Showing posts with label traveling in the Pacific. Show all posts
Showing posts with label traveling in the Pacific. Show all posts

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

 Hi, everyone..

It feels like ages since I share some stories and photos here, especially since my family and I have a little break in the South Island of New Zealand in the beginning of 2023.

As I shared this, we have been on the road for quite some times now for our summer break, my first annual leave after moving to Aotearoa, New Zealand. Finally, we get the chance to come back to the South Island after entering this lovely island as we first arrive in New Zealand on November 26th, 2021.  Super excited indeed!

We do have a lot of plans and itineraries prepared as we travel around 11 days.

I shared in my Instagram that we flew from Wellington to Christchurch and started our road trip from there.

So far, we have planned to visit so many cities, among others Christchurch, Akaroa, Fairlie, Lake Tekapo, Mt. Cook, Lake Pukaki, Twizel, Wanaka, Queenstown, Glenorchy, Milford Sound, Te Anau, Manapouri, Riverton, Invercargill, The Caitlins (Slope Point, Curio Bay, McLean Falls, Florence Hills Lookout, Nugget Points Lighthouse, Kaka Point, Balclutha), then Dunedin (where we are going to watch Red Hot Chili Peppers and Post Malone concert YAY!). Milton, Otago, Lanarch Castle and back to Queenstown to fly back to windy Wellington.

Phewww… I know it was a long itinerary but for sure us, the Frakarsas, is super excited and thrilled to continue our adventure. 

Semangaaat dan bismillahirrahmanirahim .. alhamdulillah semua berjalan lancar.

So, South Island, here we come!

I will definitely share our complete story of the Road Trip in South Island, New Zealand. But first, allow me to share some of the highlights of our 11-day trip. One of my favorite destinations is Milford Sound.

the majestic Milford Sound.. with Lady Stirling Fall on the right side

But other cities are amazing as well. 

First, we arrived at Christchurch after flying from Wellington for about 1 hour 15 minutes. Here we stayed one night, picked up our rented car, and explored the city. 

As we landed at Christchurch in the afternoon, we went directly to pick up the car at the airport and headed to the city. First agenda, late lunch! We went to the Riverside Market, having an appointment with Mba Nana, the owner of Indo Tempeh food stall, one of the successful Indonesian entrepreneurs in Christchurch. As the name suggested, Indo Tempeh sells Indonesian delicious cuisines and produces tempe, the famous soy beans cake which has been dubbed as Indonesian traditional food. The Frakarsas is indeed a big fan of it and whenever I find great tempe, wherever I live, I always get them.

collage of our rendezvous with Mba Nana from Indo Tempeh, CHC

After getting our tempe and lunch, we headed to Crowne Plaza Hotel Christchurch to check-in. We only stopped by for a while and then continued the trip to Castle Hill. 

Then, on the next day, Akaroa is our first destination.

Next, Lake Tekapo.

Well, more stories and photos will definitely come, just bear with me okay.
Do you like some of the places I mentioned above?
Which one is your favorite?

Enjoying Bula and Aki Mata at Trader Jacks Bar & Grills, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Trader Jacks Bar & Grills, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Welcome to Trader Jacks Bar & Grills, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

I haven't really shared my great adventures in Rarotonga, the capital city of Cook Islands here in my blog. Although the visit was done in May 2022, but I guess the stories and memories stay for a lifetime.

We were there for 5 days on the occasion of Ambassador Fientje Suebu's presentation of Letter of Credence to the Queen's Representatives. We stayed in the Edgewater Resort and Spa and it's a lovely villa indeed that we got there. The villa can accommodate the 7 of us and  and it's complete with living room, kitchen, dining room, terrace and even washing machine. Not to forget, the direct access to the beach! Heaven indeed! I will share more details on the next post. 

Waka at rader Jacks Bar & Grills, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
ready to cruise with this Waka?

During this stay, we had series of meetings as well as the opportunity to browse and scroll around the island.

rader Jacks Bar & Grills, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Welcome to Trader Jacks & Grills, Rarotonga

In one of the occasions, we stopped at Trader Jacks Bar and Grills in Avarua district, Rarotonga. This is really a lovely restaurant with great food, lovely vibe and amazing view of the ocean!

one corner at Trader Jacks

We came here for lunch and really enjoy the food here. Although at that time it was a bit cloudy, we saw the waka or traditional boat ready to sail. I feel like jumping here and joining them! You can see how wonderful this traditional boat is. Here we ordered the fish & chips, onion rings, Bula Fiji style curry complete with rice and roti, the catch of the day, and of course Ika Mata, the traditional Cook Islanders dish made of fish. So ika mata is basically fresh tuna soaked in lime juice and coconut milk, adorned with capsicum and spring onion. I really love it for sure!

