed me around the place. It was a nice place though, although pretty far from town. The closest supermarket was Countdown Tikipunga which is about 2km walk.
|Panoramic picture of my room. Got the whole cabin for myself.|
View from outside of my room. There is a swimming pool and behind were shower block and kitchen.
I stayed here for six days and the main intention was to shoot the picture of nationwide famous Whangarei Falls. The reason why I spend a long time there was to accommodate for the right weather and lighting in order to get great images. I was right. It was raining heavily for three out of six days and I spent those days in my cabin, sleeping hehe :D
Just a side note here. To save up costs, I did cooking for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the kitchen provided there. I brought with me my own pan and rice pot due to the hygiene reason (Halal matter) and I bought most of the cooking stuff from Countdown.
Since it is summer currently and the daytime is much longer than night, I went out to the falls once I finished settle up stuff in my cabin. I was lucky because I was able to shoot few nice images that evening from the falls.
View from closer angle.
On the second day, I was initially planning to shoot sunrise from Town Basin. So I did get up early at 3 am and walk from my cabin to town for 5km. Instead of sunrise, it was cloudy that morning so I decided to do long exposure instead.
Town Basin Marina, Whangarei.
It was raining heavily that afternoon so I did not go anywhere to shoot pictures.
Weather became much better on the third day. Since my initial plan to shoot the Whangarei Falls was successful, I spent the rest of the time around the nearest forest reserve. So that day, I went walking for total of seven kilometer through A H Reed Memorial Forest Park and also Mair Park.
A H Reed Memorial Park and Mair Park are parts of the Hatea Walkway which stretch from Whangarei Falls to the Town Basin Marina. There is also side track which go to the Parihaka Hill Scenic Lookout which I didn't have chance to go with. So I started walking around 8 am from my cabin to Whangarei Falls, where this walking track begin.
Somewhere near to the falls.
View of the river from bridge. Can be seen on the right side is the track.
|It is 35 minutes walking from the falls to the Memorial Park.|