A Quick Canberra Trip

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A small interruption to the Movie Catch Up files – it has been nearly a month since our Canberra visit and I have not managed to tell you about it yet! We left home super early on a Sunday morning to make it over to Canberra before lunchtime. canb2a
Canberra put on some gorgeous weather for us but it was very cold. Our plan was to visit the Old Bus Depot Markets, IKEA, Costco and the Canberra Outlet Centre. When we arrived at the markets it was 11:30am which is peak market time and the carparks were absolutely packed. We decided to head to the outlet centre instead of driving in circles trying to find a park and drop back into the markets later if we had time.

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TK Maxx has opened at Canberra Outlet Centre and that happened to be the first shop we visited. I’d gone to the American version of this store on Oahu and loved it. However this is not a place you can just quickly drop in and visit. You need to allocate some time to flick through the racks and find the bargains.

As my main shopping task for Canberra was to find a pair of winter boots, I did not have the kind of time needed for TK Maxx today so we just had a quick look around. These sneakers were $600 or so and as much as I would love some crystals on my feet, I said heck no to that! ;) They have such a range of items at all kinds of prices. I took a leisurely trip to the Warrawong store the following weekend where I spent 2.5 hours browsing, but that is a story for another blog post.
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There is now a Coffee Club at the Canberra Outlet Centre – we find the food to be reliable and tasty and the coffee is very good here. I had the smashed avo with feta just like a proper hipster doofus.

The official population of Canberra is less than 400,000 people and these lucky people have access to some of the best and least crowded shopping in Australia. They also have access to a lot of other great things – museums, a great zoo, gardens and nature reserves, and some of the best roads with decent speed limits in the country. It is a fairly short drive for us – around two and a half hours – and we have often gone for a day trip before but this time we chose to stay overnight.
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We chose Grill’d for dinner as it was a short but very cold walk from our hotel. Grill’d, what are you doing to me? It was because of you I had to create zucchini fries at home, now you want me to create avocado fries at home? If you have a Grill’d nearby the zucchini & avocado fries are worth trying.
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I will have to consider this carefully before attempting my own version. I was served deep fried avocado once at a wedding in the early 90’s, in the days before I ate avocado. Who knew avocado fries would become a thing and that I would love them? Who knows what vegetable will be next!
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If and when you visit Canberra, do not waste your money on an expensive hotel breakfast. Head out to IKEA and grab their cheap offering (presently just under $6) which includes a hash brown and a sausage not seen here as I swapped it for the tomato on The Other Half’s plate, swedish meatballs, bacon and scrambled egg. They also have warm danish, if you are into that kind of thing, and the cafe serves excellent coffee as well as the cheap or free stuff you get if you are an IKEA member.
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The restaurant opens half an hour before the store itself which is almost exactly the perfect amount of time to eat, caffeinate, and make a quick bathroom stop. Then you can do a quick run or a leisurely wander through the store without the crowds you might find at one of their Sydney locations. We went with leisurely wander and were still through the checkout before 11am. We picked up a couple of LAIVA bookcases for $29.99 along with some other regular items and our HODDE rug..
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Just across the road from IKEA is Costco, we always make this our last stop before leaving Canberra because we like to purchase cold items like cheese and milk. They have 3 litre A2 milk for about a dollar more than 2 litres cost us at home. I grabbed a new rug for my chair, too.
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Winter boot achievement unlocked! Very reasonable at $159 from the clearance outlet. These are Diana Ferrari Supersoft and they are the most comfortable boots I have ever put on my feet. In fact it feels like I have no shoes on at all, and yet it is like walking on air. They are also a size and a half smaller than my other shoes – I used to be size 11 but these are 9.5 – I think my feet have lost weight along with the rest of me.
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Canberra may well be the best city in Australia especially when parliament is not sitting and therefore the accommodation is reasonably priced. We’ve stayed at a lot of different places over the years and my first choice here would be The Avenue however that is Up Money at the best of times. If you can get it at a good price I highly recommend it.

The second favourite is Vibe but that is out at the airport so you would need a car to get around if you stay here and parking can be a bit of an issue at this hotel if it is busy. I think Canberra is a place where a car is recommended and very useful.

