Bali with kids: tips and hints

If you want to introduce your young children to Asia, I reckon Bali makes a good choice. Singapore would be the best in terms of cleanliness and orderliness, but you won’t get the most bang for your buck like you would in Bali 🙂

I found Bali to be the most relaxed and easiest Asian holiday destinations for less than $150 a day (depending on your accommodation, obviously). Since it is basically an extension of Australia, you will be able to find most everyday things that you need there. Plus, with the strength of our dollar, you will get luxury for a lot less. There are heaps of cheap flights to Bali, and though there are also articles trying to persuade readers to ditch Bali, I reckon it will still be one of the most popular places to visit.

So, here are my tips for travelling to Bali with young children – based on my experience travelling with a 10 month old (not yet walking) baby and a 3 year old boy. Continue reading

DIY Cereal Mix

Our little man is a foodie. He loves his food, there are not many things that he doesn’t like. We are not sure whether it is all in the genes (we’re really into our food), or it was because we started him on “adult food” pretty young. We also gave him the opportunity to choose what he would like to have as often as possible. Most of the times, he chooses good healthy food, though obviously, just like any other 2 year olds, he’d ask for pizzas and “chippies” for breakfast too 🙂

Img src: Woolworth’s Online

One of his favourite fun times is choosing his cereal at the grocery shop. His favourite of all cereals is the Uncle Toby’s Plus cereal “with blueberries!!!”. We have been getting these for a couple of months now, until I realised that we go through the box within a week or so (with Mr E’s help). At $4 a pop, weekly, it certainly does add up. We’re madly saving up for upcoming house renovations and holidays at the moment, so I am trying my best to get the best bang for our buck, without affecting our lifestyle too much 🙂

So here’s what I did recently:

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I made my own “Uncle Toby’s Plus Cereal” as what they really are, are just pre-mixed bits of cereal and dried fruit. Super easy and does not take all that much time for me to do 🙂 I already had the dried fruit in the pantry, so our current “box” of cereal only cost us AUD1. If I had to buy the fruit, it would be about AUD2 max with lots and lots of fruit leftover. If I want to be even more cost-savvy, I could also buy Homebrand “Corn Flakes” and Homebrand dried fruit. However, I prefer Sunbeam dried fruit as they’re still nice and plump and juicy (and Australian grown too) 🙂 There are some things I’d rather “splurge” on but the options are there.

Mr E said that it isn’t the same as the Uncle Toby’s cereal, but still yummy nevertheless. We are already half-way through my premix, so I think the boys really do like it 🙂

What do you guys do to save up that is easy to do? Please share, I want new a bathroom pronto!

Japan: Osaka, Osaka Prefecture

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The famous Glico billboard in Dotonburi: the food and shopping mecca of Osaka

We spent the last few days of the trip in Osaka. Like Nagoya, we’ve all been to Osaka in previous trips, so we didn’t do anything other than doing last minute shopping, eating and taking day trips (to Uji and Kobe).

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Osaka at dusk

My plan for Osaka was to do absolutely nothing. Sleep ins, eat, shop, alone times and pampering times; basically things that I don’t get to do when home with the little man. Thankfully, I got to do all that 🙂 One of the highlights of my Osaka time was a pampering session at the hairdressers! For hours, I did absolutely nothing but just be. Most of the time, my feet were attached to their massage machine, it was amazing! Mr E and his brother joined me in the experience and it was so much fun 🙂

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What my hair looks like when bleached...

Another highlight was our Nagomi visit organised by my sister inlaw. It was such a fun occasion, getting an insight into Japanese people’s home and cooking. A snippet of their lives, really. If you’re ever going to Japan, please do make sure you get to do it too! For the whole 3 hours we were there, I smiled the whole entire time. The experience authenticated my trip, if that makes sense?

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DIY sushi! Soooo good!

Before long, it was time to pack and go home. I truly enjoyed the trip, like I have said before, I learnt so much more about my inlaws! They’re fun quirky people 😉 My kind of people!

