Monday, July 17, 2017

2017 May 08/09: Fly from KLIA 2 to Auckland via Gold Coast then drive to Rotorua

From our home in Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur, our trip started with the preparation of luggage as shown in the picture. Ready to go, double confirm that nothing is missed out and call a Grab Car. The driver answered with a call very quickly, because he is around this area.

This is an old driver who is new to Grab car. He appeared to be quite nervous and decide to come quickly to our resident area. After meeting up and taking us into his car, he then informed that he need to top up the petrol tank and need our guidance to the nearby petrol station.

After topping up his petrol tank, he further appologised that he has to set his GPS accordingly before starting to move. Looking at his uncertainty in operating his smart phone, I decided to set up my GPS too because I do not want his mistake to cause me any delay in arriving the air port.

The drive to airport was smooth, without any traffic jam. We arrived the airport slightly after 21:15 hours. A good timing for Air Asia flight that is estimated to depart at 22:50. Nevertheless, Air Asia did informed that the flight's departure time had been delayed by 1 hour.

Normally I take quite a lot of pictures and store them in Google Album, If you are interested to look at those picture, this is the link that you can go there. I am sorry that normally I write in Chinese over the album. Only a few pictures will be selected and embedded here. Below are two of them and you can notice that I am a "young" old man who becomes very cute when I go on travel. The beautiful lady on the symmetrically arranged rows of chairs is my lovely travel partner.

The flight from KLIA2 to Gold Coast takes 7.5 hours. We did not plan to stop for touring here as swimming is not our choice this time. Regardless of the stopping time of only 1.5 hours, we were arranged to pass through strict security check before being lead into the waiting room prior to boarding back to the same flight.

After re-boarding to the flight, it is approximately 8 in the morning. With a time difference of 2 hours between Gold Coast and Malaysia, it is now 10 o'clock in the morning local time. After a good night sleep on the previous trip, we are ready to buy and take our breakfast in the connecting trip from Gold Coast to Auckland. Air Asia, being a famous low cost Carrier of Malaysia, is very famous with the sales on board for food and drinks. It is not easy to be stewards and stewardesses on board and they have to keep on walking in the flight busy selling items to passengers. Nevertheless, the smiling faces proofed that either they are good performers, or they may be awarded commission by Air Asia on the sales on board. Either ways are fine provided the services are good.

It is good to have a good partner who is taking of my good health. Preparation of various nutrient tablets is her duty and can you imagine she even prepare proper packaging and prepare the right quantity for consumption after meal on board.

With 4 hours in advance of Malaysia, we finally arrived Auckland International Airport at 16:50 hours. Passing through a door with the Maori carving, it alert to us that we are now in the land of the Maori people.

Prior to passing through the immigration counter, we noticed this signboard advising on what to declare. What I want to highlight is the Chinese sentences on the sign board. I am sure the percentages of population of Chinese in New Zealand is not as high as Malaysia. They used proper Chinese on their official signboard. What a shame to note that our home country, Malaysian government keep on avoid using Chinese sentences in Malaysia Official Signboard with tons of invalid reasoning.

As per our plan, we have to rent a car in airport. An obvious sign by the exit door of the arrival hall shows us the counter next to the door. What a convenient arrangement.

We selected AVIS rent-a-car and rented a Toyota Corolla for 11 days, with a total cost of NZ$ 730, including standard insurance coverage of two drivers. For My Malaysian friends, it is easy to prepare for renting car and driving overseas. You only need to pay RM150 to Malaysian Road Transport department for endorsement of International Driving License. With this, you can then be eligible to rent a car overseas.

After completion of simple documentation, we were then being guided to go to the AVIS parking field outside the airport and pick up our car KGW447 in parking lot #27. My personal driver was so excited with her new car. Hence the first picture of the car was captured here.

As per our plan, we decided to drive directly to Rotorua without any stop in Auckland on the first night. This took us almost 3 hours. This is mainly because of we plan to stay over night in Auckland on the last night, making the final day to be in Auckland and ready to go to the airport at any time.

Initially the ETA of flight is 15:50 hours local time, but it had been 1 hour delayed. Besides, the day got dark fairly early even at 17:00 hours. Hence it is good to travel in car rather than visiting any places on this first arrival in New Zealand.

One getting into State highway from the branch road from International airport, we noticed traffic sign stating "ONE VEHICLE PER GREEN EACH LANE". This is a special traffic sign and it seems to work well in controlling the flow of traffic into the highway, even though quite a serious jam was faced prior to leaving the international airport. This is part and partial of the "tiny specialty" that we tends to note whenever we go for tour in overseas country.

On the way to Rotorua, we stop over in one of the beautiful petrol station in Hamilton to buy sandwiches for our "dinner". At this moment, it is also a good method to go for a toilet break, right?

Never forget that I am working in industrial bakery and this is the picture of the bread stand, leaving behind a few loaves of sandwich loaves on it. At this moment of time, with this quantity on the stand, I doubt what is the return rate for the bakery here. :)
Finally, at 20:30 hours, we arrived and manage to find the homestay hosted by Mr. Vlad at 1/20 Carnot Street, Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, 3010, New Zealand. Even though the day was dark, but I manage to drive directly to the front of the house with the help of bookmark I made in advance on the Maps.Me offline GPS. This is one of my selected mobile apps for my travel, to the extent that I decide to write a post to introduce it to all of you as my friends. 

This is a great house in the quite residential area. The room prepared for us was clean and warm, with a sticker on the door informing me that this is my room. It is a real good place to rest after a long journey from Kuala Lumpur, to Gold Cost, Auckland and till Auckland.

Mr. Vland is a kind man, origin from Russia. Regardless of the late arrival, he spent time to brief to us all the necessary, including good recommendation for where to visit on the next day. This is the first time I try to use Airbnb for my home stay booking and it give us a good feel with friendly host, clean room with freedom to use the kitchen and pantry as needed.

With reference to travel books, there is Mitai Maori Village that we can pay for joining the Maori Culture show starting 17:00 and 19:00 (2 shows per day). On trying the website link, however I did not manage to access. May be it had been closed.  Another site that providing visit visitors is the Temaki Maori Village. Te Puia Geothermal Geyser is another site that may worth a visit. Due to late arrival, however, we did not visit them at night. This typoe of activities are always an option to us rather than a must see.

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