We took the red-eye flight from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland. It was our first long haul flight with 3 kids. Malaysia Airlines was truly awesome that we had a delicious supper (not long after boarding) and sumptuous breakfast (2 hours before arrival). We arrived Auckland at 11.20am local time. New Zealand is 4 hours ahead of Malaysia.
Malaysia Airlines' sumptuous breakfast.
We cleared through the immigration and customs without much hassle, except that we were asked to open one of our luggages, as we brought along a pair of hiking boots (which was mine!). Thankfully it was a new pair, hence we got that cleared very quickly. You have to declare any food items, hiking or camping gears and medicines. We know the rules about declaring food stuffs and medicines, but we oversight on the rule about hiking gears. Basically, there is no hassle about bringing in hiking boots, you just have to make sure the soles are clean and there's nothing sticking to the boots. Same apply to your other hiking or camping gears.
We called Apex office to inform them of our arrival. The operator advised us the location to wait for the shuttle bus. The shuttle bus arrived within 10 minutes. The driver was very kind and friendly, he helped us to load our luggages and started chatting with Papa Bear during the short journey to Apex office. As we pre-submitted our details online before our trip, we cut short the procedure by half. The agent checked through our driving licenses, credit card details, ferry tickets for vehicle and all 5 of us (we booked the ferry tickets through Apex for crossing between North and South Island, Apex gave free ticket for vehicle), we were then done. The agent drove the car to the lobby and he installed the child safety seat for Baby Bear, we checked everything to make sure it's in order, we were set to go! Woohoo... :)
Our rental car - Toyota Previa which served us well throughout our 2 weeks trip
We were excited to see the cute wooden houses of the locals along the way to the city centre. Due to time difference and the heavy breakfast in the plane, we did not feel hungry. We wanted to have FUN. We drove to our hotel - Surrey Hotel. We found the hotel easily using our GPS. We checked in, rested for awhile in the room and we headed out to Countdown Supermarket which was within walking distance from the hotel. But as we planned for a picnic somewhere after grocery shopping, so we drove. :)
We were spoilt by choices - Countdown Supermarket.
Everything was a new experience for all of us that even grocery shopping sounded great, haha... We bought quite a lot of things including food for picnic lunch and stuffs to cook for tonight's dinner. We wanted to do the popular Cornwall Park. But we missed a turn and it was a 'big' turn that we were heading to the other direction, which we then changed our plan to visit Devonport instead. Devonport is accessible by car or ferry. In our case, we drove.
Spotted our first rainbow in New Zealand. It was much more beautiful than the picture.
Devonport is a beautiful village by the sea, which offers stunning beaches, classy shops and wonderful heritage buildings. Kids enjoyed running on the green grass, playing at the playground and chasing the birds while running on the beach.
The beautiful and historic Devonport.
As it was getting dark and we knew most shops close by 5pm in New Zealand, we walked across the streets to do some window shopping and took picture of the unique village. The locals were very friendly, they greeted us and were amused by our kids who were so excited in taking pictures of everything and everywhere, especially Baby Bear who was doing supermodel pose in every pictures she took. LOL
Devonport in the evening.
We drove back to our hotel. We cooked simple dinner and we slept early by 10pm local time, as we had to leave Auckland by 7am tomorrow morning, departing to Matamata. Kids slept well. Papa Bear and I woke up a few times due to time difference. Haha... Kids are definitely better travellers than adults!
One of the rooms in our family suite - Surrey Hotel.