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I am Gulshan Bafna, carrying a dream of becoming multi talented business person; started venturing my dream at a very young age with a house of entrepreneurs and businessmen

Romantic Honeymoon with Doubtful Sound Cruise

Wedding planning requires a lot of careful yet stressful decisions, which is why most couples desire their honeymoon trip to be hassle-free and most importantly filled with a splash of romance. The honeymoon is not only a dream trip but is also an opportunity to make memories and reminisce about the wedding moments. Luckily, I and my better half both love the ocean. Brought up in Chennai, I find oceans are refreshing, beautiful and humbling. While my love is an ocean-going enthusiast who constantly awes its power and beauty. So, without much discussion, we settled on taking a cruise to make our honeymoon as breezily as possible. 

Being a travel blogger, I love to explore places and exploring New Zealand was always there in my to-visit-list. We planned to explore “Doubtful Sound Cruise” otherwise known as “The Sound of Silence” located in the Fiordland, in the far south-west of New Zealand. This place is considered the most popular tourist destination in New Zealand. Doubtful Sound Cruise has various types of cruises and each destination has its own charm. We opted for a cruise that departs from Manapouri. To reach New Zealand, we took a flight from Chennai to Singapore and from Singapore to Christchurch, which is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand.

We reached our pick-up point and soon boarded the Fiordland Cruises for the cruise of a lifetime. We saw that there were different kinds of accommodations for all types of groups. There were families with children, couples like us, and single travellers. We got the room that had porthole at the waterline; this meant we could even see the beautiful dolphins from the comfort of our rooms.

However, it was time to go and get an education from the experts on the upper deck. Some really cool things we learned:

  • Doubtful Sound got its name in 1770 by Captain Cook
  • The Sound is the site of several large waterfalls
  • Doubtful Sound is a host to about dozen smaller island
  • Doubtful Sound contains two distinct layers of water that scarcely mix – water from the outflow of freshwater from the tailrace discharge from the Manapouri Power Station also diluted seawater
  • This is one of the reasons why there are so many species that can be found here
  • Some people have even spotted whales in Doubtful Sound. These include Southern right whales, humpback whales, minke whale, sperm whale and some giant beaked whales

So, we freshened up and went up for some drinks, food and most vitally experience the view while gaining knowledge. The crew was happy to help and very friendly. They whipped up some great vegetarian food for us, though we were on a boat and our expectations were fairly low. If you have a similar experience with the staff, as we did, be generous in your tip.

We got to see dolphins, seals, and seabirds. We were considered lucky because they often do not get sighted, though there is always an expectation. We went kayaking too and it was absolutely fun; we, however, stayed away from fishing, though it was permitted. Flora and fauna, the animals we spotted, were simply breathtaking. The majestic mountain tops with the grand waterfalls and views let us know how minuscule we are in this stunning colossal, scenic world.

Then came nightfall. The breathtaking night lit only by the stars with a slight wind blowing. We spotted many constellations and were absorbed in the beauty of raw nature. This was a perfect end to a beautiful, romantic and revealing day.

It is true, New Zealand is truly magnificent, and we came back very happy customers. Though I, as a traveller, have a long list of places to cover, this is one place I would come back in a jiffy. The ideal time for anyone to visit is considered to be September to May every year. I can’t wait for that future September to May when I can return again.

If you want to see breathtaking beauty, this is the cruise for you and I had the luxury of taking it with my newly wedded wife on our honeymoon and made memories that are going to last a lifetime.

When we signed up for the Black Water Rafting Waitomo experience, on our honeymoon, my wife and I had done enough research on it. But, to be fair, it was nothing like the actual experience. The words in different websites do not do justice for the actual adventure that this entails. For that matter, even this may not, because it is something you have to experience firsthand to know how life-changing it is.

What used to be the adventure for the brave is now a famous thing to do in beautiful New Zealand. The country has managed to make this experience not just as adventurous, it is also safe for its visitors. Black Water Rafting, Waitomo, is one of those experiences you must not miss if you are going to New Zealand. They provide a guided tour of the awesome underworld of Ruakuri cave. They take you underground to the most mind-blowing terrain to give you a chance to abseil, weave, jump, climb and float through a glowworm-studded subterrain. What’s more, they give you this entire experience with all the safety in place. They also have two options namely Black Abyss and Black Labyrinth based on what you want to choose.

