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Tuesday, 4 September 2018



As soon as I entered highway 1, the road was jammed packed with vehicles. Everyone is going on vacation. Bill had warned me about this. It was a hot day today and after no movement after 15 minutes, I started to feel tense. However, I had no choice as this is the rule here. Even motorbikes had to queue just like other vehicles, but at least they had a roof above their head and air-conditioned to cool them. Unlike bikers, we had nothing to protect us from the sun.

The vehicles finally moved but at a very slow pace. This continued for the first 3 hours. I didnt even cover half of my journey for today yet. I became very restless, so did other bikers. When one started to ride on shoulder lane, I saw the others did the same, so I followed them as well. I managed to ride faster. The traffic lessened at Levin and I sped as fast as I could. Luckily theres no traffic police or else I might get a ticket for speeding. It took me 5 hours from Wellington to reach my destination, Whanganui even though the distance was only 190kms.

The small charming town on Whanganui was quiet. Only a few traffic on the road. Perhaps because today is Boxing Day. I met a guy who wanted to host me. His name was Damon. I was introduced to her Maori wife, Wendy. Damon was a policeman and they lived in a house on a hill overlooking the nice view of Whanganui River. Damon worked night shift so only Wendy was at home and she accompanied me during dinner. She was so sweet and friendly and we talked mostly about Maori culture. Wendy told me that its a good option not to stay at a marae as I had planned earlier because it had lots of ancestor spirits which can easily enter a human body. Euwww... thank god I didnt opt for marae stay.

Wendy, Damon and I


I only had a chance to talk to Damon this morning. He gave me route advises as there were few options to Taupo, my destination for today. Wendy gave me some fruits for lunch. After thanking the sweet young couple, I rode on route 4 which was very scenic and much quieter compared to the national highway. However, there were lots of roads washed out due to landslides and I need to ride with caution on the narrow winding road. It was raining on and off and I felt very cold. So I had to put on my heated gloves and I felt much better after that.

Riding on quiet road always gv me a piece of mind
The funny lil tree caught my eyes
 The wind was pretty strong when I crossed Tongariro National Park on route 47 but fortunately it was from behind me, so I got a tailwind instead. These few days, the country experienced strong wind due to the southern wind blowing. I stopped for fuel at Turangi and met some local lady bikers. Then I proceeded to Taupo, stopping for a while at Taupo Lake (the biggest lake in NZ) to enjoy the breeze. Since this is a volcanic lake, the beach sand was greyish black in colour.

I checked in at Taupo Rainbow Lodge. I will be staying here for 2 nights (NZD26 per night). This was a very popular place and was fully booked when I was there. I made friends with three solo travelers, Tonya (Russian), Luca (Italian) and Fahad (Arabian) and we agreed to go sightseeing together tomorrow.

29th Dec 2017: TAUPO

We hopped in Fahad’s car around 10am and drove to Huka Falls. The falls were as beautiful as 15 years ago. We spent some time here watching the jet boaters. Later we trekked for 1:30hrs along the river. There were too many tourists as it was still holiday time for the locals.

After that, we drove to Crater of the Moon volcanic area. The entrance fee was NZD8 which well worth the price. We trekked for 1 hour in this area watching the mud pools and the steams coming out from the ground. It was impressive but very smelly.

The trek at Crater of the Moon
You can see steams everywhere

My treeking mates, Tonya, Luca and Fahad
Finally we drove back to Taupo and just lazed by the lake to watch black ducks and swans swimming. It was fun to watch them. We chatted and exchanged travel stories among us.
Later in the evening, I went to Countdown supermarket to buy chocolates to take home. To my delight, there were mussels sold here!!! I was very happy. I bought some and feasted myself with sweet n sour mussels for dinner. Mmmmm...

30th Dec 2017: TAUPO - ROTORUA

It was a short ride today to Rotorua via route 1. There were still lots of cars on the road but not as bad as the other day. The weather was fine, the road was good and no disturbing wind today. I was hosted by Tiana, a former lady biker and also John’s ex. Her house was near Lake Rotorua. After resting for a while, she and her boyfriend, Martyn brought me sightseeing.

