Western Australia: Part Two

Tuesday started with a delicious breakfast from Margaret River Bakery. Taylor’s dad picked up some great tasting pastries. Unfortunately, I was to busy stuffing my face with them that I forgot to take pictures! Sorry about that! We need the sugar and the calories to power us through our busy day.

Our first stop was at a silk store where we learned how silk was made and they had some beautiful silk products.

Then we headed to Bootleg Brewery. Taylor and his parents shared a tasting and we sat outside and relaxed. The brewery had a beautiful setting with a pond with swans swimming and a place to play bags and other yard games. photo (6)

Our next stop was a Cheeky Monkey Brewery and Cidery. They shared a tasting and we ordered lunch and ate outside. After lunch, there was a winery also located on the property and Taylor and his Dad did a tasting at Killerby Wines. WAust-15 WAust-17 WAust-20 WAust-22 WAust-25 WAust-28photo (7)

For the remainder of the day we went shopping in Margaret River and picked up some tasty kabobs from the meat market to cook dinner at home.

Wednesday was our beach day and we visited Redgate Beach first. We stayed for a short time only because the wind was blowing pretty darn hard and it was a tad bit chilly and uncomfortable. We headed to Rivermouth Beach next and found a place that we were protected from the wind and spent the afternoon there. photo (9) photo (8)

Thursday was another busy day with many wine stops and shopping stops. Our first winery visit for the day was at Brookland Valley Vineyard for a tasting. We then headed to Margaret River Valley Chocolate Company. I was in heaven. I could fully participate in this stop and loved it. I may have purchased a few things to bring home from here! Our next wine stop was at Hay Shed Hill Wines.

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For lunch, we stopped at Vasse Felix Winery. This was a fancy meal! We all had unique dishes! Taylor did a tasting here.

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The next wine stop was a Juniper Estate nearby. At that ended the wine drinking for the day!

Heading back to the house we stopped at Ollio Bello organic olive oil with olive trees Ollio Bello Olive Oil and did an olive oil tasting. I enjoyed this because I could participate and I made a few purchases!

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Our last stop before we headed back was at Cowaramup Bay. WAust-74 WAust-80 WAust-87

Friday was our last full day before we headed back to Singapore. Our day started with a stop at Credaro Family Estates. This winery was a small, family owned winery with a beautiful hilly setting.

We stopped next at Canal Rocks along the ocean. Our pictures do not show the grandness of these ocean rocks. It was really cool to see.

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For a mid-morning snack, we headed to Gabriel Chocolates. The chocolate shop was phenomenal! The chocolate beans were roasted on premises and it smelled heavenly. The chocolate was to die for also! Don’t worry, I brought some home with me!

We headed to Arimia Estate Winery next in hopes of some wood-fired pizza that we were told was delicious, but unfortunately they only did that on Saturday and Sunday. Taylor and his parents had to settle for a wine tasting instead, darn.

For lunch we headed back to Bootleg Brewery and we sat outside for lunch.

We rounded out our day with some relaxation at home. Taylor and I headed Gnarbar on the beach for our dinner and watched a little sunset with some surfing. WAust-163 WAust-161

Saturday we packed up our things and headed back north to Perth to fly home. We stopped first at the Margaret River Valley Farmers Market. I was in heaven. I wish I could have brought back all of the fresh produce and grass-fed meat that was there back to Singapore. I had to settle instead for some chocolate, pastries and a tasty breakfast sandwich. We continued driving north along the coast stopping at some beaches along the way. We happened upon another open air market in Dunsborogh, I found some cool jewelry at this market. Our last stop before the airport was at One-Forty Cafe in Mandura. This was a cute cafe and we had nice sandwiches. The town was really cute and I wish we would have had time for more exploring.

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That rounds out our trip!

 

Western Australia: Part One

A few weeks ago we headed back to Australia with Taylor’s parents. We flew Saturday morning from Singapore to Perth(a 5 hour flight) and then drove about 3 hours south to Margaret River Valley in South Western Australia. In total, we stayed for a week.  The area is best known for its wineries and beaches. While I personally had to sit out from the wine drinking fun, there was plenty to keep us all occupied and I was a great designated driver. We had a fabulous time and I would highly recommend it for a getaway!

We rented a house situated half way between the town of Margaret River and the Ocean. The house was called Selador (get it? “cellar door” ), which Taylor found and booked online. It was a great 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath house with a great kitchen and living room. We had some kangaroo appearances outside too!

The Kitchen

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Sunday, we headed off to visit some of our first wineries. We headed to Leeuwin Estate for the first stop of the day. This vineyard also had a nice art gallery attached to it.

