Out and About in Queenstown

This post has been long overdue. So, five months ago, we decided to go on a holiday in the South Island. Amongst the places we visited was Queenstown. And it was simply Breathtaking!

After the sunset @ Queenstown.

It is a small, busy town which is known as one of the top tourist destinations in New Zealand.

It being our final stop before flying back to Auckland, we decided to try and explore the different nooks and crannies of the locale. And since we only had less than 24 hours to spare we just dropped our bags at the Goldridge Resort, hailed a Connectabus, and the adventure began.

The waterfront, which is definitely one of Queenstown’s most iconic landmarks. It is a bustling hub of restaurants, bars, hotels, and gardens cradled by the crystal clear waters of lake Wakatipu and the snow-capped peaks of the surrounding hills.

An eel, trout, and duck. Taken at the Underwater Observatory


Lake Wakatipu.

The XD Dark Ride, is an interactive motion ride, which is not for the faint-hearted. If you cannot fathom the chilly breeze circulating Queenstown, you can always try this indoor activity.

A scenic ride is an experience that you shouldn’t pass. When booking however, be informed that the trip may not always go as planned because of the ever-changing weather conditions; which happened in our case. We were supposed to fly and land on The Remarkables, but due to strong winds, we had to settle for a lower landing area. Nonetheless, it was still an experience of a lifetime.

Our ride for the day.


At the top, literally.

The Shotover Jet. This attraction is already being offered in several places in New Zealand, but this is the only one we’ve tried. Our verdict? It is a ride worth trying. A “jet”, a river, mountains, and countless boulders, that’s the trip in a nutshell.

The Shotover Jet.


Ferg’s Cafe – Donuts.


That Fish and Chips shop along the road.
And cider to wrap up the day.
Apple Cider and Beer.


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The 5-day Itinerary Queenstown, Te Anau, & Milford Sound.

Waiting for our flight to Queenstown.

Finishing a series of blogs about one trip can be a lot more difficult and time-consuming if you are also a full-time employee like ourselves. So before we totally forget all the details, we have decided to skip to the best part of all travel blogs: the itinerary with costs (of course!).

Day 1

Air New Zealand Covered Parking for 5 days: NZ$ 62.00
* A free shuttle is provided by Air New Zealand Parking to and from the airport.
– Departure from Auckland to Queenstown via Air New Zealand:
Airfare for 2 pax, rountrip, with travel insurance – NZ$ 476.00
– Arrival in Queenstown.
Connectabus to the town centre: NZ$ 8.00/pax
– Breakfast at the mall food court, we had McDonald’s & Teriyaki Chicken Don
– We tried to explore some of the shops while waiting for our bus to Te Anau.
– Coffee & hot chocolate at Movenpick.
Tracknet Bus to Te Anau: NZ$ 48.00/pax
Fiordland Hotel and Motel Overnight stay: NZ$ 70.00/night
Contact Person: Marichelle
Address: 91 Luxmore Drive, Te Anau
Phone: +64 3 249 7511
* A free shuttle is also provided for guests wanting to go to the lakefront and back to the hotel.
– Dinner at The Ranch

Day 2

– Breakfast at the Sandfly Cafe
– Te Anau Trout Observatory (bring $2 coins to be able to enter): NZ$ 2.00/pax
– Snack at the Sandfly Cafe
Real Journeys Coach + Milford Mariner Overnight Cruise @ Milford Sound: NZ$ 331.00/ pax
* Price is inclusive of accommodations (Double Bed Room), buffet dinner and breakfast, water activities, flowing hot drinks.
– Drinks at the ship’s bar

Day 3

– Souvenir photos by Magic Memories: NZ$50.00
Milford Sound Lodge Accommodations (Double Room): NZ$ 89.00/ night
– Coffee break at The Blue Duck Cafe
Southern Discoveries Encounter Cruise + Underwater Observatory: NZ$ 180 (approx). We purchased this deal from a fundraising auction on TradeMe.
– Dinner at The Blue Duck Bar

Day 4

– Muffins and Coffee at Milford Sound Lodge
– Real Journeys Coach to Queenstown: NZ$ 164 for 2 pax
– Lunch at Miles Better Pies
* A must-try when you head to Te Anau during Spring and Summer.
– Arrival at Goldridge Resort (Courtyard Double Room): NZ$ 81.99/night
* This was booked thru NakedBus.
– Connectabus from the resort to the town centre: NZ$ 4.50/ pax
– Cake and tea at Patagonia Cafe
– Darkride Queenstown: NZ$ 25.00/ person *with discount voucher which you can get from The Station.
Address: 1/7 Earl Street Queenstown.
– Dinner at the Fish & Chips shack (We don’t recall what it’s called)
– Cold beer at the lakefront
– Free shuttle back to the resort
– Spa & Sauna at the resort

Day 5

– Doughnuts at Fergbakery just beside Fergburger.
– Shotover Jet + Scenic Heli Flight (with Remarkables landing): NZ$ 570.00/ 2 pax
* Take note that when booking this tour, the Remarkables landing is not possible at all times because of the weather. So be prepared to just enjoy the flight around Queenstown.
– Shotover Jet souvenir photos with DVD: NZ$ 59.00
– Fudge from The Remarkable Sweet Shop
– Connectabus to the hotel and to the airport: NZ$ 20/ 2 pax
– Flight back to Auckland.