I told them that I had always wanted to see a marae but never got a chance. The marae in Whanganui was closed when I stopped to visit a few days ago. What is a marae? Marae is the focal point of Maori communities thru-out NZ. Its the meeting ground in a complex of carved buildings which belongs to a tribe (iwi), subtribe (hapu) and family (whanau). Last time, travelers can walk in and stay at a marae but these days its only for big gatherings such as weddings and funerals. Its interesting to see the beautiful decoration of the marae. 

Martyh standing in front of a marae

The couple also took me to a burial ground at an evangelical church. Whats interesting here was the body of the dead was above the ground, not underground. Why was that so? Because Rotorua was a thermal land and the underground was very hot and burning. You can see steams coming out from the ground at many places here.

Evangelical church and the burial ground
After that the couple took me for early dinner at a Turkish restaurant in the town of Rotorua. Martyn’s daughter, Bronwen joined us. I had a rice meal with mixed chicken and lamb grill. It was delicious. We had baklava for dessert. When was the last time I ate baklava? At one of Fida’s AMAC party in Ankara I guess.

Generous Malaysians putting their Ringgits on the board :)
If you happen to see my note in this restaurant, plz take a picture and send it to me :)
Bronwen, Martyn, Tiana and I
We then went to Government Garden. I had been here before too but the building looks sobeautiful today since the sun was shining brightly and the sky was so blue.

Our last destination was Kuirau Park to see the boiling pools and mud. The smell of sulfur dominated the area.

Boiling mud pool
Thanks Tiana and Martyn for being my bestest tour guides. Not only I managed to see the attractions here but also I get to know the history as well. 


Before leaving this morning, Martyn gave me a drawing book which he published as a souvenir. That was so sweet of him. 

I said goodbye to both of them and rode on route 5 – 1 to Hamilton. Its not difficult to find #MelayuNZ’s house, owned by Hj Ruslan. He was the brother of my Georgian friend, Rose Aini.  This was the one and only Malay house which I visited during my entire NZ ride. Even though I didnt know them, I was so happy to meet a Malay family and talked in my native language again. Mdm Azizah made delicious noodles in a special soup. We talked about lots of things. This family also made their house as an accommodation for Malaysian people who visited NZ.

Hj Ruslan on the far right and his wife, Mdm Azizah is the one next tome wearing white hijab
After spending about 1:30 hours, I had to make a move. I said thanks to them and rode to Auckland. There were more cars on the road but still tolerable. I crossed the long bridge which had a fascinating view of yachts. It was easy to find my brother and sister’s house. John and Heather had been waiting for my arrival. I hugged them. It was like going back home. 

Its good to be 'home'
I had promised them that I will cook for dinner, so after sorting out my things from the bike, I went to work inside the newly painted bright red kitchen. Heather had bought halal lamb meat. As promised, I made lamb briyani with lamb curry and chicken in tomato sauce. We had a good time chatting and eating as I told them my NZ riding stories.

1st Jan 2018: AUCKLAND

It was raining on and off on my last day in Auckland which was also the New Year 2018.

Heather feeding the birds
 However, my lovely hosts, John and Heather brought me sightseeing around the city of sails in their bright red FUN and GO sports car. We went to the wharf to see fancy yachts which docked there. I was told the price of the yachts started from NZD25k to millions. I also managed to see a steamship and a float plane.

I rode on this bridge the other day
Sky Tower in the background

Later we went to One Tree Hill to see a monument. View of Auckland city can be seen from above the hill. We also visited a park nearby.

If you happen to spot the "FUN N GO" red sports car, thats my brother and sister :)
Then, it was time to say goodbye. The couple sent me to the airport. It was hard to part with them. I hugged Heather a looongg time. Both of them were like my brother and sister. Same goes to Bill and Cornish in Nelson, Ray and Joan in Kaikoura, Tiana and Martyn in Rotorua and Mary and Alex in Mosgiel. I felt so sad to leave. Heather assured me that the next time if I come again, I will have a home in Auckland.

Thank you very much to all for the warmth, love, hospitality, and kindness during my ride in NZ. God willing, we shall meet again.

