Huka Falls, North Island: Simply stunning. Also a popular place to jet ski on a speedboat!

























































































Seal’s Colony, Kailoura, South Island: A lone seal singing for his supper! (with the Southern Alps in the background)









































































Queenstown: Absolutely stunning with the scenic ‘The Remarkables’

 

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Excerpts from an 8-day holiday to
Corbett-Nainital (India)
for a group of eight

DAY 1 BANGALORE-DELHI-CORBETT

  • Leave home at 04:45 hrs and head to the airport. You must be at the airport by 05:15 hrs. Your flight leaves at 06:15 hrs; reaches Delhi at 08:45 hrs.

  • Freshen up at the airport. Outside, the chauffeur will pick you up.
    Look out for the chauffeur, Ranvir, with a board carrying your name/s. Ranvir’s mobile: xxxxxxxxxx; Cab No xx x x xxxx

  • Drive straight to Corbett, Camp Forktail Creek, around 275 kilometres. This will take around 6 hours. Stop on the way for lunch.

  • You will reach Camp by 4-5 p.m. Remember to call Camp from Ramnagar.

  • Spend rest of day at leisure.

* Your stay here includes all meals, all taxes, entrance fees into forest, and 2 jeeps for a full day on the 10th.


DAY 2 CAMP FORKTAIL CREEK

  • You will be taken into the Tiger Reserve along with a guide.

  • Spend the day according to Camp’s guidance. Minakshi Pandey will guide you on all the activities.

  • Get a good night’s sleep


DAY 3 CAMP FORKTAIL CREEK-NAINITAL

  • Check out of Camp by around 11 a.m. Drive straight to Shervani Hilltop. From Camp to Nainital, you will go past Kaladhungi, an area which has Corbett's summer home, now converted into a museum. You could see this enroute.

  • Check in anytime between 12 and 2 p.m. Shervani telephone number: xxxxx-xxxxxx; Mobile: Jeewan Bisht, xxxxx xxxxx

  • Your stay here includes breakfast, dinner, all taxes.
    I have requested an early breakfast at 7 a.m. for 14th morning. Do remind them the previous day.

Camp »» Nainital: 80 kilometres, 2 ½ hrs.


DAY 3, 4 AND 5 IN & AROUND NAINITAL


Nainital is a lake resort set at a height of 1938 metres in a beautiful world valley. Surrounded by seven hills, the sparkling waters of a natural lake make it a gem among hill resorts.

Legend has it that the lake was formed when the Goddess Sati lost her eyes at this spot. She was being carried by Lord Shiva at that time and a lake was formed as a result. 'Naina' (Eyes) 'Tal' (Lake) was thus given its name.

Apart from the Naini lake, there is Snow View—from here you can walk west to another point and then continue on the main road to Kilbury. From here you could continue up to China Peak or head down the road to Sukhatal, passing great views of the lake en route.

You could walk up to Snow View and take in the tiny Gadhan Kunkyop Ling Gompa of the Gelukpa order (of which the Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader). Take the road uphill from the hotel city heart, from where a path branches off towards the gompa (the colorful prayers flags are visible from the road). The gompa serves Nainital's small Tibetan community. Most of the Tibetan families travel to Nainital in the summer to sell sweaters and shawls, and in winter descend to the plains. And so on...

There are many short half-day / full-day trips you can take around Nainital as follows:

Sat Tal (Seven Lakes), 22 kilometres from Nainital.
On the way from Nainital to Bhimtal is a group of seven lakes called the Sat Tal. Nature has really provided this place beauty in abundance.

Mukteshwar, 52 kilometres from Nainital
Once this place was the cantonment for the British troops. Today this place has been converted into a Veterinary Research Institute. Mukteshwar is full of natural beauty and from here the snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas are clearly visible. The greenery of this place attracts visitors’ attention.

See map below for relation to Nainital.

And so on...



Excerpts from a 1 week holiday
to Sri Lanka for two

DAY 1 BANGALORE-COLOMBO-BERUWELA

  • Leave home at 18:45 hrs and head to the airport. You must be at the airport by 19:15 hrs. Your flight leaves at 21:15 hrs; reaches Colombo at 23:05 hrs.

  • Finish Immigration and head out. Outside, the chauffeur will pick you up.

    There is no immigration/visa fee, as it is only an ‘Entry Stamp.’

    Look out for the chauffeur (Mr G. T. Rangana), with a name board.

    You must exchange money at the airport at any one of the Banks just before the final exit, on the right. (You should get a rate of $1=Rs 96-97)

    $50 should be sufficient for now.

  • Drive straight to Beruwela, Eden Resort & Spa, 95 kilometres from the airport. This will take around 1 ½ hours.

  • You will reach Eden by 1.30 a.m. Have a good night’s sleep.

    Your stay here includes breakfast, dinner, all taxes.


DAYS 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 EDEN RESORT & SPA AND AROUND

  • Spend your days at leisure enjoying the facilities of the Resort, and the beaches nearby.

  • This is an idyllic place to just hang out, chill, sleep, relax and read so take some good sun block and some books and magazines!

  • They have a spa/massage centre with all kinds of treatments ranging from $30-50.

  • You could go to Aluthgama, a nearby town/colony. It also has a market, some restaurants.

  • Some restaurants close by are Wunderschoen (a small, no-fuss place in Aluthgama with good sea food like barbecued king prawns, prawn and rice etc—very cheap!); a Beach Café (on the beach at Beruwela), Hotel Neptune, Aida (above Aida jewelers); Golden Grill Restaurant and Singharaja Restaurant. You could try out a new one everyday if you are up to it! Check with hotel for more.