As you have noticed, we didn’t include the exact amount that we spent on food. We weren’t quite sure about the prices because some of the restaurants didn’t issue receipts (yes, we keep all the receipts from our travels). But because we decided to bring cash to pay for all our food purchases, we ended up with a total of NZ$ 336.00.

This wasn’t much of a “budget-friendly” trip even if we tried our best to settle for the least expensive accommodations. Nonetheless, it was a breathtaking experience that we won’t hesitate to try again.

Safe Travels,

The Travelling Pair

A Change of Setting

So it’s been a while since the last post. We have been eager to create new entries in the past year, however, our schedule has been really crazy. Nonetheless, we will still try our very best to share our experiences in our past trips here in New Zealand (thus, the blog title) in the hope that most (if not everyone) will find it useful.

Here are some of the places that we’ve visited (look out for the blog posts):
All around Auckland
Waitomo Caves
Tauranga, Bay of Plenty
Paihia, Bay of Islands

In the coming posts we will be including accommodation, food, and transportation costs, restaurant options, activities including the contact details of the operators.


Cebu Itinerary + Bohol Day Trip

Hi everyone! So as promised from the last blog we will be enclosing the itinerary and the expenses that we incurred. It is not yet 100% complete at the moment and the prices are rough estimations since we were very busy to update the blog for the past five months. We hope the following information helps.
– Departure from Baguio via Victory Liner (click this link for the bus fares)

– Breakfast at Jollibee (approx. Php 200.00 for 3 breakfast meals and coffee)
– Taxi going to NAIA Terminal 3 : Php 80.00
– Terminal Fee: Php 200.00
– Departure from Manila: Airfare: Php 2500/2 pax/round trip
Travel within the Philippines
Proceed to the web check-in counter at least 45 minutes before departure time to drop your bags.
If you are traveling without checked baggage, you may go straight to the boarding gate and wait for your flight. 
– Arrival at Cebu
– We took courage to ask the personnel holding the sign for Shangri-la Mactan if we can join the shuttle going to the resort and he agreed, good thing there were vacant seats, thus, our fare was FREE!
– A Day in Paradise: Shangri-la Mactan: Php 2500/ pax (cash only)
– Baggage can be left with the concierge (Status: CONFIRMED)
– Go to the SENSES Shop to pay for the tour
– Lunch Buffet at Tides Restaurant (drinks not included)
Free use of beach, pool, towel
Free use of Gym and Health Club facilities (sauna, steam bath, jacuzzi)
10% discount on Health Club and Salon Services for adults
Complimentary 2 hours use of Kid’s Adventure Zone for kids (kids must wear long sleeves and socks)
25% discount on Dinner Buffet at Tides Restaurant
Day in Paradise package is from 8am-9pm.
Lunch buffet is from 12nn-2:30pm only.

Cherie Sia, Service Manager – Lobby Shop
Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa , Punta Engaño Road, Lapu-Lapu City, 6015 Cebu, Philippines
(6332) 231 8241  (6332) 495 1266

– Shuttle fare: Php 100/pax
  Last trip schedule : 7:00pm
  Drop-off Sites: SM Cebu City and Ayala Mall
– Taxi fare going to the hotel: Php 70.00
– Check-in at Gran Tierra Suites (click here for hotel room rates)
    #207 Don Mariano Cui
    Cor. Don Jose Avila
    Capitol, Cebu City, Cebu
  Contact numbers: One other thing that’s great with this hotel is that they reply promptly.
    sun +63923 592 9369
    globe +63927 818 7933

DAY 2:
– Taxi fare going to the Pier: approx: Php 100.00
– Breakfast on board the SuperCat: Php 200.00
– Bohol Day Tour: Php 2,850.00/ pax
  CONTACT – Flor Loren @ 09228495807- Supercat terminal Pier 4, Island     Skiptrip Counter

0830H Depart Cebu via Supercat
1015H Arrival Tagbilaran Wharf
Lei Reception by Travel Village
Tour to Baclayon Church- Oldest Church
Loay Backyard industry- Local Color
1200H Loboc River Cruise w/ lunch on board
Tarsier Viewing in Captivity
Billar mahogany Man Made Forest
Chocolate Hills- Famous landmark of Bohol
Blood Compact Monument- a historical site
Souvenier Shopping
1730H Back to Tagbilaran Wharf for Check in
1830H Depart Tagbilaran for Cebu
2015H Estimated time of Arrival in Cebu

– Taxi fare to Ayala Mall: Php 80.00
– Dinner at Moon Café: Php 500/ 2 pax for 2 big meals
– Taxi fare to Gran Tierra Suites: Php 70.00