Goodbye NZ. Goodbye, all. The ride had ended but the memory remained will be cherished forever...
From cape to cape
From bay to bay
From northernmost to southernmost
From blue oceans to desert drive to snow peak mountains
Four major passes (Arthur Pass, Lewis Pass, Haast Pass and Lindys Pass)
7500kms done

Until the next ride.....

Monday, 3 September 2018


PART 3: SOUTH ISLAND the western route

16th Dec 2017, WINTON - TE ANAU

I slept like a baby last night. I woke up upon the sounds of animals outside my window. The room I slept had a farm view which owned by my hosts. I could see some sheep and chickens scattered about. It was a wonderful stay at their big comfy house and Jan asked me to stay for another night. However, I had a schedule to follow so I had to leave. After saying thanks and goodbye to them, I rode north via a secondary road. Upon reaching Mossburn, I turned left to route 94 heading to Te Anau. Very soon after, I felt very strong wind coming from the front. I had to lean down to fight the wind. Again, it was a tiring and annoying situation. Fortunately my ride today was only for 120kms so it wasnt so stressful.

Very neat and colourful mailbox

I checked in at Te Anau Lakefront Hostel. The fee for a dorm bed was NZD34 per night, the most expensive dorm fee for me in NZ. I had to opt for a hostel because I need to wake up very early tomorrow. If I camped, I will need 1:30 hours to shower, breakfast, packed my tent and camping items and strapped them on the bike. So, camping wasnt an option for me for today. I didnt do nothing much except sitting on a bench opposite the lake and watching sunset.


I started my day very early at 5am. I rode from Te Anau to Milford Sound via route 94. It was raining and very foggy, hence the early start, especially because I didnt want to miss the 8.55am Milford Sound cruise. The mists surrounded the mountains hence only once in a while when it cleared, I managed to see a glimpse of it which was beautiful. I had to ride in and out a few tunnels. 

I arrived MS and went straight to Jucy counter to purchase my ticket. The fare was NZD45, the cheapest compared to other cruises. The cruise departed on time. A piece of cake and a free flow of hot drinks available on board FOC. There were not many people because its still early and not the best time to see MS. I was not as lucky as the weather was shitty. I had been on MS cruise twice and at both times, the weather was not on my side. No luck.

One of the many waterfalls at Milford Sound

After the cruise, I rode back the same way to Te Anau. There was a very thick fog especially nearing the tunnel. Visibility was only 30m, worse than the time when I came this morning. It was pretty scary because the road was wet, steep and winding. I need to focus 200%. I stopped at the famous Mirror Lake which I had spotted this morning. The lake was crystal clear hence the reflection was like a mirror to the lake.

I refuel at Te Anau and continued riding. Again I had to fight fierce crosswind upon approaching Mossburn. Then only I knew that Mossburn was a high wind area all year long. It rained all the way till Queenstown. Overall I did 11 hours on the road today, covering 420kms. 

I had to find my host’s shop at a food court inside O’Connell Mall. It was Sunday and I had difficulty to find parking outside the mall. I finally found one, am not sure if its safe or not, but I had no choice. I went inside the mall and found my host. Mr Chakra, who owned a Himalayan Nepalese food business (with halal certificate) here. He was linked to me by my cousin, Linda. He asked me to wait for his wife to arrive and she will lead me to their house. I waited and waited but his wife never appears. I almost gave up after waiting for 2 hours. I was cold, wet, hungry, miserable and very tired. I couldnt stay in hostels here because theres no private parking and Queenstown was not as safe as it used to be. I cant stay in hotels either because its too expensive for my wallet.

Finally, Mr Chakra gave me his house address and asked me to go there straight away because his wife ain’t coming. I was like...ok, be patient Anita. Its you who want to stay at people’s home, so bear with it. I rode for another 7kms which took me nearly 30 minutes as the road was narrow and winding and it was quite tricky to find their house. I found the house in the end, 14 hours after I left Te Anau this morning. God knows how tired I was.

18th Dec 2017, QUEENSTOWN

Today is my rest day. I felt much better this morning. I was so hungry because I only had instant noodles last night. While having breakfast, I chatted with Lalitha, Chakra’s wife. They had lived more than 10 years in NZ and their food business was doing well. They were planning to open another branch soon. Good for them. I followed Lalitha to Queenstown Central and she dropped me at the tourist info center. I grabbed a map and checked the walking route. It was quite hot today but I walked along the Esplanade to YHA Lakefront which I stayed in 2002. There’re lots of new hotels along the road, not like last time. However, the view of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains remained unchanged. Still beautiful. 

