On the Road; NYE in NSW

Last week we covered 1000 km with trips along the Great Ocean Road & Tasmania. That’s a mere warm up by Australian standards. This New Year’s Eve we set off on our 2250 km trip from Melbourne Victoria, inland up to Newcastle in New South Wales, and then back down the East coast. That’s the equivalent of driving from London to Lisbon!

It was all worth it to end 2014 with three new travel experiences; 1) My first night in a real roadside motel. Despite my joking, the Hi-Way Inn Yass was totally pleasant & nothing like the ‘Bates Motel’ I’d imagined. 2) My first Australian New Year, filled with card games & family. 3) And being six months pregnant; my first (and last) sober NYE in about 16 years!

Xmas in Tasmania…


Twenty times bigger than England but with a population of only 500k, ‘Tassy’ is affectionately old school. It’s famed for it’s wild countryside, local farmer markets & Georgian era hamlet towns. It’s like a cheerier Australian Wuthering Heights. Therefore the perfect location for a sleepy xmas holiday being pampered by my BF’s mum’s home-cooking in her white-picket fenced Launceston cottage. It’s the last xmas before we become parents ourselves so we’re revelling in the R & R.

Tourist highlights include the 3 hour drive to the capital Hobart for the long running Salamanca market. It’s only an extra 20k drive to the peak of Mount Wellington for sky-high views. Unfortunately we were a day too early for the Taste of Tasmania festival & the boxing day Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race finale. My own personal highlight however was realising that the loud dog-like rodent that is the Tasmanian Devil is a real life animal & not just a cartoon!

The Great Ocean Road & 12 Apostles

How do you top last year’s birthday at Marina Bay Sands? You can’t really! So this year the theme was nature, and the mission; to see a wild koala. So we set out for 48 hours along Australia’s Great Ocean Road. Here are 8 gems we found along the way…

1) Queenscliff – A nice beach-side picnic spot if like me, you can’t wait to tuck into the picnic just 2 hours out of Melbourne.  Great views of Sorrento across the bay.

2) Torquay – The real ‘surfers paradise’ with tons of surf brand outlet stores. You can pick up Quicksilver bikini’s for $10. Perhaps not the ideal purchase when 6 months pregnant, but such a bargain I couldn’t resist. The Imperial Rhino cafe’s menu tells you everything you need to know about this town; ‘Berocca over ice’ for weekend hangovers.

3) Apollo Bay – Packed with tourists year-round, so lots of cute coffee shops & a small Sunday farmers market. If you want to stay off the beaten track however check out….

4) … Yuulong – One of the best Air B & B’s we’ve ever stayed in. Michelle’s rustic countryside home could be straight out of Grand Designs. It took 20 years to build (the wooden beams were shipped in from the old Sydney pier!) The breakfast & views are out of this world.

5) 12 Apostles – There are only 8 left but they still attract 2 million visitors per year! Loch Ard Gorge is the best spot for walking trails. A winter version of Maya Bay.

6) L’Artisan Cheese Cafe – A beautiful stop if you travel inland along the Timboon Road. They do tastings & lunch platters in the garden from $15pp. http://www.lartisancheese.com.au/

7) Timboon Railway Shed Distillery – Whilst you’re in ‘tasting mode’ stop for free samples of fruit vodka & the creamiest chocolate liqueur. We bought a bottle an anticipation for baby’s arrival 3 months from now.

8) Great Otway National Park – Last but not least, this place is koala spotting  heaven. Mission accomplished for another year.

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Sri Lanka New Year

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5 reasons to love a Singapore Xmas

wpid-IMG_20131220_193514.jpg1) Outdoor Screening of Love Actually
There’s no better way to start xmas eve eve eve than watching this British fave under the stars. The lovely folk at DBS gave away free popcorn, free Tiger beer and free picnic mats! Better still, they’re doing it again as part of their DBS Movies By The Bay season throughout 2014.

2) Xmas Eve House Parities
In a city where everyone eats out 364 days a year, the novelty of cooking at home with friends is one of the loveliest pleasures, even if the prep means scouring Novena Cold Storage throughout Dec to buy $19 SGD parsnips. Plus if the Mustafa Centre has one purpose in life, it is surely Secret Santa buying?

3) Christmas Day Dinner at The Edge at Pan Pacific
$185 (Inc ++) for 3 hours of xmas day freeflow may sound a bit of an extravagance. For 7 international food stations, a chocolate fountain, lobster, freeflow  champagne & cocktails with 13 rowdy friends, plus not having to do the washing up…. priceless!

4) Marina Bay Sands Birthday
December babies will understand. Singapore’s 6 star hotel icon is worth every second you spend it, and not just for it’s much famed 47th floor infinity pool. The jacuzzi overlooking the Gardens on the Bay light show is perfection, as is the refreshingly good customer service – or maybe I’m bias thanks to the lovely (and unrequested!) birthday upgrade :)

5) Giving as well as receiving
Donating to Little India based charity; Transient Workers Matter Too in a city we’re ALL lucky to live in.

Previous Older Entries

An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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