Missing Little E meant that some parts of the trip were almost unbearable, most especially when hiccups happened. Consolidating five differing opinions, desires and ways of doing things were tricky at times but like my brother inlaw said, we don’t normally live in each other’s pockets for 3 whole weeks straight, let alone sharing a room for more than a whole week! After two weeks, even Mr E got annoying 😉

As our Nagomi dinner host remarked, I feel privileged that I have inlaws that I get along with to go on holidays together, so I am thankful.

A humongous thank you to my parents inlaw who took care of Little E and for giving me the opportunity to be me. Mr E and I found each other again; we were never lost but we definitely broke apart a little 🙂 Marriage after children takes a lot of effort, such a difficult request when time is not something you have a lot of. I am very blessed.

Japan: Uji, Kyoto Prefecture

Reason #46633869 why Japanese public transport is frikkin awesome: go to your local train station at any time of the day and almost always, you could be in any other major city in no time. Without much hassle. One morning, within 30 minutes, we arrived in Kyoto (from Osaka). Another 20 minutes got us to Uji, a small town famous for its green tea and a world heritage shrine. Amazing!

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This building, Byōdō-in, is so beautiful that it is featured in ¥10 coins. The phoenix on top of its roof is featured in the ¥10,000 notes. Apparently, this building was made into a Buddhist temple, dedicated for people to depart to their next life. I think.

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Sample set of different soba: one of which is matcha soba.

I had another emo-period of terribly missing my precious, however, as if my dad inlaw knew, I got emails from him with happy photos of Little E. He looks very well loved and spoilt. He’s a blessed boy to have such loving grandparents, who are generous with their time, attention and love. The three most important, and so precious, things anyone can offer. I felt a lot better after seeing the photos 🙂

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After lunch, we visited a registered UNESCO world heritage shrine, Ujikami-jinja. I love going to shrines, again, because they remind me of my grandma and my childhood. I also like seeing the bundles of people’s prayers hung up around the place. I personally think that without hope and faith for a better future, what kind of life would you have? 🙂 regardless of your religion or lack thereof.

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We then went to the oldest continuing green tea producer and shop. We met the one of the owners, who is a 14th generation of tea producer and saw a photo of his grandson (the 16th generation). He proudly showed us the many awards they won and how apparently, their tea is the tea of choice for the emperor of Japan!

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There, we did an introduction to Japanese tea ceremony, including grinding our own matcha (green tea powder). I am not a fan of matcha but I wanted the experience, so I’m glad that I did it. Also, at least now I know for sure that I really don’t like the stuff, because Uji is probably the place to have it 🙂

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I liked Uji, it is only a short trip away on the train from Osaka and/or Kyoto, which makes it a good day trip option 🙂

Holiday: Queenstown in Detail

The drive to Queenstown were relatively easy. Little E slept most of the way and when he was awake, he was happy looking around. The only “exciting” thing that happened was a hawk flew at us, hitting the windscreen then scratched the whole of the roof. We found out later that a group of our friends had similar encounter too. Silly hawks.

We made a lunch stop at Cromwell, as Mr E wanted to check out the motorcar park. Owned by a man from the Gold Coast, QLD, the place reeked of fancy schmancy cars and revheads. Interesting indeed, but Mr E liked it and the food were delicious (though pricey).

Another quick drive through was to Arrowtown. We went just as some sort of cycling event was finishing so the whole place was hectic and crazy. Definitely not something I wanted to deal with after a long drive. Arrowtown was beautiful though, a quaint little town with little shops. It is an option for something to do while in Queenstown 🙂

Queenstown

Now, onto Queenstown. I won’t go into details of each day we were there, just to keep this post unrambly.