Then I walked back to the central and watched buskers for a while. I did my souvenir shopping at DS souvenir shop and walked to a nearby park just to laze. I didnt do any activities such as jet boating or bungy because I had done all that way back in 2002. 

Around 5pm I went back to the mall. Lalitha made me rice with lamb curry. It was yummy. She was a great cook.

My host, Lalitha & Chakra


In the morning, I bid farewell to my hosts. The plan was to ride to Glenorchy and maybe all the way to Kinloch. However, when I reached Mt Creighton, the wind was blowing really hard and followed by drizzles. Gone was the beautiful view of Lake Wakatipu. I hesitated for a while – to go or not to go? I checked the weather forecast and it said that its going to rain today. Haihhh. No luck again. I made up my mind to continue riding to my actual destination.

I stopped at Kawarau Gorge to witness kayakers paddling on the beautiful turquoise blue Kawarau River and to see people doing bungy jumping. I spent 1 hour here. It was fun to watch and to recall my very own adrenaline rush moment when doing bungy in 2002.

Then I continued, stopping again at the same fish n chips cafe in Cromwell for lunch.

I then rode to Lake Wanaka via Puzzling World, only stopping for pics. Sorry, I'm not a tourist, I dont do tourist things :)

Lake Wanaka

After that I rode straight to my host’s house in Albert Town. Andi was at home when I arrived. He was an advrider and I found him in Advrider website. 

Andi invited me to go to his new house in Wanaka which was under renovation. I met his wife Ellen who was busy sewing curtains. On the walls of the house, I could see framed photographs from the couple’s past travels. The photos were taken by Ellen. She was very talented and her photos put “wowww” on my lips.

The couple was in a rush to rent the house for Christmas holidays. I helped them to fix the curtain and the bedspread. By late afternoon, we went back to their house in Albert Town.

20th Dec 2017, ALBERT TOWN

I rest another day here. My hosts went out to Queenstown to do some shopping for the new house. They invited me to come along but I rejected politely as I need to study my upcoming route. I promised them that I will cook for dinner today. We had dinner of nasi lemak with chicken rendang and anchovies sambal. They loved it. It was a simple yet lovely dinner at the couple’s patio. We exchanged stories about our rides. Andi and Ellen rode North and South America for 3 and a half years. Amazing, isnt it? After dinner, Andi helped me with my bike maintenance :)


I said thanks to my hosts and left in the morning. I had a long way to go today and a few sightseeing stops to do. Not long after leaving Albert Town, I felt strong wind again especially at Lake Hawea. Black clouds started to accumulate in the sky and very soon, droplets of rainfall from above.

Lake Hawea

I rode on Haast Pass Highway (route 6) heading north. My first stop was Fantail Falls (23m), located in Mt Aspiring National Park, but just next to the roadside. Even though its not so high, its much prettier than Purakaunui Falls which I’d seen the other day. I continued for another 6 kms and stopped again. I need to do a short walk to reach Thundercreek Falls (96m). It was beautiful and impressive to see the water flow from the cliff high above. The good thing about NZ was, even though its a pricey country, but the national parks are free so you can visit all the natural attractions (which had good facility and toilet) without having to pay a single cent.

Fantail Falls

Thundercreek Falls
It rained continuously for the whole day. I stopped again at Franz Josef for a hot chocolate and waited about 30 minutes for the rain to lessen. I didnt trek to the glaciers as I had seen it before. Besides, what can you view in this bad weather? 

I continued riding and passed lots of blue rivers. I didnt stop for pics because it was raining and all I had in mind was to reach my destination ASAP. After riding for 400kms, I reached Lake Mahinapua campground. All in all, I rode 8 hours in rain today, but Givi raincoat, top bag and soft cases on the bike didnt leak a drop. Excellent gears. 