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The next stop was a Voyager Estate Winery. This winery had beautiful grounds. We strolled around the rose garden. untitled-42untitled-35 untitled-38

Up next, we headed to Xanadu winery.

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Our last wine stop of the day was at Cape Mentelle Vineyards. Taylor decided to have a little childhood fun here. untitled-51

We rounded out the day with a nice lunch in Margaret River at the Settlers Tavern. I had a great BBQ sandwhich(which they were proud that they had just got a smoker/grill from the USA.) It was delicious!

The rest of the day was spent picking up some groceries and relaxing at the house!

On Monday, we headed south towards Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse which is the most Southwest point in Australia. Along the way we stopped at Gnarabup Beach and Surfers Point Beach. Surfers Point is a very famous surfing beach on the west coast. The week after we left a big competetion was gearing up. untitled-52 untitled-55 untitled-56 untitled-58 untitled-59 untitled-60

On our adventure we also saw this giant lizard!

untitled-62On our way to the lighthouse we had a lunch break in a small town of Augusta and stopped at a cute resturant called Deckchair Gourmet. We all had tasty sandwhiches and then got back on the road to head to the lighthouse. We had beautiful weather this day and a great blue sky. It was great for taking pictures!

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

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Our day ended with dinner out near the beach at Sea Garden Restaurant. We had some wood fired pizzas and seafood. We had great meals both of these days all from recommendations from the Lonely Plant books! I wish I would have taken pictures of all the wonderful food we ate, but I forgot!

I can’t wait to share more from our trip next week!

New Zealand: Part 4

Our adventure on the north end of the South Island started with some sea kayaking around the Abel Tasman National Park. We were part of a small tour. Our trip started with a water taxi to our starting destination.

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We then loaded up our kayaks and pushed off.

P1000850-2P1000852-4 We headed out to this island first. We saw lots of wildlife like seals, penguins and other birds. P1000853-5 P1000858-7 P1000862-9 Penguins in the WaterP1000864-10 Seal and a Seal PupP1000872-11 BirdsP1000873-12

We then paddled south along the coast. We saw more animals, interesting rock formations and paddled into lagoons.
P1000895-13 LagoonP1000918-16 PenguinsP1000912-15 PenguinsP1000905-14 Taylor did most of the paddling. 🙂 I was busy taking pictures! P1000921-17 Super Paddler!P1000860-8

Next on our agenda for the next few days, we headed to wineries. We visited wineries in the Nelson and Marlborough wine regions.  We visited a bunch more wineries, had excellent meals, relaxed and purchased some bottles to bring back to Singapore. Here are the wineries we visited: Nueforf Vineyards, Rimu Grove, Waimea Estates, Spy Valley, Clos Henri, Seresin Estate, Gibson, Huia, Hunter’s, Hans Herzog, Cloudy Bay, and there may have been a few others but I’ve already forgotten!

Sauvignon Blanc GrapesIMG_7472-4

Baa. We saw lots of sheep near the wineries!IMG_7453-1Clos Henri Tasting Room IMG_7465-2IMG_7467-3Lunch at Hans HerzogIMG_7474-5 IMG_7477-6 IMG_7493-7 IMG_7495-8 IMG_7497-9

On our final day driving back to Christchurch we mostly drove along the coast. We stopped along the way to admire the beauty of the ocean. One stopping spot was great for seals!IMG_7535-16IMG_7499-10 IMG_7503-11 IMG_7504-12 IMG_7507-13 IMG_7515-14 IMG_7517-15 IMG_7537-17 IMG_7539-18 IMG_7555-19

The ends the highlights of our New Zealand trip! All together we drove about 30,000km in about 11 days. Here’s a general map of how we drove. Follow the arrows!Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 1.35.57 PMNext week’s post, the botanical gardens with special visitors!

New Zealand: Part 1

On Tuesday(Jan. 21st), Taylor and I took off on a red-eye flight to Christchurch, New Zealand to start our outdoor adventure of the South Island. In total it it took about 13 hours of flight time to fly from Singapore to Christchurch, we had a layover in Melbourne.

We arrived in New Zealand late Wednesday and checked into the Airport Palms Hotel for a nights stay. That evening we worked out at Crossfit Christchurch(after traveling a bunch it felt great to get moving!) and picked up some tasty burgers from a place called Burgers and Beer. A very appropriate name! The burgers were huge!

On Thursday the REAL adventure began. We picked up our campervan from Wildnerss Motorhomes and started our driving adventure of the South Island.

Pictures of the Camper

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Our first stop was for groceries and boy oh boy did we hit the grocery store jack pot. I was in heaven it was the equilvalant, ig not better than Whole Foods back home. It was called Raeward Fresh. If you are in New Zealand and happen upon one of these, you must stop. The one in Christchurch as a lovely cafe attached.

