Recently In SnoskredLand

Last week a work colleague and I went to a conference in Manly. We caught the train, meaning a very early wakeup at 5:30am, and a very early train at 6:43am, in order to get to Sydney in time to catch a ferry to Manly and then be at the hotel for a bus at 11:45am.

I’m sure reading that someone might say.. why didn’t you drive, Snoskred? All of our recent experiences with Sydney Traffic, the fact that it costs an arm and a leg to park the car, the sheer inconvenience of trying to get to Manly in a car are all reasons why driving was a big no.

My colleague was not feeling well and had only managed a few hours sleep the night before.. So on the way up we chose a quiet carriage so she could sleep and I could enjoy the views. The more I travel on the train the more I like it. I don’t use devices or headphones, I just enjoy the view.

On arrival at Manly wharf I suggested gelato and this was in fact a perfect start to my conference. They do not have Messina there, it was Gelatissimo and it was pretty good. We had no idea what the plan was for the day – unfortunately this was not a sign of a delightful surprise but a sign of a general lack of organisation overall.

Though they did thoughtfully schedule in dancing. Having been up since 5:30am, having walked quite a lot between different locations at Q Station plus up a very large hill to get back to the bus pickup point..

..having an ill colleague, having no scheduled “nap time” and having been fed mainly carbs since lunch time – the protein offered at lunch was Not Optimal and had also been sitting out on a balcony for who knew how long but I certainly was not going to risk food poisoning.. I was not exactly in the mood for dancing at 8:10pm.

What we really wanted was to get back to the hotel and get some sleep before yet another early wake up call the next morning. Unfortunately nobody had thought perhaps folks might be tired and wanting to get back, so there was no bus scheduled to take us back until 10:30pm. We did manage to talk the bus driver who dropped us off to come back a little bit earlier to collect us, and though he was running a little late we at least got back to the hotel before 10pm where we fell asleep very quickly.

The next day flew by and we were at Gelato Messina grabbing a quick gelato before we knew it. Then we were back on the train for the long journey home. I met a lot of very interesting people – our field is definitely one that attracts artistic and quirky people with a large range of skills – everything from photoshop to sales to copyright law to teaching people how to use technology they are not familiar with.

Back at home, nothing much had changed. My succulent wreath is growing up a storm –

Chooks were getting their treats..

Kitties were posing for photos..

But this one was happy that my lap returned, for her to sit on.

Sydney

Train Day

When my Aunt arrived here in August we had talked about some things we would like to do while she was here. My Uncle had once caught the train down the coast after arriving at the airport and he enjoyed his train trip. I have always wanted to take the train just to experience it, and my Aunt was curious to see what it was like after hearing so much about it.

So we planned our train ride for a Sunday when Opal fares are a tiny $2.70 for everyone travelling. It is a great day to take long train rides. But perhaps 6 hours on the train may be too much for most people. It is 3 hours to Sydney and 3 hours back to the South Coast.

I had been researching possible lunches and we ended up meeting my training-to-be-a-pilot nephew at Din Tai Fung which is a lot of carefully made dumplings and wontons. I think we ordered too much, but we did manage to eat it all.

As we sat and ate we looked up to see the Sydney – whatever they are calling it now. Tower Eye? It will always be Centrepoint to me.

After that we had a lot of shops we wanted to see and very limited time – Uniqlo was first on the list because I wanted to look more closely at the puffer vests. I have become a big puffer vest person since finding a suedey one at W.Lane which I could wear to work – I need it there, because it is so dang cold all the time.

My Aunt found the color she wanted in her size and they were having a sale so BONUS.. It was around this time that my nephew chose to take his leave as perhaps puffer vest shopping is not the most exciting thing in the world. :)

I was not quite so lucky, but right next to where we were standing was a shelf of beige suedey vests with hoods. I did not want a hood, so I asked one of the staff to see if they could find the silver one in my size. She had to get a ladder and check the top shelf, then out the back. When she came back she could not find it in my size. I asked if she happened to have the suedey one in other colours or perhaps without a hood – she said no BUT then she showed me the hood comes off. Plus it was half price, so I was sold.

