Hamilton Gardens

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Hamilton Gardens

Hungerford Crescent

Hamilton 3216

New Zealand

I’m always drawn to gardens and parks when I travel. In fact, I have so many I want to visit throughout the world (from Kyoto to Paris to Miami). Hamilton Gardens was a spur in the moment decision. While driving South to Tongariro National Park, I took note of the many cherry blossom trees I saw in bloom. Seeing cherry blossoms is always a treat. Although there are cherry blossoms in California, I’ve always wanted to experience the magic of cherry blossoms in Japan (or sakura as it is called there) which is currently in the works but seeing them in New Zealand will do for now.

Went off tangent for a bit but after seeing the cherry blossoms on our road trip to Tongariro, I researched where I can find cherry blossoms in New Zealand. After going through the results, I ended up finding Hamilton Gardens and learning that they had a tree in bloom. So on our way back from Tongariro to Auckland, we made a quick stop to view the blooms as spring approaches New Zealand.

Cherry Blossoms

Wander Hour - Hamilton Gardens

Wander Hour - Hamilton Gardens

At the Governor’s Lawn, a cherry blossom tree was in bloom. It took me several tries to get this shot as the first round of shots, it was a bit overcast. The sun finally came out and I was able to capture the cherry blossoms at it’s best. How gorgeous are they?

Camellia Garden

Wander Hour - Hamilton Gardens

Camellias are one of the newer flowers to have popped up on social media. It doesn’t have the popularity like peonies does but eventually, I predict it’ll be popular. They have a whole garden full of camellias and they were beautiful!

Hamilton Gardens Cafe

Wander Hour - Hamilton Gardens

Tamarillo toast and mochaccino

Traveling is always an eye-opening experience in more ways than one. Culinary-wise, it has opened my eyes to new flavors and presentation. Hamilton Gardens Cafe is a cute cafe located inside the gardens next to a lake. I ordered a ginger toast with a tamarillo (it’s so unfamiliar, it actually has an autocorrect!). There were no pictures and nothing for me to figure what tamarillo is so I ordered it and I was in for a surprised.

When I received my plate, I noted the edible flowers that seems to be so prominent all over New Zealand. The tamarillo looked like a pepper! To be honest, I wasn’t sure whether I liked the dish or not. The flavor of the tamarillo did not catch my attention and the toast wasn’t moist as I imagined it to be. The mochaccino (which is what I ordered constantly in New Zealand) were lovely though.

Despite the less than stellar brunch (but very tasty mochaccino), I enjoyed dining out on the patio with family on a beautiful day in Hamilton by the lake.

Gardens

Wander Hour - Hamilton Gardens

Wander Hour - Hamilton Gardens

There are several gardens throughout Hamilton Gardens but we only touched on the Camellia garden, the Tropical Garden, and the Victorian Flower Garden. I wish we had spend more time exploring the various gardens on the property as they seemed to be beautiful!

Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand is a beautiful “attraction” to visit while on the North Island if you love gardens and flowers as much as I do. We arrived during the tail end of winter so I assume the gardens would be amazing in the next coming months for spring! Highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area!

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Miss Moonshine’s

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Wander Hour - Miss Moonshine's

Interior of Miss Moonshine’s

Miss Moonshine’s

Lot 3, 130 Ponsonby Rd

Ponsonby

Auckland 1010

New Zealand

During my last trip to New Zealand in May, I had scratched the surface on Ponsonby, a little neighborhood in Auckland. Reminiscent of Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles, Ponsonby was right up my alley with cute cafes and boutiques from clothing to home decor. It was imperative that I spend some time not only shopping and browsing but also dining at of one of their many restaurants. I have spent some time researching various restaurants and cafes to visit but settled on Miss Moonshine’s.

Miss Moonshine’s is a bit hard to find as it’s not exactly on Ponsonby Road. I would explain it in great detail but I’m not quite familiar with the directions in New Zealand. Just know that when you follow the map and turn into one of the streets, you’ll then have to turn into a little alleyway where you’ll find the entrance of Miss Moonshine’s.

