Friday, 26 December 2014

A Pleasing Day in Pukehina Beach and Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty

Since we’re located in Te Puke for a period of time, we also had chance to explore the nearby smaller towns in the region of Bay of Plenty. From Te Puke, we just spent 20 minutes scenic drive to arrive in Pukehina Beach. What we saw in the town were some residential houses, farms and a beach.

Pukehina Beach

The beach was white sandy with clear water and the surroundings were not as crowded as other popular beach sites. We enjoyed some ice-creams and ‘fish n chips’ at the beach meanwhile we welcomed the fresh breeze blowing towards us. It’s truly a stress-free moment we had. What’s more we could ask for?

After the trip, we also went to Ohope Beach on the same day. It’s another white sandy beach featuring 11km length unbroken with breathtaking sights. We had fun walked along the beach with bare foot; we found that the sands were incredible fine...

Both of us only agreed to leave in the late evening. What a lovely day at beaches!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Visiting Te Puke, Tauranga and Mount Maunganui

It wasn’t a busy period when I worked in Te Puke. As a result, I had times for sightseeing in the areas of Te Puke and the nearby coastal cities, Tauranga and Mount Maunganui.

Since horticulture is the main economic activity in Te Puke, the tourism in the town is still underdeveloped excluding the famous Kiwi 360. By road, it’ll take only 5 minutes to reach the site from Te Puke city. Kiwi 360 provides a place for nature lovers to appreciate the spectacular landscape. Together with Gavin, I visited the parks, orchards as well as the gift shop which offers a variety of beautiful jewelry, skin care and other products. A giant kiwifruit built at the park is an attraction and also a beautiful landmark of Te Puke. It’s so wonderful when we climbed up to the giant kiwi and viewed the surrounding areas from high.

The giant kiwi

Kiwicart touring the park

Kiwi 360

Location: 35 Young Road(beside State Highway 2), Te Puke.
Tel: (07) 573 6360
KiwiKart Tour Hours: 9am-4pm(Summer) & 10am-3pm(Winter)

Tauranga is a popular city situated 28 km and approximately 28 minute drive from Te Puke. The city features superb environmental surroundings for tourism and it also stands out for the cultural attractions. For culture and art enthusiasts, visit Tauranga Art Gallery is a must. Inside the 2-storey building, I had an opportunity to explore many eye-catching both historical and contemporary collections from the exhibitions. 

Railway along the main street in Tauranga CBD

Harbour view

Tauranga Railway Bridge at harbour

View of Tauranga Harbour Bridge over the ocean from far 

On one of the visits to Tauranga, Gavin suggested a meal at a fine dining restaurant, Mills Reef. It just took us 5 minutes on road from the heart of Tauranga. We visited the family owned winery which was established in 1989, of course we’re given the chance to taste the red wines in the tasting room. Next, we selected a well located table at outdoor to enjoy the meal as well as the panoramic environment. I’d say it was the most delightful lunch trip I had in Bay of Plenty.

Mills Reef Building

My plate of seafood lunch

The outdoor garden

Type of flowers grew in the garden

A sculpture displayed in the garden

Mills Reef Winery & Restaurant

Location: 143 Moffat Road Bethlehem, Tauranga 3110.
Tel: (07) 576 8800
Opening hours: 10.00 - 11.30am Brunch ( Sat & Sun)
10.30am – 3.00pm Lunch (Mon – Sun)
5.00 pm till late Dinner (Thu - Sat)
(Tasting Room opens 10-5pm 7 days)

Nestled on the north of Tauranga, Mt. Maunganui is a neigbouring town that’s also a major tourism attraction that interested both overseas and country’s tourists come to Bay of Plenty. These two cities are mainly connected by the Tauranga Harbour Bridge which was built on 1988. Mt Maunganui features a unique geography that offers the ocean beach and harbour beach at opposite sides of the city. However, views at the ocean beach are more attractive to me and there’re more people crowded at the side of the beach especially during summer.

Harbour beach

Ocean beach

The mountain

It’s so refreshing to climb up the mountain; get some fresh air and pay attention to the various floras along the trail. Stood on the peak, we amazed by the gorgeous sceneries showing the city between the beaches.

View taken in the middle of the mountain track

Koru, the iconic plant of New Zealand 

Fern leave

Scenery of the ocean beach and the city from the top

A view of Mt Maunganui city in betwwen the beaches

Friday, 24 October 2014

A Stopover in Whakatane

Nestled in the east of Bay of Plenty, Whakatane is situated between Te Puke and Opotiki. It takes less than an hour drive traveling from Te Puke or Opotiki. Since we drove between both places quite often, a stopover in Whakatane was expected. However, we didn’t pay much attention to the city’s must-see or must-do lists. Still, we had scenery watching at Kohi Point Scenic Reserve and around Whakatane River.

View of Ohope Beach from Kohi Point lookout

Beautiful floras with oceanic views at the scenic reserve

At Whakatane riverside
Picturesque waterfront view of Whakatane River

Pohutukawa(New Zealand's Christmas Tree) at the riverside

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Job Hunting in Bay of Plenty

Bay of Plenty is an important region of fruits and vegetables growing and it’s particularly recognized for the kiwifruit plantation in Te Puke. In fact, Te Puke is given a name as ‘Kiwifruit capital of the world’. I knew that many backpackers normally will come to the town around April for kiwifruit picking when the season started. Nonetheless, I came to the region on October-November and the only jobs I could find was kiwifruit pruning and kiwifruit flower picking on occasion. The work in Te Puke wasn't steady and I almost had days off more than work days. 

