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My favourite places of 2014

Phew, the last long haul flight is over and I am about to wrap my Christmas presents while contemplating on what a fabulous year 2014 has been!


I didn’t head off overseas until March when I was invited to Singapore from Christchurch for 3 days. I saw the wonderful evening music and lights show at Garden’s by the Bay, and found the BEST place for satay on a street that is pedestrianised at night for those who love these little tasty peanut sticks. Here’s where to find Satay Street next time you visit>>>

Satay Street Singapore

It’s hot work turning skewers by the hundreds


April kicked off with some travelling around New Zealand with the royals. I know! I got to work with Tourism New Zealand and follow Prince William and the smashing Kate around on their 2-week tour of the country. It was a fantastic experience and I wrote about the places they visited and working alongside the British royal press – which was an eye opener. Here is my post on Behind the Scenes with the Royals>>>

Forsyth Barr Rippa Rugby

Off to a Rippa Ruggy tournament at the Forsyth Barr Stadium – complete with royal cupcakes


May saw us hunkering downin a Maui campervan and tootling around Central Otago from Queenstown to Wanaka – a drive that could take one hour if you needed to! But spending 5 days allowed us to bob between wineries, find some great little places to eat and shop and do it like a slow-roasted dish for the full flavour! Here’s my post on my Top Tips for Campervanning in New Zealand>>>

Maui Winery Haven

Our night at Carrick in the Winery Haven


One of the highlights this year was my first visit to the Philippines. I was invited to speak at their national tourism conference on social media strategies around perception from the terrible cyclone Haiyan last year. We all met in Clark known for the airforce base (where the runway is 3km long so that that US space shuttle can land on it if need be). But after the “work” was over we flew west of Manilla and stayed in gorgeous Palawan at one of the El Nido resorts. Here’s my blog post on the highlights of Palawan>>>

Margarita at Miniloc

This is the life!!


This was another huge highlight – being invited by Air New Zealand to Seattle to take delivery of the 787-9 Dreamliner! It was the first Dreamliner dash-9 off the assembly line at Boeing so much fanfare and frivolity was had. Only 30 media from around the world were invited and I was beyond chuffed to be included. Here’s my post of photos inside the new 787-9>>>

The new fancy 787-9

The new fancy 787-9


New Caledonia was my Pacific Island of choice this year and I had a week here exploring so much of this 400km long island. I met a kanak family in the north and had a traditional bougna lunch, I went into the south and photographed the rare kagu bird, I spent enough time in Noumea to select my 5 favourite things  and visited the very moving WWII New Zealand cemetery in Bourail>>>

New Zealand WWII cemetery New Caledonia

New Zealand WWII cemetery in New Caledonia


I stayed at home this month and popped out to Auckland’s west coast to stay at rugged Bethells Beach and then got the chance to stay onboard the new Hauraki Blue catamaran that is now basing itself in Auckland for one night voyages.

Auckland cruise

Tootling out of the Viaduct


October was our big trip for the year. I set off from Christchurch on Fiji Airways to Nadi for a couple of days at the Sofitel Denarau, and checked out the inflatable Bula Park, then on we went on Los Angeles where I visited Catalina Island for the first time and also tried zip lining for the first time!

Catalina Zip Lining

Once you hit the break (like a little hickey puck on the top of the line) your legs fling up and you instantly slow down for Sam to haul you in.

It was a great few days in LA where I managed a bit of shopping (Proof I was working: I wrote this post on 5 of the best places to shop in LA) then my husb flew over and off we went to Washington DC, then Philadelphia and finally ended up in Chicago to watch the All Blacks play the USA Eagles. While I was in Chi Town I got to visit the kitchen of legendary Garrett Popcorn and see just how they make their amazing cheese and caramel corn. Oh and we got to stay at Donald Trump’s hotel over the river and dined at his Michelin-star restaurant.


Western Australia was the trip this month as Qantas are flying direct from Auckland to Perth from December 2014 until April 2015, so they sent me over to check out some of the cool things to do in Margaret River. I started with a day trip out to Rottnest Island from Perth and met the cute quokkers! Then we headed south into wine country where me and my friend Nic spent 5 days wine tasting and checking out some of the things this region is famous for>>>

Rottnest island ferry

Leaving Perth with our bikes on the back


My final trip for 2014 was back to America to visit Sonoma County (I see a wine theme here!) I hadn’t visited this Californian region before and was quite surprised by the things other than wine they had to offer. Then over to Washington DC once more to present my media training for tourism businesses to the US Travel Association Communications Committee. It went over really well so I’m looking forward to seeing what 2015 might hold!

Sonoma Valley

Plan your winery day in advance!

Oh and on my way home I checked out the newly refurbished Tom Bradley International Terminal that Air New Zealand has just moved to and joins Fiji Airways and Air Tahiti Nui. Here’s my post on the new terminal.

Fred Segal at Tom Bradley

Fred Segal creates the first impression

Happy holidays and happy new year to you and yours and I really thank you so much for reading my blog. I try and make my posts interesting, informative and relevant to help you decide where to take your holidays. And I couldn’t do it without you and your comments!

Thanks again

Megan x

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!