Archive for the ‘9.1 New Zealand’ Category

New Zealand Auckland Zoo

Finally got round to sorting out my New Zealand 2012 photos. Sometimes I hate it that I take so many photos. It takes eons to whittle out the handful of photos that will make the cut from the hundreds that I have taken. I remember my 1st digital camera 10 years ago. With the memory card being so small, I was happy to get 50 photos at Disney World. And it’s Disney World mind you. Now, just day trip to the zoo gets me like 300 photos, and this is after much restraint!

Anyway, last month, I finally had the opportunity to visit the Auckland Zoo. The Auckland Zoo was low down in my priority list since we already have a world class zoo right here in Singapore. Also, I’ve been to a number of zoos around the world, and in New Zealand, I rather visit the petting farms where I can touch the animals than merely view from afar. But it being my FOURTH visit to New Zealand, I had to dig up something to do.

Let me get straight to the point. The Auckland Zoo is FANTASTIC! It is such a beautiful zoo and such a wonderful experience walking the grounds that at some points, the hairs on my arms literally tingled with the excitement and awesomeness of it all. If you are going to Auckland, you definitely have to take some time to go visit the Auckland Zoo. It would be time and money well spent.

The difference between The Auckland Zoo vs The Singapore Zoo
  1. Visitor Comfort - If there’s one thing that New Zealand has got going for itself, it is the weather. It is very pleasurable to be out and about without having to mop sweat off your forehead every 5 seconds. Unless a huge air-conditioned dome is built over the zoo, the hot and humid weather will always be a bugbear for Singapore.
  2. Lively animals – It’s a no brainer actually. If you don’t want to be out in crazy 34 degrees celcius, guess what, the animals at the Singapore Zoo feel the same way! I noticed a lot of the animals at the Auckland Zoo were up and in full view, pacing around, or swimming, or swishing their tails or just being plain awake. At the Singapore Zoo, most of the times, the animals were lying down, sleeping or hiding somewhere in the shade, out of view. Even the Night Safari animals seem sluggish. I know, because I’ve been there more than 10 times!
  3. Pretty as a picture – Okay I may be a little biased, given the weather and all, but I think the Auckland Zoo is prettier. It is like a beautiful park, which just happens to have animal exhibits! There is a river flowing through the park too, with lots of little duckies swimming in them. I don’t know why there are no ducks in our ponds and rivers and to me, a pond or a river just ain’t complete without ducks! Don’t get me wrong though, I do think our Singapore Zoo is pretty too, and part of the zoo overlooks the Upper Seletar Reservoir. I just think that the Auckland Zoo is nicer.
  4. Location – Auckland Zoo is just 5 minutes from Central Auckland whereas the Singapore Zoo is located in a “remote” region of Singapore. It’s like if you were in Orchard Road, the Auckland Zoo would be where our Botanical Gardens is. But given that Singapore is pretty small to begin with, this actually isn’t a significant point. And, if you were cabbing, that 5 minute ride to Auckland Zoo would probably cost you S$20, same as if you were cabbing to Mandai!

Other than that, both the Singapore Zoo and Auckland Zoo are world class zoos in their own right. The best part about these zoos are that the animal are housed not in cages but in enclosures made to look like their natural habitats. Also, both zoos boast of walk-in enclosures where visitors are able to mingle with the free-ranging animals. I would most definitely encourage tourists visiting Singapore or Auckland to visit the zoos! I make it a point to visit the Singapore Zoo every year or so.

Auckland Zoo (3)

Auckland zoo (6)

Taller than a hippo.

Read more »

Devonport Deli Cafe in Auckland

After my bank breaking trip to Norway and Denmark last year, this trip to New Zealand is much more pocket friendly. New Zealand is really a very affordable country to visit. Restaurant and cafe prices are very similar to that of Singapore, and I would even hazard to say that the cafes are cheaper. I haven’t seen a latte that costs more than $4.50 here, even from the cafes in a crowded mall. And don’t get me started on food at the supermarket, it’s crazy! Meat and fruits are half the price! But more about that in the next post.

I thought I would be blogging daily during this trip, just like how I did it for the Norway trip. However, this being my 4th visit to New Zealand, I haven’t gone to any of the key tourist attractions except for the Auckland Zoo and Devonport. The highlight for this trip was actually for us to take our pre-wedding photos in New Zealand, and this we managed to do on Wednesday, after scrutinising and fretting over the weather reports daily. Can’t share any photos of that for now as they are still with the photographer. Yoo hoo photographer, if you’re reading this, where are the photos?

After the pre-wedding photo shoot, we finally had some time and peace of mind to do the more touristy stuff. Visited the Devonport area on Saturday. It’s across the waters from Auckland City central, so it seems to be more laid back and less crowded. The place looks quaint, with a number of buildings in the Art-Deco style. Lots of restaurants and cafes, and shops selling antiques, gifts and books.

Where to eat in Devonport Auckland?