It is plush and not a colour I would usually pick. Then my Aunt tells me she is going to buy it for me as a gift and I said well in that case I can’t possibly wear it, I will have to put it into a glass case and hang it on the wall in order to treasure it forever. :) However I have worn it twice now, both times without ruining it forever by dropping food on it. I was very glad to have it in Canberra as it got super cold while we were there.

Next we went to Sephora – being not a makeup person this is a shop I had never been to in my life before. I was looking for their hand masks which are a glove filled with moisturiser. I found them, and bought two, one each for me and The Other Half to try. He is struggling with the cold weather causing his hands to dry out and crack. This was not perhaps the best choice of shop to visit for my Aunt, who went a little cuckoo picking out various awesome things. They do not have Sephora in Adelaide.

These hand masks turned out to be 100% fabulous and well worth the $$ – I highly recommend these though I believe in store they were $7 each. I found them to be reusable and have used the avocado one three times already. The Other Half finally tried his and he is a believer too, though he thinks having two weeks off from work might have helped his hands repair themselves somewhat.

Next we dropped into H&M for a quick wander about. I was fascinated by the earrings many of which seemed like they would be very heavy to wear, like this pair which are clip on earrings. I rarely see those anymore!

But it turns out these are made of a very light metal and actually are some of the lightest earrings I have ever experienced. Spoiler alert, I ended up getting a pair like this when we visited Canberra for Floriade. I could not resist them as they were flowers.

A quick walk through the Myer fragrance hall which was absolutely packed with people, we could barely move, which surprised me. It was Fathers Day, did everyone just leave their shopping a bit late, or is it normal for this to be so packed on a Sunday?

We grabbed a coffee and then went to the train station way too early, as those of us who have so far to travel and are a bit worried about missing the train home likely tend to do. Just over three hours later we arrived back at Bomaderry Station and then home to my parents for a Sunday Roast which was very delicious.

It was a good experience and useful for me as I have to go to a conference in Manly in October, and there is NO WAY I am driving anywhere near Sydney, so I intend to catch the train. That is overnight so at least it will be 3 hours travelling on the train each day and likely a work colleague will be travelling with me.

shopping, Sydney

One Night In Parramatta, Part 2

A quick stop at L’Occitane in The Rocks to replace my two handbag hand creams. I’ve been out of my handbag Verbena for a few months now, and it was good to replenish this. The scent is unbelievable. As I am a member, and it was Bastille Day, you got an extra little bonus gift for saying a French word. Croissant was my choice. All those primary school french lessons paying off at last? Well no, because everyone knows Croissant. :)

We also visited the Rocks Markets which were so incredibly packed. I have never seen so many people try to navigate a small area like that before. It was essentially several single file queues moving slowly in between some market stalls. No photos, because it was insanity of the highest order. We were very glad to get out of there alive.

Back to Circular Quay then on the train to Central, then on the train to Parramatta. I was surprised at how easy Central was to navigate, considering it is a massive train station with lines going everywhere. 25 platforms is a bit more than I grew up with in Adelaide – where I think from memory we had 11 or 12, but really only the 4 lines and you couldn’t mess it up because they went in very different directions. Here, some of the lines cross over and a train might stop at the station you want to go to, or it might not.

The water fountain for kids to play in lights up at night. How pretty! Nobody was playing in it, because it was very very cold. The next morning it was a hangout birdbath for the local pigeons.

Back to our hotel and it was a lovely view of after-sunset from the windows.

We headed up to the club room for late afternoon coffee, canapes, cheese and crackers, and various other treats which were very filling. Not pictured are the butter chicken filo pastries, the arancini, the beetroot tartlets, and several other small treats. We were too busy enjoying the food to take many photos and these were an afterthought. One reason why it can sometimes be good value to pick a club room stay is because you can save money on eating out and drinks. By the time we’d spent an hour here we did not need dinner.

You can also save on drinks – alcoholic drinks were available if you wanted them, mostly wine and beer, but there was also a range of soft drinks available and you can take what you need back to your room. You can visit the room as often as you like during your stay, and the room itself is a lovely sanctuary to spend some time on very comfortable furniture.

