Farewell Christchurch

Well it’s once again time to say farewell to our second home, well Helen’s first home actually. The past ten days or so have been great, always good to catch up with family and friends.

Didn’t do as much sightseeing as in previous trips but did have a great day out in Waipara Valley looking at the vineyards and sampling the produce with Ava, Maria & Paul. Some great wines in the region, getting a new love for Pinot noir, I feel some shopping coming on when we get home…

Christmas with the family was great, the nieces and nephews just keep growing and growing. Hoping some day soon they’ll come and see us in Perth, just not all at once though. With the kids around it actually felt like Christmas for a change..

Caught up with friends we haven’t seen for ages as well for a night. Excellent just to sit and talk over some sensational beers and local wines. Thanks Tony & Gill for having us. Always a drink in the fridge for you when you next get to Perth.

Thanks Christchurch, see you again soon..

High Resolution Press Images:

[+] IMG_0329.jpg
Posted in New Zealand Travels | Leave a comment

The travel bug bites hard!

Well I suppose I’d better update what’s happened in last few weeks! As they say when you get the travel bug there is no vaccination that can stop it.

Cambodia is now locked in, all booked and paid for. We’re actually doing an organised tour for a change, the blurb from TravelIndoChina website says:
Experience the real Cambodia in just seven days. Beyond the highlights of Phnom Penh lies countryside filled with rice-paddies en route to Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor. By torchlight, creep through the little-used eastern gate in a jungle immersed in darkness to come upon dawn’s first rays shining down upon the amazing Angkor Wat. Visit the ancient temples of Sambour Prei Kuk and float on a remote section of Tonle Sap Lake.
We’ve added a few days on to the end of the tour to enable us to see more of Siem Reap at our own pace, seems there’s quite a bit to see and do that the tour won’t take in..

So that’s April 2015 taken care of.

But wait there’s more, I’ve got Long Service Leave due at the end of this year. We’ve decided to hang on to it until 2016 when I turn 50……. As we love planning holidays almost as much as taking them we’ve been looking at options for this for a while. Well now it’s all sorted, July 2016 and it’s South America here we come! We’ve just booked a 27 day trip through glorious South America. Again I borrow from the tour company website:
Packed full of highlights, this journey showcases the diversity of wonders across the Andes and Amazon. At Cusco, in the Peruvian Andes, be immersed in the ancient culture of the Incas, visit the Sacred Valley and revel in the magnificent citadel ruins of Machu Picchu. At Lake Titicaca, we visit the floating Uros Islands before continuing to the lofty heights of La Paz. The Chilean capital of Santiago is home to some of Chile’s most famous wineries and the lively neighbourhoods and late nights of Buenos Aires. At the border with Brazil, we experience the magnificent might of Iguazu Falls, before finally arriving in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Rio de Janeiro.
This one is going to be huge!!!!

So will this be all we get up to in next 18 months or will we feel the need for a quick getaway between Cambodia and South America, only time will tell….

Posted in Asian Travels, South American Travels | Leave a comment

The journey’s continue!

And so dear reader with the hustle and bustle of Singapore still ringing in our ears our thoughts turn to our next journey….. Well after Christchurch for Christmas that is…

Where to this time I hear you ask……

Well the answer to that is back to Asia, this time though to the majesty that is Angkor Wat. Yes, we are heading to Cambodia. This time we’re doing a guided tour, starting in Phnom Pen and finishing in Siem Reap. This will be something different for us, we’ve never done a tour before. We are having a few days at the end on our own to explore Siem Reap before returning home. Once we lock down the details we’ll keep you informed…

Posted in Asian Travels | 1 Comment

Thank you Singapore

Thank you Singapore for a great getaway, was short but sweet.

The MRT system is still so easy to use to get around, it’s cheap and well laid out. We bought the 3 day Singapore Tourist Pass, gives unlimited travel for 3 days. Only problem is you can’t get them everywhere and the outlets that do sell them don’t open until 10am, so you can ‘waste’ the first part of the day. But hey, there are so many other things to do and so much food to eat it’s not really an issue.

The Ibis was again a great place to stay, well located and with all you need for a short stay. Rooms are small but have all you need, prices are good and staff are friendly.

We walked all over just basking in the sights and smells that make this such a vibrant city and great place to visit. Tekka Centre was again a good place to get great cheap food, you just need to be adventurous. Orchard Road was a little disappointing, lots of good shops but not as glitzy as we’d expected.

We did so much but still have so many things to do, almost need to book to go back now……. Well, maybe not straight away, so many other places to see, so many things to do.

Well our thoughts now turn to Christmas and our trip to Christchurch to see family..

Bit after that we need to plan out next trip, we’ll maybe start planning before then….. So where is a great place to visit in July? Anyone got any thoughts? Somewhere warm…

Posted in Asian Travels, New Zealand Travels | Leave a comment

Boat Quay

We visited Boat Quay for dinner on Saturday, we had been to Clarke Quay before so decided to try this little dining hub. It’s quite different, much quieter and not as ‘clubby’, the music in Clarke Quay seems to just compete with itself…

We did the right thing and wandered from one end to the other to help make out choice and to not miss anything. Lots to pick from, first we stopped at RedDot Brewhouse for a beer or two. Not a bad place, good range of beers and food looked ok although we didn’t eat here.

As we wandered we found a place called Wakanui, a Japanese place using NZ produce. Saw NZ meat and wines and thought we were on a winner…
Once we selected the tap water over the bottled option the staff lost interest. From here things went south..
We then decided on just an entree and a glass of bubbles, in a flash our cloth napkins vanished and we were given wipes in plastic pack. The calamari was tasty and the bubbles good but staff attitude left a lot to be desired. We became maybe not invisible but in the way. With so many options to pick from they need to keep service up as many will bar/restaurant hop and they seem to not like this…

We then wandered along to Sahara, a Persian restaurant, From the moment we stopped to look at menu till the moment we left we felt relaxed and welcomed. Service was prompt and very friendly, all the staff had a smile and seemed to enjoy what they were doing. The food was tasty with good variety as well as being well priced for the area. Drinks were cold and didn’t have to wait in between. Had a shisha pipe after eating and commented that we had one at home but couldn’t get it to draw like theirs. Guy looking after us gave an impromptu lesson in packing and tending the pipe, very handy. View over the river was great, they even moved us to river side table when one opened up without having to ask.
Will go back again…
Have to add that we did the following night, went to Clarke Quay to eat but the noise was just crazy, all the bars competing with each other so after dining we walked along the river to Boat Quay and found ourselves back at Sahara, even got our riverside table back.

Posted in Asian Travels | Leave a comment

Changi Museum and Chapel

We took a trip today with Original Singapore Walks, we did their CHANGI WWII™ – A CHANGI MUSEUM WAR TRAIL tour. This isn’t exactly a walking tour as you take a coach from Pasir Ris MRT to the Changi Museum and Chapel. It was a good tour though, our guide Wina was very knowledgeable. The museum and Chapel are very moving, there certainly were some very amazing people with great strength around during the Fall of Singapore.

After the museum you reboard the coach for a look at where Selarang Barracks and the gun batteries were, then it’s on to Changi Beach. The beach was the scene of many brutal massacres of both civilian and military personnel by the Japanese. Seems wrong that a beach could be the scene of such brutality, but as our guide said after the murders the tide would take care of the clean up… Not sure I could swim there knowing that..

After that is was time to reboard the coach and head back to Pasir Ris MRT to head away for lunch…
If you’re in Singapore we would recommend Singapore Walks, they have several other tours available that do have more walking involved.

Posted in Asian Travels | Leave a comment