– Taxi fare to Basilica: Php 100.00
– Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino, Magellan’s Cross and Fort San Pedro and Plaza Independencia (walking distance from the Basilica)
– Jeepney fare to SM City Cebu: Php 8.50/pax
– Gelatissimo Ice Cream: approx. Php 150/ 2 pax
– Lunch at CNT Lechon (just across SM): approx. Php 250/ 2 pax
– Check-out
– Taxi fare to Maribago: approx: Php 300.00
– Check-in at Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort
Hotel: Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort

Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort
Maribago, Buyong, Mactan Island
Lapu-Lapu, Cebu 6015
Tel: +63-32-4920100
Fax: +63-32-4920128
e-mail: rsvn01.maribago@bluewater.com.ph,princess.villarama@bluewater.com.ph,cessvillarama@gmail.com
Total Price: 4500.58 PHP – BEST DEAL! Total Savings: 80%
– Taxi fare to Cebu Yacht Club: Php 150.00
– Sunset Chillout Cruise Lapu-lapu City (c/o Islands Banca Cruises)
Contact: Gwen Dela Cruz 09176300736 of Islands Banca Cruises
Jump Off Point : Cebu Yacht Club (right across Marina Mall, Brgy. Pusok, Lapu-lapu City)
Destinations      : A chill out cruise shall be on the boat, while enjoying a cruise to Mactan Channel and beneath the two Mactan Bridges.
Time of Trip       : 5:30PM-7PM
Package Rate     : PHP295.00/person
Package Inclusive:
– Boat Rental
– Steward Services
– Use of Towels
– Life jackets
– Free one round of ice tea drink
– Jeepney fare to Mactan Shrine: Php 8.50/pax
– Sutukil: approx: Php 400/ 2 pax

Day 4:
– Check-out
– Taxi fare to Mactan Airport: Php 150.00
– Terminal Fee: Php 200.00
– Departure (Mactan to Manila)
Enjoy exploring Cebu City and Mactan Island! Smile

Day 3 & 4: Cebu-Bohol Getaway (Part 3: Mactan, Cebu)

The Amuma Spa Suite was really enticing that we didn’t want to leave the room for the scheduled cruise at the Cebu Yacht Club which was going to start at 5:30pm. Since the resort does not allow white taxi cabs (regular taxi) to enter to pick up guests we had to go out and hail a cab near the highway. The travel time from Maribago to the yacht club was 20 minutes because of the light to moderate traffic.
The Islands Banca Cruises booth and boat cannot be missed because of the vibrant orange and yellow hues that were used.
Photo courtesy of Islands Banca Cruises Website.
The boat normally leaves the dock at 5:30 pm, but because we were late, we called up Ms. Anna Lou, the one in-charge of the cruise reservations (because Ms. Gwen, our first contact person was on leave), and informed her that we will be about 10 minutes late because of the unexpected heavy traffic.
Tip # 12: It is better to overestimate rather than underestimate especially when it involves time.
1. Set-up
The actual set-up of the boat really went beyond our imagination. Couches and stools covered in white leather, huge bean bags, round cocktail tables, and a great sound system were only some of the reasons why the cruise was worth every single centavo.

2. The Crew

The people in charge of keeping us and all the other guests on board can definitely be called professionals. Their assistance started from the dock, to boarding the boat, to taking pictures, to attending to all the needs of the guests during the cruise duration, until all the passengers disembark from the boat after the 1 hour 30 minutes travel time.
Although passengers are not allowed to bring food and drinks on board, we think that it is not considered a CON because free snacks are provided and you can buy chips and other beverages at a very reasonable price.
When we returned to the Cebu Yacht Club to disembark, we decided to try out the famous SUTUKIL restaurants, so we asked for the directions from a kind traffic enforcer and he told us to take a multi-cab going to Punta Engano and ask the driver to drop us off at the Mactan Shrine.
Being new to the place, we asked a police officer outside the shrine about the Sutukil restaurant and the man who he was talking to led us directly to his shop. Honestly, during this experience we think that we got ripped off because after choosing from the wide array of sea creatures on display, the man told us that there is a cooking charge for every dish we request. Upon hearing this we were shocked but still proceeded with the orders because we were already very hungry and very tired from the day’s activities.
Tip # 13: When it comes to the local delicacies and food shops, do your research before the trip to avoid getting ripped off.
The incident did not end there, when we asked for the bill they gave us a piece of paper that contained a list of the food that we ordered, upon looking at the total, we were taken aback because the total was way more than what we expected. So we did our own computation, and voila! the total was almost half the amount written on the paper. We clarified it with the woman in-charge and the she looked at us disgustingly. It took her another 10 minutes to revise the total.

Finally, it was time to go back to the resort, good thing HIS friend who met us at the Sutukil restaurant, was kind enough to drive us back to the resort before she went to Cebu City to work (she was on night shift).
The next day was of course our last day in Cebu. We woke up really early to make the most of our stay in Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort because our flight going back to Manila was around 9:00am.
This is the end of our 4 days/ 3 nights journey in Cebu and Bohol. The next blog post will (hopefully) contain all the expenses we incurred during the trip. It’s really delayed but we still hope it helps. Smile