Thursday, 8 January 2015

Trip to New Zealand - Wellington, Otaki and Auckland

SH1 - State Highway

Otaki River
It was a sweet and memorable trip for 8 days with my family. We landed at Wellington, went around the city a bit and headed off to Otaki in our rented car. Our destination was the New Gupta Vraj at Kaitawa Road; Otaki. It was a straight forward drive of following the SH-1, State Highway, bypassing some of the towns that come up.
Retreat Center

First thing, I noticed about New Zealand was that its greener and felt safe, people are friendly, helpful. There is also this thing about road signs, especially there are number of small bridges in the interior roads and generally its one way, you either give way or drive on depending on which side of the road you are. Some of the Signs didn't make sense to be no speed limits one, but just used my common sense.One thing to note though was, if you are buying a Prepaid SIM card, don’t buy Vodafone because the coverage is terrible, especially the rural, country areas it’s almost nil. The two reliable options are Skinny and Telecom which have a decent coverage.
Mist Covered Mountains
Our destination was about 80K from Wellington. Wellington City has a population of 400,000 and it is a compact city with most of the places within walking distance. The purpose of our visit was to attend a Spiritual Retreat. We stayed in Otaki for 7 days. We drove to number of nearby beaches and towns like, Otaki, Waikane and Kapiti Coast. On the day, when we went to Kapiti Island, the weather was bit rough and we could take a ferry to the Kapiti Island - which it was said to be beautiful with a Bird Sanctury, Nature walks etc.
The place where we stayed was an amazing Homestead called Strathean set in 3 hectares of lawns and mature, mainly native Totara trees at Te Horo.

Otaki River @ Otaki Gorge


Sri Sri Radha Giridhari

Sri Sri Radha Giridhari temple

Sri Sri Radha Giridhari temple

My Boys

At Auckland Airport with Jhulan Yatra Prabhu

 The main house offers comfortable country house living, a large lounge with wood burner, ample seating and a small library. The conservatory-like dining room opens on to a sunny deck for alfresco eating. It has modern Kitchen with utensils, Gas Stoves, Refrigerator etc.
The place of retreat center at Otaki is beautiful with lush green forest, Mountains topped with Clouds, mist and the beautiful Otaki River. When, we went to the river, we were accompanied by a friendly Labrador Dog with a name tag - Mickey. Mickey loves to escort us to the river and the surrounds and would play and swim in the river along with us.
Then, from Wellington we flew to Auckland. The first thing we noticed about the City is that it is more spread out and bigger. We preceded to the Iskcon temple which is a 100 Acre farm about 40K to the Airport. The temple and the surrounds are beautiful with the temple overlooking the estuary, and in itself "is a million dollar view”. The breeze that comes from the estuary is so refreshing and the surrounding area is with beautiful gardens of flowering plants and green grass. Interior of the temple was beautifully designed with picture of pastimes of Lord Krishna.
The other place of our visit was the Goshala - Cow Farm which is supplying the pure Cow Milk to the temple and couple of restaurants in the city run by ISKCON.
Overall, the trip was enjoyable and the kids simply loved it. The weather was absolutely wonderful, I guess because it’s the summer time. What I found interesting was the Local – Maori people and their rich culture and history. Also, the New Zealand Haka.. I love it. There are many of them, the common one is,Ka Mate

The "Ka Mate" haka generally opens with a set of five preparatory instructions shouted by the leader, before the whole team joins in:
"Ka Mate"
Ringa pakia!
Slap the hands against the thighs!
Uma tiraha!
Puff out the chest.
Turi whatia!
Bend the knees!
Hope whai ake!
Let the hips follow!
Waewae takahia kia kino!
Stomp the feet as hard as you can!
Ka mate, ka mate
I die, I die,
Ka ora' Ka ora'
I live, I live
Ka mate, ka mate
I die, I die,
Ka ora Ka ora "
I live, I live,
Tēnei te tangata pūhuruhuru
This is the hairy man
Nāna i tiki mai whakawhiti te rā
...Who caused the sun to shine again for me
A Upane! Ka Upane!
Up the ladder, Up the ladder
A Upane Kaupane"
Up to the top
Whiti te rā,!
The sun shines!

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