This bird stole my instant beverages


Another 400kms ride from Lake Mahinapua to Kaikoura via Lewis Pass today. The weather was lovely after the wet wet ride yesterday and the wind was tolerable. After Greymouth, I turned right to route 7 and started riding on Lewis Pass. Yes, for my NZ ride, I was zigzagging the country to get the best as much as I can. Lewis Pass was not as steep as most high mountain passes in other countries. As at Arthurs Pass the other day, this pass also offered a very unique and beautiful view. Its pretty barren and dry but I loved this kind of view.

I noticed that petrol was much more expensive in the South Island and the priciest I paid was at Lewis Pass, NZD2.35 p/l (RM7.05). After descending from the pass, I took the inland route 70 which was the epicenter of the Nov 2016 earthquake and was badly damaged. At the time of riding, this road opened only for temporary from Fri - Sun and shall be closed again after the holidays. While riding and witnessing traces of the quake, I tried to imagine how does a magnitude 7.8 quake felt like.

Didnt expect I'm going to see llamas here. The last time I saw one was in Argentina

Kaikoura was my last minute destination. The reason why I came here was to see whales. Arriving at the small town, I headed straight to the center to refuel. However, my jaw dropped and I was so much at awe when looking at the sea in front of me. I had seen so many blue sea, oceans, rivers, lakes, but nothing...I repeat, nothing was as blue as this. It was so blue that I had no word to describe how beautiful it was. The tiredness of riding for 400kms gone in a snap of the fingers when looking at this kind of view. I drink in the sea view for a while before refueling, and then I headed straight to my host’s house which was a stone throw away from the waters.

Joan and Ray were friends of Heather and John. They were very nice and kind to me. They had a nice big and comfortable house. They took me to a pre-Christmas party at their friend’s place where I got to meet some bikers. Ray was a biker too during his younger days. After spending about 2 hours there, we went back home. We chatted over dinner.  They told me that a shake of 4 something at Richter scale just happened a day before I arrived. Euwwww....

23 Dec 2017, KAIKOURA

As the malay saying goes, “Manusia merancang, Dia menentukan...” (“Human plan but God determines”)

I came from far with high hopes to see whales but it was not materialized because one must pre-book way in advance for a whale-watching tour. I thought that I didnt need to book because the road to Kaikoura was only recently opened. Due to this, and since Christmas is approaching, my host suggested that I go for a dolphin tour instead. Since I’m already here, I agreed half-heartedly.

But my oh my...I have had a blast!! I had seen dolphins before but never as up close and as many as this time. There were not less than 50 wild dolphins showing off their acrobatic skills flip-flapping in the South Pacific waters. It was very entertaining. I didnt know where to look as they were around the vessel, either racing together or doing somersaults. This indeed was the highlight of my ride in NZ. 

My best shot
And the thing which put tears in my eyes was when the supposed NZD100 tour was FOC for me because Joan worked at the tour company's cafe and Ray used to be the company's mechanic. I got a special treatment from the crew when I was allowed to sit on the upper level, next to the driver. My many thanks to Joan and Ray for the experience which I will never forget in my whole life.

Joan and Ray
I was smiling from ear to ear when I walked back to my host’s house after the tour, and telling them what I had seen. I was like a very excited kid...HAHAHA. Joan gave me a fresh crayfish (lobster) which she caught using a special trap. She told me that the locals were allowed to catch this fish but up to a limited number daily (I forgot the exact number). I still had my coconut milk powder so I decided to cook amasak lemak cili api for it. It was difficult to shed the shells and one could cut their fingers if they were not careful enough as the shell was sharp.

Crayfish in hot spicy coconut gravy
Around 5pm. my hosts took me for a drive to a viewpoint up the hill. It was so windy that I felt almost being blown away. The view of Kaikoura can be seen from up here.

Then they took me to the beach. They waited in the car and asked me to walk on the beach to find seals. I headed to the place where I saw many tourists around. I found the seals. It was good to watch them in their natural habitat. Unlike the seal colony in Cape Foulwind which can only be seen from a lookout deck, the seals here scattered everywhere on the beach. I can touch them if I want to, but of course I didnt do it as there were signs saying not to disturb them.

There were lots of seagulls here too. I found them cute, but Joan told me that they were a pest nowadays because the number increased by lots and were uncontrollable.

