A Travellerspoint blog

Australia Round 1

G'Day Australia! - Melbourne - Adelaide - Ayers Rock

sunny 20 °C

It is the first time for both of us to visit Australia so we decided to try and see as much of the country as possible in the time we had here.

After a fantastic flight with Qantas, thanks mainly to the 2 Kath and Kim look-a-like/sound-a-like cabin crew who really looked after us with alcohol top ups all night.

First Stop Melbourne

We had 3 great nights in Melbourne and stayed at The Grand Hyatt which was a fantastic hotel right in the heart of the city and had the best breakfast of any hotel we have stayed in so far.

Melbourne has a very relaxed, young, cosmopolitan vibe around the entire city and felt to us very like Manchester - hence we felt so at home.

Melbourne has some fantastic shops, bars and restaurants, it was great to see a city with a policy of supporting local products and brands rather than the usual international brands you see in all other cities. The city has a policy to help and assist small local businesses and has a policy against big international organisations trying to dominate their commercial shopping centres.

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A must see when you stay in Melbourne is The Great Ocean Road. It's an all day tour, we hired a private car with driver/guide for the day and if possible would recommend this as the best way to see the area. Dylan was our guide for the day (and yes he was cute).

He started by taking us to a beautiful cafe for coffee to get to know us and to find our what we wanted out of the day, anything in particular that we wanted to see/do etc.

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We did a sunset evening in St Kilda which is on the coast about 15 mins from Melbourne centre, the highlight was to see the penguins coming in to sleep on the breakwater. We imagined big black & white penguins with lovely yellow beaks - keeping from the water onto the rocks... We got blue & white duck like penguins... but they were still very cute!

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Adelaide

Adelaide was our next stop for 2 nights. The history is very different as it is one of the only cities where convicts did not settle as they were deliberately priced out of the market to buy property to keep them out. Its a very mixed city where the divide between the rich and poor still very much exists from one side of the city to the other. Many families have tried to maintain a British accent - we could not tell!

Not our favourite city as a little like any other UK city.

Ayers Rock

We only had 1 night stay in Ayers Rock so decided that after flying from Adelaide to Alice Springs we would not make the 4.5hour drive through the desert but charter a plane to take us to Ayers Rock and include a scenic tour over the area before we landed - it turned out to be very much the right decision!!

The 2 hour flight in our Cesna 210 was amazing - if not a little scary at times. Flying at around 6,500ft in an aircraft with just you and the pilot, lots of turbulence due to the heat was an experience we will never forget. The scenes we saw from the plane were incredible - meteor craters, desert, gorges, more desert, mountain ridges, more desert, Lake Amadeus, more desert, The Olgas, which were as impressive as Ayers Rock and of course "The Rock"

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Ayers Rock was a fantastic experience, but as it is all run on behalf of the indigenous people (or Abos as I call them) its all very tightly controlled. There are no taxis from the airport - you have to get their bus, the bars and restaurants are all controlled, everything is a little bit like an upmarket Butlins! But basically if you want to come you have to stay with them!

If you've made it this far.....well done! Here are a couple of pics to prove we were here too ;-)

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Posted by RTW2015-16 17:28 Archived in Australia Tagged melbourne uluru springs ocean great rock road flies adelaide ayers alice penquins Comments (0)

Singapore

Skybars, Shops, Slings and lots of tea

overcast 32 °C

To get to Singapore we had 2 fantastic flights from Dubai with Qatar Airways. it was our first time flying with Qatar and with fantastic seats and amazing service we would recommend them to anyone and will definitely use them again. Their lounge at their home terminal in Doha is fantastic and far superior to any BA, American or other lounges that we have used in the past.... check out the pics!

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We stayed at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel - The building itself is spectacular from the outside but inside - it just gets better!

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The pool of the hotel is an iconic feature in its self, spread across all 3 towers on the 57th floor, which also has 3 fantastic restaurants, 3 bars and a club!

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Singapore is a shoppers paradise....if you know David - he was in his element! high end shops in high end shopping malls on and UNDER every street...even the underpasses have shopping malls! They have a way of getting you to cross the road using an underpass, which suddenly turns into a shopping mall which goes on forever - which in 1 way is a blessing as they are all air conditioned as it is as hot as hell outside!

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It was great to meet up with Daniel and Phil who were also "passing thru" Singapore on their way to meet family in Krabi - we definitely need to catch up more often. after seeing Lindsey, a colleague from Peter's Travelcare days in Dubai and Dan and Phil in Singapore.. we now have a challenge to meet somebody we know if every place we visit.

Marina Bay has some fantastic gardens, including a flower and cloud dome - would recommend a visit to most people.

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Our afternoon ritual became afternoon tea in TWG tea shops, which are EVERY WHERE in Singapore.. Camp as christmas but very stylishly placed next to very high end shops and great tasting teas and cakes we loved them!

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You could not visit Singapore without having a Singapore Sling....even David enjoyed it!

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Now sat in the Qantas lounge waiting for our flight to Melbourne, for both of us our first time in Australia...

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Posted by RTW2015-16 01:00 Archived in Singapore Tagged shops marina tea bay slings wolfgang puck skybars Comments (0)

Dubai

4 days in the desert city

sunny 34 °C

We arrived into Dubai early Sunday morning after great flight with BA - made much better by a fantastic crew including our new best buddy Sally the CSD giving us great service throughout the flight.

It was 32 degrees when we landed around 08.35 in the morning and for the rest of the stay the weather was fantastic with sun each day.

We stayed at the Atlantis on The Palm, mostly so we could see The Palm and the hotel itself had some fantastic facilities and restaurants. Unfortunately no-one told us about the kids - it was a near infestation! Our room at the hotel was fantastic and our "haven" away from the screaming kids..... Overall the hotel facilities and service were good, but you have to like children to fully enjoy your stay there!

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Anyone who knows David will know he loves to shop - so Monday we ventured into one of the Souks to look for bags- genuine fake bags! Al Karama although renowned for its leather "goods" was more like the Yumbo centre in Gran Canaria - just minus the bars!

We did get the "full experience" with 1 false wall, 2 hidden staircases, a security door and 2 hidden rooms full of "goodies"

Mission accomplished and 1 bag purchased - although David would have bought more....

Tuesday night we had an impromptu Katy Perry concert outside our bedroom - when she preformed at a private event in the hotel, The Dubai Air Show.

On the last night we made reservations at at.mosphere sky bar on the 121st floor of the Burj Khalifa tower (the worlds tallest building), which is also home of the Armani hotel - and no sight of kids!!

The Tower is in downtown Dubai which is a great area with many shops, hotels & restaurants. We both agreed if we ever come back to Dubai we need to stay in this area rather than on the beach.

We had a great dinner at the Mango Tree and our table included great views of the fountain show on the "lake" which runs every 30 minutes.

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It's now Thursday morning and we have been up since 3am for our flights to Singapore via Doha, our first time on the new A350.... pics to follow!

Posted by RTW2015-16 17:54 Archived in United Arab Emirates Tagged the kids atlantis dubai palm Comments (0)

Day 1

And we're off!

rain 9 °C

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Left Palma in 22 degrees pure sunshine, to arrive into a wet and windy London.

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With a 5 hour wait for the next flight, there is no better way to spend the time than shopping then relaxing in the British Airways lounge. David's already had a shower and I'm on my second glass of wine! Thankfully I persuaded David not to put his pyjamas on after his shower.

Next stop - Dubai!

Posted by RTW2015-16 10:41 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged planes heathrow balounge Comments (0)

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