Kia Ora – a Maori term which means “mabuhay” or “be good” reminds me of my great adventures and experiences in New Zealand a.k.a. “the land down under”. But as I travelled from north down to south, I couldn’t imagine that I witnessed its breathtaking landscapes, lush forests and amazing wildlife which I could say that it is not simply a land down under but rather a “heaven on earth”. (You may click image for larger view.)
I have so many photos taken to share, of course with much stories to tell, but this blog won’t be enough, so let me just share to you some highlights of my trips—some awesome “my first” experiences in this amazingly beautiful country.
It was autumn on my first visit, my first time to experience autumn and I had to wear 5 layers of clothes because outside temp was minus 5 during the day. Though it was summer when I came back, still it was freezing at night.
My first time to eat lamb steak, it’s good! (haven’t tried it here, it’s expensive though, besides I consider sheep as pet haha. FYI: NZ’s approx. no. of sheep and cow can equal the Philippines’ human population or even more.)
It was really fun and cool to pick apples, even my height didn’t matter – t’was also my first time. Photos below are: the apple trees (maintained by a Filipino scholar), the Lincoln University where these apple trees are located and where I was once a visiting student, the Christchurch Cathedral (Christchurch is the NZ’s garden city which is about 45 min. bus ride from the University) and BONZ, I don’t know if this is owned by bonistation.com haha)
I had my first road trip, a long day trip from Christchurch to Queenstown where I’ve seen nothing but literally a “huge garden”, views of fantastic landscapes, lakes, wildlife, flock of sheep on the road, apples, grapes and oranges, and of course the best of NZ food – fish and chips, gelato, milkshake, and lamb steak during stops. Completely awesome, tanggal ang pagod!
I almost tried paragliding to see the aerial view of Queenstown, the home of the Lord Of The Rings, but my spirit then wasn’t good enough to conquer my fear of heights haha, so I ended up taking the cable car instead, also my first time, hella fun. Well, at least I had a glimpse of the LOTR’s Middle Earth. And then I was able to see the whole of Queenstown by a mountain bike, ang sarap makipagkarera sa ibang lahi haha, cool!
Milford Sound cruise, another breathtaking adventure, t’was also my first time to be on a cruise ship. On our road to Milford Sound, I’ve seen views of the Glaciers. I’ve learned that these glaciers are present and visible all year round, that’s the reason why the weather in NZ remains cold even during summer.
While on board, I witnessed the scenic Milford Sound, a flock of seal, and penguins, also my first time to see these awesome creatures. And look, here’s one interesting experience I had. While having lunch, I heard some tagalog words from afar, I tried to look around and found out that the head chef is a Filipino, and with him is his wife as his assistant chef. Lucky I was, they let me grab anything I want, haha astig talaga ang Pinoy!
What more can I say about New Zealand? Well, as to its society, it’s diverse, sophisticated, and multicultural. Though diverse and multicultural people, their qualities of being honest, friendly, and openness impressed me. I was impressed when I took a public bus, the driver would say “Thank You, Have a Nice Day, Kia Ora” everytime a passenger would get off the bus. Isn’t it cool? Only in NZ!
I consider my NZ adventure as the best of all my trips. And years from now, I might go back to NZ, to explore more, to gain, to learn, to earn, and to experience a totally different life in the “heaven on earth”. But afterwards, I’d still go back here with all the learnings, earnings, and experiences to share, and later to be cherished and pass on to generations. Kia Ora!
To all my fellow bloggers, maraming maraming salamat sa inyong lahat. Isang taon na ang BatangMangyan. Cheers! Kia Ora!