It is time of the year for us to escape the hot weather in Singapore and this year, we have decided to venture to Perth (somewhere I have not been in decades). As usual, planning a road trip with a little one is never easy especially with the need to have toilet breaks and leg stretches (for a 6 month preggie mum and a 4 yo girl off diapers) at appropriate intervals.
Given Ashley’s traveling habits, it always seemed wise to take the night flight out in which she can sleep through the journey. Bearing in mind that Colin is the only licensed driver of the family, I planned for a weekend stayover in Fremantle so that little driving is required on arrival. Fremantle can be a little tad boring for the adventurous individual but for families with young kids, it can be leisurely to just travel around town on the free CAT bus and visit the Fremantle Market, Round House, WA Shipwreck Museum and Fremantle Prison. Alternatively, one can choose to travel down an hour to John Forrest National Park to visit the National Park Falls and Hovea Falls for a nice breezy walk.
Our second accommodation of the trip was Ferguson Farmstay which was about 2 hours drive away from Fremantle. Ferguson Farmstay is a working farm managed by a friendly family. We stayed two nights in Chalet 1 (double room can be a little squeezy if your little one is bunking in with you). At 8.30am every morning, farm activities commence which includes animal feeding (goats, kangaroo, emu, Lenny the sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens), a pony ride for the kids (Fred is a real gentle pony) and a tractor ride to the cows for feeding. Ashley repeated the farm activities over both mornings and she enjoyed every moment of it. However, there are little attractions around Ferguson Valley on weekdays (wineries are closed between Mon-Wed) except Gnomesville, Wellington Dam and St. Aidan Winery.
After 2 nights at Ferguson Farmstay, we headed south towards Margaret River to our third accommodation, Ramada Resort Dunsborough located right next to the sea. Given the short 1 hour plus drive, you will have ample time to visit the wineries, farm gates and providores in the vincinity such as Bettany Wines and Margaret River Nougat Co (not to be missed, the nougats and sparkling non-alcoholic and alcoholic wines are just yummy), Margaret River Chocolate Co, Margaret River Nuts and Cereal, Margaret River Dairy Company and Gabriel’s Chocolates (for a hot chocolate drink) on the same day.
On the second day in Margaret River region, we headed down to Lake Caves to make the first tour at 9.30am (might not be friendly for preggies and families with young kids due to the steep stairs down to the caves. According to the guide, Mammoth Caves is kids friendly). Luckily for us, Ashley did an awesome job in climbing up half of the steps on her own. After visiting one cave, I have exhausted all my energy and I wanted to take it easy for the rest of the day. For the food and wine lovers, one can consider visiting Cookies Galore for nice shortbread cookies and Voyager Estate for their fine wines and 4 course set lunch. We also made it in time to visit Cape Naturaliste lighthouse and Sugarloaf Rock before the sun sets.
With Margaret River being the last southern part of our Perth trip, we went back north towards Mandurah to our fourth stay in Seashells Resort (beautiful resort for families situated next to the Indian Ocean). In the 2 hours drive back north, we had a stopover at Bunbury for lunch and visited the Bunbury Dolphin Visitor Centre and King’s Cottage. Seafood lovers can look forward to fresh and sumptuous seafood at Mandurah which boasts a variety of restaurants serving fresh seafood.
After a week’s stay in the outskirts, it was time to head back to Perth CBD which is a stone’s throwaway from Ashley’s staple food, Chinese cuisine. We spent half of our stay in Sage West Perth and Attika Hotel in town and I must say that Attika Hotel is a better location with restaurants and cafes within walking distance. Furthermore, a drive up to Swan Valley from Perth city only takes half an hour. For children who love to interact with animals, a visit to the Swan Valley Cuddly Animal Farm would be fun as they get to have hands-on with feeding sheeps with milk and cuddling rabbits and guinea pigs etc. However, pony rides are only available on weekends so do plan accordingly if you do not want to miss out on that. Another fun place for the children in Swan Valley would be Whiteman Park which houses Caversham Wildlife Park, Vintage Train Ride, Tractor Ride and museums (again, do note on the days of operation as some rides do not run on a daily basis). For the wineries, we did a stopover at Ugly Duckling and Sandalford (lunch and wines at Voyager are better in our opinion). Therefore, one can consider Voyager if you are keen on having lunch in an wine estate.
