Showing posts with label New Zealand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Zealand. Show all posts

Ramadhan Kareem from Aotearoa New Zealand

Assalamualaikum warrahmatullahi wabarakatuh 

Alhamdulillaaah.. Ramadhan is here.

Semoga kita semua selalu dalam lindungan-Nya dan mendapat segala berkah, ampunan, dan petunjuk-Nya di bulan suci ini 🙏.

The holy month of Ramadhan is here and I am so blessed to  be able to enjoy this month of repentance, self-resistance, perseverance and empathy. The month when, once again, we are given the chance to reborn, to be a better self.


In sya Allah, this will be our second Ramadhan in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Read our first Ramadhan in Wellington here : Welcoming Ramadhan in Wellington

For 2024 or 1444H in Islamic calendar, we are enjoying Ramadhan in the middle of Fall, right after summer down here. In terms of time, it’s pretty much similar to the length of fasting in Indonesia. 

In the first week of Ramadhan, until the end of March, we roughly started the fasting at 6 AM until 7.30 PM. So it is around 13.5 hours fasting. Later in the beginning of April 2023, we will have daylight saving, when the time is adjusted in accordance with the movement of the sun. Then our fasting will start from 5.11 AM to 6.17 PM. So, it's pretty much similar to Indonesia. So, my family and I are super happy.


As you know, while we were posted in Geneva, Switzerland and New York City, US, we experienced Ramadan in the middle of long summer days. Well, it was quite an experience and alhamdulillah, everything run smoothly at that time.  

Read our Ramadhan story in New York City here: Ramadhan with the Kids

I sincerely hope Ramadhan will bring all the best of us and may we all who observe it will manage to do all the good deeds and get jannah as we deserve. And what makes this Ramadhan special is that us, Umat Muslim Indonesia (UMI) Wellington, is planning to build an Indonesian mosque in Wellington, New Zealand. Last week, on the first weekend in this Ramadhan, we had Tarling or Taraweh Keliling, hosted by one group of Indonesia community in Wellington. I guess I will share the event on a separate post. 

Saat ini, UMI Wellington sedang berikhtiar untuk mendirikan masjid Indonesia di Wellington, Selandia Baru. Ikhtiar besar yang dilakukan dengan semangat tinggi dan niat baik untuk mendapat ridha  dan berkah-Nya.

Untuk informasi lengkapnya, check out our website untuk informasi tentang UMI dan juga proposal pembangunan masjid/Indonesian Islamic Center di Wellington, Selandia Baru di www.umiwellington.org.nz

Sekiranya teman - teman ingin berpartisipasi dan bergabung bersama kami untuk mencari berkah-Nya, klik link www.launchgood.com dan bisa mencari kampanye let's build a mosque in Wellington New Zealand

Selain melalui platform Launchgood, berikut Info rekening donasi Pembangunan Masjid Indonesia di Wellington, NZ, jika teman - teman berkenan bergabung.

Indonesia: 

BRI 3781-01-000007-566  Atas nama Irdan Moh Arkan 


New Zealand

West Pack Bank: 03-0525-0022413-001, Swift code: WPACNZ2W

Stay tune for more news on this campaign, termasuk Tabligh Akbar Online bersama untuk kick-off rencana baik ini 🙏

Mohon bantuan doa, penyebaran informasi terkait rencana baik ini, dan juga dukungan donasi untuk mewujudkan masjid Indonesia ini.

Let’s build Indonesian Islamic Center and mosque in Wellington, New Zealand

🕌🕌🕌🕌🕌🕌


Once againRamadhan kareem, dear friends. May Allah SWT bestow us with endless blessings.

Wassalamualaikum warrahmatullahi wabarakatuh


Lake Tekapo continued and Twizel - South Island - Here We Come

Kia Ora..

Hope everyone is fine and I would love to continue our trip to the South Island.

So far, I have shared some of our trip to Christchurch, Akaroa, Hooker Valley, Lake Tekapo, and Queenstown. I certainly still have so many cities and beautiful spot to share here.

Let’s go explore more of Lake Tekapo, shall we?

Frankly speaking, I have so many lasting memories in this place. We might only stayed for 2 nights but there is something about Lake Tekapo. I have always a big fun of amazing natural landscape and here, I felt at ease and peaceful. I guess my family felt the same too.