Our next adventure stop was at the Rakaia Gorge. We went on a short hike along the river. The color of the water was amazingly blue. There was a super old one lane bridge that we had to cross over the river to continue our adventure. We would encounter many bridges like this throughout the South Island.

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Then we headed to Lake Tekapo where we drove up to the Mount John University Observatory for a great view. It would have been really cool to star gaze at night from this point, but it was not open for that and we could not stay the night and need to keep driving for the day.

Lake Tekapo

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Our first night we stayed in Omarama, New Zealand at a holiday campervan park. Camping in NZ is not like the US. We had to stay  in these RV parks, you couldn’t have fires, and it was just a little different. In total we only drove about 350 km this day.

Day two in the campervan(Friday) we started our day heading to the clay cliffs. They were this cool area of land that we hiked around. The area was created through millions of years of errosion of the silt and gravel.

The River Before the CliffsIMG_6693 IMG_6697 The Clay CliffsIMG_6701 IMG_6715 IMG_6721 IMG_6723 IMG_6740 Beautiful FlowersIMG_6747 IMG_6748 Up Close IMG_6787

Then we headed to some wineries(of course!)  We visited the Otago region which is between Queenstown and Christchurch. The wineries we visited were Bald Hills, Carrick Winery, Mt Difficulty, and Gibbston Estate. We ate lunch at Carrick and they had wonderful food and were situated right at the edge of the lake so there was a great view!

Beautiful Vineyards

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And finished the day with a long drive to Te Anau were we spent the night. All together we drove about 329 km on day 2.

Up next week, Fiordland National  park , Milford Sound, Queenstown and more!

Australia Part 2: Hunter Valley

Leaving Port Douglas early Tuesday morning we drove south to Cairns to catch our flight back to Sydney for the next part of our adventure. From Sydney, we rented a car and drove about 2.5 hours north to the Hunter Valley Wine Region. We had a scenic and relaxing drive as we made our way through the region.

Part of our Drivephoto (2)

During our three day stay in Hunter Valley we stayed at Deja Vu Estate. It was an amazing villa that we had to our self. It was such a relaxing and elegant setting. Upon our arrival we had a bottle of sparkling wine waiting for us, which was needed after our busy day of travel. Each morning we had a stocked fridge and pantry included in our stay to cook breakfast the next morning. We had eggs, bacon, muffins, mushrooms, juices, sour dough bread. This was so nice that we didn’t have to grocery shop or eat out for every meal. On our last night we were left a nice dessert wine and chocolates. If we ever visit Hunter Valley again, we will sure be staying at Deja Vu!

Indoor Space

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We choose to visit Hunter Valley not only for the relaxation, but it is also a wine region. The prodominent wines produced in Hunter are Semillion and Shiraz, but others are also grown. We packed a lot of winery visits in the three days we were there and also ate some tasty food! I’m going to list off and share pictures of our stops in region!

Tuesday

Winery Visits: Keith Tulloch Wine

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Dinner: Brokeback Bar, this was a quick and easy stop for a tasty sandwich and fries

Wednesday

Wineries: Mistletoe Winery, McWilliam’s Mout Pleasant, Tulloch Wines, Brokenwood Wines, Tyrrell’s Wines, Leogate Estate, De Iulis

Mistletoe Sculpture Garden

IMG_4883A View of Hunter Valley from Mountain Overlook

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Lunch: Tuk Tuk Burgers

The Triple Pork Burger(Ground Pork, Pulled Pork and Bacon)

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Dinner: Home! We loved that Deja Vu had a grill. After some relaxation with some local cheese we headed to the nearest town(Braxton) and picked up some groceries at an IGA and steaks from the cute little meat market. The guy was so nice he even added some sausages to our bag free of charge because it was a specialty.

The Meat Store

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Thursday

Wineries: Scarborough, Pepper Tree, Tower Estate, Lake’s Folly Vineyard, Hungerford Hills, First Creek WInes, Tintilla Estate Vineyard, Audrey Wilkinson

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Snack: Hunter Valley Chocolate Company

Lunch: Cafe 1843 at Lindeman’s

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Dinner: Emerson’s

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Kangaroos

Seeing kangaroo was super exciting in Hunter Valley. Deja Vu was settled back into the woods and we would see kangroo throughout the day. They would be roaming in packs and often we saw little joeys also. Super cute!

IMG_4871 IMG_4874 IMG_4952IMG_4934Our Take Home

IMG_5035Needless to say, we left Hunter Valley with a few souvenirs. Next up, Sydney!