Posts in Category: reviews

La Tortilleria

La Tortilleria

La Tortilleria

Continuing on from last week, we still had some Mexican cravings, so headed to La Tortilleria in Kensington for some tacos, and other assorted delights. It was a good chance to compare the two restaurants as El Sabor was still fresh in our minds. It’s the second time we’ve been (last time we’d already eaten so we didn’t try much more than tacos), it’s a funny little place on a quiet street seemingly in the middle of nowhere. It looks reasonably spacious from the outside but the interior is quite snug, I’m guessing due to the food preparation area which seems to take up half of the restaurant.

The menu isn’t too big (which is good) which certainly is favourable for me as I don’t like having to choose between too many options. We went with chilaquiles, a few tacos, a mushroom tostada (for Oscar), and a Pirata Carlos, before dessert. There were a few things that we had to leave because there just wans’t room, but the Volcancito (beans, beef, cheese on top of a fried tortilla with salsa and guacamole) is definitely something I want to try next time.

Chilaquiles: La Tortilleria

Chilaquiles: La Tortilleria

The chilaquiles are similar to nachos but as they say on the menu, more saucy, they were pretty good but as a direct comparison, the nachos at El Sabor were maybe a bit better, the totopos seemed to retain their crunchiness a bit better.

With our appetites properly whetted the tacos, Pirata Carlos, and tostada arrived. We ordered four tacos (which cost 5$ each, so this pricing is obviously a thing in Melbourne), this time we went with carnitas, pescado (fish), al pastor (pork and pineapple), and pollo horneado (chicken and pickled red onion). The tacos here are pretty small (smaller than El Sabor I think), sorry no pictures for comparison but they come with two tortillas which makes them slightly easier to hold, but you can still expect your hands to smell good afterwards :D.

I usually steer clear of al pastor because it comes with pineapple which I prefer by itself or cooked only in a very delicious Vietnamese soup, it was okay but I prefer the carnitas. The carnitas here was pretty good and definitely on par with El Sabor while the pollo horneado was a pleasant delight, with the pickled red onion and a bit of limón squeezed on top this is definitely a keeper along with carnitas.

Also on this board was the Pirata Carlos, beef and melted cheese with some nopales (cactus) between a couple of tortillas is simple and tasty. The grease content on all this is pretty high I would think, so if you have high cholesterol, you’ve been warned. I think we live too long nowadays, so I’m not going to hold back when tasty food is there for the eating.

Chocolate Flan: La Tortilleria

Chocolate Flan: La Tortilleria

We were pretty full already at this point but apparently you can’t go to La Tortilleria¬† without trying the vanilla flan, so we ordered that. Unfortunately for us, they’d run out for the day so we went with the chocolate flan. It’s pretty much chocolate mousse which I’m not enamoured with (I prefer iced cream to mousse for sure), it was okay if a bit dense, Oscar enjoyed it though XD.

Mexican Hot Chocolate: La Tortilleria

Mexican Hot Chocolate: La Tortilleria

There is also a traditional Mexican hot chocolate on the menu which was quite intriguing as it had chilli and other spices in it. It’s vegan (I didn’t see it on the menu) but was noticeable as soon as it hits your mouth, one wonders if it is possible to order it with milk but maybe that would defeat the purpose of it being traditional. It’s more like tea than a normal hot chocolate for that reason, which was surprising at first until I realised that it was vegan.

So ends another Mexican tasting session, and I can’t wait until the next time, there seems to be a quite a few places I haven’t tried and I’ve made sure to make a mental note and mentioned it to Emmy so will take the next opportunity to hit up for some more Mexican delights ASAP :D. Got some Korean coming up soon so keep your eyes peeled.

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El Sabor by El Cielo

El Sabor

El Sabor

I’ve had Mexican on my mind for a while now and El Sabor has been on top of the wishlist in that regard since Los Amates closed down. We had dinner with some friends on the weekend, an odd couple where one eats mostly meat, and the other veg so we thought Mexican would probably serve them well as there are a lot of meat options as well as lots of vegie dishes too. So we headed out to North Melbourne for some delicious Mexican tucker.