Coming down to Lake Tekapo area from Christchurch and Akaroa, we spent our first night at Mountain Chalet Motels

Welcome to our room at Mountain Chalet Motel..

We got the room for 4 people, which costs us NZD 245 a night. We love this motel, which more like a chalet and very comfy as well. I guess I will share the review of this place separately.


collage of photos of the Mountain Chalet Motel where we stayed in Twizel

After making a stop at the Church of Good Shepherd by the bank of Lake Tekapo, we also manage to explore the area. I have shared many photos of the Church during the twilight hours and even midnight with the star trails. Since we have to wait until almost midnight to get the star trail and the night photos, my kids and I also walk around the lake.


On the first day we arrived in Lake Tekapo area, we already stayed in Twizel. It took us around 20 minutes to go the Lake Tekapo from our hotel.  We kept coming back to the church of the Good Shepherds as this charming church is really a beautiful landmark in this area. 




We considered ourselves lucky as it was a bit cold and windy so we didn't really have many people flocking around. Or they have visited this spot in the middle of the day when the weather was far more friendly. I tried the water in the lake but it was freezing, at least for me and my kids. So instead of getting into the water, we just strolled around the bank and enjoyed the view.



piles of rocks by the bank of the lake

Weeks before we arrived, the bank of Lake Tekapo was packed with lupins.

It's the type of flower which are typically found in this area and when all of the lupins were blooming, it looked like a tapestry of purple and pink lupin fields. The real name of this flower is Russel Lupin, or Lupinus polyphyllus.  And even though it looks beautiful (and mostly purple, my favorite color!), it is considered as pests!

Too bad we arrived rather late in this area and most of the lupins were gone already. But we still saw a few flocking separately in different spots here and there.


the remaining lupins

cann you imagine when lupis are covering this area? :)

My daughter and I..enjoying the lupins

The next day, before we continued heading to the next stop, we explored Twizel city. It’s the city between Lake Tekapo and Mt. Cook, so we can easily go back and forth between these 2 amazing places.

And what we love most is that Twizel is famous for its salmon! 

High Country Salmon is where we stopped by to get our brunch before heading to Wanaka and Queenstown. This cafe is very well known for its salmon dishes, including fishing and catching salmon yourself at their pond. Quite famous among tourists and visitors coming to this area.

By the time we arrived at this cafe, we immediately ordered the brunch as we were quite hungry. I was so tempted to get into their fish shop but the kids and my hubby directly took me to the cafe. 



And this is what we ordered...
Big salmon breakfast and salmon with eggs Benedict.
It was super delicious indeed!
I also ordered sashimi and salmon rice ball and salmon sushi for our lunch later.
Everything was so good feels like you want to get more and more. The salmon was fresh, soft yet very tasty, and it was cooked on the spot.
I was actually thinking to bring home the smoked salmon but considering that we were still on the road for some times, I didn't buy it.




Once we were happy with our salmon - infused brunch, we continued the trip. This time, we stopped by at Cardrona and Wanaka, before heading down to Queenstown.

To be continued...

WW: Queenstown from Above - Road Trip in South Island NZ



Still on my series of stories about the Frakarsas' road trip in South Island, Aotearoa New Zealand and this time I will share some photos of Queenstown, particularly the view from above. 

Many have claimed that coming to New Zealand is not complete without visiting this remarkable city. Queenstown has certainly won many people's hearts due to its remarkable landscapes (one of the mountain areas here is named the Remarkables! ), tranquil ambience, clear blue sky, hiking trails and tons of adrenaline - junkie and back to - nature activities you can do here.

For me, our last summer road trip in the South Island was my second chance to visit Queenstown. Last November, I managed to visit this place and enjoyed some parts of it, amidst the meetings that I have to make  together with my Ambassador and my team.


So this time, when I visited Queenstown again with my family, we ensured that we went to Skyline Queenstown. This is the popular place to those loving adventures, including riding the luges and trying bungee jumping! Well, I skipped the bungy jumping but we all took the gondola up to the higher ground and enjoyed unlimited luge rides!  We did try the Skyline luge in Rotorua back in 2022 but at that time, we didn't take the unlimited one because we went to the Hobbiton, the movie set of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbits on the same day. So, my kids had specifically requested to have more time in the Skyline luge Queenstown and indeed, tt was really fun to do so

These are some of the photos I took up there, on top of Skyline Queenstown, showing Queenstown from above.