I should take a moment to comment on how beautiful the interior was inside Miss Moonshine’s. Everything that I want in a future home can be found in most restaurants in New Zealand. I’m loving the loft-y feel of Miss Moonshine’s and the hardwood floors.

Cocktails and Appetizers

Wander Hour - Miss Moonshine's

K Road & Beach Bunny

To start off with drinks, my family and I had a few cocktails. The K Road and Beach Bunny were definitely on the sweeter side so if you’re into that, I highly suggested trying these! The K road was mine and I wanted something with passion fruit. This drink had passion fruit moonshine but the watermelon overpowered the passion fruit in my honest opinion. It really tasted like candy though!

Wander Hour - Miss Moonshine's

Old Fashioned & cauliflower cheese with crumbs

More cocktails and some starters. My mother likes vegetables so she opted to have the cauliflower cheese with crumbs.

Wander Hour - Miss Moonshine's

Free-range popcorn fried chicken, creole butter, chipotle mayo, and crispy sage

The popcorn fried chicken was my starter. I had something totally different in mind when I ordered popcorn chicken (you know, like the ones you get at boba joints) but I literally got popcorn and chicken. I’m always a little wary with trying anything with chipotle flavor as growing up in Southern California allowed me to be a bit of “snob” with those ingredients. I was quite surprised that I enjoyed the flavor! The chipotle mayo was delicious and the chicken was yum.

Wander Hour - Miss Moonshine's

Mac N’ cheese balls, streaky bacon, and truffle mayo

Mac N’ cheese balls if you’re into that kind of thing. I was too full from my popcorn chicken appetizer to try this (as I was saving for the main courses)

Entrees and Dessert

Wander Hour - Miss Moonshine's

Beef brisket with collard greens 

I ordered the beef brisket with collard greens as an entree to share. The flavor though was unexpected though and reminds me of the barbecue from Phil’s BBQ in San Diego: tangy. The meat was delicious though sans the flavor. I know that a lot of people find Phil’s BBQ delicious so if you love Phil’s, I’m sure you’ll love Miss Moonshine’s

Wander Hour - Miss Moonshine's

Beef short ribs and dark chocolate mousse, white chocolate foam, raspberry sorbet, and almond chocolate soil

My brother ordered the short ribs. You may have seen in my Instagram stories how easy the meat from the short ribs fell off the bone. It was a melt-in-your-mouth kind of entree. As with the beef brisket, the flavor is a bit too tangy for my liking though.

For dessert, we ordered the dark chocolate mousse with white chocolate foam, raspberry sorbet, and chocolate soil. This was a perfect and refreshing dessert after all the food we ate.

Overall, I enjoyed the dining experience at Miss Moonshine’s. We had lovely service as well and would probably go back to try other dishes! If you’re in Auckland and in Ponsonby, I’d give it a try.

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New Zealand Photo Diary

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New Zealand Photo Diary

Hello, August! Can not believe that we’re more than halfway through the year! It feels as if it was only yesterday I celebrated the New Year at Waimanalo Beach on a swing and here we are, with about 5 months left in the year. Speaking of, I can not believe it’s been almost 3 months since my brother and I were in New Zealand (and I still have yet to share some LA photos, and not the most recent one, the one in April!). New Zealand is still fresh in my mind as LA was: the crisp, cool air, feijoa smoothies, Sky Tower, and mochaccinos. New Zealand was beautiful in so many ways and I’m so happy that I’ve captured photos the way that I did.