El Sabor: Queen of the Night

El Sabor: Queen of the Night

According to my lovely wife (credit for most of the foodie photos btw), there are actually a bunch of other Mexican restaurants all over Melbourne worth trying so I guess we might have to start up our Mexican flavour tour, how apt that we got back on the horse at El Sabor (the taste for those non-Spanish speakers :D). I’m sure even our (picky) son will find plenty of food that he will love.

El Sabor: Nachos

El Sabor: Nachos

We started off with some nachos to share while we were waiting for our friends as Oscar was super hungry and needed something that he could actually eat and that we could share later. They’re covered with melted cheese (can’t go wrong with that) guacamole, and beans, we went with the salsa roja (I think salsa verde might be spicy?), the “chips” are yellow (as you would expect) and also brown (not what you would expect) but I couldn’t really discern the difference as I made sure each one was drenched in the flavourful sauces, yum.

El Sabor: Mushroom Quesadilla

El Sabor: Mushroom Quesadilla

Next we had some tacos, pollo pibil (chicken), pescado (fish), carnitas (pork), and a mushroom quesdilla. I didn’t get a picture of the tacos, but to be honest, apart from the carnitas they weren’t that memorable (and at 5$ a pop, a bit insubstantial). The mushroom quesadilla turned out to be the majority of Oscar’s dinner, it was different to what I expected, more substantial and packed. It was for Oscar otherwise I would have ordered a chicken or beef one.

El Sabor: Elotes

El Sabor: Elotes

Our initial order finally consisted of the elotes, sweet corn on the cob covered in the cheese and chipotle mayo. Corn is always one of my favourites, this one probably could have done with a bit more mayo (hehe) but was pretty tasty. Having seen this I knew we needed to order some more food, so we went with something new (I think), and tried the Enfrijoladas and kept some room for dessert too.

El Sabor: Enfrijoladas

El Sabor: Enfrijoladas

It was either enfrijoladas or tostadas but the choice was made and we ended up with the slightly fried tortillas filled with chicken, topped with (an absolutely delicious) bean sauce, cheese, cream, and onions, guacamole, also with a serve of rice (fried with tomato paste?). This was my favourite dish of the night, I was a little unsure at first but after a taste I couldn’t get enough, and it hit right spot and filled me up good. You can see from the picture I completely forgot to take a picture and ate half of it before I remembered to take a snap. Maybe that can be the theme of my foodie posts, the foodie in-progress.

Everyone got in on that one (except maybe the vego) and we wrapped it up with some churros for dessert (with chocolate dipping sauce). I’m pretty sure the churros were out of a box or something as they were very “perfect” but they were at least freshly fried. I’m not sure that they needed to be covered in cinnamon sugar but I will never say no to churros, that’s a guarantee.

Overall, a good return to some authentic Mexican food, and certainly thumbs up from me (a bit pricey though) and here’s hoping to more yummy Mexican food in the near future.

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Caveman 1961

Caveman 1961 exterior

Caveman 1961 exterior

I had a hankering for some Korean Fried Chicken near home, and Caveman 1961 seems to be pretty new to the Mount Waverley area. I should rebrand this blog as some kind of suburban eats thing at this rate, I’ve got another foodie post coming after this one but it’s in North Melbourne so not so suburban. It’s located in the Pinewood shopping centre which has a lot of restaurants so there must be some pretty stiff competition. However, the other places in the area seem a bit more conservative and probably not catered to the same kind of crowd so Caveman 1961 definitely has a chance.