DAYS 7 and 8 IN COLOMBO

  • Our suggestion regarding the Car Hire:

    You have the car for any 2 days (8-hours / 100 kilometres / day). We suggest you keep it for the last 2 days in Colombo, as you will need it most then.

    On 21st, keep the car for 8 hours after reaching the hotel (count 8 hours from the time you reach Galadari).

    On 22nd again, keep the car from 10 a.m. till you are dropped off at the airport.

  • Spend both days sight-seeing and shopping in Colombo.

  • Most shops are open from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m.

  • What is really worth buying here is Ceylon tea, clothing (many designer clothes are manufactured in Sri Lanka and you can buy them here for a fraction of the cost elsewhere) and jewellery.

And so on...

Note:
All prices mentioned in Rs are Sri Lankan rupees.


Some restaurants/bars/cafés:

Spoons
at The Hilton. Open 10.30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Amazing restaurant. Creative and contemporary atmosphere, not matched anywhere in Colombo. Has an open grill kitchen, an international fine dining menu and great cocktails. Highly recommended. The restaurant is converted into a bar later on in the night serving martini cocktails. Expect to pay approximately Rs 2000 per person upwards.

Navaratna at Taj Samudra Hotel and The Mango Tree. Both highly recommended for Indian food. About Rs 1000 per person.

And so on...



DAY 1 AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)

  • Land in Auckland International Airport at 11.40 a.m. Take a shuttle bus going to Parnell area. Should be about $14 pp*.

  • Check-in to Hotel Kingsgate Parnell

  • Immediately after lunch, go to Apex Car Rentals and fix your car deal for the rest of the trip. Get an automatic Sedan – comfortable (with baby) + enough room to dump bags. You should be able to get a car for about $40 per day. Ask for Nissan or Toyota. Ask them to deliver the car to your hotel at 8 a.m. next morning.

    We didn’t take the car insurance option, as we didn’t think it necessary but it’s purely your call.

    Take the option where you change cars in Picton, South Island.

  • Next, go to AA. Get a temporary NZ membership number/card. Book your ferry trip through AA for the Interislander (takes you from North to South Island) for 19th morning. Get the one that leaves at 8-8.30 a.m. It should be about $40 pp*.

    Book the Milford Cruise (afternoon trip 1-1.30 p.m.) from AA for the 24th of Dec. It should be about $ 60 pp*. Ask for the Red Boat Cruise. The cruise is about 1½–2 hours. While booking, check if they have a lunch option. Specify that you are vegetarian.

    Also ask if they can book you 2 tickets for a Maori culture show on the 15th evening, or 16th at Rotorua.

  • If you have time and are upto it, spend rest of evening in downtown Auckland around Queens St. You could go to Sky Tower right to the top for a great view (about 25 $pp*). You could also go to the Antarctic Encounter (open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and about $25 pp*). Check for the shark feeding times. Best to get there from the Downtown Bus Terminal, as it is about 6 kilometres away.

  • Dine early and get a good night’s sleep. There are restaurants/cafés in Parnell area also, where your hotel is.

DAY 2&3 WAITOMO & ROTORUA

  • Drive out after breakfast to Waitomo straight to the glow-worm caves via Hamilton. Definitely do the caves. Have lunch and leave for Rotorua.

  • Check-in to Hotel Kingsgate Rotorua. Freshen up, relax, and stroll to city centre, supermarket to shop for grocery stock up.

  • Must see: Waimangu & Wai-O-Tapu (about $15-20 pp*). Check closing times. Either see both on 16th or Waimangu on 15th late afternoon & Wai-O-Tapu on 16th. Check for ‘geyser going off’ time. It’s at the same time everyday. Don’t miss this. Check the closing times for both parks.

  • Try and do a Maori cultural show with Hangi Dinner. Or at least the ‘concert only’. One of the best performances is daily at 8 p.m. at Tamatekapua Meeting House, opposite St. Faith’s Church down by the Rotorua lake (about $25 pp*). Also one called ‘Magic of the Maori Concert’. Ask hotel for Maori Cultural show options (with Hangi/only concert etc.)

  • There’s a small Mexican restaurant with very good authentic food. Makes very good vegetarian also.

ACK »» Waitomo: 200 kilometres; Drive time: 2hr, 40 minutes
Waitomo »» Rotorua: 166 kilometres; Drive time: 2 hours


DAY 8, 9, & 10 QUEENSTOWN

  • Drive out of Franz heading towards Queenstown.

  • Stop at Wanaka for lunch.

  • There’s a cute restaurant where we had lunch called ‘Soul Food’.

  • Drive on straight to Queenstown.

  • Check-in to Hotel Kingsgate Terraces.

  • Spend your time in and around Queenstown at your own leisure.

  • Definitely do a half-day trip to nearby Arrowtown.

  • If you want to go Bungee jumping, this is the place. Do the one at Kuwara Bridge – it’s the first and the original one.

  • You can try ‘The Luge’ – it’s zooming down in a three-wheel cart and quite good fun!

  • If you missed the Maori cultural show in Rotorua, this is the place to then do it.

  • There are plenty of very nice places to see in and around Queenstown. Just go to the ‘Visitor i’ downtown to figure out what you would like to do – jet boating, kayaking, paragliding and parachuting, walking, etc.

  • There are plenty of wining and dining options, pubs, restaurants and cafés.

Franz Josef »» Queenstown: 404 kilometres; Drive time: 5 hours.
Franz Josef »» Wanaka Drive time: 4 hours.
Wanaka »» Queenstown Drive time: 1 hour

Please Note:
*pp= per person
All costs are in NZ$.
1 $NZ = Rs 31 (rounded off for convenient calculation)

And so on...

     

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