I also enjoyed my Bula, Fiji style fish curry. One big, complete tray I have here with the roti, steamed rice, fish curry, yogurt and tomato dipping, plus fresh chili. Yummy and very fulfilling.

Not to forget, I also love their home-made sauce! The ones with mango and coconut chili sauce is so good! They also have pizzas and burgers and more choices as well.
The service is good and staff is friendly. We chatted a lot with some of them, asking about the area as well as the food and beverages being served there.

It is also a bar and it is very strategically located. I guess that is why it is becoming one of the favorite hang out spots. I saw many people waiting for their drinks while enjoying the breeze by the sea.

We stopped by twice during our short stay in the island as we really enjoyed the food and drink here. Price wise, it is also friendly and pretty standard. So, what do you think? Like this place as well like me? Hopefully so. Highly recommended indeed if you do come to Cook Islands!

WW: Snorkeling Session at Rarotonga, the Cook Islands

I was super lucky to get a chance to come and visit Rarotonga, the capital city of the Cook Islands. The visit was back in May 2022 but I still haven't shared my wonderful experience there.

We came for the Credentials procession of Ambassador Fientje M. Suebu and we had series of meetings with the Prime Minister as well as the members of his cabinet. We also managed to see the beauty of Rarotonga and met our Indonesian brothers and sisters.

In one of the days, we visited the Rarotongan beach and had a snorkeling session there. I was super excited although it was cloudy and drizzling. I didn't manage to try diving here but I hope I can come back here again sometimes.

Here are some the photos I took while enjoying Rarotonga.

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

Enjoying Christchurch Tram City Tour

A visit to Christchurch, one the biggest city in the South Island of New Zealand, will not be complete without taking the tramway.

Enjoying Christchurch Tram City Tour
Enjoying Christchurch Tram City Tour 

I have been enjoying tramway and cable cars whenever I can find them. So on my last visit to Christchurch in December 2021,  I took the chance to enjoy the trip together with the team, headed by Ambassador Tantowi Yahya, to enjoy Christchurch Tram City Tour. This is obviously one of the landmarks of the city and of people's favorite too.

We went to the Tram station and buy the ticket which costs you NZD 30 per adults and up to 3 kids can come for free. Additional kids will have to pay for NZD 5. 

Since we visited during the pandemic, we followed the health protocol by scanning the QR code, wearing masks, cleaning our hands frequently, and keeping the safe distance.

the details of the heritage tram

Once the tram arrived we hopped on and took our seats. It didn't take long to wait until the tram started to move. We were so excited indeed.

My Ambassador waiting for the tram

There are many spots you can enjoy while taking this Tram City Tour and since it is hop - on - hop - off system, you can definitely stop in one of the places and hop on again for the next destination. During our trip, it was raining cats and dogs so we chose to stay inside the tram all the way from the beginning till the end of the tour.

so, where are we going to stop now?

The tram stops at 17 spots, including the Canterbury Museum and Botanic Gardens, The Cathedral, the Riverside Market, Art Center and New Regent Street, which is packed with wonderful cafes, stores and eateries. So many choices to stop by and you will definitely enjoy the trip.

the sign of the tram stop

After the trip for about 40 minutes, we were back to the station again and decided to go to the nearby cafe, waiting for the rain to stop and getting ready for our next meeting.


WW: Rimutaka Crossing Outlook, Wairarapa, New Zealand

Ready to explore Wellington more with us? 

We spent one lovely weekend to stop by at Rimutaka Crossing, Wairarapa, New Zealand

Summer is on and we really are so excited to see more of this country. Rimutaka Crossing is a historical spot where the march of New Zealand Expenditionary Force infantry took place in 1915 - 1918, during the First World War. The military training camp was located in the nearby town called Featherston. Some place we can explore further as well.

As it is situated in the hilly parts of the area, it has amazing view as well.

It took us around one hour drive to reach this place from our home in Karori and since the day was nice and bright, we had a great walk. Once we arrived here, We parked our car and strolled around the area. We walked up along the path and we could tell that the paths have different routes and levels, some are long and quite strenuous. We took the short one and just had a brief climb to get a better view.