Cheers from the Frakarsas

the other side of Queenstown

We certainly had so much fun here, with the whole morning gone with endless climbing up the gondola and go with the luge again and again. We took many pictures as the view from up there is amazing.



Queenstown, or Tahuna in Māori, is indeed beautiful. 

I’ll be more than happy to go back again here, preferably during winter or fall, to see different faces of this picturesque city.

Btw, for our summer adventures, You can see the short video I prepared from the action camera we put on my son's helmet while enjoying the luge ride here in Skyline Queenstown


Join us on (almost) Wordless Wednesday and have fun with the linking party

South Island, Here We Come - Hooker Valley Track - Road Trip in South Island NZ


Hooker Valley Track - Road Trip in South Island NZ 

The roaring sound of water got our attention, as the four of us, the Frakarsas, continued walking on the gravelled track. I looked at my husband and asked, "did you hear that?", with an obvious nod. He instantly took his phone and our action camera while saying,"we're getting close to bridge." And there, in front of us, the swing bridge, beautifully and, at the same time frighteningly, stretched over the valley and the river, was waiting for us. Hooker Valley, we're coming!

Hooker Valley at the mid section of our hike

Let’s continue our trip, after visiting Christchurch and Akaroa as well as Lake Tekapo in the South Island, Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Are you ready?



This time, I will share our stories while enjoying Mt. Cook  and Lake Pukaki area, especially Hooker Valley track.

So ..South Island, Here We Come - Hooker Valley Track - Road Trip in South Island NZ.

Mt. Cook is indeed a famous and must-see landmark in the South Island. Its amazing landscapes, with snow-capped mountains, curvy roads frame with clear blue sky and turquoise water lake, has captivated people’s attention and admiration. That includes the Frakarsas.



Even on our way from Twizel to Mr. Cook, we have been swayed by amazing landscapes along the way. As many others, we stopped in the middle of the road and took pictures! Of course while carefully looking at the traffic and make sure we didn't obstruct it!





We are lucky that when we visited the area the weather was friendly. Not too hot nor too summery, yet it was a bit cloudy but still sunny. As we reached the area, we stayed in Twizel ,- approximately 30 minutes from Mt. Cook and 30 minutes to Lake Tekapo. So it is strategically located in  the middle.

We drove early morning to Mt. Cook as we planned to track and hike in Hooker Valley. It takes 3 - 4 hours return from the parking lot or the starting point to Hooker Lake and back. And we had an amazing hike indeed.

my Nadine and the walking stick :)

happy me on the second bridge.. taking photos in the middle of the swinging bridge 


Let’s take a look at the pictures I took along the way.

the second swing bridge we went through


cheers from the four of us..

We passed 3 swing bridges along the way, with roaring rivers and semi-frozen lakes which are a combination of thrilling walk and magically beautiful views. I was a bit scared as we passed the first bridge but then finally got accustomed and felt a lot more relaxed on the next ones.

So that’s our little story about Hooker Valley and wait for more South Island adventures in South Island, Here We Come  - Road Trip in South Island NZ series.


the pristine nature is so overwhelming 



South Island, Here We come - AKAROA - Road Trip in South Island NZ

AKAROA - Road Trip in South Island NZ
AKAROA - Road Trip in South Island NZ 

Welcome back to Road Trip in South Island NZ series.

I am way too far from finishing as I only shared a few cities up till now and I do have more on my sleeves. 

This time, I will take you to Akaroa.

Don't forget to get more stories, like the one in Christchurch and Lake Tekapo.

Akaroa is the next city we visited after Christchurch. Well, it's one of the first ones we stopped by on the start of our road trip. 

It took us around 1.5 hour drive from Christchurch to Akaroa. As we left Christchurch rather later then what we have originally planned, we only spent some hours and got our late lunch in Akaroa. 

The war memorial in Akaroa, near the harbour

Akaroa has been famous for being the "New Zealand's only French settlements" - as I quoted from AA Traveller book. As we drove around the city and saw the road sign, we felt like we were no longer in New Zealand as the names are in French. Many cute houses with their gardens reminded us with those petit cities in France, thousands of kilometers away from Aotearoa. As we lived in Geneva, Switzerland - the french part of Suisse,- for more than 4 years, the visit to Akaroa really lives up our wonderful memories while living in Europe.