Activities we did and liked:

  • A walk through the botanical garden and its playground – Little E absolutely loved the playground, so did we, as it is right by the water with the beautiful Queenstown backdrop. We visited it each day we were in town. The garden makes a nice stroll, one experience we enjoyed was watching a group of children having a race of what looked like boats made of recyclable materials (ie. Old milk bottles etc). You can’t help feel as excited when watching little people being excited 🙂
  • Eat chocolatey dessert at Patagonia – a must do! Their churros were really delicious.
  • A walk around the Queenstown main shops – lots of pretty and fancy shops. There’s a children’s clothes shop that I really had to leave very quickly as I wanted too many things and we really couldn’t spend that much money in one shop. I wish I did purchase something though.
  • Appreciate the beauty of Queenstown by the water. It reminded me of the equally scenic Switzerland but less cold 😛
Milford Sound Flight

A view from up above – Milford Sound Flight

  • Milford Sound – we did the flight/cruise/flight as I couldn’t do 9hrs+ in the bus with Little E. It is so much cheaper doing the bus but I just couldn’t do it. I cannot say that the trip was worth the money though. I enjoyed parts of the flights, when it wasn’t bumpy, and I liked the cruise, but only when I was outside (I get motion sickness). We saw a lonely penguin having a snooze and a few seals, though after our tour in Dunedin, it wasn’t as special 🙂 Both my boys enjoyed their time so I guess it was worth it for me to go.
A view from the gondola ride at Queenstown Skyline

A view from the gondola ride at Queenstown Skyline

  • The reason we were in NZ was for our friends’ wedding as Little E was the ring bearer. I loved the wedding and had heaps of fun at the reception. Held at the Queenstown Skyline, we went on the gondola ride, marvel at the beauty of Queenstown view from up high and had a fab buffet meal. The food was absolutely delicious, so I would assume that the food served at the restaurant would be of the same quality. Yum! The Skyline is definitely a must do while in Queenstown 🙂
  • Cookietime – delicious but expensive warm cookies, so make sure you keep an eye out on their Happy Hour times 🙂
  • Fergburger – a must eat place. Deliciously awesome burger place but not exactly child friendly. Limited seats, definitely no high chairs, long queues but worth it.

Tips:
Make sure you organise the Milford Sound flight on the first day you’re there as it will get cancelled if the weather isn’t right.

Suggested activities that I would have liked to do given the opportunity and/or other activities available:

  • The luge rides at the Skyline
  • Putt Putt golf – a great rainy day activity as it’s indoor
  • Kiwi Encounter for the bigger kids
  • Gold panning in Arrowtown
  • The many variety of water activities, such as jet boating, whitewater rafting, parasailing etc.

Accommodation

The Whistler Apartments
15 -17 Gorge Rd
Queenstown
ph: +64 3 409 0394

Loved this one bedroom apartment that our family friend suggested. It had a full kitchen, which we made use of as Queenstown is expensive! Close to the main part of town but still away from the noise. You can walk to the other supermarketnot in town for cheaper grocery 🙂 The apartment also comes with a washing machine and a dryer. The perfect family accommodation 🙂

Of all the cities/towns we went to in our trip, Queenstown has got to be my favourite! A definite must-go city when you’re in the country 🙂 Though probably the most expensive, everyone we met was happy and friendly, the atmosphere welcoming and fun. We were there for 4 nights, 3 days and I felt like it gave us enough time to explore the place and do the things we want to (and can) do at a leisurely pace 🙂

On a separate note, here’s my photo for day 12 of 100.
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Little E loved the chicken dish I made that he hardly made a mess even though it came with rice and he fed himself! He ate all the chicken pieces I gave him. All.of.them! An absolute success in my books! In this photo, he was being impatient for seconds 🙂

A Baby on a Budget: Grated Cheese

I haven’t done this series for awhile, so I thought I would post about this in case some of you could find it useful 🙂

We go through a lot of grated cheese. About a 500g bag a month, as most baby friendly food seem to call for them. At around $15-17/kg for a bag of plain grated cheddar cheese, it sure does add up and take out a chunk off our weekly budget money.