I love to see all these flowers

The path is not that difficult, so you can still walk around with the kids, although you are of course welcome to walk further across the hills. The path we took was not too steep but best to wear your comfortable shoes and the proper clothes that would be fit for the weather. We were lucky it was not that windy when we were out there.

I really enjoy the clean air, blue sky, beautiful flowers and some native plants we saw during our walk. The plants remind me of those in the dry or dessert areas. If we were lucky, we could meet a wallaby, a marsupial which is normally seen in the area. 

We definitely take a some pictures as you see above and I wish I brought my action camera to get more footage and photos. 

But we can always come back here next time, as it's located in the famous SH 2 highway taking us to various towns and spots in the area, including Greytown, Martinborough, Casterton and more. My husband and I have put quite a long list of places we plan to explore in North Island, including the one in Wairarapa region, where all these towns are mostly located. 

Some flowers are so pretty

I sincerely hope all is well and the pandemic is way more manageable in the future. Meanwhile, stay safe, happy and healthy, wherever you are.

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

Colorful Culinary Adventures in The Riverside Market, Christchurch, New Zealand

One of the murals in Riverside Market, Christchurch, New Zealand

Heading to the local market in one particular area is always be my fave and most of the time, it becomes top of my itinerary.

That is exactly what I did during my last visit to Christchurch in the late December 2021. Something popped up and we had a business trip to this wonderful city for about three days. Once we arrived here, one of the place that we visited is the Riverside Market.

Located in the heart of Christchurch Central, easily accessed by any means of transportation including the public ones, Riverside Market has become one of the icons of Christchurch. Here you can find a myriad of wonderful choices of fresh farmers' produce, seafood, cheese, and more, plus delicious menus from different corners of the globes with the high degree of authenticity. 

frozen tempeh..

We also have Indonesian food here, provided by Indo Tempeh, the vendor which supplies tempeh or the soy bean cake with varieties of menus using tempeh and more traditional Indonesian cuisines like nasi kuning, sayur lodeh, sambal goreng tempe, mendoan, tempe bacem and more.  

nasi kuning, anyone?

In terms of food, you can also get popular western food like fried chicken, fish and chips, burgers and steak, as well as more Asian cuisines, like Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Malaysian food, and Turkish, Greek, Italian, Mexican, and more. Healthy choices as well as candies and sweets are also available. 

These cheese twists are super yum!

As I came before Christmas, many festive food, chocolates and cookies are sold by the vendors here. Many of them are colorful and super cute. I also like to accent and the decorations used by each vendor here. It makes the whole ambience of the market rich and vibrant as they bring and infuse their unique, one-of-a-kind touch of home. As for the aroma, it is indeed tantalizing!

Cute gingerbread person

Not to mention various drinks like coffee, bubble tea, ice cream, wine, beer, spirits and more. The bakeries that we have here also provide delicious bread, pastries, pies, biscuits, cookies and anything you can think of. So tempting indeed.

Around the area, particularly the laneway, we also have various shops and I have to admit the summer sales as well as the cute, collectable items from many gifts shops dotting the area, really make me strain my shopping appetite. And it was not that easy LOL. 

Some of the colorful items I love to have 

You will find colorful, brilliant, eye-trickery murals outside of the building as well. Obviously many will love taking pictures here as it's so Instagramable. Those murals are the depiction of the original buildings in the area before the great earthquake hit Christchurch in 2011. The Riverside Market is more than just the market as it stands tall marking the collective efforts of the city as well as the nation to restart building Christchurch after that life-changing disaster.

I managed to get a flat white, cheese bread and croissant, nasi kuning, rendang frozen tempeh, candy, organic butter and souvenirs from this market. Well, it's quite a lot for a short trip to the market. Well, for sure, if you are coming to Christchurch, you cannot miss this place.



Hope everyone has a wonderful start of the new year!

We are witnessing the changes of the new dawn in 2022 from Wellington, New Zealand. 

Happy happy new year, everyone

It was a bit quiet here in Wellington City, as the new variant of Omicron has once again put the restrictions back. So no big gathering, no fireworks, nothing in the city for welcoming 2022. We only saw Ibiza Party Bus was passing our hotel before midnight. Well, that didn't dampen our spirit to welcome the new year in this new city we reside.

Party on the bus...