We tried a new hotel this time – Rydges Capital Hill – and while it was mostly ok, we would not stay there again due to the shower going super hot and cold as a surprise while showering. So the hunt is still on for our perfect reasonably priced Canberra hotel. Aria is next on the list for us to try. I’ve read a lot of positive reviews for it.

It was super cold when we visited. Summer is the perfect time to visit Canberra weather wise in my opinion, any other time of year it has been my experience that you can expect the weather to be on the cold side especially at night, so BYO layers, gloves and hats are recommended too. We have been to visit so many times and yet we still have so much more to see. Canberra is a much under-rated destination and it has become one of our favourites.

Canberra, shopping

Edward Parry Motel, Tamworth.

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I was pleasantly surprised to receive an SMS confirmation from the motel about 2:30pm as we were driving from the Gold Coast to Tamworth. What a genius idea, to check in with your guests via SMS. I have noticed in Australia we are way ahead of the rest of the world with things like SMS appointment confirmation and SMS reminders. The SMS mentioned what time reception closed and to call if we would arrive after that time. I replied with our GPS ETA and received a reply wishing us safe travels. It was a lovely welcome before we even arrived.

I knew from the previous reviews to expect excellence and the team at Edward Parry did not disappoint. The owner was welcoming and helpful. The room was spotlessly clean though on first glance I did not realise just how clean it was.

That surprise awaited me when we returned back to the motel after dinner and I took my bare feet into the bathroom – after 6 nights of dirty tiles on the Gold Coast, the perfectly clean floors in the bathroom here made me incredibly happy. The cleaning staff here clearly know what they are doing and they are very good at doing it. The carpets were also spotlessly clean, as was every surface in the room.

There was another surprise of a small pool which I had not seen mentioned in the reviews. It looked gorgeous and I wish we’d had enough time to be able to experience it.

After an excellent dinner at the Longyard, we returned back to those great beds. There were 3 of us travelling together and this was the first time we shared a room on the trip, which meant for a slightly less good sleep than usual. That was not at all the fault of the beds, just due to people unused to sharing a room together. The beds were great and the pillows very comfortable.

The one tiny negative moment was the green soaps leave a rather scary looking splodge in the sink when dropped. Someone else managed to drop the soap in the sink before me and I saw this green substance and wondered if someone in our group was getting a cold. I carefully removed the substance with a tissue and then proceeded to wash my hands, and then I managed to drop the soap myself and make an identical stain in the sink. This was good news re nobody getting a cold! But I wonder if perhaps a different colour soap might be a better choice for the future?

The morning shower was great, perfect water pressure for me, and again everything was so clean. You do not realise how much that matters until you experience unclean, which we unfortunately just had experienced at our previous accommodation.

We were not here for long enough, is all I can say. We would have loved to spend more time in Tamworth – we had family who lived there for several years and visited the town many times. However we had to keep going and this was just a short overnight stop. Next time, we will return for a longer stay and a swim in that inviting pool!

Snoskred Travels 2016

Gold Coast To Tamworth

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Having spent much of the previous evening packing, organising and cleaning, and once again waking at the crack of dawn, we were on the road by 7am. This actually broke part of my plan. I had wanted to stop at the Thursday Plantation near Ballina on our way down the coast, but it was Sunday and they did not open early enough for us to visit. We had 635km to drive today so we were glad to be on the road early.

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We did not stop until we got to Grafton around 10:30am. We went to the information centre just for a quick bathroom break. This turned out to be a great choice because there was an artist there painting Jacaranda trees onto magnets and they were selling them as well, so Sephyroth grabbed one of those to take back to the US with him.

We planned to have lunch in Coffs Harbour. I had a few great local options but in the end we decided on Mcdonalds. Sephyroth wanted to try the create your taste menu and I had not ever made one of these myself in the several years they have been doing this.

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When we arrived we all went to separate screens to order our orders. Somehow mine – with loaded fries and no drink at all – ended up at nearly $17AUD. I forgot to take a photo of my burger – the one you are seeing belongs to Sephyroth. I’ll be honest – after eating Grill’d twice in the past week this burger was very average and I would not create my own burger a second time. I’d much rather have a Quarter Pounder with cheese, or a Big Mac.