One day, Gavin and I met a Malaysian lady contractor by chance while we're having dinner in a Chinese restaurant in Te Puke. She invited us to work with her in the kiwifruit orchards in Opotiki and she claimed that she could offer steadier works. I actually had never heard about the town before, but Gavin asked me to go there with him and try our luck in any case. Other than working in kiwifruit orchards again, I can’t think of any other jobs available for us at the moment. So, we tried. 

For the first few days, we traveled between Te Puke and Opotiki every day since we still stayed in Te Puke and we took approximately 3 hours for return trip. Frankly, staying in Opotiki wasn't part of my working holiday plan. Allowing for the distance, we moved to stay in the township in the end. There're just a few main streets in the town, the supermarket was limited. Luckily, my accommodation in Royal Hotel was pretty good.

Opotiki town viewed from the Royal Hotel

The works in kiwifruit orchards were the same, we mostly did pruning. Male workers were relatively more than female workers since it’s a pretty tough work. Anyway, Gavin and I stayed at the place just about 2 weeks given that the contractor didn’t provide us what she had promised and worse it’s always challenging to get the pay from her.

Kiwifruit orchard

Kiwifruits hanging with the support of vine

Close-up of kiwifruits

Unqualified kiwifruits

Another one meant to be threw away

The last job I did in Bay of Plenty was kiwifruit thinning in Te Puke orchard again. I knew the job from a friend of mine but it’s much better than the previous ones. Instead of using long and heavy cutter to trim the kiwifruit branches, we only need to pick the unusual kiwifruits and threw them away. Moreover, our new Nepal contractor was friendlier and paid us on time. I liked the latest job but I couldn’t stay long for it as my planned itinerary to other places was about to begin. In fact, this is also the last job I did before I left New Zealand.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

A Lunch at Fishermans Table

I targeted Bay of Plenty as the next region to go from Wellington and Gavin agreed to go with me. On the day of our leaving, we came across the Fishermans Table by coincidence while driving on the road. Hence, we stopped by for a lunch. Fishermans Table is a great restaurant to serve seafood lovers. Still, many others come to enjoy meals for the reason of the waterfront views over Kapita Coast.

Air-conditioned indoor dining area

Outdoor dining area facing the ocean

'All you can eat' salad boat

Fishermans Table

Location: 29 State Highway 1, Paekakariki, Kapita Coast, Wellington.
Tel: (04) 2928125
Opening hours: 11.30am - 9pm everyday
Price: from $15.95(subject to change)

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Bye-bye South Island...I’m back, Wellington!

After spending almost 6 months and the greatest moments in South Island, I eventually returned to North Island. My housemate Gavin gave me a ride from Ashburton to Christchurch Airport. I took the Pacific Blue domestic flight leaving to Wellington and the flight took less than an hour journey. I reached Wellington in the afternoon and my friends Park & Ting came to pick me up at the airport.

On my second visit to Wellington, I could really feel that it’s a very windy city as what stated in the Lonely Planet. I think ladies may find difficulty walking on the streets with skirt :P

5 weeks in the capital city and I had some part time jobs during my stay. I usually worked as waitress in restaurants and ice-cream kiosk in a shopping mall.

Whenever I had free time, I liked to walk around and explore things. In the city centre, I found a place where computers with free internet access are available and that is the National Library of New Zealand. It’s located at 70 Molesworth Street, Thorndon and it’s opened at 10am – 5pm Monday to Saturday. There’s a time limit of usage but it’s fine to continue as long as there’s no other people waiting to use. Besides, this is also a place where some arts exist for browsing.

The building of National Library of New Zealand

I had fun visiting a nursery school; I asked permission to take videos and photos of the kids’ activities. Looking at those lovely kids, it reminded me how nice it’s being a child with stress-free life.

One amusing scenario I witnessed while walking in the city was a remonstration shown by a group of teenagers. I had no idea what’s going on but the police seemed capable to tackle the issue promptly.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Hot Air Ballooning in Queenstown

From my experience, hot air balloon flights very depend on the weather. Even if booking is made in advance, yet the authority has the right to cancel the flights for safety reason, if the weather is not allowed such as raining or windy day.

The next early morning after the rafting, I called to the sunrise balloons and checked if the weather of the day is appropriate for the adventure. It's fine, the person told. Later, my friend Gavin and I were picked up in front of our hostel to the launch field. Before the trip, I had no idea whatsoever about how the hot air balloon works. It’s funny that I thought we could simply jump on the ready balloon basket and the air journey will be started immediately. Hmmm…no no! At least it’s not that simple. In reality, there're some preparations need to be done before everyone could jump on the basket.

Some of the passengers especially men were readily to assist the crew to fill the balloon with air patiently. When the balloon was fully filled, every passenger got on the attached basket. At that point, the basket slowly departed from the field and we’re up up away. Looking down from 7900 feet height, most of the panoramic sceneries of Queenstown were captured into my eyes and I couldn’t help myself from shooting them. On the other hand, a climb at such height made me freezing in the air.

After less than an hour, the basket of the hot air balloon was slowly landed on the field again and then we cooperated to pack the air-released balloon away when the flight was complete.

Pleasingly, we’re handed a certificate each while enjoying the champagne breakfast with everybody in the field.

I eventually did what I longing for, so I would say 28th Sept 2008 was a memorable day and it’s an enjoyable trip for me in Queenstown!