Welcome back to the Postcard From feature, where I get to chat to some lucky sole whose been travelling recently.
This week, its the turn of writer and fellow wordpress blogger Cindy Tanudjaja from Jakarta, Indonesia. Cindy is something of a travel veteran, with an impressive list to her name: Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, USA, Paris, Germany, London, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Italy, Venice, Sydney, Gold Coast, Bali, and a few more. Earlier this year, Cindy headed to Auckland, NZ to visit her boyfriend who she hadn’t seen in eight months. In between catching up with him and her university friends, it seems she also found time to really explore the area.
You can read more about Cindy’s travels and her quest to become a writer on ber blog, cindytanudjaja.com.
As always – if you would like to take part in the Postcard From feature please get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
Cindy, tell me about your trip!
I went to Auckland, New Zealand, to visit my boyfriend. We hadn’t seen each other for eight months, so it was really great to finally be able to talk to each other face to face. Auckland, as usual, was very nice. The city had undergone some changes and become more modern. We went to visit the new Wynyard Quarter, which is this new place at the waterfront, brimming with new restaurants, cafes, and public areas. If you love architecture, this is a good place to visit. There is also a magnificent view of the Auckland’s harbour and open water.
From Auckland, I went to Gold Coast with a couple of my friends. It was a great place. Sort of like a mini version of Miami beach. They have stores on the edge of the beach, tall apartments, and a place called Surfer’s Paradise, which was like the main street in Gold Coast and was filled with stores, restaurants, and a few tourist spots.
Where did you stay?
In Auckland I stayed at my friend’s place. It was just an apartment, so nothing special, really. But staying at a friend’s place saved me a lot of money, so I would recommend it to anyone travelling with a budget. If you know anyone in the country you’re visiting, it never hurts to ask. You’ll end up paying a lot less.
In Gold Coast we stayed at the Royal Palm Resort. It was very nice and exceeded our expectations. Our apartment was huge. It had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a spacious living room with big-screen TV, and a good-sized dining room and kitchen. The living room opened up to this deck that faced the ocean. It was calming watching the sunrise from the deck.
Royal Palm has its own tennis court, a barbecue area, and has a direct access to the beach. We didn’t get to use any of these as we were having too much fun at the Theme Parks, but we’d love to stay longer here the next time we were in Gold Coast. I would recommend this resort to anyone. We booked it via Expedia and we came during low season, so we paid a lot less than the normal price.
In Gold Coast, we visited the theme parks, the Warner Brothers’ Movie World, Dream World, and Sea World. They were all really fun places to visit, with or without kids. My favourite were the Movie World and the Sea World. There were many shows to see and I rode on most of the rides. Dream World was more challenging. From the seven thrill rides they had, I only rode two. I admit; I was a chicken. But it still was fun travelling with my close friends.
Sounds good! What else did you get up to?
During my stay in Auckland, my boyfriend and I visited our favourite mini-vacation places, Taupo and Rotorua. Taupo is approximately a four-hour drive from Auckland. We visited the Huka Prawn Park and had lunch at their restaurant. We ordered their ciabatta bread (fresh from the oven!), ½ kg of the steamed whole prawns, and some French fries. They were delicious! The park has a lot of activities, like a guided walk, prawn fishing, golf, tree climbing, and foot bath. If you want to visit, spare a few hours to try all of them. We had a different plan, so we just stopped for lunch.
After lunch, we went to another of our favourite place, The Polynesian Spa in Rotorua. It is in the World’s Top 10 Spas! There are a couple of bathing areas you can choose to suit your needs: the deluxe lake spa, adult spa, family spa, and private pools. As this was a trip to celebrate our 6th anniversary, we splurged and got in the Lake Spa. It was more expensive, but it opened up to the view of Lake Rotorua and it wasn’t as popular as the adult spa, so it was a little quieter. We enjoyed bathing in the mineral water, talking, watching the birds flying back and forth above us, and taking pleasure of the clean, unpolluted air. This spa is a must-do if you ever visit Rotorua.
It sounds like an awesome trip – what was your highlight?
My highlight was being in Auckland, a place I still called my second home, and of course, spending time with my boyfriend. Visiting Gold Coast was also a nice experience. I would definitely come back.
The food in Auckland was really diverse. If you want a good Japanese food, visit Renkon in Parnell. They have delicious ramen at an affordable price. The best Chinese food for me is Star Cafe at the North Shore. I’m writing a blog post about best food places in Auckland and I’ll be posting it soon, so if you’d like to read please visit my blog.
Food in the theme parks in Gold Coast was very expensive. We were travelling with a budget, so we decided to pack our own lunch. We bought bread rolls, tuna, beef, cheese, and slices of chicken from the supermarket and made our own sandwiches. They were really good. I would recommend this to any budget traveller. Packing your own lunch is a good way to save money. For dinners, we went to Surfer’s Paradise. We were told there was this really delicious ramen place there and we went. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of the place. But boy was it delicious! It was simply one of the best ramen I had ever tasted. Also, you can ask for another bowl of soup for free!
Do you have any embarrassing stories or disasters?
No disasters or anything, but now that I think of it, it’s embarrassing that I was too afraid to try some of the rides. I should got on them, because as my friend put it, you only live once, so live life to the fullest.
How was the weather?
We were blessed with clear, sunny weather the whole time we were in Gold Coast. We were told the weather was so bad a few days before we arrived, so we were really happy that we got to enjoy the theme parks without rain. The sun was so hot, though. Do bring a sunscreen and apply it generously if you’re in Gold Coast.
The weather in Auckland is good as well. It’s cold and windy at night, but cool and sometimes a little bit hot during the day. Hardly any rain.
Do you have any tips or advice for anyone planning a similar trip?
If you want to visit Auckland, I’m writing my own guide to Auckland in my blog. There are some tips and my recommendations of a few good places to visit.
If you want to go to Gold Coast, it’s good to do your research. There are many travel agents offering 4-day or 7-day package to Gold Coast that usually include accommodation and plane tickets. Shop around. We booked our trip through Expedia. If you want to save money, travel during the colder months. Gold Coast is famous for its beaches and water parks, so summer is definitely its high season. By travelling on winter, we don’t get to enjoy the beach or the water parks, but we still had a lot of fun visiting the theme parks. Plus, it means we’re paying less on plane tickets, accommodation, and rental car.
Don’t buy your theme park tickets separately. Buy the VIP Pass. It offers unlimited entry for a year to 3 parks, the Movie World, Sea World, and Wet ‘n Wild. Dream World has its own yearly VIP Pass that offers unlimited entry to the park and the White Water World.
NB – all photos are owned by Cindy Tanudjaja.