And as I had mentioned earlier, the water itself was sooo beautiful. At a certain time, the water has three different tones of blue. I must say that apart from the secluded beaches which I had seen which need some trekking to reach, Kaikoura beach was among the most beautiful in NZ, and you dont need to trek to enjoy its beauty. Do include this place in your list if you are visiting NZ.

I was being carried away with the beauty of this place that I didnt realize the high tide was coming very fast. I was quite far from the road where Ray and Joan were waiting in the car. I had to walk quickly in order not to be trapped in the waters. 

Before going home, my host showed me some ruined buildings due to the earthquake.

Forgot the name of this trees but it was in full bloom when I was there
We returned home and watch a beautiful sunset from the window of their living room. Imagine having this view every single day? But they have a scary experience too. The 2016 earthquake. Listening to their stories sends shivers down my spine...

24th Dec 2017, KAIKOURA - NELSON

I felt sad to leave my wonderful hosts. I could see the same in Ray’s eyes as well. However, the journey must continue. I parted farewell with thanks to both of them.

Posing at Joan's beautiful garden
Then I made my way north via route 1 to Blenheim. The road which was opened recently was still under heavy supervision. The speed limit for the first 40kms outside Kaikoura was 30 – 40kmh only. This enabled me to sink in the view and witnessed how much the earthquake impact on the area, especially the seabed which was raised by up to 2 meters.

The view along the way to Blenheim was beautiful. A bit dry but nice. The wind was disturbing me again. Haihh...From Blenheim, I took route 6 to Havelock and all the way back to Bill’s house in Nelson. Bill had asked me to stay at his place for Christmas as accommodations will be full and pricey everywhere. I accepted the invitation and was very happy to meet him and Cornish again.

By now, I had completed my ride in the South Island. I will spend a few days at Bill’s nice home before hitting North via the west coast. I told Bill that I'm craving for mussels. We managed to find some at the supermarket and I cooked the mussels in chili and oyster sauce.

Musesls in chili and oyster sauce 
For the first time in my life, I tasted raw oyster which Bill bought. When eaten with squeezed lime juice, it tastes good, just like ceviche in the Latin countries.

25th – 26th Dec 2017, NELSON

Its not uncommon that I'm abroad every Christmas. However, I had never experienced Christmas celebration in a home of those who celebrated it. I'm very lucky that this time, I stayed with Bill and Cornish in Nelson, so I get to experience Christmas celebration their style. On Christmas Eve last night, Bill brought me to the Cathedral Park where I get to see the locals and tourists singing Christmas carols, backed up by the Cathedral's orchestra.

On Christmas day itself, we went to Bill's sister's house for brunch. Jane made a delicious waffle which we ate with berries and Hokey Pokey ice cream. Mmmm....yummyyy. Then we had a croissant with butter and jam, served with coffee. At Jane's house, I also get to meet her beautiful adorable ragdoll cat, Beppe. How I missed my Cici so much (cryyyy)

Later in the evening, Jane joined us for dinner at Bill's house where Bill made a mouth-watering Greek style halal lamb roast served with potatoes, vege salad made by Cornish, rice, bread, and summer pudding for dessert. 

It might looks scary but the taste? Mmmmm yummyyy

Cornish, Bill and Jane
Thank you very much Bill, Cornish and Jane for my very first Christmas experience celebrating at a local’s home. I think I am putting on weight now :D

Cooking briyani for my host

27th Dec 2017: Nelson - Picton

After saying goodbye to Bill and Cornish, I made my way to Picton. I took the same Queen Charlotte scenic drive. The view was magnificent. I loved riding on this road even though its narrow and winding.

I arrived the pier early. Its easy to do the check in to board the Inter Islander ferry. The ferry departed on time. I enjoyed the view until theres no more isles to see when the ferry entered Cook Strait. The crew announced that the swell will be 3 meters at minimum. Its true and I started to feel a bit dizzy. So I decided to take a nap. By the time I woke up, the sea already calmed as the ferry was nearing Wellington. I get down to my bike and get ready to leave the ferry.


Band: NASTIA, Title: ANGGUR (taken from EP 'EKSPRESI')