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Archive for May, 2007

Mount Maunganui, Bay of Plenty 0

Posted on May 29, 2007 by dorisch

On our way to Rotorua, we decided to stop at Mount Maunganui for a night. Commonly known as The Mount, this small town resembles a little of Surfers Paradise at the Gold Coast, Australia, except that it is less crowded and not so commercialised. The Mount is a popular place for joggers and climbers.

Doesn’t this look like a great place to retire?

Ocean Beach is a great place to lay back… The sidewalk cafes along Marine Parade are a favourite hangout for the locals. Unlike the Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast, you get more locals here than tourists. Take a drive and check out the grand, luxurious houses along Ocean beach, some of them are the most impressive in the North Island.

For sumptuous breakfasts, tasty sandwiches, fresh salads and aromatic coffee, we recommend the award-winning café, SideTrack Pacifica. This is definitely a favourite among the locals all-day long, you can simply tell by the regulars relaxing in al fresco style along the walkway. Don’t leave the town without savouring a double cone from the famous Copenhagen ice-cream parlour along the Marine Parade. If you are deprived for some retail therapy or can’t wait to buy your New Zealand gift, take a short drive in your rental car to Tauranga.

Northland & Coromandel, New Zealand 0

Posted on May 27, 2007 by dorisch

Next in our itinerary in New Zealand, North Island is Paihia and a day trip to Far North, Cape Reinga. You will experience the unique side of New Zealand here.

Paihia in the Bay of Islands is one quaint seaside village that attracts lots of tourists and locals. This is the hub for all tours/cruises in the region. We spend two days here and it is nice just driving around enjoying the pristine beaches and clear blue waters in the North Island.

What is memorable for us in the Northland was our day trip (12 hours!) to the Far North, Cape Reinga on a 4×4 wheeler (converted from a military truck!) and we must agree that this is the best of natural New Zealand in the North Island.
Besides the Kauri Forests, the highlights of the trip are the Te Paki sand dunes and the long flat stretch beautiful coastline of Ninety Mile Beach of the North Island.

This is a ‘must-do’ and ‘must-see’ if you get a chance to visit the Bay of Islands and the Far North. The sand-boarding experience at the Te Paki sand dunes is something we enjoyed thoroughly. I must warn you that it is an aerobic activity!

One word of caution: private cars are not allowed on 90mile beach unless you plan to get a tow truck to your rescue!


Speaking of beaches, Coromandel, North Island has lots to offer. Compared to the Northland, the coastline in Coromandel is more rustic and remote, complemented with the rugged forests. This is the rugged coast of the North Island. Due to time factor, we only managed to visit Hahei and Hot Water Beach.

If you are in this area, please don’t miss the gorgeous Cathedral Cove. We could only catch a glimpse of it as it is challenging taking the full trail with Clayton on our backs! Cathedral Cove is easily accessible by walkway from Hahei. Bring a bottle of water with you if you are doing the walk. You do need few days to see and do more here in the Coromandel. In my opinion, it is more local, less touristy, more untouched. Your trip to Hahei is not complete if you haven’t experience the hot spring pool at The Hot Water Beach.

Alex is having fun in his hot spring pool!
The Hot Water Beach is a natural hot water spa two hours either side of low tide. You can dig your own spot and soak yourself in the hot spring pool.

Check out the low tide times with the reception of your stay or any tourist information centre in the area.

If you are looking for a nice place to eat, look no further. The Hot Wave Café, situated a few minutes walk to Hot Water Beach serves nice lunches. You even get live entertainment on Sundays. It’s a popular place with the locals. There are probably more dining options in Whitianga, especially along the beachfront. To get here from Hahei, the quickest way is to board a ferry which only takes 10 minutes. It’s a lot further if you drive.