Caveman 1961: Cave salt chicken wings

Caveman 1961: Cave salt chicken wings

The menu is pretty simple, there are some sides, fried chicken, and drinks, that’s pretty much it, there are some other things (traditional Korean dishes) but we didn’t look into those. We ordered a cheesy corn grande, which is sweet corn kernels and cheese served on a sizzling hot plate, a soft tofu pot (spicy Korean soup with silken tofu and an egg), and 15 chicken wings (ten with signature cave salt, and five with sweet lava which is basically sweet chilli), which are actually wingettes.

Caveman 1961: Sweet lava chicken wings

Caveman 1961: Sweet lava chicken wings

Interestingly, the wings can be ordered from five pieces up to 150 (given that they’re not big, but that’s still a lot of chicken), they’re a little different from the other KFC places we’ve been to. The chicken is deep fried I’m pretty sure but either with no or very little batter (perhaps just a dusting of flour), so they retain the crispy texture but without the bloating batter. They’re quite good if a little pricey for what they are, we actually used their facebook promotion to get ten of the wings for free.

Caveman 1961: Cheesy corn grande

Caveman 1961: Cheesy corn grande

The cheesy corn grande was pretty sweet, not sure if they added anything or whether the corn itself was that sweet but it went well with the savoury cheese, I mean corn and cheese just go together don’t they.

Caveman 1961: Soft Tofu pot

Caveman 1961: Soft Tofu pot

The soft tofu pot was an under the radar star though, the tofu was very soft and smooth, and the soup (while tending a little too spicy) was a good offset to the sweet corn and the sweet wings, we also had some pickled radish which helped too.

I think I’ll happily go back to eat the chicken again next time I have a craving for KFC, considering how local they are (just five minutes drive) and the lack of quality food options nearby. So while the price is a little on the high side (compared to regular take away options as opposed to normal eating out) it’s definitely worth a look (or taste) down in the south eastern suburbs.

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Lights in the Attic for breakfast

We had a very early start in Hawthorn last Saturday so skipped breakfast at home, so after getting our errands out of the way we ducked into Lights in the Attic in Hawthorn for brekky. It has a Korean vibe and decor, they even have a KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) burger on the menu which I would have tried had it not been 8am in the morning.

Breakfast: Sweet Benny

Breakfast: Sweet Benny

The menu is quite varied and looks to have a lot of good options, although maybe not too many for pregnant women! I ended up going with my usual eggs benedict (Sweet Benny), although this one with a twist, the salmon and poached eggs (perfectly done) sit on top of a couple of sweet potato hash browns with pea puree on the side (pea sauce lol). It was pretty good (but I probably have to needlessly add that I prefer regular potato to sweet potato), the eggs, salmon, and crunch of the hash browns work really well together.

Breakfast: French Toast

Breakfast: French Toast

Emmy had the french toast (apparently her only reasonable option ;)) which is not normally something she would order, considering it’s usually dripping with sweet stuff. Surprisingly, she praised it mightily, calling it the best french toast she ever had! The bread, I’m not even sure you could call it that, it seemed almost like a sponge cake was soft and fluffy and all the elements together.

It was a cold morning and I was still recovering from a cold so I went with the can’t fail lemon and ginger tea. Emmy tried the hot chocolate which I think was a bit sweet (for her), it doesn’t seem to be on the menu so it’s probably not some 90% dark chocolate blend? All in all, for first thing in the morning breakfasts, they were quite filling and got us through to lunch time easily and flavourfully.

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Mum’s Burger Kitchen

Mum's Burger Kitchen

Mum’s Burger Kitchen

We finally had our end of basketball season dinner, and at our captain’s insistence it was at Mum’s Burger Kitchen. This is not the place I would normally frequent (due to location mainly) as it is in very remote Boronia :D, Which is pretty much a regional area of Victoria, way out in the eastern suburbs. This place has been getting a lot of publicity in recent months, as one of those favoured new burger joints, but also to some self promotion as well.

We’ll get straight to the business because that’s the type of food we’re talking about here. I had the Trent which is a pretty standard burger, patty, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, beetroot, bacon, and sauces. I didn’t take a picture of it but it was pretty tall for what is included. I got Oscar a kid’s meal (pictured) which was supposed to be a bao with chicken filling, but it looks more like he had a slider to me (I won’t complain because captain is friendly with the owners so we probably got the better deal anyway), a side of chips and a drink.