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Our next stop was the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre. We did the free skywalk and part of the walk down into the forest as well.

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Dorrigo was gorgeous and we spent about an hour here but it could easily have been a day trip by itself.

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After leaving Dorrigo we got stuck behind a Blue Holden Cruze whose speed was all over the place and they were often driving partly on the wrong side of the road. I can’t remember exactly but it was one of two things – either there was nowhere to overtake legally for over an hour though vehicles behind us did get impatient and overtake illegally – OR anytime we would get to a place where you could overtake, they would suddenly find the accelerator as a surprise to themselves. I believe it was the first one.

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We passengers did not mind so much because the scenery was beautiful, but I know The Other Half was getting annoyed with the inconsistent speeds. Finally at 3:31pm we managed to get past them, at long last.

I’m going to do a separate post for our Tamworth Motel, next week. Spoiler alert – the floors were SO CLEAN! After 6 nights of unclean floors it was sheer bliss.

Snoskred Travels 2016

Gold Coast Day 5

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On our final full day on the Gold Coast, we mainly wanted to go for a walk around the Grand Prix track, and get ready to leave early the next day.

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In the morning, we saw whales from our apartment balcony. That was pretty cool. ;)

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We also ended up doing a beach walk. The weather was gorgeous as always, and we had a lovely few hours out and about, wandering.

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At some point this morning while we were getting ready, I said maybe we should try to organise a helicopter flight for today, as it was one of the “things you do” when you are on the Gold Coast, and it was something Sephyroth had never done before.

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I called Seaworld Helicopters and managed to organise a flight for 4pm that afternoon. We very nearly missed out entirely, though. This was the only opening they had for the day.

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It was fantastic. Those folks over there have everything running like clockwork, they know what they are doing and they are excellent at it. You can take as many photos as you want while in the helicopter, and they even have a spot where they get you to stand for a picture of yourself with the helicopter just behind you.

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You do not have to pay for theme park entry – they have an office at the side of Seaworld, and a staff member comes and gets you and takes you to the helicopter area.

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Here we are, coming back in to land. It felt like a great end to our Gold Coast holiday. But our trip was not over yet – we still had a night in Tamworth and two nights in Bathurst on the way home, plus almost two weeks more of time with Sephyroth before he flew back to the USA, during which we had a Canberra overnight trip planned to see the Doug Anthony AllStars, and my aunts and uncles were coming in from Adelaide for a local concert.

Next week – Gold Coast to Tamworth, with the most expensive hamburger lunch ever known to man, and a very annoying blue car with no place to overtake it, for over an hour.

Gold Coast, Snoskred Travels 2016

Gold Coast Day 4

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Sometimes you have an experience that you will forever remember, and today at Currumbin Sanctuary was one of those times. I will never, ever forget one particular moment from this day. But more about that shortly.

Our original plan for today was to go to Dreamworld, but they were closed still and would in fact remain closed for over a month. So we decided to go to Currumbin Sanctuary instead – not a place I would have chosen myself but we did have an American Tourist with us, and I thought maybe he should get to experience some of those classic Australian experiences that you never forget. Like holding a koala, and/or a snake, even though said American tourist was a little afraid of snakes.

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There you have a water dragon sitting on top of a freshwater crocodile.

Me, I completely am not scared of snakes. Once upon a time I was, but then I became a zoo volunteer and somewhere along the way grew to absolutely love them.

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As always, getting up at 5am tends to get the day started very early and we were in the car by 7:40am on our way to the place, whch opened at 8am. The place was already chock full of students from places like Japan and China, who had arrived early for the bird feeding which happens just at the entrance to the park, and they were now queuing to get into the park. Luckily this was a quick process.

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We wandered around the park mostly trying to avoid the other people while still getting to see the animals. That photo above is two male kangaroos having a bit of a fight. That is pretty normal behaviour for them – the volunteer nearby was a bit worried about the tourists getting too close.