Yet we had a blast as we moved to the new house at the last day of 2021. We brought all our luggages from Quest on the Terrace, which has been a temporary apartment for us in the course of one month, to our homey little home in Cathie Place, Karori. The house has been equipped with white wares (stoves, oven, hood and dishwasher) and we have brought the lazy boys (two, big reclining seats), 3-seat sofa, 3 sets of beds and some bits and pieces we acquire along the way.

Welcome to Karori, Wellington, New Zealand

We were super excited indeed, noting that the house has been prepared with items we will need for at least the next couple of weeks after the new year break passes. Many things have been suspended for this summer (yup, it's summer down here in NZ) break, including shipments of many of our stuff bought in Wellington as well as in Jakarta. But at least we can cozily live in a house with no fridge and TV for 2 weeks, right. 

Welcome to Karori, Wellington, New Zealand
The Frakarsas at Karori House

So, on the last day of the year, we dragged all our belongings brought from Jakarta to Karori, Wellington. This little house on top of the hill will be our home for the next 1-2 years. Well, we are assigned here for 4 years but let's see how things are unfolding in the future. 


On the New Year's eve, we went to our friend's house for BBQ and countdown session with the kids. It was fun and lots of food for sure, as we chatted till midnight and started the count down with non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice. We cheered for better, kinder, safer, and happier 2022.

Just like what I have shared in my IG account, the year 2021 has certainly taught us a lot.

Patience, perseverance, discipline and compassion, are among the principled values we hold dear as we continued our fight against the pandemics. Tears, disappointment, anger, pain and misery might choose to accompany us at certain point of time. Loosing seems to part of the game too.

But we all choose not to give up. We choose to get up and continue the fight. We never give up and keep our hopes high in the air. We keep the faith and move forward.

Allah SWT sungguh maha baik kepadaku dan keluargaku. Sejatinya kepada kita semua.

Tak terhitung begitu banyak nikmat, perlindungan dan cinta-Nya yang tercurah kepada #thefrakarsas dan keluarga besarku di manapun berada. Di antara serangan COVID - 19 yang alhamdulillah kami alami 2 kali, jatuh bangun keluarga di tengah pandemi, dan roller coaster kehidupan, Sang Maha Pemilik Kehidupan memberikan akhir tahun yang manis dan penuh kejutan.

Along the way, ada banyak cinta, rezeki, teman baru, kehangatan, tawa lepas, tim kerja yang hebat, pekerjaan yang selesai, rewards dan apresiasi, pemandangan indah, tempat baru yang dijelajahi, momen spesial serta global family and networks that I really love and cherish! Oh I am so swelled with happiness. Merci ya Rabb..

May the world be a safer, better, happier and more blessed place for all of us.

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim .. selamat datang 2022 

Then on the first days of 2022, we have been enjoying the house and heading to the beach.

Yes, Scorching beach.. here we come!

Happy New Year from Wellington

Since summer is really on, before long the beach is packed with Wellingtonians who craved for some sunshine and tanning session. I will share more details on our lovely time at Scorching Bay Beach on the next post.

Again, Happy 2022 and may the new year bring all happiness, joy, excitement, success and health to all of us

Wellington Cable Car, Enjoying Wellington in Bright, Sunny Day

This week marks our third week in Wellington and almost a month in New Zealand.

We are still living in our temporary apartment - hotel in the city and one attraction near here that I have tried is the Wellington Cable Car. 

It was said that your visit to (or stay in) Wellington will not be complete without trying this legendary red cable car. Running from the city center Lambton Quay to Kelburn, which happens to be the area where the Embassy is located, the cable car is indeed one of tourists' favorite landmarks as well as handy mode of transport to those living or working around the area. 

The ticket costs NZD 9 for return and NZD 5 for one-way. You can have family package as well for NZD 16 return for 1 adult and up to 3 kids or NZD 22 return for 2 adults and up to 4 kids. As for students, the ticket is NZD 6 for return and NZD 3.5 for one way. Child  age 5-15 will be NZD 4.5 and NZD 2.5. Very affordable indeed. As for the time table, there are many adjustments made due to the holidays. So better check the website.

The cable car has only 5 stops, starting from Lambton Quay and ends at Kelburn. On top of the cable car stop, you can definitely enjoy the view of the city. Once we have arrived at the top of the cable car, we can also visit the museum, souvenir shop and the cafe. You can also catch the shuttle to Zealandia or head to Botanic Garden and Space Place. The view from the top is surely amazing!

That’s a little story about our first days in Wellington. More to come for sure and stay healthy, everyone!