If you ask people about Perth, I guess most would mention Pinnacles National Park. One should note that there are no cafes within the park and that the nearest town with cafes and restaurants would be Cervantes or Lancelin. Therefore, one should be prepared to pack some food or snacks along the way as it is a 2.5h drive from Perth.
We have skipped the visits to most of the museums as Ashley loves the nature and hence we planned for more animal interactions and walks in National Parks for her to fully enjoy the nature away from the bustle in Singapore.
The ESSO petrol station located at 9 Tampines Ave 7 will operate until 23 May 17 before it closes for a 2-month upgrading. As such, the station is currently giving out Synergy™ fuel vouchers to thank its loyal customers for the inconvenience. There are 2 types of vouchers being given in a booklet for each month until Aug 2017:
- 4 x $5 off Synergy petrol and diesel with every $50 fuel purchase,
- 2 x $8 off Synergy Supreme+ petrol only.
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As ESSO Sengkang (211 Punggol Road) will be undergoing an upgrading from 14 Mar 17 to 11 May 17, they are currently giving out petrol vouchers to patrons. While ESSO does not have any obligations to do that, they are doing it out of goodwill as they felt that inconvenience might be brought upon their customers. This is definitely a good gesture!
With the rising petrol prices, this does come as a good news to most people. However, do note that the vouchers can only be used at selected ESSO petrol kiosks listed below:
1) 299 Yio Chu Kang Road, 2) 1027 Upper Serangoon Road, 3) 866 Upper Serangoon Road, 4) 3551 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, 5) 2225 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8, 6) 399 Toa Payoh Lorong 2, 7) 61 Pasir Ris Drive 2, 8) 9 Tampines Avenue 7, 9) 40 Tampines Avenue 9, 10) 10 Yishun Ave 9.
Hence, if you live near the above listed 10 ESSO petrol kiosk, you may wish to drop by ESSO Sengkang to pick up the vouchers. There are 4 x $5 off Synergy petrol & diesel for every $50 purchase and 2 x $8 off Synergy Supreme+ petrol for every $60 purchase monthly, valid from 14 Mar 17 to 31 May 17.
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Western Digital (WD) has been successful in the storage industry for many years and is also one of the few manufacturers left. Some of the well-known HDD that WD has produced over the years are the Black series for performance, Blue series for mainstream PC, Red series for NAS and etc. Late last year, they had also ventured into the solid-state drive segment. There was not much publicity done, at least not one that I have seen so far.
On 1 Nov 16, WD introduced both the WD Blue and WD Green SSD, offering consumers with more options. SSD is slowly replacing HDD as it now cost less than S$0.60/GB compared to a few years ago. Many people are now adopting SSD simply because of the speed it offers as well as the less space it requires. You can easily stack 8 SSD into a mATX PC versus to 4 HDD.
The WD Blue SSD is available in both 2.5″ SATA (7mm) and M.2 2280 (NVMe) form factor, and capable of up to 400 Terabytes Written (TBW). It offers up to 545MB/s and 525MB/s of sequential read and write speeds, in different capacities – 250GB (S$139), 500GB (S$259) and 1TB (S$499). Locally, it comes with 3-year limited warranty.
WD Blue SSD is built using the 2nd generation TLC flash node, and features SLC cache technology.
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I will be giving away 2 sets of Caltex petrol vouchers worth S$24 each. The vouchers are complimentary from HSBC. Hence, you must make the payment using a valid HSBC credit cards. You may be saving up to 28.1% on your petrol purchase.
In each set of the vouchers, there will be 4 x $6 discount with a minimum gross petrol spend of S$60 on top of the 14%/16% instant petrol discount that you will enjoy. In addition, you can enjoy up to 5% additional rebate on selected HSBC credit cards if you meet the minimum spending requirements. The vouchers are valid from 15 January to 28 February 2017.
|HSBC Credit Card Previleges (Gross Spending of S$60)||Savings|
|S$6 off Caltex petrol voucher||S$6|
|16% instant petrol on Platinum 98 with Techron® petrol (14% for Regular 92 with Techron® and Premium 95 with Techron®)||S$8.64|
|5% HSBC quaterly cash reabte||S$2.27|
|Total Savings||S$16.91 (28.1%)|
Interested parties, kindly drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject header “[SIC] Caltex Petrol Vouchers Giveaway”. Winners will be notified by email.
Wish everyone a happy and prosperous lunar new year!
Update on 21-Jan-17 1020hr: 2 winners have been picked and notified. Thank you everyone for your participation.