Archive for July, 2013

My life in NZ in a nutshell – Part 3 (c): Hello, Milford Track! Day 1!


After carrying my backpack which weighed around 15kg for a total of 4 days and 53.5km, my carrying capability skyrocketed! First two days were sheer hell! I kept adjusting my hip belt and sternum lock to better distribute the backpack load.


The bus which took us from I-site to the wharf at Te Anau Downs (25km from Te Anau).
We were doing stretching exercise before our hike :p


Then, we took a 1¼ hour cruise across the lake to reach Glade Wharf, where the Milford track starts


The navigation system!


The captain, who caused growing tension among my hiking mates…. :p
I will show you why and how later


What we saw during our cruise!




Strong wind! Hold on to your hat tight! 🙂


The deliberate attempt to sabotage my solo shot!

JM eyed on the captain first. Then LY & LW also showed interest. Next, all of them flocked towards him....

JM eyed on the captain first. Then LY & LW also showed interest. Next, all of them flocked towards him….

Fierce rivalry! :p

Fierce rivalry! :p


Didymo control

Milford Track, starts here!

Milford Track, starts here!



After an easy 1km walk but not so easy carrying, we reached the Glade House, the first overnight stop for guided walkers


First suspension bridge of the track


We were the first to stop for lunch! *shy*


After lunch workout


Dore Pass!


2 min before I could put down my backpack!!!


Clinton Hut!


Claiming our beds.


After some rest, we headed out for a short walk to the wetland area


where stunning scenery awaited!


There’s no showering facility in the hut. We thought we could have some dips at the swimming hole but we were deterred by the icy cold water and the omni-present sand flies!


Our DOC ranger for the day, who is 2m tall! He gave a guided walk


This is the aftereffect of……..


Tasting these pepper-like leaves!


Ok, vocab learning time! I’m holding a SPORK, spoon + fork! 🙂


We were the only group asking for photo-session with the ranger :p sua gu!

After the briefing session, I started to cultivate sleeping mood when Sue still went out for her glowworms hunt.

Living in the wilderness, not easy! 😀

Part 1: Rotorua| Part 2a: Goodbye Rotorua! | Part 2b: Hello again, Auckland! | Part 3: Hello, South Island! (a) Queenstown (b) Te Anau (c) Milford Track: preface, day 2, day 3, day 4 | Part 4: zucchini picking | Part 5: last bit of travelling (a) inmate days (b) (c) (d)| Concluding remarks



猫说:“我喜欢你,但这感觉不是双向的,不用紧。我会伤心,这是正常的,但是这伤心会随着时间流逝的,我不会因为这样而废寝忘食的。” 猫的逻辑还认为,这只是喜欢,只是憧憬,跟爱,还有一段距离。对猫来说,爱的层次是不一样的。




K 的一番窝心的见解:

We, girls, become very beautiful when we are in love. I used to brush up myself, talk well, behave well, eat well, live well so that the person whom I like will look at me or just simply want to do all these because I feel good 🙂


My life in NZ in a nutshell – Part 3 (c): Hello, Milford Track!


Before the photo-feed, it’s the information feed! It’s a shame that I am only reading information about the track in depth when I’m working on this post :p When I was in Melbourne, I was too busy with my master studies; when I was in NZ before the walk, I had only limited internet access.

People whom I met in NZ, when they knew that I would be tramping (a vocab I learnt only when I was down under)/had hiked along Milford Track during the summer season (November to April) most of them gave responses like, “OMG! How did you manage to book it?” Our scheduled trip was from 10 to 13 Dec 11 and we did the booking on 29 Jul 11, which was 4.5 months in advance! But I met an American couple who tried to book 6 months in advance of their trip but to no avail. Tip to secure your place during summer season: booking for the following season starts on 1 July!

I walked this! :) Map grabbed from here

I walked this! 🙂
Map abstracted from DOC  NZ’s website

Diagram, also grabbed from DOC NZ's website

I survived this! 🙂
Diagram, also grabbed from DOC NZ’s website

Alternatively, if you are survival enough, you can opt to do the walk in winter season (May to October) when booking is not required and the hut are not staffed and facilities are reduced (you have to bring your own cooking stove, using pit toilets instead of flushed ones, etc.)

