Australia and New Zealand geographically are almost directly down under Bali, where we live.
After a short 5 ½ hour flight to Sydney, Australia we spent a week with family.
I always try to plan our trips so that we hardly use hotels.
Having a home in Bali makes it very easy to obtain free home and car exchanges around the world.
Last year we went straight across Canada, including staying in one place that normally charges $6,000 a week. The cost was zero.
When you’re travelling with a family of four hotel costs can be exorbitant, so I highly recommend this to anyone who are avid travelers like we are.
New Zealand Here We Come:
After our first week in Sydney we flew 3 ½ hrs. to Auckland, New Zealand.
We stayed one night at a hotel there and the next morning caught a bus for another three and half hours to the middle part of the North Island of New Zealand, called Rotorua.
Rotorua, a town set on its namesake lake on New Zealand's North Island, is renowned for its geothermal activity and Maori culture. In the Puma’s Whakarewarewa Valley, there are bubbling mud pools and the 30m-tall Pohutu Geyser, which erupts many times daily.
The home exchange had two bedrooms upstairs and an additional two bedrooms downstairs.
It had a beautiful view of lake Rotorua.
Included was a relatively new hot tub which I enjoyed the first evening.
It featured a recently built first-class kitchen, which my wife, Azizah admired.
The boys enjoyed having their own large-screen TV in the bedrooms.
The town Rotorua, is a very popular summer resort town, which in New Zealand means from November until March.
It has plenty of restaurants pubs etc.
Rotorua is famous for its thermal springs.
When we first obtained our car, we thought there was a problem with the smell of sulphur.
We found out later that the sulphur was from the springs around Rotorua.
During the few days that we had there we had little time to explore the many attractive sites which include several thermal hot spring baths.
We did manage to do some bowling which was fun for all.
After a few days we drove to our other home exchange with the same hosts.
There we checked into a three-bedroom luxury apartment right on the famous Taupo Lake.
It is in the caldera of the Taupo Volcano. With a surface area of 616 square kilometres, it is the largest lake by surface area in New Zealand, ...Wikipedia
The apartment was gorgeous and well-equipped.
With three televisions everybody could watch whatever they wanted.
It features a thermally heated floor which provided heat throughout and was certainly nice to walk around on.
Like the Rotorua exchange it included a very modern kitchen with everything you could want.
What attracted to me to this apartment was a thermally heated swimming pool and hot tub along with Gym and sauna.
All of which we utilized, especially after our first day of skiing for the season. Aches and pains of muscles rarely used that first day melted away in the Jacuzzi.
It has a very scenic beach walk directly in front which continues all the way into town. We enjoyed a lovely walk on it yesterday. The views are magical.
To enjoy either of these locations plus several more as an exchange or rental you can contact Ms. Meryl Crump. She is an extremely professional host. Call her Directly at 021 898-696. One of their websites is www.lakeviewaccommodation.co.nz.
As a TripAdvisor Hall of Fame award-winning hotel manager, I certainly know my accommodations and their two apartments deserve my highest recommendations.
The main purpose for this home exchange was its proximity to what is billed as “the largest ski field in New Zealand”.
The ideal way to go there is to rent your skis and equipment the night before at “Ruapehu Alpine Lifts” The next morning they will load it onto a bus for you and take you directly to the lifts at Whakapapa.
Whakapapa, on the northern side of Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand's Tongariro National Park, is one of the mountain's two commercial ski fields.
The ski season is generally from late June to late October, depending on snow and weather conditions.
The terrain at Whakapapa Ski field is divided up as 25% beginner, 50% intermediate and 25% advanced. Access to the ski field is by Bruce Road, a 2-lane, 6 km sealed road. Limited accommodation and refreshments are available at 'Top o' the Bruce', at the entry to the ski field, and elsewhere on the mountain.
Mount Ruapehu's two ski fields, Whakapapa and Turoa, are considered to be the largest ski resort in New Zealand. Both are operated by the company Ruapehu Alpine Lifts.
Like mountaineers who are asked why they are climbing a mountain and they answer “because it’s there” seasoned skiers like myself are the same. We want to ski every mountain in every country in the world.
So far, I’ve done most of North America and Europe. I even skied the Big Island of Hawaii, which entailed waiting anxiously for the two or three days of the year that there’s snow and then hiking up volcanic cones and skiing down with your life in your hand.
Since there was no snow in Taupo and rarely does it go below freezing I was wondering if there was enough snow on the mountain itself.
As we progressed on the beautiful lakeside drive in the bus in the early morning hours my first glimpse of the mountains eliminated my fears. There was obviously plenty of snow.
John the bus driver explained to me that there are three mountains here.
I asked him if this volcano was the source of the North Island itself and he explained that actually Taupo Lake is an extinct volcano which created the North Island of New Zealand when it exploded as a super volcanic eruption approximately 26,500 years ago
After a 1 ½ HR. drive we arrived at Whakapapa.
Azizah decided to take a lesson while the boys skied the beginners runs.I took off with my Nikon directly up to the top and took some of the most beautiful photos I’ve ever taken of any mountain anywhere in the world.
The views of the Pinnacles and the neighbouring volcano are spectacular.
A few of these photos will go up on my wall for fond memories.
Later I returned to pick up the boys and we skied together on the top. With even more magnificent photos.
For most of the day I was careful and cautious of always watching for the two boys until the last run. I decided to go all out at full speed down the extent of the mountain.
To my surprise and joy when I stopped halfway almost right behind me was Darius and Xander. In effect they kept up with me.
What’s amazing is it’s only the fourth time they have skied in her entire lives after I taught them up in Canada in December and January of this year.
Then we went and got mom and she walked up to the chair, feeling uncomfortable skiing after just one lesson.
Tomorrow we have decided to change our plans somewhat and take the bus down to Wellington, one of New Zealand’s three major cities.
We will spend the night there and then the next day take a short flight over to Queenstown which is the major skiing area of New Zealand on the Southern Island.
All in all, it has been a wonderful first two weeks and I’m sure that many seasoned skiers like myself have always dreamed of skiing New Zealand.
It is unique with some of the most fantastic scenery in the world.
That’s why it was used extensively for the movie Lord of the Rings which we hope to go visit some of the shooting sites on this next stage.
If you are in an avid skier I’m sure you are foaming at the mouth after reviewing this blog and seeing the wonderful sights.
Stop dreaming and make it a reality.
For those of you that live in Europe or America’s the perfect way to do this would to be fly to Hong Kong from the west or fly directly to Bali from Europe.
You can stay for a week and enjoy the fourth best designation in the world, according to Tripadvisor readers.
Instead of a small hotel room you can stay in one of our TripAdvisor Hall of Fame award-winning Bali luxury villas.
I will offer you a skiing special of a two or three-bedroom 400 m² private luxury villa exactly as shown in this photo with private pool, full time private housekeeper and free laundry starting as low as $135 ++ per night.
|Starting as low as $135|
From there you can catch a flight directly to New Zealand and in eight hours you can live your dream.
Always remember life is to be enjoyed.
There’s no use in making money if you can’t enjoy it, especially with your family.