There is always room in my stomach for Gelato Messina, though. Was it too cold for gelato? Is it ever too cold for gelato? My usual salted caramel and white chocolate teamed with chocolate sorbet. I’m faithful to that order, if they have those flavours I do not even have to take a moment to think.

The next morning we were up super early for breakfast. 7am start. There was a large conference of young religious people from America staying in the hotel. Apparently we need evangelism here in Australia, or something, but they team it up with lots of tourism and that is a win for these young folks, I think.

The reason I am mentioning this is because, the last time I was here, people were in their pyjamas getting breakfast. These people were some of the best dressed breakfast eaters I have ever seen. The men were mostly in suits, mainly floral dresses for the ladies. It was Sunday morning so these may have been going to church outfits. I enjoyed my breakfast, and the outfits, even the gingham little house on the prairie 3 layer ruffle skirt looks. Yes, I wish I had got a photo but I did not even take my phone with me, preferring the Pillow Safe.

The next stop for us was Westfield Parramatta. Mainly for a wander and explore. I wanted to check out Daiso because I knew that was there, but the rest of the stores were mostly a surprise. We spent time in Zara to see if they had a new jacket for The Other Half (no but we will find it one day) – Uniqlo and Kathmandu to find new warmer work clothing for me – in my Year Of Buying Nothing, I am not counting work clothing FYI, as it is a non-optional spend and some of it I do get reimbursed for.

We could have spent hours in Daiso just wandering about. Some useful items were found – mainly bulldog clips and lanyards. We probably could have spent hours in front of this particular section – the oil and water flip over thingies.

I had never seen a two colour one of these before. Perhaps we do not get this kind of thing on the South Coast of NSW, or maybe I just don’t spend enough time looking around. We must have stood there flipping these things over for 20 minutes or more. Yes we are easily amused.

One final stop at Bath and Body Works, where all this goodness cost me the not-very-huge sum of $92. They were having a sale, and these were bargains. The four orange bottles alone should have cost me $100 by themselves, but they were buy 3 get one free. I normally have to get Sephyroth to ship these in from the USA for me, as they used to be even more up money here and I love the scent. Orange and Ginger is my favourite, it is a real wake up smell.

The black cherry merlot hand cream and hand wash were a last minute grab as they had all the flavours at the cash register without lids on and one sniff of this told me it was that fake cherry kool aid smell that I deeply love. The hand cream has joined the L’Occitane in my handbag, and my hands will be sufficiently moisturised and scenty for many future months.

One final stop on the way home – to Leichhardt for The Peanut Butter Bar! Maybe you heard of this on Facebook, the place with the peanut butter tap? We had a protein shake each and shared the protein peanut butter pancakes for lunch. They were amazing. The gelato has protein in it!

I am a big believer in what they are doing, which is essentially this “From gelato and pudding to slices and cookies, we’ve re-designed your favourite desserts by adding the power of natural protein and avoiding refined sugars and preservatives.” This has great worldwide franchise written all over it.

Parramatta, Sydney

One Night In Parramatta, Part 1

When my friend and I went to see Take That in concert last November, we stayed at the Parkroyal Parramatta. As we walked to the train station and back again, I had the feeling this is an area I would like to explore some more, and secretly in my mind I was already planning to bring The Other Half back here for a stay sometime.

There are so many food options nearby, there is Westfield Parramatta, there is a quick train ride into Sydney if we want to travel there but the carparking is far cheaper in Parramatta (eg $20 overnight VS $50-60 overnight) and most importantly they have a Gelato Messina very close by.

I signed up for the Discovery rewards program when I made the booking at the Parkroyal, and when we last stayed overnight in Canberra I chose one of their partner hotels. Just by signing up you get some basic benefits but the best one in my opinion is the emails they send you with special offers. First they told us they would upgrade us to the Club level, which includes access to their club room where you have all day treats, canapes and drinks in the evening, and executive breakfast in the morning. This is normally around $250-280.

Then they told us we could have breakfast in Table 30 for free – which we paid for on our first visit and it was a really great breakfast, one of the best I’ve had in a while. The price was just $155 for everything, which we felt was super reasonable. So the booking was made a couple of months ago, and finally it was time to go.

