Day 07: Things to do in Taupo, Huka Falls

That's where we park for the night!
If you are in Auckland and looking for a free site for a night or two for overnight campervan parking, Rosa Birch Park is the only park that you can go to! It's the only free site nearest to the Auckland city, about 40 minutes drive from Auckland International Airport.

It's a public car park adjacent to a sports court in a neighbourhood with an area catered for campervans overnight parking. So do take note that there may also be cars for the sporty folks around the car park. Not much of privacy in a sense. You may hear noises from the bunch playing in the sports court nearby but it wasn't an issue to us. There is is no dump station or fresh water supply available in the park. 

The itinerary for the day was pretty straight forward: Rosa Birch Park > Huka Falls > Lake Taupo. Day 7/31, let's go! 

Hi DuffyZai. 
Spot the moo moo! 
Stopped by this random McDonald's for a quick lunch.
NZD23.30 for our two sets of meals which seems to be more expensive than Singapore's right?
Some smoky thingy which I totally have no idea what is it! 
Huka Falls JET // Prawn Park
This is what I call the surprise finds because this wasn't something on our itinerary. Just so happened to see this Huka Honey Hive along our way to the Huka Fall. 

New Zealand's Manuka Honey is one of the must buy when you are in the country. In case you don't know, now you know. There is one whole big knowledge about Manuka honey that is widely available online if you are interested. I never really study in depth about it, in short, Manuka Honey is famous for its medical benefits. One interesting benefits is that you could actually apply the honey on wounds or ulcers to speed up the healing.

The best finds are (usually) the surprise finds. Indeed it is! Huka Honey Hive is known to be the New Zealand's largest showcase of honey products and it's free entry

This is what greeted us the moment we opened the door. 
They have a corner dedicated to educate visitors about the New Zealand bees and their amazing honey.
Free tasting of honey, mead, liqueurs and fruit wines! The honey wine is awwwesome! 
Shopping went a little crazy.. Posing with our NZD152 worth of honey products! ;)
..and finally we are really reaching our destination! 
Huka Falls, located north of the Lake Taupo, is ranked #1 of 24 attractions in Taupo on Tripadvisor - the world's largest travel site. Huka Falls are not just one waterfall, it's a set of waterfalls on the Waikato River - the longest river in New Zealand - that drains into Lake Taupo in New Zealand. 

It is also New Zealand's highest volume waterfall where the volume of water flowing through often approaches 220,000 litres per second. That's enough water to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools per second! This spectacular flow of water is definitely worth stopping by or putting this into your itinerary. 

So how to enjoy the magnificent Huka Falls? What to do in Huka Falls?
  1. Walk the trails by the side of the New Zealand longest river and enjoy the falls. There are several viewpoints available for tourists to witness the impressive geographical formations. Best of all it's free! 
  2. Huka Falls River Cruise - The name says it all be! Enjoy the views of the New Zealand's highest volume waterfall on the boat that cruise for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Great option for families! NZD37 (adult) / NZD15 (child) 
  3. Huka Falls Jet - A 30 minutes jet boat ride takes you right to the base of the falls. If you are the adventurous ones, you got to try this! NZD109 (adult) / NZD65 (child) 
  4. Heli Adventure Flights - An approximately 9 minutes flight over the mighty Huka, there are different routes and durations of scenic flights available, starting from NZD99 per person. 
This is what you see from the Falls Lookout. 

and then we drove over to the Huka Falls 
Right on the bridge over the river definitely a better spot to appreciate the roaring power of the falls. 
Wished I had a video recording the loud gushing sound of the water. :(

To be very frank, I wasn't really very much anticipating about the Huka Fall initially. I mean what's so nice about this huge volume of gushing water. Probably yet another waterfall. But thankfully we made the choice to stop by there. Pardon me for the lack of vocabulary to best describe the beauty of the falls. All I can say is you just got to be there to make use of you 5 senses to appreciate the wonderful New Zealand and the amazing formation by our Mother Nature.

Left Huka Falls as the sky was turning dark.. The day length in winter is really short in New Zealand, the sun sets at about 5.30PM and that can make navigation can a little difficult.. Same for any other countries that come with seasons.

Anyhow while driving down to our final destination of the day, we spotted this lookout point where you can get a nice panoramic view of the city. Yet another surprise finds! Sadly, I didn't have the exact location of this lookout.. 

That's Mount Tauhara at the background. 

..and then the night was spent at Great Taupo Lake Kiwi Holiday Park exploring the little kitchen for the first time.  

Chef Young on the left and Master Chef on the right. 
Ended the night with a simple dinner in our little home.
Overview of our driving route of the day! 
Information you might be interested in:

Find out Every New Zealand Campsite

Very comprehensive map to show you

Rosa Birch Park

Beresford St
Pukekohe 2120, New Zealand

McDonald's Matamata
6 Firth St
Matamata 3400, New Zealand

Huka Honey Hive
65 Karetoto Road (off Huka Fall Road)
Wairakei, New Zealand

Huka Falls
Taupo, New Zealand

Huka Falls Jet
200 Karetoto Rd
Taupo 3330, New Zealand
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 9.00AM – 4.30PM

Huka Falls River Cruise

Heli Adventure Flights 

Great Taupo Lake Kiwi Holiday Park
406 Acacia Bay Road
Nukuhau, Acacia Bay
Taupo 3330, New Zealand

Valentine's Day 2014

"Our kind of celebration of love, 4th year and counting.." 


