Sunday, February 28, 2016

I am back... with a NZ400 cherry fruit story to share aka Airbnb Experience (Part 2)

I am finally back to a warmer place called HOME. 

There is no other place warmer than home (literally and figuratively). If you have not already known, I was away for 2 weeks holiday at the Kangaroo and Kiwi Land. Time flies, I am now back to face the reality and resume my blogging routine.

As per my earlier post, there are a number of firsts for this trip (I would not repeat here, you can check out my earlier post here), all in all, I am pretty happy and satisfied with the trip, besides the NZ400 cherry fruit story that I will share later. 

First, let me recount my actual Airbnb experience (as promised via my earlier post, Airbnb - My Maiden Experience (Part 1)): 

1. The apartment's condition : The apartment's condition is exactly what I've seen on the Airbnb site, so, what you see is what you get for my case. As we were staying at an apartment without the host, there is 100% privacy and convenient. Also, the location of the apartment is perfect, it is just a stone throw away from the Sky city (the heart of the Auckland city), roaming around the piers and shopping lanes is super convenient. 
Skytower Auckland
Sky Tower at night : taken from the kitchen of the apartment
2. The host : My host (Michael) is very helpful and prompt. When I reached the apartment (it is actually at the same building of an hotel), I have difficulty in opening up the lock-box (which contains the keys to get into the apartment), He answered my call immediately and patiently guided me through to open the lock-box.  

All in all, I am satisfied with my maiden Airbnb experience. Of course, every host/accommodation are unique and difference, if you are interested in Airbnb accommodation, do read the details of the accommodation placement and feel free to clarify with the host if you are in doubt. Also, remember to read through the reviews of the previous occupants to have a sense of the experiences of the other stayers. 

So, the highlights of my 2 weeks trip (mainly in Auckland, NZ) are :

1. The Hobitton Movie Set Guided Tour - Unfortunately it was raining when we were there, so we need to carry an umbrella throughout the guided tour. Having said that, the view of the movie set is spectacular and I think they made a wise decision to retain this Middle-Earth movie set after the shooting.  (Tip : Prior to the visit, I've made some online research on the Hobbiton Day Tour fees, the usual package is around NZ200+ to NZ300+, however, I managed to sourced one from InterCity Day Tour whereby it costs only NZ149. I find that this day tour package is value for money)

2. Skywalk at the Skytower - First time walking around a tower 192 meter above the ground, without any barrier. The experience is unforgettable and the view are remarkable. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to bring our own phone or camera, else I will be able to share more photos here.

Following is one of the photos taken by the guide:
(Tip : The usual price for Skywalk is NZ145, however, you can download the ARRIVAL Magazine app which has a NZ20 discount code, the one that we used is "ARRIVAL").

3. The NZ400 Cherry fruit story : What is this about? In fact, it is a NZ400 lesson that I've learned for being careless and forgetfulness. It all started with the flight delay from Melbourne.

Due to some crew member issue, Emirates told us that the flight will be delayed for 2 hours and as a gesture of goodwill, they have given us NZ20 each as meal voucher. With NZ40 vouchers on hand, on top of ordering the usual meals and drinks, we also ordered a cup of cherry, as an after food "snack" (that's the first the mistake!).

After taken our meals, we still have an hour or so to spend, so we decided to walk around and pack the left-over cherry in my haversack so that we can eat it while waiting for boarding later on (that's the second mistake).

As you might already guess, we completely forgotten about the cherry along the way and proceed to the boarding gate, boarded the plane, write the immigration entry card [without declaring anything] and BANG! Upon clearing the custom where we are getting our bags X-rayed, the custom office told us that we have a cup of cherry in the haversack and hence broken the NZ legal contract (by not declaring it in the immigration entry card). Fine is the only option, no excuse!

So, here you go, my NZ400 cherry story (or lesson or mistake). 

What have I learnt with the NZ400 fine? At least now I know that actually the NZ immigration do provide us 3 options in settling the fine :
1. Pay the fine immediately
2. Pay the fine within 14 days (the option that I've chosen)
3. Dispute the fine and face them in court



  1. Hi Richard

    Good to know about your Airbnb experience.

    And about your cherry experience, I'm sure you'll look cherry in a different light from now on. Just kidding :) At least it's over now and things move on.

    1. B : indeed! It will never be the same when come to cherry... Lol

  2. Hi Richard,

    Nice photos! It's an experience unforgettable to have.

    Just curious why I do not pay off the fine immediately n have to wait for 14 days?

    At least the 400 dollar cherry can help u not to forget in ur future trip. :-)

  3. Rolf : thanks! As to why I choose the 14 days option is because there is no difference in paying them immediately vs 14 days later, so I choose the later Lor, no point let them have the money and earn interest lol

  4. Good to know you enjoyed your maiden Airbnb experience. I have been meaning to try it and should probably take a closer look at it now. Anyway, no worries about the fine, Australia and New Zealand are quite strict on what you can bring in to the countries. It happens a lot more often than you think!

    1. Hi Finance Smith, do remember to do comparison of the accommodation and never failed to clarify with the host (on any doubt) before the selection.

      As for the NZ400 experience, you are right, besides me, there are 2 more other visitors also facing with the similar fine

  5. Hi Richard,

    Thanks for your sharing. Will remember the CHERRY lesson.

    1. David, you are most welcome! Indeed! A lesson that will stuck with me for very long time lol

  6. ok... after our next meal , we go to the supermarket and get some cherry sweets lol!!!

    1. Hahaha, ah boy very notti! Now I see cherry in different light already lol

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