I’ve been trying to visit the Sydney Harbour Pylon and the “new” food court at Gateway since.. well. 2016. My plans have never worked out thanks to other people putting the kibosh on them. Not this time, blog friends. This time I will go! The photo above is at Parramatta train station waiting for our train into Sydney. The Other Half finally got an Opal card on the way here, so now we can both navigate Sydney Transport easily.

On arrival at Circular Quay, we discovered that the Bastille Festival and school holidays had the place absolutely packed. I have never seen so many people here before. You can’t see it very well in my photo sadly, but this post from Sydney Shop Girl who was also here on the same day might give you a better idea of the crowds.

We headed straight to Gateway to check out the food offerings. There are a lot of things to choose here including Gelato Messina but I had that planned for dessert this evening, so we opted for The Burger Project – a Neil Perry creation which serves delicious burgers, shakes, fries, and you can even get your burger in a bowl and avoid the carbs of a bun if you so desire.

Neil Perry is a food genius and quite involved with in flight catering for Qantas. The best salad dressing I ever ate was served on a flight with his name on it. The food at the Burger Project is excellent but my heart belongs to the Salted Caramel shake which really brings the salt. We did not make it here until just after 2pm and we had places to be, so we ate quickly and headed off into the Circular Quay crowds towards the Bridge.

The Rocks is an area I am very unfamiliar with but it somehow feels burned into my DNA. While The Other Half had no idea where we were going, my inner compass led us to the right places while passing some of the most interesting places. There is a sense of enormous history here, teamed with an impression of just how small we are in the company of giants like the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

There are also many levels – here we are standing on a bridge looking at a lower level of road with a bridge above it and then a bridge above that too.

Our destination was the Pylon Lookout which is a MUCH cheaper option than Bridge Climb – $30 for the two of us vs $636!!! You can see the engraved ceremonial scissors used to open the bridge, which are set with opals. You can click on this photo for a larger view. This is a momentary stop in the 200 stairs one will climb to get to the top of the pylon. Sadly there is no lift option, it is stairs or nothing here. But there is a good reason to climb them all..

This amazing view. What a gorgeous day in the middle of winter. Sure, I was wearing many many layers plus a beanie, but it was worth it.

Here are some folks completing their expensive BridgeClimb, wearing the special outfits, without their cameras. That is another advantage to the Pylon – you can wear what you like and take your camera with you, and stay there for as long as you like taking as many photos as you like.

We discovered that cats used to live up here. This photo was quite terrifying but a google shows me even more scary cats on the bridge photos.

Next Monday – a quick stop in The Rocks, back to the hotel, Gelato Messina, and a day at Westfield Parramatta.

Parramatta, Sydney

Sydney to Gold Coast

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Monday 23rd October was another absolutely gorgeous day for travelling.

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Officially on the road just after 8am, we wanted to go via the Sydney Harbour Bridge which none of us had ever driven over. Of course we picked the worst possible time of day to do this, but it did not add too much to the trip time when we checked it vs the other possible route.

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Once we got over the bridge, we set the next waypoint for Heatherbrae Pies near Newcastle, and we were there by 10:30am. All the way to Newcastle, there was this white Hyundai i30 which would slow down so we would overtake it, then they would speed up and overtake us, then they would slow down and we would overtake them again..

It is actually pretty rare for any one vehicle to be near our car for longer than 10-15 minutes. We were sure they would stop at Heatherbrae too, but they did not and drove off never to be seen again by us. Overall the Hyundai i30 was the most overtaken vehicle during our trip. There are a lot of these out on the roads.

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The boys chose the Ned Kelly pie and I had the bacon quiche which was very yummy. There was a slice of tomato hidden in the bottom, FYI those who do not like tomato. The boys had ordered milkshakes which seemed to take forever to arrive and when they did arrive, they were not in takeaway cups, so this extended our stop slightly.

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Back on the road we set the next waypoint of The Big Banana at Coffs Harbour. I wanted me that chocolate covered frozen banana! We did also have to stop for fuel on the way. The banana was everything I hoped it would be. One fellow traveller chose the frozen banana as well, the other chose the banana bread. The kitchen was closed as it was about 3:30pm by the time we arrived.