We were geared up and assigned a guide who could take us through the experience of a lifetime. Our guide, as the reviews had suggested, was light-hearted and kept us entertained through the entire trip. It was great to have conversations with our guide and we got a sense of the history we are going to experience and the journey we were going to embark on. Moving through the caves and seeing the marvels of the underground world was an experience both my wife and I will never forget. We crawled through small holes, walked through water, climbed waterfalls, went underground in a cave, and the most amazing experience was to float down the river underground in a rubber tube and look up at what could be described as the most amazing sight of the underground in-cave universe, which we are often not exposed to us. Glowworms were on display and I cannot compare it with any experience that I have had before. Breathtaking is an understatement to what I felt going through this experience. I recommend it to anyone who chooses to come to New Zealand and has an itch for adventure.

At the end of the trip, after all the experience that we will remember forever, they were kind enough to include a warm bath, which was necessary and relaxing after the mind-blowing adventure. After the rejuvenating bath, being served with hot beverage and beagles were a welcome delight. This was vital because we were, but, so famished by our enticing trip into the undergrounds.

As much as it was a fascinating experience one of the thoughts we came away with is that this adventure requires a level of fitness. We need to be agile and very healthy to be able to complete this adventure. Though we had a fantastic experience, we were tired as well; it helped us get a sound night’s sleep but also gave us a goal to come back the next time after getting fitter. Of the many things we experienced and learned from New Zealand, a new zest for life is just one of them.

When I first heard about Malaysia in my much younger age, I knew was as a place that is equipped with spectacular Islands, beaches, some awesome dive sports, delicious food, irresistible shopping malls, decent culture, harmonious people and basically a land of variety and diversity. That’s when I added this heavenly destination to my To-Visit places in the world. Last year on my trip to South East Asia I decided to save two days for this fascinating country and to experience the fusion of what I have heard earlier. Although Penang supposes to be the best destination in Malaysia, I wanted some peaceful yet adventurous experience during the stay, so Langkawi was all I required to explore. I took a flight from Mumbai to Penang and then a ferry from Penang which landed me on Langkawi in less than 3 hours. I remember being pleasantly surprised upon reaching Langkawi that left me speechless and mesmerized.

In my two days of stay in Langkawi there is the lot of things I did, but what took place in my heart and mind was this super-awesome trip called “Untold Stories” by Dev’s Adventure Tours. Selva was our guide; he is a freelance Naturalist and Historian for more than 13 years. Dev’s adventure tours offer two types of mangrove tours, boat and kayak. I chose kayak as it allowed me to dwell totally in between mangrove forest. The tour starts in the afternoon and they have limited seats for each tour to avoid a mess, which was best. Kayak tour started at Kilim Jetty (boat dock) and from there, tourists are taken to Kilim Geo Park. As we headed towards Kilim River, our guide Selva asked us to flex our muscle to push our way all through mangroves. Immediately I knew this was going to be wonderful!

Being passionate about nature and environment, Selva kept the interest live among all kayakers. Kayak ride initially took me through the dense green mangroves on one side and huge attractive limestone rocks/caves on the other side. Every move of the ride I felt were a magical ecosystem of surprises and these veritable forest mazes waiting to be explored. Surreal and charming, just like wading in a new mystical world, I kept my eyes wide open. This is not the first time I was looking at mangroves, but this tour helped me to completely immerse into those striking forest. Although pathways here are quite wide to move, pushing through some of the tight corridors and going further can be thrilling.

Selva was very informative, he pointed out many interesting things about these trees. One thing I was surprised to know was that in 2004 Tsunami this place was less suffered because these mangrove trees have the power to absorb forceful waves! Next, he said seeds of mangrove trees are capable to float around 1 year before they drown giving many opportunities for the plant grow again. Selva shared many more such fascinating things about Langkawi and mangroves. On the way, we spotted many snakes, fiddler crabs, eagles (many hovering around sky), monitor lizards, bats, monkeys, wild dogs, marine birds, dolphins, otters and many other reef creatures.