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In trying to avoid the other people we actually stumbled upon my favourite experience of the day, the one moment I will never forget. We had found a place to sit slightly up hill near the crocodiles and were relaxing when two Eastern Water Dragons decided to have a bit of a territory fight right in front of us. Nobody got hurt but the posturing and circling was Quite A Thing To See.

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We decided to take in a couple of the shows – the free bird flight show was great, and the snake show even better. While waiting for these shows we decided to purchase some photo opportunities – The Other Half got a photo with an owl, and Sephyroth and I got a photo with a snake, plus koala holding photos for everyone. You get to hold a koala, and you get to hold a koala, everyone gets to hold a koala for a very reasonable price which I cannot recall but it was all packaged together for us very nicely.

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And there you see our new koala friend just about to be handed to Sephyroth. I have to tell you, I had a special moment with that koala. We talked. It was a thing of beauty.

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All up we spent about 4 hours at Currumbin. We were not sure what to have for lunch, nothing there appealed to us. We threw around a few options, then those zucchini chips called us and we decided to visit Grill’d at Pacific Fair again on the way back to the apartment. On the way back to the car, we visited HoneyWorld and bought some honey – which I have been mixing into my Greek Yoghurt for a good couple of months now.. There was also SurfWorld but that did not tempt us. Everything is a world, on the Gold Coast.

If we had gone to Dreamworld this day, we had planned to stop at NightQuarter on the way back. This was our one and only planned eat out at dinner time meal, so we decided to head out to Helensvale and keep our appointment with some Cronuts, which I had read about in advance. Cronuts are a cross between a croissant and a donut. They are awesome.

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But before one ate the sweets, one had to eat the dinner. That is a thing, apparently. There were samples of various things given out – Sephyroth and I ended up with two things we sampled, calamari and juice which happened to be right next to each other, while The Other Half went for a curly sausage of some kind.

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Both of these things were extremely delicious but so filling we did not have space for the cronuts. So we bought them and took them back to the apartment, where we cut them in half and shared different flavours.

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Cinnamon
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Salted Caramel with Chocolate

All in all, this was probably my favourite Gold Coast day. Though tomorrow, we did something pretty cool, which I will tell you about next Wednesday!

Snoskred Travels 2016

Gold Coast Day 3

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The colourful feet of Snoskred and Sephyroth.

The Thursday plan was – Tambourine Mountain – Skywalk – Tea and Niceties Lunch – Gallery Walk

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Again we were awake at 5am. By 9am we were breakfasted, showered, dressed, and out the door. We headed up to Tambourine Mountain which is just over a 40km drive from the Gold Coast – probably the last 25km of that drive is quite windy and curvy.

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I had done some research into bushwalks we could do here, there were quite a lot of free options. In the end given that Dreamworld was cancelled for us and unlikely to be reopened during our stay we decided to go for the “up money” option at just under $20 per adult which is Rainforest Skywalk.

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We spent nearly an hour and a half walking, taking photos, and checking out the small but perfectly formed gift shop.

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Lunch was at Tea and Niceties which I had also researched. For food I chose the BLT and added egg and cheese. Om nom nom!

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For drinks the boys had an iced coffee. I forget what I chose – probably a cappucino – because their iced coffees were super memorable.

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The gardens here were gorgeous and some lizards surprised us during our lunch.

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Lunch was super delicious however there was a bit of an ordering drama which meant only one pie was delivered to the boys who had ordered one each. We had to wait a little longer for the second pie.

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After lunch we took a walk along Gallery Walk. For me personally there were only two shops here that were worth the effort but I am super spoiled having Berry within a short drive of home. There was a glass studio which had gorgeous jellyfish paperweights sitting on top of LED spinners – and I still wish I had bought one.

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I did buy a lovely bracelet from Crystal Mountain. It is the one with the round beads you can see in between my watch and my Swarovski bracelet. You can’t see it in the photo but it has gorgeous gold flecks in it.

With the boys having had enough of shops, we headed back to the Peninsula around 2pm, where we tried to come up with a plan for the next day. We decided on Currumbin Sanctuary – a place none of us had ever been before. It turned out to be one of the best days of the trip.