On the way we saw some of the motorsport trucks heading back down the coast after the Gold Coast 600. Sephyroth always has the camera ready, and he got a shot of the Erebus convoy.

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I had packed plenty of car snacks so we were all set for snacks and the pie/quiche was an early lunch. The boys got hungry again near Grafton and we stopped at the Transit Centre which I am not sure we would return to. I had heard great things but the reality did not live up and at the time we were there the restaurant was not open.

If we were planning this trip a second time, I would plan an overnight stop on this drive. We’ve done it before as a day drive, but it is a long day and my other half loves driving and truly enjoys it, plus we have a Ford Focus X-R5 turbo which makes it awesome. I would not suggest doing this trip in one day to anyone else. Especially not overseas tourists. :)

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As the sun was setting we saw a lot of kangaroos in fields near the roads and I began to worry somewhat about that. Where we live, I know where the roos hang out and where to avoid, I did not know that for where we were at dusk and I think that is somewhat vital info.

Luckily no wildlife jumped in front of us, and we made it safely to the Gold Coast around 8:30pm – having lost an hour at the border. So 9:30pm AEDT. I think our American friend did pretty well this day, he did not fall asleep very much along the way. Around 7pm he took a nap for about an hour.

Next week – I will tell you about our apartment at Peninsula Apartments. The view was pretty awesome. The other stuff, not quite so great.

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(Apologies this is late, I meant to finish this yesterday afternoon but obviously plans did not go as planned)

Gold Coast, Snoskred Travels 2016, Sydney

Our Trip Part 1 – Meriton Mascot

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We drove up to Sydney from the South Coast of NSW on an absolutely gorgeous day. We planned a stop at the new car wash at the airport – just near Krispy Kreme and the Maccas and KFC there, as the car had been camping the weekend before and was covered in possum footprints.

Yes, a member of the camping party who shall remain nameless left hotdog buns in their car with the window down. Consequently the possum decided to try and get into all the cars, in case other goodies lived there. Our car did not have a window down, but apparently the possum was unaware of this and kept trying to get in..

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The car wash was excellent – and lucky I took a photo of the sign because now we know they have eftpos, which is handy as I have made a decision to go cash free. But that is a story for another post. :)

On arrival at the Meriton we drove into the carpark, which has some impressive gates that open automatically. We took a ticket and drove in, trying to work out where we could park. Many of the carparks had “SA” painted on them – it turned out these were the right parks to use, for serviced apartment.

We were staying in order to pick up Sephyroth who was flying in from the USA at the airport the next morning. We arrived around 12:30pm on Sunday and were surprised to be able to check in right away, thanks to the lovely Carmen who took excellent care of us.

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We headed straight up to our room (610) to check it out and drop off some items. The room was excellent – very clean, the bed was comfortable, everything was exactly how it should be. Someone else here said they found the lounge furniture to be hard, we actually found it to be about perfect for us. I especially liked the single stand alone lounge chair.

The day before I had been checking our route on RTA live traffic and I discovered there was a Mascot food festival on the Sunday we arrived. We had been thinking of going to the night noodle markets as the train is so convenient to the Meriton, but we decided to check out the food fair instead. It was very busy and the food was excellent. For lunch we chose chicken teriyaki from Tsuru which was served on a bed of seasoned french fries.

What a fantastic location this Meriton is in. You have everything you could possibly want nearby, a supermarket albeit Woolworths who I broke up with as you may recall, cafes, pizza places, a charcoal chicken place.. There are a lot of eateries some of which do have menus in the hotel book in the room.

The one downside of this location is wind related. Being near the airport sometimes the winds can be quite strong here and the way the buildings have been placed can create a bit of a wind tunnel effect.

You will probably want to bring a jacket for those times you are running out to the local shops etc. I’m not sure how much use the balconies would get on those especially windy days but if it was a calm day we would have sat out there and enjoyed the planes flying by.

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(Photo credit Meriton Mascot)

After the food fair we decided to use the pool and spa. We went by to check it out first and discovered there is also a steam room. The facilities here are great, and there is a gym as well with all the things you could want. The pool was a bit on the cold side, so we sat in the spa for a while and then tried the steam room which was brilliant. Soooo hot in there, we actually got back in the pool afterwards to cool off. There are towels supplied so you don’t have to use the ones in the room to go to the pool.