Along the way to Akaroa, the view is just amazing. The road we took show the turquoise water framed with lush green hills, curvy roads, and blue sky. Truly spectacular. We are looking at Banks Peninsula, famous for the place for penguin colony, from above.







WW: The Good Shepherd Church Lake Tekapo - Road Trip in South Island NZ

Lake Tekapo.

One of the many beautiful lakes we encounter in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Recently, as we explored South Island, enjoying our first Road Trip in South Island, Aotearoa New Zealand, we stopped by at Lake Tekapo’s most famous landmarks, the Church of the Good Shepherd.

This charming small, stone church is beautifully located at one corner of picturesque lake and making it arguably one of the most photographed churches in New Zealand.

The Good Shepherd Church Lake Tekapo
Golden hour at The Good Shepherd Church Lake Tekapo

While we visited the area, we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to capture this as well. 

Here’s what we got on our 2 nights in Lake Tekapo, taking tons of pictures, literally, in different times, even till pass midnight.


The Good Shepherd Church Lake Tekapo
the purple sky

On the first night, we stopped by rather late as we checked in to our hotel in Twizel first before heading here and had dinner. The trip from Twizel to Lake Tekapo takes around 20 minutes. The reason 

Apparently, the church and the church's yard is closed at 8 PM during summer. But we managed to see the yard and also the lake and the surrounding. The church is not open except during its scheduled mass, but if you or your group would like to visit inside or attend the mass, you can definitely be in touch with the church.

So after getting our dinner, we sticked around and waited till dark to get more photos of this place.

Hope you enjoy the photos.

The Good Shepherd Church Lake Tekapo
yaaaay we got the star trails...

The Good Shepherd Church Lake Tekapo
the picturesque Good Shepherd Church at Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

The Good Shepherd Church Lake Tekapo
Enjoying our nite at the Good Shepherd Church Lake Tekapo

Join us on (almost) Wordless Wednesday and have fun with the link


South Island, Here We come - Road Trip in South Island NZ - Christchurch



Welcome to Ōtautahi or Christchurch

Welcome back…

Still on my series of stories about Road Trip in South Island, New Zealand. I know I promised you Lake Tekapo, but apparently I am way from done on sharing about our trip in Ōtautahi or Christchurch and the surroundings area.

Originally, we planned to take tram trip and punting in Avon river as well as checking Christchurch from above through gondola ride. Pretty much the popular tourist destination and activities LOL.

But then, as we arrived there and also met some friends (and the fact that I have taken the tramway tour on my visit to Christchurch back in December 2021), we diverted the plan and ended up exploring riverside market, heading to Castle Hill conservation area, stopping by at An Nur mosque where the Christchurch bombing happened, and exploring the street arts in this beautiful city.

So here’s a little story about our 1 night, 1.5 day in Christchurch.

Enjoy some photos first, shall we?
Some of them are the highlights of our visit in Christchurch and the surroundings.

One of the street arts in Christchurch, Alice in Wonderland...

happy me posing in the Castle Hills Conservation Area

In front of An-Nur Mosque, Christchurch

Queen Victoria Park


As we arrived at CHC, that’s the code for Christchurch in flight, you know we drove straight to Riverside Market to have late lunch and buy yummy tempe and more food in Indo Tempeh restaurant. I shared that in my previous post.

Read : South Island, Here We come - Road Trip in South Island New Zealand

Then after a quick check-in at Crowne Plaza hotel Christchurch and dzuhur break, we continued our journey to Castle Hills conservation area, famous for its incredible rock formations and its importance to the Māori.

Before that, check out my YouTube video for a little room tour in Crowne Plaza hotel Christchurch.


We drove around 1.5 hours from CHC to Castle Hills. It was a bit drizzling and cloudy along the way but as we arrived at this spot, the weather was lovely.

We parked and got to walk to the hills, dotted with astonishing rocks formation while at the same time reading the history of this place. There is a story about the three pou and how this are becomes so important to the Maori. We browsed around the area and took more pictures while admiring the hills, which, according to the information board we read on the spot, used to be seabed million years ago. So, the place where we were standing used to be the place for the sharks! Interesting, isn't it.

The story of three pou..


Nadine posing amongst the rocks




Well, I will stop there as I still have a lot more to share. Stick around and see you on the next stories.