You will have to wait two weeks to know more about Currumbin, though, as I am taking a Christmas break next week. :)

Gold Coast, Snoskred Travels 2016

Gold Coast Day 2

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The original Wednesday plan –
If weather forecast for Wed/Fri=good & did not go to Dreamworld Tuesday –
Dreamworld –

If we did go to Dreamworld Tuesday –
q1 – morning view
Pacific Fair OR Harbour Town
q1 evening view
DINNER – In @ Peninsula

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With Dreamworld now being closed, it was Pacific Fair for us today. Again we were up at the crack of dawn, 5am. We sat around for a bit just enjoying the beach views, had breakfast, got up and dressed. We were in no rush to go anywhere and just enjoyed hanging out and chatting. Around 10:30 we headed downstairs and went to the local owl store – the one who had the door problems the day before. When we got there, people were actually working on the doors. I guess the day before fix was only temporary. The Go cards cost us $10 each and meant we could ride as many times as we wanted for the day.

We decided to go towards the university and hospital end of the track first. Trams appear quite regularly and it was not a long wait before we could board. The strange part is the tap on and tap off. I would expect that to be on the tram itself however the tap device is actually located on the stations, not the trams. The tram is fun to ride. It goes pretty fast at times. The best part is being able to sit, relax, and watch the world go by out of the windows. It took us about an hour to complete the full tram ride and end up at Pacific Fair.

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Recently Pacific Fair has experienced a refurbishment. They have put a lot of work in. However part of the charm of Pacific Fair – and the International Marketplace on Oahu in Hawaii – was the “market” feel of the outdoor area. That is all gone at *both* locations – the International Marketplace has undergone a massive overhaul just like Pacific Fair and both locations have added in a lot of “high end” Up Money type stores.

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Our lunch destination was Grill’d. We really love their “healthy” burgers. On the way there, we discovered one of the few Australian locations of Bath and Body Works. It is quite a bit more expensive than the US version. It was the perfect time for lunch time, just after 12:30.

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I chose the sliders – Classic Slider has grass-fed beef with cheese, mustard, pickle, tomato sauce & egg mayo. Vintage Slider grass-fed beef with aged cheddar, Spanish onion, relish & herbed mayo. These were both pretty good, but my personal favourite has to be – Beet Chick Slider which has chicken breast with beetroot, mint & herbed mayo.

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We also got the tasting plate of chips to share. I had never considered Zucchini chips as a concept before but wow, they were pretty incredible.

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After lunch we wandered around. It was a super hot day and quite a bit of the new Pacific Fair is outdoors without much in the way of shade, so going into the airconditioned stores was a welcome relief from the heat. Eventually all the hot-cold-hot plus the fact the boys sat out in the sun waiting while I went into places like Zara or Topshop or H&M ended with some cranky people, people feeling a bit unwell, and people feeling a bit blah overall.

I think we were all feeling a bit depressed about Dreamworld, the constant news coverage up there did not help us to cheer up, either. We were unsure what we wanted to do next but I felt like something sweet, so we headed to Cowch for a treat.

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This place was cute, with all the cow udders hanging from the ceiling. It was kind of like a cow themed Max Brenner. I ended up choosing a cappucino because it was afternoon coffee time, the boys went for milkshakes.

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After this, we decided it was time for one last lap of the shopping centre and then back to the tram to go home. The trip back to our hotel was around 15 minutes on the tram and we headed upstairs for a rest and to do the potatoes for dinner.

For dinner I wanted to put some cheese on the potatoes but discovered we did not have any. So Sephyroth and I went for a walk to Paradise Centre to get some cheese from Woolworths. This was the first time we had walked in this direction.

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After dinner I remembered that there were night markets on the beach, so off we went for a quick stroll. Mostly it was “tatt” as my Mother would call it – people selling fake opal jewellery and pretending like it is real, general junk I would not want to buy. However there was also a guy making glass creations right there in his tent, and a few bits and pieces worth looking at, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time, though we did not buy anything.