We had a very nice dinner at The Fireplace, a great waterfront restaurant with a cosy courtyard, fresh seafood, unique selections of wood-fired pizzas and most of all, friendly service. Wanna read more about attractions at the North Island? Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Auckland, New Zealand – the City of Sails 1

Posted on May 26, 2007 by dorisch

For us, our North Island holiday began in Auckland. This would be a good base if you are planning to tour only the North Island. Other than being known as a big city, Auckland, New Zealand does have a lot to offer – from first class accommodations, a busy night scene and a host of popular attractions and leisure activities.</p> <p align=” />It is easy to move around without a rental car in New Zealand when in Auckland. Though I prefer the shopping scene in Wellington city to Auckland, the specialty shops on Ponsonby are my personal favourite.

The main shopping area (the starting point for visitors) is Queen Street which is lined with all sorts of stores. I like Ponsonby. There are a few nice shops and lots of cool restaurants. This is one suburb you must not miss when visiting the North Island!The shop that attracted me most is this big, colourful shop called ‘The Garden Party’.

The shop has a large mural outside and it’s hard to miss it when you are walking along Ponsonby Road.

It stocks lots of cute and unusual finds. This will be a wonderful place to find a New Zealand gift to take home. Read the rest of this entry → celebrates secret hotels 1st birthday 0

Posted on May 23, 2007 by dorisch

If you are familiar with online hotel bookings, check the new look at I use this site alot when I need to make hotel reservations in Australia or New Zealand. But I must say that the new look on the website is alot better than the previous one. It’s attractive with nice pictorial icons, modern, contemporary, inviting and appealing to anyone surfing.

Anyways, launched the secret hotels feature a year ago and this week, it is celebrating its first birthday. To kick off this birthday bash, you can to grab a top class hotel for only $1! The hotels will be available in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, Gold Coast and Palm Cove. Just check the website on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and you can a chance to win this fabulous deal! Mystery times will be between 2 – 6pm so be sure to check during these times!

the beauty of New Zealand, south island 0

Posted on May 20, 2007 by dorisch

The South Island – the place that many people have been raving about whenever New Zealand is mentioned.I always think many people are biased about their opinions when they make comparison between the North and the South.

The moment we went on set sail on The Lynx to Picton (the entrance to the South), we understand why. Read the rest of this entry →

welcome to New Zealand, north island 0

Posted on May 19, 2007 by dorisch

Months before the trip, I have researched and looked at loads of New Zealand websites. As mum to one year old Clayton, my top requirement in my search for New Zealand accommodation is a place that can enable me to do some simple cooking.

For me, it’s important to sleep comfortably when on a vacation. This must, of course, be accompanied with good location at a good price. Then comes facilities and quality standards which also play an important role when making choices. Read the rest of this entry →

our first New Zealand trip 0

Posted on May 17, 2007 by dorisch

Look at these words. Do they sound familiar?

Sheep, Kiwi fruit, mountains, oceans, alps, picturesque landscape, sunshine, idyllic beaches, blue skies, the All Blacks, silver fern, wine country, ski fields! Read the rest of this entry →

The birth of my travel passion 0

Posted on May 15, 2007 by dorisch

This blog unveils my passion as an avid traveller. Before becoming a mum, travelling was easy, it was just packed for myself and off I went. But since entering motherhood in Oct 2004 to an active boy, travelling presented a new and refreshing experience. Some parents think it is a waste of money to bring little ones along for vacations as they may not remember those fond memories when they grow up.

But you know, it’s not about remembering, but the journey and experience that is magical and meaningful. My first flight experience was at 21 and though it was a business trip, it was the birth of this passion. Travelling expands my horizon, refreshes my mind and rejuvenates my entire being, whether for business or travel.

So this blog will focus on my favourites, sentiments and feedback on accommodations, restaurants, adventures and encounters. It is all based on my personal experience plus many more things we observe along the way. I would also post on tips, resources, reviews and opinions on travel-related matters and these may not be my very own. But one thing for sure, it continues to unveil life and its passions, experiences and more… Enjoy!

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