The chips were ample for a kids meal that’s for sure, and even though Oscar didn’t finish his slider, he had a good go, getting almost half way through and not complaining (that’s a very good effort for him). On the side we also had onion rings, more fries, some bigger chips (like wedges but not wedges), and even chicken wings (spicy). The sauces were good so the burgers had good flavour, and the sides (which were possibly on the house and overflowing) were greasy and crunchy.

I definitely rate them quite highly and would recommend them to anyone in the area (doubt that they need it, since the lines were out the door), it’s a bit cheaper than Grill’d so the value is better and I’d have a hard time choosing between them if location wasn’t an issue. Maybe they’ll open a franchise in Mount Waverley, I can dream. I wouldn’t go unless I was already in the area (we rarely venture out that way) as I’m not that into burgers, but for a greasy, fatty meal, I don’t think you’ll find much better. Oh, and if you care, service was perfectly good considering how busy they were.

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Puffing Billy

Puffing Billy

Puffing Billy

We went to ride on Puffing Billy last month for Oscar’s birthday and forgot about it until yesterday, it wasn’t unforgettable haha, but it wasn’t forgettable either, a nice time was had by all. We booked the 10.30am departure which turned out to be a bit of a rush (since they tell you to be 30 minutes early or something), we didn’t get there by 10am (more like 10.20am) but it didn’t matter, they didn’t leave till about 10.35am anyway. A lot of late comers strolling on so we certainly didn’t feel too bad about not being early.

We left from the starting point of Belgrave and headed for Lakeside, which is the main stop as there are picninc grounds and a small lake to spend time at (and some nearby play grounds). It takes about an hour with a couple of stops along the way, there is a nice view toward the city near the top around 45 minutes in and a fun atmosphere the whole time. The train meanders across Mount Dandenong and stops traffic at many junctions where people seem to enjoy the spectacle of a passing steam train.

Puffing Billy view

Puffing Billy view

We arrived at Lakeside at about 11.30am and quickly got out and ate our packed sandwiches by the lake. We had a short walk around and discovered that the next train back to Belgrave (after the 12.30pm train) was not until after 2pm, which we were not prepared for. So in a rush we headed back to the train station and boarded before setting off back to Belgrave.

Puffing Billy

Puffing Billy

So unfortunately we didn’t get to spend a relaxing time up at the lake but at least we had a peaceful ride on the train back. As the weather was quite cool (but sunny) it wasn’t so busy so we got to sit comfortably and also dangle our legs out the window whenever we liked. We got to Belgrave and were pretty hungry so we had a quick look in the gift shop before checking out what food was on offer along the main street.

It’s a good experience but we definitely could have done better by being more prepared, being May it also wasn’t the best time to spend outdoors in the crisp air of Mount Dandenong hungry. Next time maybe we’ll go when it’s a bit warmer so that we can enjoy the lakeside activities a bit and spend more time up there (and also prepare more food!). All in all it’s a fun trip and the trains are pretty cool to see, puffing out all that steam makes for some interesting pictures, there’s also that part where the train goes over an elevated section of track that would look pretty cool from down on the side of the road. It’s not cheap (54$ per adult) so definitely worth it to prepare and plan out the trip better than we did.

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Throwback Thursday: Mexico 2008: Federal District of Mexico City

Throwback Thursday

This was originally posted on 10th May 2008 on For lack of regular new content, I’m going back and grabbing some stuff that has gone missing since the demise of to repost here. I don’t think that I will follow any pattern, most likely will just be looking for some cool stuff and post it chronologically each Thursday. I’ll only post stuff that I can still find the pictures for, which means my original trip to NZ did not make the cut (unless I can find them again). I’ll also be re-formatting slightly and fixing up any grammatical errors or (mostly lower case everything text) to suit the new theme.

Mexico City

We arrived in Mexico City at around 6am on a Sunday, and headed for the hostel straight away (I’ll post reviews on transport, accommodation, food and drinks as separate items when I have finished doing each region). we were able to get three beds in a dorm, two other people were sleeping when we got there. we slept straight away, to try and catch up a bit, and eventually around 2pm, we finally got out and about around the zocalo. Sunday is probably the busiest day in town, as there were lots of people around, and stuff going on everywhere.

We were in Mexico City from Sunday till Thursday morning, so four full days (although Sunday was pretty much a write off). with our lonely planet and rough guides books handy, we managed to wander around different parts of the city, we were staying in the historical centre of town, so lots to see there. the main sights in the city that we saw were:

  • the Zocalo obviously, with Aztec performance
  • the cathedral, a massive and picturesque old building
  • the national palace, lots of great murals by Diego Rivera there
  • Templo Mayor, the ancient Aztec temple
  • wandered through Condesa, I’m not a coffee drinker, so this wasn’t a great highlight for me
  • the anthropological museum, massive museum dedicated to Mexicos ancient and modern history, too big to take it all in in one visit
  • rode the metro (more on this later)
  • watched the lucha libres wrestle it out, it’s definitely not real, but fun as a novelty
  • hundreds of cops (of cadets)
  • Mexico City: Aztec Performers
    Mexico City: Aztec Performers
  • Mexico City: Flowers
    Mexico City: Flowers
  • Mexico City: Cathedral Chandelier
    Mexico City: Cathedral Chandelier
  • Mexico City: Templo Mayor
    Mexico City: Templo Mayor
  • Mexico City: The Police Academy
    Mexico City: The Police Academy
Mexico City: Lucha Libre

Mexico City: Lucha Libre (I’ll see if I can embed the video at some point)
Just a short video of the wrestlers (lucha libres) going at it, it was pretty funny. It’s pretty chaotic, and you have to wonder if there is a script at all. We saw these guys on a tour provided by some guy that was looking for tourists at the hostel :D.

The one thing we did notice was that there are basically cops at every corner, either directing traffic, or doing nothing :D. In the Zocalo, there were a few dozen cadets just messing around doing nothing every day. there were also a lot fewer people speaking english than I expected :(, this was unfortunate, as it did affect the holiday a bit, I’ll make sure that I am much better prepared on future trips.

Teotihuacan: Pyramid of the Moon

Teotihuacan: Pyramid of the Moon

The big thing we saw was out of town, we got a bus out to see Teotihuacan, the ancient Mexican city, home of two beautiful pyramids, and several other magnificent ruins. It’s a massive site, and took us about five hours to cover it all, there weren’t as many tourists as I expected (which was a good thing). The refreshing feeling at the top of the pyramid of the sun is so awesome. Unfortunately, the pyramid of the moon could not be climbed the whole way, but despite that, the view was still good. it was a warm day, not overly hot, but walking around a big site like that will make you sweat. A gentle breeze blows at the top of the pyramid of the sun, making it extremely tranquil and pleasant. definitely a must visit location, lots of pictures to post, although probably not as many good ones as I hoped.

The weather was very pleasant, probably mid to high 20’s during the day, and cooling down to low teens (or cooler) over night. Smog and haze is a problem though, only one morning after it rained the previous night was the sky reasonably clear, otherwise, you’ll most likely see hazy blue or overcast skies. The only time I ever felt vulnerable in Mexico City, was once on a packed metro train with little breathing room, other than that, the city was extremely pleasant, and the people no different (in terms of attitude towards others) from any other place I’ve been. A great experience, and would definitely want to go back sometime and see more of the city and it’s surrounds.


Protest in Mexico City

Protest in Mexico City

Not sure why the picture is so hazy, but there was a friendly protest going on near the zocalo the day we came in, police were out and about (more than usual) and people were chanting.