I had an idea recently to grate my own, when I saw large 1kg block for only $6! That is more than 50% “saving” for not much effort.

This works perfectly for us as not only we’re saving money, we also can choose the quality of the cheese. Some frozen grated cheese taste like plastic, especially the cheaper ones. I’m planning to do my own three-cheese pizza concoction soon 🙂

I won’t claim the idea as my own as I’m sure many people have done it already, and obviously, only if you have a food processor with grating ability. Unless, of course, you fancy grating it manually 😉

Now, if only I can find an idea on how to pay less for more/same amount of full cream milk! We go through around 3L a week currently, and Mr E prefers to support non-large-supermaket-giants brands.

Fussy little eaters: Cauliflower Fritters

A dear friend gave us some cauliflower for Easter, along with a copy of a cauliflower fritters recipe. I finally gave it a try tonight and had great success with the boys. I adapted the recipe to our own palate and what we have in the pantry 🙂

Cauliflower Fritters

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Ingredients:
450g cauliflower, chopped into little bits (see note)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup of SR flour
1 cup of shredded cheese
2 cloves of garlic, chopping
1tsp curry powder/paprika
Pepper
Oil to shallow fry

Method:
Mix all ingredients in a bowl
Spoon some mix into heated oil
Cook over low/medium heat until golden
Serve with yogurt/fruit chutney/chilli jam

Note:
I mixed some cooked pumpkin in my mix to make up the 450g because I have some in the fridge that needed to be eaten. So I reckon you can do it too with any vegies you have on hand. Just make sure that they’re cut uniformly so they cook evenly.

Mr E loved it so much that he had seconds, and told me that he’d have it again and again lol I probably should have served them with a side of salad to make it a “full and proper” meal but I was tired and to be honest, couldn’t really be bothered.

Next time, I will either add some mince or tuna in the mix because it seems that I am the only mother in the world who has to hide meat. Little E doesn’t seem to like them, at least not my meat dishes. He eats all his lunch without fail at daycare, including the meat. But at home? He’s pretty picky! What’s the dealio, Romeo?!

Anyway, please do try this recipe, it’s a great hidden vegies recipe!

Holiday: Dunedin in Detail

We flew to Dunedin, via Wellington (“Middle of Middle Earth”). We allocated the whole day for travelling, lucky, because both flights were delayed. Fortunately, the Rotorua airport has a pretty good playground so it kept Little E occupied the entire time. As soon as we arrived to Wellington airport, we picked our lunch choice and sat down. I have to say that Wellington airport is officially one of my favourite airports! Not only because of its decoration 😉

Gollum!

Gollum!

Our flight to Dunedin was delayed due to bad weather, so I was a little nervous going on the plane as the rain was still pelting down. Thank God that we made it safely to Dunedin because the turbulence was bad! I had to fight the urge to vomit the entire 1.5 painful hours 😦

Anyway, as soon as we got our hire car, we made our way to the CBD and looked for a place to eat. Mr E had chosen an apparently-popular fish and chips shop. After what seemed like an eternity, we found Fish Hook. Honestly, I don’t know why it’s popular other than because it’s cheap.

We had a little squabble while we were there as I found out Mr E had mistakenly ordered three pieces of fish on top of his order. I hate the thought of wasting food, most especially when the food wasn’t all that special. Luckily for him, Little E must have had one of his hungry days because he polished off two giant brill fish all by himself! It was amazing to watch him eat like that.

After dinner, we drove to our accommodation and settled ourselves in, getting ready for the Cadbury Factory and Dunedin CBD the next day.

Cadbury Factory

He had great fun playing with those chocolate bars – taking them out then putting them back in.

We enjoyed the Factory tour, though it could ended a lot differently. The tour was very strict. You cannot wear any jewellery, including earrings, and you have to leave your valuables in a locker. If you opt to still wear your wedding rings, you have to wear gloves. At all times, you must wear your hair net (including babies and kids). You cannot carry your baby in your arms, instead, you’re given a backpack. Little E has never been in a backpack, so he really chucked a spack-attack being carried like that on Mr E. So much so that we were given a stern-talking to to basically shut him up and “keep his hair net on, or leave”. The tour guide certainly did not have the best interpersonal skill. We were with another group of people and they all gave their apologetic looks to us, most especially the parents of the other toddler there.

The interesting thing is, the whole time we were on the tour, we were always behind a glass window, standing nowhere near any machinery or touch anything. I think the whole no jewellery business is definitely going a little too far. Anyway, we did sample a few things and as the time went on, Little E calmed down and was quite engaged (he was on me by this time).

World's Steepest Road

After the tour, and a quick look-around of Dunedin hills, Mr E and us parted our ways. Mr E went and did the Speight Brewery tour, while Little E and I had lunch and window-shop in Dunedin CBD. In the late afternoon, we made our way to the world’s steepest street, Baldwin Street, and trekked the whole way up. It was definitely a work-out! That night, we had a picnic in the park for dinner and a run-around afterwards 🙂

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He didn’t like his first taste of Mie Goreng

The next day, we drove to the Otago Peninsula to do the Nature’s Wonder tour. We chose that particular tour, instead of the others, as you can see seals and penguins during the day! All other penguin tours leave at dusk, which is ultra unsuitable for parents with young kids. As Little E is a morning person, we left the motel super early and made a pit-stop at a playground on the way to Nature’s Wonder, as it doesn’t open until 10.15am.

A penguin! We could've just reached in and touch him - he was that close!

A penguin! We could’ve just reached in and touch him – he was that close!

thoroughly enjoyed the tour – we saw plenty of seals and penguins. They were a mere step away from us, totally uncaring that we were so close. Perry was an awesome tour-guide and was very informative. Little E loved the fourwheel drive experience through the rough terrain, though he was so tired at the end, that he fell asleep while on the drive! How, I just couldn’t understand lol

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Seals!!! They’re soooo cute and cuddley-looking. I want one 😦

We made our way to the Larnagh Castle, NZ’s only castle, for our stay overnight. This was our night of luxury, and we made the most of it by checking in early. I loved loved loved our room – I requested to stay in the Goldrush room and the bed was fantastic! 😉 I love themed rooms! We did the tour of the castle and its ground, Little E loving the lush thick grass, running around barefoot. Mr E and I had a great time watching him play 🙂 We also opted to do the dinner in the Castle, which worked out perfectly with Little E’s bedtime routine. We gave him his dinner, bathed him, then had a leisurely walk around the grounds before making our way to the Library, where we had pre-dinner drinks. When dinner was served, we left him in his pram in the hallway, which let us enjoy ourselves in the Music room.

Enjoying the thick lush grass on the Castle grounds

Enjoying the thick lush grass on the Castle grounds

Before we left Dunedin in the morning, we made a quick pit-stop to the Farmers Market, held at the Central Train Station. This was where we had the best rasberries we’ve ever had in our entire lives! They were sweet and succulent and were just heaven. Little E loved them so much that we had to buy another punnet for later 🙂 If you’re in the area on a Saturday, make sure you visit the market 🙂

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I loved Dunedin, it was definitely as beautiful and scenic as everyone told me. Reminding me of countryside England, Dunedin is just so green! A change from our scenery in Canberra 🙂

The beautiful Otago Peninsula

The beautiful Otago Peninsula

Activities in summary:

  • Cadbury factory – too strict but good
  • Speight Brewery
  • Dunedin CBD and surrounding hills
  • Otago Peninsula
  • The Larnagh Castle –  an overnight stay and dinner
  • Nature’s Wonder Tour
  • Baldwin Street – the World’s Steepest Street
  • Farmers market on Saturdays: for best raspberries in the world!

