Tag: family vacation

Has Bali Lost Its Allure?

June 27, 2010 Blog 3 comments

Ibu Oka’s Babi Guling at Ubud

Bali has always held special meaning to me and my wife. It was on this tropical island that we had our honeymoon way back in January 2003. Back then, I was so inspired by the holiday experience and customer encounters that I wrote an article that was published in the Straits Times on the legendary hospitality of Balinese.

Sadly things have changed, even at Ubud (Bali’s cultural heart) which is supposedly less mercantilist than Kuta, Uluwatu or the coastal cities. While its verdant and pastoral landscapes have largely remained, the ugly effects of commercialisation and gentrification have left major scars on the island.

Farewell to Kangaroo Island and South Australia

October 3, 2009 Blog no comments

On our last day on Kangaroo Island, we made a trip to the Island Pure Sheep Dairy located at Gum Creek Road which is off Cygnet River. It was one of the farms which we haven’t explored yet during our three days visit and we thought it would be good to see how a sheep farm compares to a goat farm (which we often visited in Singapore). We also spent some time in the Northcote area having our lunch and strolling around, before departing from the island later on and from Adelaide the day after.

From a distance, the sheep farm and diary looked a little blurry. Was it the whole dreamlike quality of the vacation or a special setting on my camera? Unfortunately no. What happened was that I accidentally put too much water into the camera lens while trying to clean it!


The Beautiful Birds and Beasts of Parndana

September 27, 2009 2 comments


On our last day on Kangaroo Island, my family and I decided that we should maximise our remaining hours there by visiting the real stars of the island. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are talking about the kangaroos that are indigenous to this bucolic paradise. Our craving for comfortable creatures brought us to the Parndana Wildlife Park, an award winning sanctuary for South Australia’s macropods (kangaroos, wallabies), cockatoos, koalas, and other beautiful beasts. The animal attraction was charming and unpretentious, allowing us to venture up close and personal with God’s wonderful creatures.

These tall and shady Eucalyptus trees provided a nice natural look to the park. However, they are also…

On a Cold, Dark and Still Night…

September 20, 2009 3 comments

After a fun-filled day of climbing windy cliffs, gawking at gaping pelicans, and strolling amongst slippery sea lions, we made our way back to our resort at American River of Kangaroo Island. The night was cold, very dark (street lights are infrequent on Kangaroo Island) and extremely quiet. Not a soul was stirring as our rented car trundled past the dirt path nearing our residence at Casuarina Suites.


Until suddenly, I thought I spotted something with two bright shining eyes staring right at me beside the fence on the road.

Strolling Among Sea Lions

September 13, 2009 5 comments

One of the best things about Kangaroo Island on South Australia is its abundance of wildlife beyond just kangaroos and other marsupials (the traditional hallmark of Australian fauna). As a sanctuary for many marine-based birds and animals, the island attracts a wide diversity of wildlife both avian and aquatic. Many of these animals are indigenous to the island, and they include the Australian Sea Lion and New Zealand Fur Seals, members of the well-loved Pinniped family of marine-based mammals that exhibit interesting social behaviours.

To catch those blubber-coated creatures up close and personal, we ventured to Seal Bay at Kangaroo Island on the second day of our trip there. Here are some photos of our journey.

Seal Bay is both a conservation park, wildlife reserve and a tourist attraction rolled into one. Here’s a usual pose by the sign post.

The Feeding Frenzy of Feathered Friends

August 16, 2009 no comments

From the busy buzzing bees at the apiary at Kingscote, we next ventured to the Penguin Centre of Kangaroo Island which was located just around the corner to catch the feeding of the pelicans. Unlike other more docile Australian creatures like kangaroos and koalas, pelicans are fairly gregarious and sociable birds. They can often be found flocking next to each other and either swimming or flying close to each other. Well, it was pretty fun for us to catch them fobbing each other off in their attempts to stuff their face – or bills rather – with fishes!

Here’s our story told in pictures for your viewing pleasure.

The setting at Kingscote Wharf was serene, placid and picturesque as we approached it, with the Sun low in the horizon at 5 pm.

Hoppin’ Happily to Kangaroo Island

August 2, 2009 Blog 2 comments

The greatest highlight of my family’s trip back in April to South Australia must be the one to Kangaroo Island, a sprawling sanctuary for nature and wildlife offering some of most spectacular sights I ever saw down under.

While it is seven times the size of Singapore, Australia’s third largest island (after Tasmania and Melville Island) is pretty sparsely populated with close to 4,300 residents. Almost all of its economy is agricultural, tourism (it hosts some 140,000 visitors a year) and fishing oriented. The charming farms on the island boasts of primary produce like honey, milk, wool, meat, fine wines, and eucalyptus oil.

Of course, the greatest thing about Kangaroo Island is its abundant wildlife, both freely frolicking the vast bushes or living in parks and reserves.

World’s Biggest Rocking Horse and More

July 19, 2009 Blog no comments

Have you ever wondered how the Greeks defeated the Trojans in Homer’s epic tale? Or marvelled about the excesses of childhood fantasies?

Well, we had a chance to find out the answers to these questions recently when we visited the Biggest Rocking Horse in the World. Located close to the fertile wine producing Barossa Valleys of South Australia just north of Adelaide City, the wooden (or was it concrete and steel?) wonder was billed as one of the must-sees in the festival state. While the object in mind was certainly mind-blowingly colossal, the record according to the Guinness Book of Records belonged to a much smaller albeit truly rocking variety from Japan. I suppose if one takes out the need for motion, South Australia’s colossal artificial equine would win hands-down.

Here’s a photo journal of our journey in the South. Enjoy!

Rolling Hills, Chocs, Cheeses and Vineyards

July 4, 2009 1 comment


Standing at 727 metres high, Mount Lofty Summit is the highest point of the Mount Lofty Ranges which is 15 km east of the City of Adelaide. It forms part of the ranges called the Adelaide Hills and is adjacent to the Cleland Conservation Park area. Offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city (on a clear day), it contains television transmission towers operated by the Adelaide Television Station, as well as the Mount Lofty Fire Tower. Naturally, its also an excellent place for picnics and just hanging out in the beauty of nature.

The first order of the day is to get our carpark tickets sorted as fines are hefty here!

Charming Creatures of Cleland Wildlife Park

June 24, 2009 Blog 1 comment

Located just a short drive away from the Adelaide City Centre, Cleland Wildlife Park is a haven for native Australian wildlife in South Australia. Nestled within the sprawling Cleland Conservation Park area in the Adelaide Hills region, the government operated attraction is spread over 35 hectares of pristine bushland. All the usual marsupial suspects like the kangaroos, koalas, wombats, Tasmanian devils, and echidnas can be found here, as well as native reptilian and avian species. What’s great about this sanctuary for beasts is the painstaking attention it pays to keep its surroundings as authentic and natural as possible.

This photo at the entrance of the reserve was taken by our little explorer Ethan himself.

As in all tourist attractions, the souvenir shop is a mandatory feature.