a spontaneous trip overseas.
long story short. used my dad's frequent flyer points which payed for flights, 3 nights accommodation at Hilton Resort and Spa Queenstown and a cruise for both my mum and I. still trying to save money. i debated really hard whether i wanted to jump out of a plane since NZ is safer and has better scenery, but if i did, then i wanted to do the highest one, and also photos cost heaps....so i decided not to and rather use that $500+ jump where you spend 5min falling on a bag later that year where it can last 5+years. i'll go to nz there to do all those crazy things again sometime...everyone goes there for the snow, but my mum and i went for the scenery, yet out four days there were so crazily jam packed. just so much to see and do!
originally my mum wanted to use those points to go Uluru, i kind of want to go there, but let's be honest, it's just a rock, nothing else. like at the Stonehenge, you go to see the rocks but that's not the main purpose, you're mostly to stay in London then make a day trip there. at Uluru, you only see the rock and nothing else.
i really love travelling, more than food and shopping, since travelling includes that and more. so yes, i'd rather save money on sydney food and shopping and use it overseas. if I'm forever alone, then i will definitely travel the world. and yes, i came across quite a lot of people who travelled alone on holidays this time. i love scenery, favourite is blue stuff, then white, green, colours, orange, brown/grey stuff. i used to go camping all over NSW when i was younger. been to Dubbo twice, Batemans Bay and Port Macquarie at least 3 times, Nowra etc and beyond, so it's more "been there done that". hence i'm not that keen on going on road trips for the place since i have most likely been there, rather i just go on them for the people.
why NZ? because it's close to home yet overseas at the same time and safe (compared to places like Bali...). south island since north island isn't as beautiful from what i've heard. no visa needed for nz since were Australian, but since everything is electronic, no new stamps were added to my passport ): oh, and we were originally saving those points for HK, but since virgin atlantic doesn't fly to sydney anymore, well we had to use them. the airport fee for trains has gone up around $4 since 2012. sooo expensive to catch train to airport now, but at least sydney has direct trains to the airport unlike nyc...
MakMak macarons! left: Smoked Vanilla and Pecan Praline right: Rhubarb, Raspberry and cinnamon-$3.80 each
earlier this year i was at the airport, but turns out the macarons were inside after security. these get delivered from Newtown and have to pass through security, so it was expected of them to be expensive. but if i was to get them st Newtown, then i would have to waste time i don't have, so i was excited to get them here and not wait until end of the year until america. the first one didn't have enough smokiness to it, was very subtle. the other one was more flavourful, but one shell was slightly hollow. can't say they're my favourite macarons. they're delivered fresh each day, but it's not made on premises so maybe that's where the difference lies.
the boeing plane we went has leather seats and were sooo spacious! like really, really spacious for a small-ish plane. it's weird, they give you snacks on domestic flights, but to NZ you get not a single thing to eat. will keep that in mind next time since we didn't have a lot of breakfast, and hence no lunch...
queenstown is so beautiful. photos cannot do it justice. everywhere you look there are mountains! compared to australia, our mountains are like their hills. the taxi driver said that Australians go to NZ to see what real mountain are. that is so true! their mountains are so big, vast, endless and 360 degrees. 4 degree doesn't feel cold since there's no wind.
plane views. again, decided to not spend $700+ for a scenic helicopter ride, can still see the mountains from a different angle on a plane, you're just not as close up. oh, and add $1k+ for LOTR flights and tours-luckily i'm not a LOTR fan.
crazy tracks on the mountains. some mountains right at the edge of NZ also had these very torturous walking tracks. there are no beaches down here, just mountains and cliffs at the very edge of the country
hotel view from room (:
of course i would pick the best room at the best hotel in Queenstown, and why not since the points could pay for it. since our trip was for scenery, it made sense to pay more for a view. you don't see people with ski/mountain stuff here at the hilton. it's more people like me who are here to chill. one thing about the hilton is that it's actually 15min from town, so hence for young people here for adventurous stuff, it's not convenient. they do run a free shuttle service, just had to book your place. but yay for free shuttle! a taxi to town cost $45 which is not worth, but Hilton here is the closest hotel to the airport. the last time i stayed at a Hilton hotel was in Japan, so that had nice japanese themed stuff like a jap style public bath, but the views at the hotel wasn't as nice as this one.
bathroom selfie, hehe
you know a bathroom is good if it's bigger than your home one. it had a his and her sinks, and a super nice shower. the bathroom was just so spacious, probs bigger than my bedroom.
fireplace! it was gas so super easy to turn on and off and no smokey smell, but it looked so real
walking outside the hotel on the last day. that building you see is not under Hilton even though it's kind of linked. it's more rental, apartment style accommodation
sorry, disjointed post. words are kind of pointless as well. my point and shoot camera is really bad probs because it's getting old-the colours don't come out as true, even iPhone cannot capture the pureness of the snow and mountains over there. also, i don't bother with filters for my photos since the scenery is just so naturally beautiful. everyone must come here at least once. i think it's nicer in winter with the snow covered mountains than in summer, but there's still heaps to do here all season. ahh, so amazing (: