Category: Travel

Food and Auckland’s Viaduct New Zealand

 

A Day at Auckland’s Viaduct Basin

Viaduct 2On Sunday my husband and I decided to spend a few hours at one of our favourite places – the Auckland’s Viaduct Basin.

Like many baby boomers, we are soon to be heading from the Big Smoke to a place less busy, where you can drive across town in minutes rather than hours, without a traffic light or mega roundabout in sight.

It’s not that we don’t love Auckland – we do, but home equity is such a waste sitting there doing nothing but keeping the roof above our heads. So with less than two weeks to go before we leave for newer pastures, the Viaduct seemed a good place to go on a beautiful early December day.

America's Cup boat

America’s Cup boat

We got there just after ten and, as usual, the place was bustling with visitors out to enjoy the sparkling water, drool over the countless super yachts (well, I could have counted them if I’d really wanted), and head off on a Whale and Dolphin Safari or a cruise around the harbour, or like us to just wander and enjoy the surrounding buzz and, of course the food.

The Viaduct

is the home of many world class cafes and restaurants – each time we visit, we choose a different one to sit back, enjoy the atmosphere, and munch our way through whatever delicacies are on offer.

 

Portofino Restaurant Viaduct

Portofino Restaurant Viaduct

On Sunday, we chose the Porto Vino Italian restaurant, which is positioned directly opposite a row of charter launches with the closest being a sleek black America’s Cup vessel –a stunning sight from our front-of-restaurant table.

To say the food was good would be an understatement. We started with a hot chilli flat bread then,  In keeping with the fresh air and invigorating surrounds, I opted for a healthy-sounding shrimp and scallop salad. One word – Divine.  My husband also chose salad – his with chicken.  He is always less elaborate with his adjectives but  “really good” in his language spells “fabulous” in mine.

 

Scollops and Pawn salad

Scollops and Pawn salad

Healthy Salads

Some might say salads are fairly safe, a dieter’s compromise, but truly these salads were well worth our choice of restaurant and proved to us that the Italians really know their food. I don’t know what the dressing on mine was comprised of, but it most definitely enhanced the flavour of the dish.

And it was all so deliciously fresh, fresh, fresh.
We washed it all down with a glass of Casa Rosso (house red), which was as good and better than a lot more expensive wines I’ve had when dining out and, at the end, Mike had his usual cappuccino and I took a scoop of vanilla gelato with an espresso on the side. A satisfying conclusion to a truly scrumptious lunch.

Excellent Service

Did I mention the service? We were served throughout by a total of three different waitresses, which ensured we were never left for long periods wondering if we had been forgotten – something that seems to happen with regular monotony in many restaurants. In Porto Vino it seemed they were all responsible for each and every table so if we looked like we’d like something to happen, there was always a waitress on hand to see to our needs.

Portofino Restaurant Viaduct.

Portofino Restaurant

Delightful

Top this off with the décor –very comfortable white leather seating and pristine surrounds  –  and the price – for such a high profile destination where, obviously, leases would be high and patrons many, the cost of our meal was surprisingly low. All in all, we were entirely delighted with our luncheon experience and, as we have since discovered, there are quite a few Porto Vino restaurants dotted around the country so we won’t necessarily need to make a trip to the Big Smoke to try more of their very appetising menu.

Disclaimer

As with each Restaurants, cafe, Places if interest we visit, NO money or goods is exchanged for the comments and recommendations made in these articles. The recommendations are made in good faith and are true and correct at the time of publication 8th December 2014

Top Reasons to Visit Australia

 

Top Reasons to Visit Australia

Australia is among the most developed and wealthy countries in the world. It is the sixth largest country in the world. The land has a reputation for being among the hottest and the driest continent in the world. It is well known for its great and amazing beaches, ground water system, large lakes, unique flora and fauna and many other good reasons. The country is the best cross between the beach sports and the beach sports. There are many different reasons why one may decide to visit the country.

Australian Beach

Australian Beach

 

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Queensland, Australia

The white sandy beaches and the crystal clear water makes and create the most beautiful landscape in Australia. The beaches in the area give one the best place to relax and have fun. One can enjoy the heavenly sight when relaxing on the beaches.

Lake Hillier, Recherché Archipelago, Western Australia

The pink lake lies on the middle island. The water has a pink rose colour which even when collected in a container it does not fade away. The lake is unique because of its rare colour and up to now the scientists have not got a reason why the lake has that colour.

Uluru, Northern Territory

This is sandstone which is believed to be sacred and is a famous attraction in Australia. The area is surrounded by various and amazing nature that is unspoiled. The native Australians believed that the spirits still live in the area around the sandstone.

The Kimberly

This is located in the western part of Australia. People visit the area to see the coastline which is mostly viewed from a helicopter or a boat. One can also see the unique flora and fauna and also see the rugged landscape. This is a good reason why one should visit Australia.

Wineries

There are many wineries in Yarra Valley which produces among the best wines in the world. The wines include; Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Sauvignon. The oldest wine region in the country is known as Hunter Valley. The wines are famous in the south of Australia.

Wilpena pound

The Wilpena Pound is located in the south of Australia. This is one of the main reasons why people visit Australia. The main activity here is bush walking and mountain climbing. There are stunning amphitheatres of mountains in this area.

National parks

There are many national parks in Australia and this makes lots of people visit the areas. There are many national parks which include; kakadu national park, great sandy national park and many other national parks. The parks are great and fascinating.

Melbourne City

Melbourne City

Cities

The cities in Australia are also a great tourist attraction site. The cities have lots to offer. There are many fun activities to do when in those cities. They include; Sydney, Melbourne and many more cities.

The climate

There are four different seasons in Australia. They include; summer, winter, spring and autumn. The seasons make the climate unique because there are days when it’s sunny and in other days it is snowing. This is another reason why people visit Australia.

Culture

The Australia culture is a reason for one to visit the country. It has more cultural and natural treasures. There are fun nightlife and festivals which take place all year long.

Native Creatures

There are different types and species of animals in Australia. The fascinating creatures include; kangaroos, koalas and wombats. These amazing creatures attract tourist in the country.

To access this country and enjoy its beauty one requires an Australian visa. 

Traveling in Israel with Insight Vacation

Travel in brief

This past week my travels took me to Israel. The best way to see this country, in my opinion, is to join a tour group. Not having ever been on a guided tour before I wasn’t sure what to expect; It was a life change for me, I knew that many of the places I wanted to visit would be both hard to find and time consuming, so on the advice of my travel agent we (my wife and I) joined Insight Vacations for our Israel and Greek tours.

Our journey started in Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest and also its most modern and vibrant city. Highlights are the Habimah National Theatre, Rabin Square and the Carmel market. After a couple of days we left Tel Aviv and drove along the seashore to the ancient port of Jaffa. We spent some time in the flea market and several artists’ galleries. Also we visited mini Israel, a miniature, featuring 330 replica models which showcase Israel’s cultural, historic, and religious diversity.

The next day we toured along the coastal road and explored the Roman and Crusader ruins at Caesarea; then further on to Haifa, Israel’s northern port, and on  to Acre. One thing I did not know was that part of this port Israel leases to Jordan so they can gain access to the western markets. We saw the fortress, the old harbour area, and the Crusader crypt before continuing on to Nazareth.

Day four dawned and began with a ride on the Sea of Galilee on an old  wooden boat, similar in style to what was used 2000 years ago except this one had a motor. The ride was a highlight; it was so peaceful and beautiful and we learned  an Israeli dance which was really fun. Later we visited Capernaum where Jesus is said to have entered the Synagogue and taught then on along the Jordan valley to take a dip (or should I say, float) in the Dead Sea which is ten times more salty than sea water,

Day five, we left our hotel early to take a cable car ride to the top of the ancient fort/palace, Masada, where in 73 AD, 967 Jewish Zealots held out against the Romans for four years until choosing mass suicide rather than slavery when the Romans finally found a way to breach Masada’s walls. From there we drove past the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and visited the tomb of King David on Mount Zion and the Western Wall, better known as the Wailing wall, Judaism’s most sacred site.

Day six was taken up with sightseeing around Jerusalem’s famous sites and a side visit to Bethlehem, which is under Palestinian authority.

Day seven we walked around the Garden of Gethsemane then the quarters of the old city. Later we viewed the Temple Mount, one of Islam’s holiest sites. Then e walked in Jesus’ footsteps along the Vi Dolorosa and the Stations of the Cross; saw the Ecce Homo Arch, Pool of Bethesda and finally reached the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the site of the Crucifixion.

We were fortunate to have a guide who was so knowledgeable about  the history of the region. Next, on to Greece…more later…creating more of the life style

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