The one improvement I would suggest to Meriton Mascot is to put at least two hooks on the back of the bathroom doors. There just needs to be slightly more hanging space in the bathroom and two hooks would do the trick. These mirrors you see hide cupboards where you can store items if you like, the hairdryer is in there as well.

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We had afternoon coffee from the in room coffee machine. It is a pod machine which uses pods you can get at Woolworths (Vittorio). We are coffee drinkers who travel with our own Nespresso but we figured it was not worth unpacking it from the car for just one coffee. On tasting the coffee, we changed our minds somewhat but it was too late.

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I had seen pizzas from Tavolino at the food fair and that is what we chose for dinner. It was expensive for what we got, but very nice.

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After an early dinner we headed to bed early because we had to be up at 5:30. We slept very well, the beds were comfortable and the pillows were fairly decent. We did not have enough space in the car to pack our own, which we would usually do. We loved the “bed pod” – the room has sliding doors which seem to add a soundproof element to the room.

At around 4am my other half jumped out of bed to run out of the room and turn off what he thought was my phone alarm. It was actually a toilet flush from upstairs. Luckily he was able to go back to sleep fairly quickly and our actual alarm went off at the correct time, so we showered and got in the car ready for our trip to the airport, as our friend had landed and was on his way through customs.

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The airport pickup went as planned, we returned to the hotel for Sephyroth to have a quick shower before setting off for our drive. While he was showering, I ran down to Oliver Brown which opened at 7am to grab a couple of mochas and a latte to start the morning off right. I chose the Belgium dark mocha and it was amazing. So much flavour in a cup!

We had already packed everything in the car ready to go before our airport trip, so it was just a quick sweep of the room to make sure we did not forget anything, a quick check out – we had already validated the carparking ticket on check in, so we did not have to spend much time there.

Recent just ok experiences at another airport hotel had us looking for a new place to stay near Sydney and we think we have found it here. We liked that the carpark had a lot of single car spaces – not such a fan of the $25 fee but that is actually cheap for Sydney car parking and it allows you to enter and exit as many times as you like for 24 hours.

I imagine though, if we brought our car for another visit, we would likely park it in the carpark and not take it out until it was time to leave, because everything you could want or need is within walking distance and catching the train into Sydney is a much better option than trying to park in Sydney.

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We were only here for one night at the start of our trip so we did not make use of the in room laundry facilities, but it is great to know they are there for future trips.

I suspect this hotel would be an excellent location for Sydney visitors to base themselves for all – or the the latter part if they have an early flight out – of any stay, due to the self catering aspect, the close transport links and the airport shuttle bus.

Overall we loved the Meriton Mascot and would absolutely return for another stay.

Wednesdays will be devoted to travel posts, for a little while. I have many things to share with you! ;)

Next week – our drive from Sydney to the Gold Coast. In one day. Because we are wacky like that. :)

Snoskred Travels 2016, Sydney

Sydney Aquarium

The Sydney Aquarium is one of my favourite places to visit. They have a special deal where if you visit after 6pm, you pay less than usual. We paid $26 each via booking on the website but prices can change from time to time.

We arrived just at 6, and headed in to wander about. They close at 8pm and we were there for most of that time, we were probably the slowest visitors there because we don’t just rush from one thing to the next, looking at things for seconds. We spent at least 20 minutes in the underwater tunnel where the fish swim next to and above you.

Unsurprisingly there are a lot of fish and fishtanks. These are two things that always relax me.

What will surprise any visitor to the Sydney Aquarium is the amazingness of the gift shop. Seriously if there is a zombie apocalypse, this is where you want to camp out and hide from the zombies. They have everything you can think of in there at really reasonable prices. And because I’m me, I took an awful lot of photos of the gift shop to share with you..

So, what can you buy?

Books.

Phone Covers

Hats

Belts, and Drizabone Style Coats.

Ugg boots

Tote bags, Handbags, Baseball Caps

Oven Mitts

Golfing items!