If we had free time, I reckon we would have gone to see the Albatross colony, as expensive as it is 🙂

Accommodation:

Cable Court Motel
833 Cumberland St N, North Dunedin
I was pretty happy with our choice! The apartment had a kitchenette, big lounge area (where Little E slept at night) and a bath. The room itself has a TV, so we could lock ourselves in while Little E sleeps 🙂 It also offers free washing machine and washing powder (unlike the last place). On top of all that, they have a coffee machine and they’re free too! wooo! 🙂 They’re not the greatest coffee in the world, but they’re definitely better that the instant press coffee NZ accommodation seem to prefer 🙂 The place is close to a park and is within walking distance from the CBD (and Cadbury Factory)! I definitely recommend this motel 🙂

Larnagh Castle
Otago Peninsula

Our bed lol

Our bed lol

I loved our stay at the Larnagh Castle. Though expensive, it was definitely worth the price! If you don’t want to spend as much on the room, you can stay at the lodge. This would have been our choice if we didn’t have Little E with us, as you do have to share toilets and bathrooms with the other guests there. The Larnagh castle has an exceptionally good customer service, nothing was impossible. We brought Little E’s dinner and needed a microwave to heat it up, which they promptly got us one to use. The castle also offers babysitting, where your child(ren) stay in the room the whole time you’re away, while you have dinner in the castle. Our time at the castle was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me 🙂

Holiday: Rotorua in Detail

We made an ultra early start towards Rotorua as we wanted to catch the Lady Knox geyser being manually erupted. The drive is around 3.5hrs from Auckland to the Thermal Wonderland (it’s about 30mins south of Rotorua CBD) and we made it just in the knick of time. We all liked seeing the geyser erupting, it was pretty fun to see while it lasted (it didn’t erupt for very long). Little E was mesmerised by all the commotion and the clapping 🙂 After seeing the geyser, we went to the wonderland itself and it was amazing! I have not seen anything like it, the colours and the bubbling sound.. oh and of course, the smell? It’s spectacular! Little E didn’t really like it all that much, I guess it was pretty boring for him, being stuck in his pram the whole time. He did enjoy walking around the shops afterwards though 🙂

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland

We made our way to the Rotorua CBD for lunch and went straight to Hennessy’s Irish Bar. It was highly recommended by my brother and sister inlaw from when they went. I was told that the mussels were really good so that was what I had. Little E had a great time making himself comfortable at the pub, charming the pub lady while he was at it. She liked him so much that she gave him four marshmallows! There goes my rule of “no sweets until he’s 15” 😉

They forgot to take a photo of it for me when they went, so he drew me a picture instead lol What do you think of my brother inlaw's sketch of the dish? :)

They forgot to take a photo of it for me when they went, so he drew me a picture instead lol What do you think of my brother inlaw’s sketch of the dish (insert)? 🙂

After lunch and a quick look around at the shops, we went to the supermarket to get some supplies. We had booked a room with a full kitchen, in an attempt to not eat out too much and maintain some sort of healthy eating for Little E. I absolutely loved our accommodation, especially the huge outdoor spa (more on this below). After checking in, we made our way to Rotorua museum, a beautiful building full of equally beautiful exhibit. It is full of Maori cultural information/stories and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Though he would enjoy museums later when he’s a little older, Little E had great fun running around the place, making friends with some of the other patrons there.

The Rotorua Museum

The beautiful building – Rotorua Museum

That night, we made great use of the playground, the spa and the free videos on offer.