Deserving closed-up photo because all was prepared by Chef Young! :) 

On the menu that night: 
Grilled Chicken served with Salad & Potato Wedges 
Baked Mussels with Cheese 
Homemade Pizza 
Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2012 

Day 06: Hi, New Zealand!

After hours and hours of wait and some self-entertainment overnight in the not-so-awesome Melbourne Airport, we were ready to venture into the second part of our adventure!

I was pretty excited about our Emirates flight from Melbourne to Auckland, New Zealand, because it was an A380! Our first time onboard the legendary airbus - the world's largest passenger airliner. Did you know that Emirates also owns the most number of A380? They have made an order of 140 A380 from Airbus, followed by Singapore Airlines being in the second with 24 A380 and Qantas having 20. Nope that wasn't a typo, Emirates owns 140 of the giant aircraft! On top of that, we were told that all Emirates A380 are fitted with WiFi on board! How cool is that!  But they say nothing is free and indeed this very cool feature actually comes with a cost..

Sleepy faces for our morning flight at 7.00AM. 
I love their inflight entertainment system!
Spot my USB cable right there. Yes, I was charging my phone on 30,000 feet up in the sky! #awesome
Charges for the Emirates on board WiFi plans.
One thing about non-budget airline is definitely their FOOD! Yummilicious. 
As much as I love everything about my Emirates A380 flight. The cabin crews are really terrible in terms of their service.. Oh well. I guess sometimes we just can't have the best of everything. 

That's the giant airliner with a passenger capacity of 525 passengers. 

It was a 4 hours flight between Melbourne and Auckland, New Zealand. We reached Auckland in the afternoon at about 12:45PM local time. The country is 4 hours ahead of Singapore.

A little about New Zealand comprises of two big islands, known as the North Island and the South Island. Auckland, the largest and most populous urban area in New Zealand, located in the North Island of the country. Exchange rate between Singapore and New Zealand (as of 11 December) is SGD1 = NZD0.9669

Singaporean Passports doesn't require to apply for a VISA if you are going in to New Zealand for less than 3 months. Prior to the trip, I was told that New Zealand customs clearance in terms of whatever you are bringing into the country is really strict to protect the community, environment and economy of the country.

While you are still on your plane entering New Zealand, you will probably watch an inflight video 'Declare or Dispose' explaining the importance of filling out the New Zealand Passenger Arrival Card and biosecurity entry requirements for entering the country. Thanks to the invention of the world wide web, you can watch the video here and the sample of declaration form is available here.

After witnessing the hectic customs clearance, we were ready to adventure the award winning New Zealand!

Anyhow, something that I'd recommend to everybody to get a prepaid plans if you are going on a road trip in New Zealand. I must say the data plan came in really handy during our entire trip. Telecom and Vodafone are two large telecommunications companies in New Zealand. The prepaid plans for the two companies are pretty competitive. In the end, we got ours from Telecom for NZD25 for 500MB data, unlimited local text, 100 mins local calls

(Taken from Google) The two major New Zealand telecommunications companies available conveniently at Auckland Airport International Terminal Ground Floor.
Complimentary shuttle transfers from airport to rental depot to pick up our vehicle.
The registration of the campervan was a little long.. From the entering of the particulars, explaining the types of insurance available, payment for the rental, waiting for the vehicle, exploring and understanding how to operate etc.. Have to take note of if you are gonna be planning a long and packed itinerary after the collection of the campervan. 

Examining our little home for the week. Photos of the interior of our campervan here.
Sadly, the rain seem to have tailgated us all the way from Melbourne to Auckland. Dedicated our first meal in New Zealand for Carl's Junior

Spot the gloomy sky and wet floor. 
(Left) Not-enough-sleep kind of face // (Right) No chilli sauce kind of face
NZD19.90 for our late lunch. 
Hungry stomach no more and we headed opposite of Carl's Junior to Pak'nSave to do our first round of groceries shopping! Pak'nSave is one of the three major supermarkets in New Zealand (the other two are Countdown and New World). My personal favourite among the three.

Snippets of my favourite supermarket! 
By the time, we finished our shopping the sky has already turned dark. Driving at night can be a little challenging for not so experienced drivers. After an hour or so of driving from the supermarket, thanks to our very trust worthy GPS - TomTom GO LIVE 1005 World, our first night was spent exploring our little home for the week at Rosa Birch Park.

Overview of the route for our first day in Auckland, New Zealand. 
Information you might be interested in:
Customs Declaration for Arrival to New Zealand

New Zealand Passenger Arrival Card

What to declare when you are entering New Zealand

Award Winning New Zealand

Auckland Rental Depot
36 Richard Pearse Drive
Mangere, Auckland 2022, New Zealand

Carl's Junior Mangere

94-96 Bader Dr
Mangere, Auckland 2022, New Zealand

Pak'nSave Mangere
Corner of Bader Drive and Orly Avenue
Mangere, Auckland

Rosa Birch Park
Beresford St
Pukekohe 2120, New Zealand

Overview of our route in New Zealand