Wander Hour - New Zealand

Views from Sky Tower and the view of Sky Tower from Ponsonby

Wander Hour - New Zealand

Feijoa smoothies are delicious: it’s both creamy and tart

Wander Hour - New Zealand

Beautiful proteas in Ponsonby

Wander Hour - New Zealand

Hotel room and view from Barclay Suites

Wander Hour - New Zealand

Auckland Art Gallery

Wander Hour - New Zealand

Kris at Auckland Art Gallery and King Salmon from Best Ugly Bagels

Wander Hour - New Zealand

Quick stop at Gather N Feast on our way to Whangarei

Wander Hour - New Zealand

Sunset view from Mount Eden (which changed colors as the sun was setting)

Wander Hour - New Zealand

Dinner at Scarecrow

Wander Hour - New Zealand

Blooms at Scarecrow

The last few days have been spent wanderlust-ing and looking at travel photos for inspiration. My current lust: Hong Kong. Something about the tall skyscrapers condensed in such a small area and the food is making me want to catch the next flight there but of course, that’s not feasible. September seems to be the perfect time to visit so here’s hoping Charles and I can make it happen next month! Hope you guys had a great weekend! It was Charles’ birthday on Friday and we spent all weekend at grocery stores (his favorite thing to do haha) and staying at home. He was perfectly content with that (he detest spending money on going out to eat, even on his birthday). We did eat at a Korean BBQ restaurant on Friday but he wasn’t impressed. He’s hard to impressed these days!

August seems to be a busy month for us so I’m excited to see where it will take us! Have a great week friends!

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Wintergarden

Wander Hour - Wintergarden

Wintergarden

Auckland Domain

Park Road

Grafton

Auckland 1023

New Zealand

Auckland Domain’s Wintergarden is probably one of the many magical places I’ve seen in New Zealand. The excitement that filled me as my brother and I walked into the Wintergarden is the excitement I get whenever I see something for the first time that I have dreamt of visiting for awhile. Before coming to New Zealand, it was imperative that I visit the Wintergarden. My fondness for flowers drove me here and it is, without a doubt, a place I will be making a visit time and time again.

The Wintergarden, located inside of Auckland Domain, has two different gardens. The first garden is heated to house tropical plants and flowers such as hibiscus and orchids: floral and foliage which I typically see here in Hawaii. The second garden was my favorite, full of blooms in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The flowers that filled this garden was somewhat iridescent; changing colors from all angles due to the light filled room that allowed the sun’s rays through the expansive windows. When the sun was not hiding behind clouds, it lit up the greenhouse with perfect lighting that seasoned photographer’s sought after. Nothing like a light-filled room to fancy my creative side. I gasped as I turned every corner, in awe of the perfectly-shaped chrysanthemums in every corner. I quickly texted Charles a photo of the beautiful gardens, insisting that he takes me here when we both go to New Zealand. The Wintergarden, is and will probably be my favorite spot in Auckland.

Because my brother and I ended up here on the day of our flight, we didn’t get the chance to stroll through the Auckland Domain. I highly recommend it though since there is so much that one can do here along with the Wintergarden.

I won’t be blogging on Wednesday as I will be out of town but I’ll see you guys on Friday! Happy Monday everyone!

XOXO

Wander Hour - Wintergarden

Wander Hour - Wintergarden

Wander Hour - Wintergarden

Wander Hour - Wintergarden

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Giapo

Wander Hour - Giapo

Giapo // Yelp

279 Queen St

Auckland 1010

New Zealand

Oh my indulgent. If you love sweets, you get your money’s worth with these decadent ice creams my brother and I devoured in Auckland. Tucked in between tall buildings and on one of Auckland’s busy street, Queen Street, Giapo is an ice cream paradise for those who seek more than just the basic cone and ice cream scoop on top. These fancy ice creams will set you back about $15 (US dollars) but I wasn’t lying when I said you get your money’s worth with these sweet indulgence. I ordered the Giapo Buono with a deluxe cone: a beautiful cone dipped in white chocolate and decorated with freeze dried blueberries which were carefully placed on the cone to mimic polka dots. To be honest, I don’t quite remember what was in it but it was sweet! The next time I’m at Giapo, I’d go sans deluxe cone but maybe not for photography purposes. Isn’t it Instagram worthy? Happy Wednesday friends!

 

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