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Queenstown 2017: Kawarau Bridge Bungy!

Queenstown: Duck in the Lake

Duck in the Lake

We had no plans on our last day other than to visit one of the local markets in Queenstown. I also wanted to go to Kawarau Bridge to see (not do, too old for it these days) some bungy action, the other thing that I was thinking about doing was driving up to one of the nearby ski resorts to check out the view, whether it be Coronet Peak, or the Remarkables (lucky we didn’t, I just saw today that it was Treble Cone that has the really nice view), but wimped out due to cold.

The market was small as you’d expect, but Emmy managed to find some interesting things, Oscar and I went to look at the ducks swimming in the lake. After about half an hour we left and went looking for something else, I can’t remember the reason exactly but we drove up the road toward Arrowtown and ended up turning off the Shotover Jet (boat) site, Arthurs Point.

Queenstown: Long White Cloud, Cecil Peak

Long White Cloud, Cecil Peak

I should’ve taken some pictures of the boat but I was lazy, and it was also too bright to take pictures of the bridge over the gorge, so I ended up with nothing again (have to remember that something is better than nothing in future!). We then went back to Queenstown to grab some lunch from Ferg Baker which is also run by the Ferg Burger crew and right next door. The pies were okay, reasonable value at least at about 4.50$ a pop. Then we drove up to Glenorchy-Queenstown Road and stopped by the roadside to eat them. I managed to stall long enough to snap up some long multi-exposure shots too.

Worked out pretty well, didn’t quite get the mirror effect in the lake that I was after because of some boats (mainly TSS Earnslaw but also a couple of jet boats too) but the end result looks pretty good to me. I managed to convince Emmy that we should go watch the bungy at Kawarau Bridge since it is quite close to Queenstown.

Kawarau Bridge Bungy

Kawarau Bridge: Best bungy jumper

Best bungy jumper

Well, it isn’t quite as close as I thought but not too far, only about 25 minutes if I remember correctly. It was worth it in the end, we had some good fun watching the (mostly girls) jumpers. Most of them did pretty well and jumped quite quickly, there was only one girl that took a lot of coaxing and then eventually a little nudge to go over. Probably about half o a bit less than half of the jumpers sort of walked off the edge and bungied feet first which looks kind of awkward.

I also managed to capture some pretty sweet shots of the jumpers mid jump, I had the AFC mode on and tried to follow them down, from my perspective it seemed a bit random, but the camera looks to have captured them pretty well.

Kawarau Bridge: The lioness has lift off

The lioness has lift off

I didn’t think that I was able to keep the subject in focus as they were moving pretty quickly but the focus looks pretty spot on in these pictures.

I threw the DFA100 macro on and put the camera in AFC to see if I could get anything, and I was a bit surprised that the picture came out all right, so I kept trying and managed to get a few keepers. I think I ended up taking pictures of seven different jumpers and I got an in-focus shot of each, so I was pretty happy. Just having a look at the pictures, maybe something like 150mm-200mm would’ve been ideal but obviously I don’t have such a lens. The DFA 100 did pretty well for a pretty slow focusing lens, and the sharpness is definitely nothing to sneeze at.

Car Hire

We then drove back to Queenstown where Emmy did some more last minute shopping before we headed to the airport. On the way, we dropped off our car at the Go Rentals hire centre (very short ride to the airport). We hired a Toyota Corolla hatchback (just like last time) as we weren’t driving off road or anything crazy, the car was in pretty good condition and drove very smoothly, no complaints from me. It had the infant seat installed which didn’t need any adjustment on our part and while Oscar complained a lot, he does that in our car with the seat he’s been riding in for a couple years now.

It wasn’t the cheapest car, it certainly wasn’t the most expensive, but it was the best balance of reliable car and price, and insurance/excess conditions. The short shuttle ride from the airport to the car hire pickup location was a bit annoying because it was cold and rainy when we arrived, but I would use them again.


