Visiting a country which is experiencing winter would not be complete without the sight of the frozen version of white candy floss. Anticipating snow just before the trip made us purchased a whole range of winter items such as mittens, gloves, second hand winter jackets, and snow caps(to which my mum insisted...tak payah beli!, pakai opah punya cekup pun jadi) to name a few. The kids were especially excited about their first snow encounter, whilst the adults were equally thrilled to experience snow once again.
The moment we left Waitomo cave, we could sense the drastic temperature drop. We bundled ourselves up, windows shut and huddled closely together for warmth. Our body heat served as the only functioning heater in the van. We drove towards the mountainous region of Turangi via the picturesque Lake Taupo. The scenic route forced us to stop several times for picture taking and posing in front of nature's magnificent backdrop of mountains, greens and lakes. The many stops were actually a foe in our schedule, swallowing most of our precious time.
"I believe I could fly, I believe I could touch the sky..." he hates that song.
Overlooking Lake Taupo.
The destination for this leg of the tour is The Tongariro National Park. Excited as we all were, we needed to first find our Motel to check in before proceeding to the ski resort located at the national park. Slumped all our bags in one place, slurped a few bowls of instant meehoon soup and hot chocolates, performed our jamak prayers and we were off! It was a mere 20 minutes drive to the National Park but we actually took 30 due to the icy roads. Snow capped mountains started to appear amidst the trees and when the first one was spotted the whole group screeched out "Snoooooooooooooowww! Snoooooooooooow!"
As we neared the mountains, more snow started to be visible by the roadsides and the scenery transformed from the greens to a beautiful white wash. I was in contentment gazing at the beauty of it all but mostly at the faces of the screaming kids. The feeling of syukur overwhelmed me tremendously that I was there to witness Allah's creations with my parents, my brothers and sisters, and my family. It would have been perfect if my second brother and his family were there too.
Our first encounter with architectural structure near the National park was this historic chateau famously known as Chateau Tongariro. The name of it alone made us feel special and without any inhibitions we acted as though we were Counts and Countesses he he he.
That's the Grand Countess Wiz, the owner of this Chateau. She was kind to let us capture her picture in front of her property.
Tongariro Natioanal Park was gifted to the New Zealand people in 1887 by the Ngati Tuwaretoa tribe which has now been conferred as a World Heritage area. There are many walks offered by the park and one of them is the Tongariro Crossing, regarded as one of the best one day walks in the world. But of course we didn't have time for all those challenging walks with grannies and kiddies on tow. We were there solely for the snow! snow! snow! Just look at the happy faces below.
The biting cold forced us to cut short our time in the snow and hurry our steps to the well heated chateau. We were welcomed warmly by its staff although we were not staying guests at their premise. The chateau was lavishedly decorated with antiques everywhere and the ambiance was simply lovely. There was nothing much to do there except to visit the loo. While waiting for everyone to finish, the rest of the troupe gathered around the fireplace enjoying the stylish interior and seeping in as much of the scenery of Mount Ruapehu outside.
As we adjourned, we were bestowed with the resplendent view of the sunset. It was the perfect ending to a day that was filled with gratitude, contentment and syukur. We were truly blessed with the opportunity of enjoying this beautiful journey.
Next Entry : Whakarewarewa