Annual Family Holiday (Part One)

It’s been a tradition for me and my family to get together every new year.
This fact bugs my sister a lot of time, because she -as many teenagers do- would prefer to be with her friends.
So, to solve any problem, we usually go abroad to celebrate it.

Last/this year, (it’s kinda hard to distinguish when you travel at the end of the year) we went to Sydney and Wellington.

It was not our first visit to Sydney and we were still so much in love with the city. But I’m gonna dwell on Sydney a little later.

Wellington was something new for all of us, so we were excited.
When we first got to the Wellington airport, we were almost lost.
The New Zealand’s English was so very hard to understand. If you think Australians talk funny, try listening to New Zealanders. They talk even funnier!
(Although I met a local girl and she denied it, through and through)

By the way, the story about this holiday would be written into two postings.
The first one (this one) is gonna be filled with pictures of me and my family.
The second one is gonna be about one of the most exciting things that I did in Wellington: the Lord of the Rings Movie Tour.

So, we got to Wellington, on the evening of December 25th.
And we were shocked with how empty the city was.
But we thought, “oh well. it’s Christmas Day, everyone would be with their family, bonding, bla-bla-bla.”

Then we woke up on December 26th, suffering from the jet lag (there was 6 hours time difference between Wellington and Jakarta), and surprised that we actually stayed in the VERY center of the city.
We were like, “WHAT? This is the city center? Too damn quiet.”

We walked along the city center, we found it a bit busy (I mean, we’re from Jakarta, Wellington’s being busy was nothing) with people going crazy over the boxing day sale.
And then by 5 PM (or even 4 PM – I can’t remember), everything was closed.
We were like, “WHATTT???”

So, we decided to take pictures of basically every corner of the city center.

The next day, we decided we gotta do something, which was the movie tour.
The movie tour was one of the most fun time we had when we were in Wellington.
I would post the whole story about this in the next post, but one thing about this movie tour that I like, the tour guide was explaining a lot of things about Wellington and New Zealand as well, instead of just babbling about the movie tour.

For example, we learned that this is what Christmas Tree in New Zealand looked like.

Christmas Tree

Well, it’s basically a type of tree which flowers only blossom in Christmas time.
So people don’t actually put the whole tree in their living room, or something.

Another thing that we did was visiting the coastline.

Wellington's Coastline

There was one funny story about New Zealand that my sister and I laughed about.
We were in our hotel room, watching TV and public service ads kept coming on the screen.
There were two particular ones that we thought was really funny.

When we came there, it was summer time and people apparently were freaking out about it.
The first commercial was: it was forbidden to go to any beach in Wellington, because they haven’t finish cleaning the coastline.
My sister and I were like, “WHAT? They clean their entire beaches right before summer so they can have a ‘safe’ summer? That was very thoughtful of the government. Indonesian government would have never done that.”
The second one was an ad (which was played on every TV program break) about the importance of sunblocks.
That made my sister and I laugh out loud.
These poor caucasian people. They don’t have enough pigment to counter act the ‘hotness’ of the sun. Which was not THAT hot.

I mean, really.
When we were there, it was so windy and the highest temperature was 25 degree Celsius and everyone put layers after layers of sunblock because they were so afraid that they could get sunburnt.
I mean, I thought the Americans were the paranoid country, but New Zealanders were even afraid of the sun!

Aside from that, we also went to the zoo (I know it sounds kinda lame, but Wellington Zoo has some distinct animals that I’ve never seen in other zoos), Zealandia, and Te Papa Museum.
Te Papa Museum was one of my favorite places in Wellington.
It basically has everything about New Zealand. I could spend two whole days there!
My sister and I took like God-knows-how-many pictures in there, which, unfortunately, I cannot put everything in here.

One thing that we just had to do in Wellington was the Botanic Garden.
My mom, who was a sucker for any botanic garden in every city that we have visited (except when it’s too cold), was excited.

The Botanic Garden was located on top of a hill, which we climbed it with a help of cable car.
When we got to the top, it began to rain, which was sucks, but only for a few minutes.
This rain resulted a beautiful rainbow scenery that painted on the overview of the city.

Rainbow in Wellington

After waiting for a few minutes, the sun came back and we took another beautiful picture of the city’s overview.

Wellington Overview

In the Botanic Garden, we also took a whole lot of pictures of us with some cool stuff.

Cool Tree!

Rose Garden

And my favorite part in this garden was the sundial!


It told us the exact time, even though not by the second but still, which was very impressive. Considering it was built by the Maori when they still lived primitively.

The last two pictures of Wellington was of my dad with the Parliament House and a snapshot of baby ponga that my sister took.

Parliament House

(somewhat a boring building, but still unique in a way)

Ponga is basically the country’s symbol. They put Ponga in everything and they are very proud of it, especially the Rugby team (which suited my taste: All Black – I love the color and the whole idea of Black).

Then we left Wellington to another great city, which we really love: Sydney.

I can’t really tell you why we love Sydney.
But compare to other cities that my family and I have been in Australia, Sydney is the best.
Although so many things close at 6 pm, just like everything else in Australiaor even earlier, Sydney always have something to offer.

This particular visit to Sydney was rather different for us because we stayed in the Kings Cross area, which was famous for its night life.
The taxi driver even wondered about the reason of why we chose to stay there, after looking at my mom’s veil.
My mom was freaking out because we were staying in the area where prostitutes and sex shows were openly offered for everyone. We had to eat in restaurants that were located, at least, 3 km away from where we stayed, because she felt disgusted by the area.
It was irritating when we were there, but now that I think of it, it was so funny.
I mean, out of all the places in Sydney, and with a range of halal food to choose in the city, we didn’t have a choice but to stay in Kings Cross.

By the way, everything was fully booked due to the new year celebration.

My mom’s turning point when we learned that we didn’t have to go all the way to the Opera House or Harbour Bridge to see the new year’s eve fireworks.
Mom and dad got a perfect room with huge window that was overlooking both of those places with a perfect view of the fireworks show.

Harbour Bridge and Opera House

The coolest thing about Sydney‘s fireworks was that it happened twice that night. One was held at 9 pm and it was called family fireworks, which was literally put to entertained family.
Families were having picnics. There were no booze at all, so the children were save. Plus no one was allowed to smoke any cigarettes.
So my family and I went to that. We had fun with the fireworks show.

That night, the number of people who went for the fireworks was enormous.
I mean, after that quiet few days in Wellington, and Sydney was busy, but still not so much,
on that New Year eve, it seemed that all Sydney‘s population were uniting around the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
It was crazy packed!

It was one of the most fun experience that my family and I had.
Wellington was very outdoorsy, which was something new for us.
And Sydney‘s new year’s eve fireworks was one of the best fireworks celebrations that we’ve ever attend.

The four of us agreed that we should come back to New Zealand for other cities, like Auckland or Christchurch (which, by the way, we were glad that we didn’t make it there, since one of the huge earthquakes happened in the morning of boxing day).
And Sydney, I personally could see myself living in that particular city. I wouldn’t mind going back there.


What is on your mind?