We had lunch at the Devonport Deli Cafe. I didn’t google about any of these cafes before I visited. Heck I didn’t even google about Devonport before I visited. I just stepped into the cafe whose decor appealed to me the most. But that’s the great thing about food here in New Zealand. More often than not, the food (and coffee) will be good. Certainly for this entire trip, the food has surprised me on upside.

Devonport Deli (1)

Devonport Deli Cafe (5)

Deli Breakfast $12.50 – Scrambled eggs, bacon, hash brown and grilled tomato on toast, plus a flat white

We thought this was a pretty good deal as the flat white on its own already cost $3.80. See I told you stuff is cheap(er) here. Loved the scrambled eggs, they had such great flavour! Also loved the hash brown, which for some reason tasted like meat, although the texture was that of potato.

Read more »

Hello from New Zealand!

Sorry for the lack of posts these few days. I’m currently holidaying in New Zealand. It’s freezing here as compared to Singapore, but still a warmer than expected winter so far. I thought I would never say this but I kinda miss the heat in Singapore. Have fun everybody!

Tree

Tree (2)

It is the same tree taken from a different angle!

New Zealand foods

Ok so the steak’s not going to be ready until 8pm. To keep me quiet, the Partner decided to prepare some cheese on crackers first. Our friend who recently returned from a holiday in New Zealand brought back some cheese for us from Hawkes Bay Te Mata Cheese Company. I was there exactly 2 years ago. We carted back so much cheese, chocolate, honey and olive oil that we busted the 20kg limit by several kgs and had to smile very nicely at the lady manning the check-in counter.

If you are planning to visit New Zealand’s North Island, you have to make a trip down to Hawkes Bay. That where you can find a lot of their wineries, olive oil and cheese producers. You can have a field day just going to winery after winery, cheese factory, mushroom farm, olive oil plantation and more.

Don’t forget to bring a huge ice-box to keep all your stuff cool, especially if you’re going in the summer time. I highly recommend staying at lodgings which have cooking facilities. Cuz it just totally sucks when there’s so much fresh and cheap produce to be bought and you can’t buy them if you’re not cooking. Just to let you know how affordable food is in New Zealand, in season produce that is, meat costs less than half what it costs here. A whole bag of apples can be obtained for SGD$2. I once paid SGD$2 for half a kg of brown mushrooms.

Okay, there. A plug for NZ! …and back to my cheese on crackers story….

Pakipaki Goats Milk Cheese from NZ Te Mata Cheese Company

This is the white-rinded goats milk cheese that our friend got for us. It has a texture some what similar to brie. It has less of a milky buttery flavour, but it is quite pungent!

Slices of Pakipaki Goats Milk Cheese on Ritz Crackers

We had it on Ritz Crackers. The Partner likes Ritz crackers but I find them too savoury to fully enjoy the flavours of the cheese.

Bakerzin Artisan Bread - Cheese Display

It’s hard to find New Zealand cheese in Singapore. There are lots of French and Italian types, but no New Zealand soft cheeses. I know you can get the NZ brand Mainland here, but that’s only for cheddar. Just 2 days ago, I discovered that Bakerzin at MyVillage has also started selling cheeses. They have cheeses like Manchego, Reblochon, Pecorino Sardo to name a few, but all from France, Spain and Italy only! I wonder if they would like to consider bringing in some New Zealand cheese as well? I’d surely be their 1st customer! Okay maybe the Partner would be the 1st and I would be the 2nd.

Feijoa from New Zealand

And since we’re on the topic of New Zealand food, here’s a photo of a Feijoa. It’s the Partner’s favourite fruit, and apparently only grows in Southern Hemisphere countries such as New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Tastes like a combination of Pineapple and Guava, and has a texture of a soft, somewhat gritty guava. If you go to New Zealand, you can even find Feijoa flavoured vodka! As usual, it’s not sold in Sunny Singapore.

Seriously, I’m beginning to wonder what foods from New Zealand are exported here? I used to think that milk was, but if you check, there is no Fresh Milk (the chiller section type) from New Zealand. They are mostly from Australia, Malaysia and Japan! The only NZ milk you can find here is the UHT type and the milk powder type from Fernleaf and Anlene.

And now, I’m going to check if the chef has fainted. It’s almost 8!!!

Blog4NZ – Blog for New Zealand

To show your solidarity over the Canterbury/Christchurch Earthquake in New Zealand, do blog all about NZ if you have been there.

What is Blog4NZ?

Blog4NZ is a grass-roots effort on the part of the international travel blogging community to promote all that is good about travel in New Zealand, Canterbury and Christchurch. It is a worldwide blogging event that is running from the 21st to 23nd of March — the one-month anniversary of the quake.

Following the devastating earthquake in Christchurch on February 22 this year, New Zealand has been in shock. It’s going to take a lot of love and a lot of cash to help rebuild the city. Tourism makes up approximately 10% of New Zealand’s GDP and it is essential for the world to know that New Zealand is open for business, and that it doesn’t look like a war zone.

For more information, do visit their the Blog4NZ – Blog for New Zealand Facebook or website!

Meanwhile, check out my Travel posts on New Zealand.

 

%d bloggers like this:
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...