We stayed at the Heritage Queenstown, which is a four (?) star hotel at the southwestern end of Queenstown, it’s a little bit of a walk into town but we drove everywhere so no difference for us. We did not fork out for the lake view which we instantly regretted upon driving past the lake on the way to the hotel and then walking into our room. The beds were quite soft, and I wonder if requesting a firmer mattress would have achieved anything, maybe I will try that next time. Overall, the hotel was good but I wonder where you would park your car if the hotel car park was full. We were hoping to use the swimming pool but it is not heated and outdoors so we didn’t bother, even the spa is outdoors albeit completely under cover. We’d stay there again if the price was still a reasonable value, maybe in a lake view room though.

One last note, we had dinner at the airport because of the timing of our flight, and the Airspresso diner was actually quite reasonable for taste and value. I had a cheese burger with chips, and Emmy and Oscar shared a mac and cheese, probably better than most places outside without having a major airport tax.

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Queenstown 2017: Wanaka

Wanaka: Cardrona


For our last full day in New Zealand, we went for a drive up to Wanaka via the Crown Range Road. To say that this is a fun drive would be an understatement, it winds its way up a hill to a nice lookout where you can see very far (I will post a panorama of this view in a later post). Then winds its way back down to the small town of Cardrona before making its way to Wanaka.

This is where I have to apologise because we arrived at lunch time and the sun was quite high and bright, and for some reason I decided not to take any pictures at all! So I have no pictures of the beautiful lake and the view to Mount Aspiring, honestly no idea what I was thinking (I think I was thinking we’d be back later in the evening with better light, or hopefully some clouds).

We didn’t end up doing much other than a short stroll along the lake side and lunch from a bakery. Oscar had some fun at the local playground but otherwise we didn’t really see anything locally. After lunch we went for a drive to see if there was something nice to look at, the sign at the entrance to town said Glendhu Bay, so we went in that direction hoping for something nice. We drove past Roys Peak which was really busy, looked like a good walk (and now that I googled it, looks like something to do in future for sure).

Wanaka: Motatipu Gorge

Motatipu Gorge

We got to Glendhu Bay but didn’t see much other than a lot of camper vans. There was a sign that went off road to Motatipu Gorge so we thought, let’s just drive up there and see what it is.

As soon as we turned off the main road it became gravel, and then dirt road, so the 6km drive ended up taking about 20 minutes to reach the end of the road. There’s a walking track there that follows the river, but we just went down and had a little look before leaving and driving back to Queenstown. It’s funny, this was a bit of a random venture and I realised once we got out of the car that I came to this same place ten years ago and probably came to the same conclusion then. At least this time I had a camera with more functions allowing me to take a picture that I could be happy with.

[Update]: Forgot to mention that there are some seriously nasty mosquitoes along this river/stream, my top was not covering my back near my waist, and I ended up with four or five bites on my back, plus two more on my wrist. They were really itchy bites too, damn, it wasn’t that warm, but they must be alpine mozzies or something.

Cromwell: Lake Dunstan

Lake Dunstan

So back to Queenstown but this time rather than going over the Crown Range Road again we went the other way via Cromwell. We stopped at Lake Dunstan which has a beautiful mirror effect (if the water is still enough) but it was a bit late by the time I was finished there so we carried on back to Queenstown from there. We also stopped at the Roaring Meg lookout which I might post a picture of in a later post (HDR). It was not the nicest drive back to Queenstown from there as the sun was setting and pretty much blinding us although driving through that canyon is quite cool.

So for our last proper meal in Queenstown we went with seafood, and Fishbone was our choice. It’s quite expensive if you’re just after fish and chips so probably not the place to go for that, but there was plenty of variety for seafood. Emmy was really after mussels so she ended up going for the fish stew, and I went with one of the recommended specials, lemon sole.