Excerpts from Lonely Planet:-

In the off-season, experienced trekkers can walk the track in either direction without bookings (hut tickets must be purchased). At this time there’s limited trail transport, the huts aren’t staffed, some of the bridges are removed and, in the height of winter, snow and avalanches make it unwise. It’s vitally important you visit DOC to check avalanche risk, as the geography of the valley makes it impossible to judge for yourself.

Oh, I forgot to mention! The information above and previous post about advance booking, staying in the huts, carrying your own backpacks and preparing your own meals for the 4-day hike etc is for independent trekkers, like my group. Another alternative if you fail to secure a place via the DOC booking system is to take the guided walk. Let me do the comparison for you 🙂

Independent walk Guided walk
Cost (NZD)* to travel during low season:1 – 30 Nov 2013 and 1 – 11 Apr 2014 $ 306.50*price includes 3 nights track accommodation at huts (bunk beds) and transport to and from the track

** refer this page for breakdown and more info

$ 1930*price includes 3 nights track accommodation & one night at Milford Sound (multishare rooms with bunk beds), transport to and from the track, meals, snacks, backpack, rain jacket, cruise trip at Milford Sound.

** refer this page for the breakdown and more info

Duration 4D3N 5D4N
Track guide No Yes
Breakdown of walking distance (km) 5-16.5-14-18 1.6-16-15-21
Showering facilities at huts/lodges No Yes. Hot showers some more!
Clothes washing facilities at huts/lodges No Lodges have hand washing facilities with soap powder and drying rooms
Meals Bring and prepare on your own, own cooking utensils Prepared by tour provider. 3-course dinners!

Some friends asked, “Why do you choose the hard way to see/reach Milford Sound?” Well, the scenery along the walk was so stunning that I had to make many stops just to exclaim, “AH-MAH-ZING!” Some scenery was so breathtaking that I just stood there in awed silence. But it could be due to the fact that I have very low awestruck threshold. :p So judge it for yourself: if you think the scenery shown in photos of subsequent post is too good to be missed, you know what to do!

On wheels or on foot, your choice!

On wheels or on foot, your choice!
Guess where I abstracted this map from? :p *hint hint*

Part 1: Rotorua| Part 2a: Goodbye Rotorua! | Part 2b: Hello again, Auckland! | Part 3: Hello, South Island! (a) Queenstown (b) Te Anau (c) Milford Track: day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4 | Part 4: zucchini picking | Part 5: last bit of travelling (a) inmate days (b) (c) (d)| Concluding remarks

My life in NZ in a nutshell – Part 3 (b): Hello, Te Anau!

I managed to get myself the $1 bus ticket to travel from Queenstown to Te Anau!  🙂

En route to Te Anau, it was this scenic!

En route to Te Anau, it was this scenic!

I saw the Maori name of Milford Sound, I related it to Hokkien (piopio) and Malay (tahi), and I laughed at my own thought! :p

I saw the Maori name of Milford Sound, I related it to Hokkien (piopio) and Malay (tahi), and I laughed at my own thought! :p

Lupins are indeed beautiful flowers!

Lupins are indeed beautiful flowers!

During my childhood, I used to like a Taiwanese song entitled “鲁冰花”. I just knew recently that lupin’s Chinese translation is actually鲁冰!

Major events that took place at Te Anau:-

1) Explored the town! 

Lake Te Anau

Our false bravado: posing in Lake Te Anau

Us: Can we swim in the lake?

Receptionist at our backpackers: Oh, you sure can! But not many people will do that now because the temperature of the water is only around 11° Celsius!

Te Anau

Then, we took turns to pose with the swing. The best poser was….


… her!


CC was looking funny in the background :p

2) Getting worried prepared for Milford Track 


A visit to the visitor centre made us realized we were under-prepared for our Milford walk… 😦


We were especially under-prepared for the potential flood…


Our hike was from 10-13 December. Rain was expected!


Our photoshop plan…. did not materialized :p

To better equipped myself, I bought the yellow liner from the visitor centre, cooking utensils such as spork (a new vocab for me: spoon+fork)  and mess tin, additional quick dry apparels and electrolyte powder from nearby outdoor gears shop.

