Mr Victor Chee had no plans to travel during the holiday season last month.
But winning a pair of Scoot premium-class air tickets to Sydney, along with accommodation and dining vouchers, in a contest by The Straits Times' The Life digital magazine, gave him and his family a chance to relive fond memories of past trips to the Australian city.
"We were planning to either do a staycation in Singapore or stay home to relax," says the product planner for Toyota's Indonesian market, who has a nine-year-old son, Kaden Matthew, and a five-year-old daughter, Hannah Faith.
"Although I love Australia, it was not a destination we were considering, having visited Perth with my family and parents in June last year. So this vacation was a bonus for us," adds Mr Chee, 38, describing Australia as "my favourite destination".
The Life launched the contest for readers in its October issue. The Sydney trip worth $3,500 was the grand prize and five sets of Takashimaya gift vouchers worth $100 each were also up for grabs.
The Life, a monthly e-magazine on the good life, covers five multimedia components - style, food, travel, design and pursuits. It organises contests regularly for its readers, who download it via The Straits Times Star E-books app. The Chee family won two ScootBiz return tickets to Sydney, a three-night stay at The Mercure Sydney and A$200 (S$215) worth of dining vouchers at contemporary restaurant Chiswick.
Airline company Scoot offers regular flights to and from Sydney.
Based on the suggested itinerary from government tourism agency Destination New South Wales, Sydney has a wide variety of fresh produce that should appeal to Singaporeans, who are known for their love for food.
Chiswick, in particular, is one of many restaurants that champion fresh ingredients for its dishes.
The Chees decided to extend their trip for four more days to visit iconic sites such as Chinatown and Australia's oldest museum, Australian Museum.
Says Mr Chee, who was in Sydney from Dec 11 to 17 with his wife and children: "I couldn't leave my kids behind. Although I looked forward to spending some couple time with my wife, it was nice walking around with my kids as well and visiting tourist attractions."
Having gone to Sydney twice previously, with their last trip in 2013, the family spent time visiting old haunts such as Darling Harbour and The Rocks, a popular tourist precinct with markets, craft stores and art galleries. They also had their favourite beef ribs and eggplant pizza at casual dining restaurant Pancakes On The Rocks.
"Visiting Sydney also gave me a chance to meet an ex-classmate from my secondary school," says Mr Chee.
An online subscriber of The Straits Times, he downloaded The Straits Times Star E-books app after reading about it.
"I also download recent webisodes of The Life magazine," he says. "With online media, editors and writers can embed videos to make the stories more interactive and entertaining, and messages can be conveyed more easily."