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Lake Toya, Japan

Spot of Tranquility.

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Little India, Singapore

Spices, gold and splashes of colour!

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Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay

Garden City, City in a Garden.

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Bryce Canyon, USA

Thor's Hammer

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Chocolate Test, Singapore

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." -Charles M Schulz

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wanaka Lavender Farm (New Zealand)

I always had a soft spot for lavender. Not lavender oil or lavender essence, just lavender in its original state. It never fails to bring a sense of peace and calm and I enjoy looking at beautiful lavender fields.

The last time I visited a lavender field was in Furano, Hokkaido. This time, it is in Wanaka, New Zealand. Next stop will hopefully be Provence, France. 

While we were walking around the lavender fields, my mum asked, "Why is the song, Lavender's blue, dilly, dilly, lavender's green? But lavender is purple what." Beats me.

I could spend an entire morning here. For an entrance fee of NZ$2, you get to roam this 10 acres lavender field. When we went, most of the lavender had been harvested. But you still get to see the fruit trees, alpacas and sheep.

To keep the kids (and adults) entertained, there are also see-saws, swings, and other games. This brought me back to my childhood days where my favourite activity was sitting on swings!

Different flowers were also blooming across the fields.

Of course, a lavender farm is bound to peddle its products. Over here, there is a wide variety of products for you to choose from- including lavender oils, lavender lotion, dessert trays etc.

There was also a little cafe where we enjoyed a cup of lavender chocolate ice cream. I fell in love with the decor - so natural, so peaceful and so charming.

This farm was initially not on our radar- who goes to Wanaka to see a lavender farm? However, if you have time to spare and would like to see some lavender (check whether they are opened on their website, their shops are closed on certain months), give this place a go where you get to relax and unwind.

Wanaka Lavender Farm 
36 Morris Road
Wanaka 9382
New Zealand 

Hotel Michael

Described as an "art lover's dream come true", we went to Hotel Michael a couple of months back for a staycation. 

1) Room 

When checking in, we specifically told the lady at the reception that we wanted a non-smoking room. The moment we exited the lift, we could smell smoke and the smell intensified as we walked into the room. It was not a light whiff of smoke but as though someone had spent a couple of hours smoking in the room. We checked with one of the housekeeping team who happened to be around whether this was a non-smoking floor. 

She answered that although it was a non-smoking floor, some hotel guests still smoke in the room anyway. This completely marred our impression of the hotel.

The lady from the housekeeping team took the initiative to put an ioniser in the room and to spray air freshener. It did help slightly, but was not a permanent solution and we had to bear with the smell for the duration of our stay. 

You would see different art works in the room- this was novel but not something that I will pay a premium for.

There is no free wifi as well- they probably want you to venture out and spend money, whether in the casinos or Universal Studio.

2) Toilet

Interesting mosaic tiles lined the walls of the toilet. 

 3) Amenities

There is a gym and swimming pool in the hotel.

I advise that you give the swimming pool in the hotel a miss and go to the one at Hard Rock instead. You can use the swimming pool at Hard Rock even though you are staying at Hotel Michael.

Both adults and kids will be able to find something suitable. There is a lap pool, jacuzzi and even shallow pools filled with white sand for kids to play in.

4) Location 

We had wanted to go to Sentosa Cove and was informed that there was a bus stop outside where shuttle buses would stop. It was around a 5 minute walk to the shuttle bus stop. However, after 40 minutes of waiting, we gave up and took a cab instead.

Otherwise, it's pretty near the other Sentosa attractions.

Hotel Michael
8 Sentosa Gateway

Snake Bite Brewery (New Zealand)

Due to a fire a couple of months ago, the original 88 Asian Fusion was closed for a while. They have now reopened as Snake Bite.

Snake Bite offers both Western and Asian fare on their menu so there's no need to worry that someone in the party does not eat a particular type of cuisine.

It was a cold day and I craved for some warm noodles. I ordered the Duck Noodle Soup ($18). The duck was tender and the portion was generous. The soup was sweet and you don't need to worry about legitimacy- the food here tastes as Asian as it gets. I only wished that it was served with the white noodles for pho.

Another in the party declared the Rendang as one of the best food in New Zealand he had eaten during the trip.

If you are looking for Asian food in the area, look no further!

Snake Bite Brewery
28 Main Road
Franz Josef Glacier
New Zealand 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Fergburger (New Zealand)

I would have kicked myself in the foot if I went to Queenstown and did not get myself a burger from Fergburger. It's like stepping into Singapore and not getting yourself a plate of nasi lemak or chicken rice- it's a culinary crime.

No matter what time of the day it is, the queues outside are long and at dinner time, it took us a good 45 minutes before we managed to take away our food.

There are limited seats and I wouldn't count on waiting for a seat. 

May I proclaim that these are the best onion rings I have ever eaten. The Homemade Onion Rings with Aioli Sauce ($5.50) were juicy and sweet.  A thin deep fried batter surrounds the onion rings, giving maximum crunch for these absolutely delicious onion rings.

Not one for beef, I order The Codfather ($14.90). The size of the burgers at Fergburger are humongous- they are at least 2.5 times the size of a Macdonald's burger. They don't stinge on the ingredients and you can be assured that it will be a satisfying meal. I enjoyed the fish burger thoroughly as the fish was deep fried but not greasy. That, together with a pillowy bun, made a perfect value-for-money dinner.

Absolutely worth the trip here, and don't forget to get yourself some pastries and gelato next door!

42 Shotover Street
New Zealand