Fisherman’s Plate looks like your regular run-of-the-mill takeaway. They have a long standing tradition of serving fish and chips, and they have an extensive Vietnamese menu. I was going to just go with my usual pho, but decided to take the path less trodden.
We had salt and pepper squid with green tea soba noodles and Vietnamese salad. It was to die for, absolutely stunning. The soba salad was warm, plum sauce sweet, tender, lightly seasoned squid, fish sauce salty, had a peanut nuttiness, had some red cabbage colour, and fresh herbs for punch. This dish is a true revelation. We ordered two and I would be happy to eat it all day. This restaurant is a hidden gem. It may seem tame from the outside, but do yourself a favour and jump right in. It will be the best Vietnamese you’ll have in Wellington.
Jurong Bird Park is a lot of fun. I suggest going early to avoid the crowds, perhaps prebuy your tickets because the queues are outrageous.
I recommend taking the tram to get an idea of the whole park first before splitting off to follow your nose.
I visited Jurong Bird Park through RMG Tours-i do not recommend this. It takes too long in transit and I didn’t get as much time at the park as I wanted. You should Spend a while there, there is a lot to see and do, the variety of birds is impressive and their enclosures seem elaborate and reasonably natural.
A lot of the park seems to be a bit run down and out of date, undergoing maintenance and the like. It’s still in working order and there’s still a lot to see, but it’s not a modern, seamless experience like the Night Safari.
The Heritage is a lovely hotel. The building is majestic and the grounds well maintained. The rooms aren’t modern necessarily, but I feel it adds to the character and charm of the hotel. The views were lovely and it sits in a central location in Hamner Springs. The views are picaresque – I highly recommend this place for a short stay.
Side note- I needed after hours medical assistance and struggled to get through to the local area nurse. This is no reflection on the hotel, just a cautionary tale for travelers through the area areas Hamner Springs is quite a sleepy little town with few support services. The staff were helpful in trying to accommodate my needs, so credit to them.
The Emporium is my always place when out for dinner or lunch in Parramatta. The burger and chips are flavoursome, hearty and incredibly satisfying. They also so gourmet treats as well; the stuffed zucchini flowers and ceviche cups are to die for. The garlic and mushroom risotto is a bit too heavy on the garlic, nevertheless the food is wholesome and fulfilling.
The aesthic of the restaurant is quaint and rustic, a beautiful venue. Although the menu is a bit pricey, go for the dessert. Guaranteed to be delectable.
The Ibis is a hotel chain where you can pretty much expect what the facilities are like as well as the standard of accommodation.
What makes Ibis Christchurch really special is the warmth of service from the staff. Their attentive hospitality was very much appreciated when we had a late night check-in, and we had various transfers and activities to confirm. They chose to go above the call of duty to help us.
The hotel is right at the heart of Christchurch CBD which makes is a central location to anything you’d need- it’s all within walking distance.
The buffet breakfast at this hotel is great value (considering the lack of reasonably priced brunch spots in the immediate area).
On a side note, The local community has shown such great resilience and strength of spirit to continue on after tragic natural disasters. It was humbling to see the rebuild effort. I recommend going to Christchurch to see and support the city, even though a lot of it is still under construction.
We had a relaxing time and we were satisfied with the facilities.
Hanmer Springs is a quaint little boutique town. This bakery fits right in to the image; snow capped mountain, family fun activities and hot chocolate with tendrils of steam curling skyward. Honestly, this café isn’t the most esthetic on the block but food really is to die for.
Their croissants are just right, and their pre-made sandwiches are delish (just the way my grandma made them!). We tried a few desserts too, they were perfect and hit the spot after a day of exploring.
It’s underrated and overlooked, but I guarantee you’ll find something you like, and it’s a local hotspot too!
Once you reach the top of the Wellington Cable Car station, you follow your ears to the sound of coffee grinding. Beyond that, your nose sparks curiosity and you wander to a little store beside the Kowhai Café to the Victorian Perfumery.
The parfumer there is wonderful. His knowledge of scents and the distilling process is extensive. He takes you on a little tour through the perfumery (at no cost) and offers you some of his concoctions to smell.
They’re real. They’re not the cheap synthetic perfumes you find in abundance these days. His perfumes are sweet, with depth and memory. He mixes some for the ladies, some for the gentlemen and some for certain occasions. It’s honestly a trip down memory lane, and he is great for conversation about what each smell reminds you of. Fresh Flowers, barks and leaves- he is inspired by nature to create perfumes that need only a dab to last a full day on the wearer. My mother, who gets migranes from strong perfume, was awash in memories from yesteryear.
I had no idea it existed until I was up there, but I promise you won’t regret the trip.