After we were done, we headed to Gelatissimo for an icecream. It had been a very hot day. I chose the chocolate sorbet which is so delicious and icy cold. I can’t remember what the guys chose. We then did a walk around the Cavill Mall area, then back to our apartment for an early night. Because clearly nobody would be getting any sleep ins anytime soon. ;)

Next week – Thursday @ Tambourine Mountain.

Gold Coast, Snoskred Travels 2016

Southern Gateway Centre & Gelato Emporium

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View from behind the Southern Gateway Centre & Gelato Emporium

It is nearly the time of year where many Sydney residents pack their families into the car and drive to the South Coast for a holiday. If you are planning to do this there are several different routes you can take to get here. The simplest and easiest looks like this –

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If you choose this route, my recommended stop is Gelato Emporium and the Southern Gateway Centre. You can’t tell as you approach it on the highway but there is one heck of a view from out the back. There are more parks than you can see at first, just keep going.

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They have clean toilets, a visitor centre where you can pick up information on things to do on the coast and most importantly, very good gelato. Almost Gelato Messina levels of good. My apologies, it was so great I did not take a photo of it! I had the salted butterscotch.

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Also in Gelato Emporium, you will find coffee, a selection of cakes and treats..

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..a wall filled with treats some local some from far away..

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..a large range of make your own gelato..

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with instructions so simple even a child could manage it, providing they had a freezer or an ice cream machine of some kind.

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If you don’t have time to stop and enjoy a gelato cone or cup, you can choose two flavours of gelato and have them made into a shake for the excellent price of $8. It will be very large, and it will be extremely delicious, and if the weather is hot it will cool you down perfectly.

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The views are excellent. There are some tables out the back where you can sit and enjoy your treats while watching the view.

food, travel

Gold Coast Day 1

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On Tuesday morning (25th October) we were surprised to wake up just before 5am. We really had no choice in the matter, as the moment the sun rose, there was too much light to sleep. Our today plan looked like this –

Tuesday
If weather forecast for Wed/Fri=bad –
q1 – walk from our hotel – sort Dreamworld passes.
Dreamworld
Aldi on way home – Southport Park
DINNER – In @ Peninsula

If weather forecast for Wed/Fri=good
q1 – walk from our hotel – sort Dreamworld passes.
Harbour Town
Aldi – Southport Park.

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Once we got up and went out to the lounge area to sit and wake up, the weather was absolutely gorgeous BUT we discovered that our American friend had not had a very good nights sleep. Which made the today plan very clear. You cannot go to the theme parks sleep deprived, it just will not work out well for anyone. So Harbourtown it was.

I had a quick shower then I went down to the local convenience store to get some milk for breakfast while the boys had their showers. As I approached the store I saw someone in black behaving very strangely and when I got to the store, it turned out this guy had abused the shop owner and then broken the doors to the store.

I could not get inside until the owner figured out a fix. He told me what happened and that he does not understand why people have to act this way, this is not the first time he has had some trouble. I bought some more expensive milk than I had intended, just because the guy was having a not great day. It was the Paul’s farmhouse gold which they add cream to, so it kind of looks like real cream on the milk.

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We decided to go to Q1 to sort out our 7 day passes then Aldi, then see how we were doing. Just a note for those who are wanting to do 7 day passes etc, you can get these sorted out at Q1 rather than having to wait until you get to Dreamworld. They give you basically a ticket, which is valid for 7 days.

At Q1 I discovered that my previously known about vertigo has become a lot worse. While I loved the views from up there, I had a lot of trouble when I got too close to the windows and held onto the poles in order to feel safer and less like I was going to fall. The views were fantastic and we spent quite a bit of time up here taking photos and working out where things were and what we could see from up here.

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A quick trip to Aldi – we had to detour around Paradise Island due to a poor lane choice. We just drove around it. This was not the only time we had to do this during our visit. I have to say the accommodation here looked quite interesting and I understand one of the resorts there is especially great for kids.

Managing to sort out our route, we went via Chevron Island to Aldi at Southport. Traffic was surprisingly heavy until we realised it was essentially peak hour – it was only 8:30am or so. It felt like we’d been up for hours. And we actually had. Thanks Queensland!