My fish was quite good, the lemon giving it a good little zest, the fish stew came with some nice crusty bread, and I’m sure it was quite good too. Oscar was getting to be a real pain at dinner times by this time of the trip so we pretty much ended up getting out as quickly as possible. I’d recommend this place for seafood if you get that craving in Queenstown. Our last day in Queenstown next, where we didn’t do a lot, but still managed to try out a few functions on my camera.

  • Fishbone: Fish Stew
    Fish Stew
  • Fishbone: Lemon sole
    Lemon sole

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Queenstown 2017: Arrowtown

Arrowtown: Creepers


We had some good weather to end our trip, and for the first of these nice days, we headed for Arrowtown, just a 20 minute drive from Queenstown. It’s an historic gold mining town and is known for its spectacular Autumn colours. There are also a lot of little shops to keep the ladies interested, as well as a museum where you can learn about the history of the area. There are a few walking trails out the back of the town where you can really enjoy the Autumn colours, and I guess it can be called a river, although it’s quite shallow (I wouldn’t cross it in sneakers though).

Before doing anything, we made our way to The Chop Shop for breakfast since Emmy didn’t have anything and us boyd only had some corn flakes earlier. It was okay, but nothing special, I had scrambled eggs, Emmy had the special corn fritters (spicy caramel was a bit sweet still), and Oscar had some kind of super ridiculously sweet babycino. I’d already had a bit for breakfast so I just went for something simple so as not to spoil my appetite for lunch.

  • Arrowtown: The Chop Shop: Spicy caramel Corn Fritters
    The Chop Shop: Spicy caramel Corn Fritters
  • The Chop Shop: Arrowtown: Babycino for the win
    Babycino for the win

The museum is really quite interesting (especially for me being of Chinese descent), I think it’s built into an original town building and you can see a lot of the historical tools that were used, as well as learn about the Chinese “invasion” that occurred during the gold rush. That was our morning, looking at some shops and then the museum.

Arrowtown Autumnal Colours

Arrowtown Autumnal Colours

We had lunch at the Arrowtown bakery (as a money saving move), turned out to be a good idea as the food was reasonably priced and tasty. I had the mince and cheese pie (pie, peas, potato deal) that comes with peas and mashed potatoes with gravy. It wasn’t my first choice but they seemed to be having a shortage at the time. After that, it was time to enjoy some Autumn colours, along the way we wandered through the historic Chinese settlement (restored) to see how these gold seekers lived, must’ve been hard that’s for sure.

We wandered back along the trail and along the river but turned out that we were on the wrong side of the stream, so we couldn’t get back to the car park without getting our feet wet. So we had to stroll back and around the stream before we could head off.

It was a bit too late to visit Cromwell as I had originally thought might be possible, so instead we stopped by Lake Hayes and then again at one of the stopping points along the Glenorchy-Queenstown Road to shoot the Remarkables at sunset. Lake Hayes was a bit random, but we were driving back to Queenstown and drove past this lake, and the sun was shining, and the clouds were whisping (?), so I decided that it might be worthwhile, turns out it was, the mountains around the lake make for some breathtaking views, and it’s only 15 minutes from Queenstown on the way back from Arrowtown.

  • Arrowtown: Another Remarkables sunset
    Another Remarkables sunset
  • Arrowtown: Lakes Hayes
    Lakes Hayes
Bombay Palace: Queenstown: Lamb Vindaloo

Lamb Vindaloo

We finished off the day by having dinner at Bombay Palace which is down the bottom of the main road (Shotover St) clustered with a few other Indian restaurants. It’s a chain (since we saw one in Wanaka too), and it was the only Indian restaurant in that section that didn’t have a tout out the front. Won us over already (also had more people eating than the other places), I had the lamb vindaloo, and Emmy had the chicken tikka masala (so that Oscar could have some if he felt like it).

I was happy with mine, ordered it hot (not Indian hot) and it was just the right spice level, flavour was good (comparable to Tandoori Den LOL) and the lamb was tender. The service was good and the restaurant comfortable, so two thumbs up from me.

Next up, we visit Wanaka.

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