At night, packing provided a even grimmer outlook for the walk :~(  How to survive the walk carrying 15kg worth of backpack? I need a porter.... *sob*

At night, packing provided an even grimmer outlook for the walk :~(
How to survive the walk carrying 15kg worth of backpack? I need a porter…. *sob*

3) Hiked to Dock Bay 


I actually invited the gang to hike to Brod Bay to have some glimpses of Kepler’s Track. But after getting to know our bleak outlook for our Milford track, we reckon we should conserve energy and get all prepared for it

te anau dock bay and brock bay

Tracing our footsteps again: A= our backpackers.


Me: Why was everyone in this pose???
Them: that’s the walking sign!


En route, we passed by a Wildlife Park. Before I read this information, I thought all blue birds = pukeko! After reading I still couldn’t differentiate. LW provided conclusion: pukeko is with defined neck; takahe is without!
Oh!….. That’s illuminating! 🙂


And then, there’s a water gate


At Dock Bay finally! My favorite group photo with the gang! This time, I remember to edit the photo before publishing, JM! 😉 :p


This is a solution to LW’s concern of injuring herself if she did jumping shots with us 🙂

4) Being introduced to the omni-present Te namunamu!

… i.e. sandflies!

“Although sandflies are present throughout New Zealand, Fiordland has the unfortunate distinction of being renowned for them”

The unbearable thing about them is their bites leave mega itchy bumps (10000 times more itchy than mosquito bites!!!!) and the bumps wouldn’t fade until 3-6 months later!

I thought sandflies at Te Anau were horrifying and irritating enough, I obviously did not know what awaited us along Milford Track! *facepalm*

Part 1: Rotorua| Part 2a: Goodbye Rotorua! | Part 2b: Hello again, Auckland! | Part 3: Hello, South Island! (a) Queenstown (c) Milford Sound | Part 4: zucchini picking | Part 5: last bit of travelling (a) inmate days (b) (c) (d)| Concluding remarks


Office fun and love 4

Positive reinforcement is better, don't you think? ;)

Positive reinforcement is better, don’t you think? 😉

Colleague: xx is very unprofessional by texting “f*ck you”…

Me: Be positive! Maybe he meant “duck you”, stupid auto-correct! :p

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 5 | Part 6

Meow’s guide to life – Part 2


Sometimes, speed isn’t essence…


“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”
― Laozi

Part 1 | Part 3

I spot you, creativity!

Series #9 Light bulb reuse!

Reflection of the day

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Inside the glass bottle…

“I want to walk tall, believe in myself, have the courage to ask for what I want and need, and live a life that mattered. I want to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and know that I am loved and that I belonged. I am desperate to feel worthy and I am hungry for the opportunity to live my fullest potential.” - modified from "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers" - Debbie Ford

Under the apple tree…

"If you are not spending all of your waking life in discontent, worry, anxiety, depression, despair, or consumed by other negative states; if you are able to enjoy simple things like listening to the sound of the rain or the wind; if you can see the beauty of clouds moving across the sky or be alone at times without feeling lonely or needing the mental stimulus of entertainment; if you find yourself treating a complete stranger with heartfelt kindness without wanting anything from him or her... it means that a space has opened up, no matter how briefly, in the otherwise incessant stream of thinking that is the human mind." - A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle

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Ich lese….

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The time keeper by Mitch Albom

The art of thinking clearly by Rolf Dobelli

The first phone call from heaven by Mitch Albom

Inferno by Dan Brown

For one more day by Mitch Albom

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

A study in scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The five people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom

Have a little faith by Mitch Albom

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge

Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

A Fresh Start by John Chapman

Inspiring quotes!

If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other? (God in "Evan Almighthy")
“To love another person is to see the face of God.” ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
Aggie: "But what about the people who hurt you? Don't you ever want to make them suffer?" Norman Babcock: "Well, yeah, but what good would that do? You think just because there's bad people that there's no good ones either? I thought the same thing for a while. But there's always someone out there for you. Somewhere." - Paranorman
“You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” by Walter Hagen
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, body totally worn out and screaming "WOOOHOOOO what a ride!" - by anonymous
When you travel, it’s not like you take a part of each place away with you; rather, it’s as if you leave a part of yourself there, like a part of you forever belongs to that place – the time, the people, and the things you saw; and over time, it gets burned deeper into your soul - by anonymous