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The apartment is self catering, so we knew ahead of time there is only a small amount of things like toilet paper supplied. On this occasion, unlike previous stays, we had no dishwashing powder or tablets supplied and no washing powder. I had brought our own from home. We went to Aldi in Southport and got paper towel, toilet paper, all the extra stuff one needs in a self catering apartment. We had our own car so this was easy for us to do.

For our dinners, the plan was to bbq each night with one exception, providing the BBQs seemed ok. Our second option was to use frypans in the room we were staying in, and that is the one we ended up going with. The BBQs were not especially clean at the Peninsula. I do recommend if you want to BBQ, bring along a BBQ mat..

We decided to use the large frypans in our apartment to cook our “BBQ” each night. I got two bulk packs of chicken which we cut up and I placed into a ziploc bag with lemon and lime juice and garlic infused olive oil to marinate.

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I had brought Masterfoods pepper steak to shake onto the chicken, it is our favourite. Each night we would just take out the amount of chicken we needed. We also got some steak and sausages. I would parboil some potatoes and sweet potatoes and then put them in the oven either as roast potatoes with some spices I blended myself and/or with butter and cheese. I would cut up an avocado which we would have as the salad. Super simple but very tasty.

We went back to Peninsula and dropped off our groceries, had a quick lunch (sandwiches for some, protein shakes for others) then headed out to Harbourtown. WE LOVED THIS PLACE. It truly had something for everyone. The facilities are great, we went to the visitors lounge and got the discount card, I left the boys there to have coffee while I went to find the bathrooms which were beautifully clean.

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From airplane models in the window of one of the lesser known worlds in Australia “Cuban Cigar World” to half price Swarovski bracelets to discount sporting team apparel at stores like BLK and ASICS to very reasonably priced books to Lindt chocolate where you can also get a coffee or shake, there really is a great variety of stores and items to be found here.

We could have easily spent a whole day here exploring the various stores. As it was, we spent a couple of hours happily browsing and found some great bargains. I did get a half price Swarovski bracelet.

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My American friend who happens to be into Australian cricket found a bargain official Australian cricket t-shirt and a book of Formule One circuits. I found an Adelaide Crows training t-shirt for my Dad. We needed to pick up a good chopping board as our apartment did not have one, and we found a huge one for $15 at a kitchen place. It returned home with us and I wish I had picked up a couple more, it is great.

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When we returned to our unit, we did some food prep for dinner, cutting up the two bulk packs of chicken, peeling potatoes and putting them on to boil. We decided a swim was in order. It had been a very hot day. We all got into our swim gear and headed down to the pool about 4:30pm, leaving our electronic devices safely locked in the unit safe.

As we walked into the indoor pool area, I heard a woman say to their child “Something happened at Dreamworld”. I mentally filed that away as something to check out later, and we enjoyed our swim, starting in the outdoor pool and then going into the indoor pool for a while. We were there for well over an hour. When we returned to the room, there were several somewhat panicked messages from my Mother on both my phone and my other half’s phone, asking were we all right and had we gone to Dreamworld.

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We turned on the TV to find out what was going on and heard the very terrible news, that 4 people had been killed on one of the rides. My poor mother had been thinking it could have been us for a good couple of hours there, because she could not get in touch with us and our original plan had been to go to Dreamworld that day.

If we had gone to Dreamworld, that ride is definitely one we would have gone on. Though we would have chosen to ride it earlier in the day, we may not have been able to because there was a problem with it. They were saying the park would be closed Wednesday, and to be honest I do not think we would have wanted to go if it was open.

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We were kind of in shock, that this could happen, and that it had happened on a ride two of us there had been on many times before, and that we could have been in the park queuing for – or even *on* the ride – when this happened. There was a small element of “this could have happened to us”, which was certainly something to think about.

We spent the rest of the evening cooking dinner, watching the news coverage, and trying to make a new plan for Wednesday. We decided to get Go Cards in the morning and then take the tram all the way to both ends of the track, then visit Pacific Fair and have lunch there.

I will tell you about Wednesday NEXT Wednesday! ;)

Gold Coast, Snoskred Travels 2016