The next day, we got up bright and early for the Hobbiton tour. This was the first thing that we booked and paid for after we bought our tickets to NZ 🙂 I enjoyed the tour immensely, even when Little E had his worst ever tantrum in his life so far! We did make him pose a lot, as he is at the perfect height for a hobbit 🙂 I’m also sure that there are a lot of people who has photos of him dressed up as a hobbit at the Green Dragon Inn. We got there as a big tour group of oldies were enjoying their complementary beer, and they were so delighted watching Little E toddling around in his outfit, pretty much all of them whipped out their cameras and started clicking lol

The Hobbiton

I won’t say too much of the tour as it is something that you gotta experience yourself, but I can now appreciate the sheer amount of work that goes into filming such big-budget movie. Oh, and that Peter Jackson sounded like a really pedantic dude who has a high attention to detail. I really think that it is worth going to the Hobbiton, and given the opportunity, I would go there again and again 🙂 One of my favourite stories told to us that day was of a 2.2m tall German guy who came dressing up as a hobbit. When asked why he didn’t dress up as Gandalf, he answered “I wish to be a hobbit”. Fair enough! This same guy apparently refused to leave the Hobbiton, telling the staff there that he was home and they can’t possibly kick him out. When the staff finally coaxed him out, he told them that he was going to help Frodo look for “the ring” lol I love crazy people!

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We were dropped off at our motel after the tour, and after a quick and easy lunch at the motel, we went to the big playground by the water. It was another awesome NZ playground, full of squealing kids 🙂 Little E particularly loved all the seagulls around, and had great fun chasing them around. We contemplated going to see another attraction in town, but we enjoyed seeing Little E played there that we decided to stay. After he had enough fun terrorising the poor seagulls, we had another look around at the shops before dinner at Brew (more details below).

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Dinner was soon followed by ice cream for dessert then another run around at the park before another bath in the outdoor spa back in the motel.

Activities Summary:

  • Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland – Lady Knox Geyser is manually erupted at 10.15am everyday.
  • The Hobbiton Tour – goes for 4.5 hours with free bus pick-ups/drop-offs
  • The Playground near the Novotel Hotel
  • Shopping for souvenirs in Rotorua CBD
  • Rotorua Museum

Tips and hints:

  • If you got to the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland right at 10.15am, don’t worry about going to the main entrance to get a ticket. Go straight to the geyser first then get a ticket later. That’s what we did and we made it.
  • If you’re looking for souvenirs, do look around first, as Rotorua is chockablock with souvenir shops all selling almost the same thing but at different prices.

Restaurant Suggestion:

All three of us enjoyed our meals at Brew, a craft brewery place in “Eat Street”. The restaurant is child-friendly, the waiter was super patient and friendly with Little E, the food was good and if you or your travelling buddy loves beer, I heard the beers weren’t bad either 🙂 Right across from it is Lady Jane’s ice creamery where you can have your choice of ice cream from the 25 or so flavours there.

We also liked the Hennessy’s Irish Bar for simple hearty pub meals and fresh cold ones. As mentioned above, the pub lady was very friendly and super duper nice to Little E. So despite it being a pub catering for adults, it was still child-friendly. Little E was able to share our meals (the serving size was huge) and we got to enjoy our lunch!

Accommodation:

Arista of Rotorua

It was difficult to choose an accommodation in Rotorua as there were a lot! We went to Tripadvisor for help but was innundated with too many people’s differing opinions. In the end, Mr E found Arista of Rotorua through a random forum and we booked it. I loved the room we had, it was in a loft-style room, with the beds upstairs. It came with an outdoor spa, which came really handy for Little E. The motel also had a big playground, though it was a little dilapidated and needed cleaning. The room itself was clean and recently refurbished. The housekeeping ladies were very friendly and accommodating with our requests. It is a little far from the Rotorua CBD, though it wasn’t a problem for us, because we had a car. Depending on where you’re going next and when, I would suggest you don’t do any laundry at the motel as it was expensive! NZD4 for the washing machine and another NZD4 for the dryer.

What we found in one of the souvenir shops - wut wut?

What we found in one of the souvenir shops – wut wut?

I have to say that Rotorua was one of my favourite spots we went to in NZ. I expected the smell to be a lot more pungent than it was, in fact, after only a couple of hours, my nose got used to it that I couldn’t smell it anymore. I would call Rotorua as a must-visit city, only because you need to go to the Hobbiton and also experience the sulphuric experiences 🙂 For my other posts on our New Zealand trip, please click here.