Aussie Souvenirs

Enormous Pens

Regular Size Pens

Paperweights

Create Your Own Pearl Necklace (with oyster to open)

Kids T-shirts

Placemats and Coasters

Not even exactly sure what these are

Can’t remember the word for what these are called. Like a snow globe except not.

Kids rash vests

Towel Outfits

And so much more, but this post has gone on for like ever. :) Trust me, go there, you will love it. :)

Australia, Sydney, travel

Sydney Trip Report

Very interesting outcome of the Sydney Trip.

Darling Harbour right before heading to Sydney Aquarium at 6pm.

I was not as bad as I expected I would be. I had one gelato a day and I gravitated towards the more savory flavours in any case – salted caramel, salted coconut and mango. Even so I consumed more sugar than I had in a while.

It took 2 days before I felt hungry as a surprise. The amount of calories expended in those 2 days I could not even tell you. It was constant walking from the time we arrived in Sydney.

The gorgeous fish scale style ceramic wall at Sydney Aquarium

The first day we visited Chinatown and n2 extreme gelato, Paddys Markets, Sydney Aquarium, Pancakes On The Rocks for dinner, then off to Star City Casino for a look around there.

And what a look it was – they had mirrored crystal seating booths. I can’t even. The beauty of these cannot be shown in a photograph, I am sorry, you will just have to go and see it for yourself. :)

The second day was probably the most draining exercise wise as we prowled the shopping district during the day, walked from Westfield Sydney to Grilld at World Square for lunch (we shared a burger and fries as neither of us felt very hungry, it was such a hot day) then back to Paddys Markets, we walked around Darling Harbour multiple times, we liked Grilld so much for lunch we went to Grilld Harbourside for dinner, then to Star Casino for dessert at Gelato Messina.

Sydney City as seen from Darling Harbour.

The Sydney shopping district makes zero sense to me. I grew up in Adelaide where everything is laid out all neat like. Sydney is a mess of secret malls, overhead walkways that link shopping centres which come to you as a surprise, and underground corridors full of shops. It has a very short mall compared to Rundle Mall in Adelaide and the rest of the main shopping strip cars and pedestrians fight for space especially on a busy day.

Even the newest shopping centre – Westfield Sydney – has a dizzying layout which makes it impossible to see every shop without backtracking and walking in circles..

The third day we chilled out, had a lovely Paleo friendly breakfast at Darling Harbour, then I went wandering on my own via the monorail back to Westfield Sydney and the CBD while The Other Half met his friend for lunch. Then to Costco, then home via a Sushi Train..

I’m going to write up some reviews this week – including the longest photo review known to man thus far – and I also want to do some linking to Sydney food sites I read which inspired me to visit the places we visited.

So what did I learn?

For me, sugar, carbs like potatoes and rice, and grains, make me hungry. They also make me crash big time – on the third day I had a major blood sugar spike when I had a Starbucks coffee in the morning without any sugar added but it was a flavoured one and plenty sweet by itself. I then experienced a crash, a low blood sugar thing.

It was interesting to recognise that for what it was and see the symptoms it caused, and to look back and see where that has happened to me in the past and I have put it down to other things.

food, paleo, Sydney, travel

Sydney Trip

Tomorrow we head up to Sydney for a couple of nights away..

Imma gonna be trying some stuff I have been reading about for.. well.. a long time. Many of these things happen to be Gelato. Also there will be Zumbarons.

So I guess this means I will be consuming some sugar for the first time in a while. It will be interesting to see how this makes my body feel.

I will of course, update you urgently. So be prepared, there may be a few quick photo type posts.

Sydney, travel

Room With A View

I love the Sydney Airport Stamford. Truly, I adore it! I have stayed there many times over the years and it never gets old. They have fantastic bathrooms with Aveda toiletries. They have comfortable beds. The furniture is tasteful and solid. They offer excellent food. The parking is excellent and they have many single parks surrounded by concrete, perfect for those of us who own performance vehicles and might find our sleep interrupted by thoughts of “is someone too close to my car”. But above all else, they have one thing which is rare when it comes to a hotel.

Sydney Airport Stamford

Brilliant views with extremely comfortable chairs to sit and watch the view in.

The Chair

Of course this is not something everyone appreciates but for those of us who are plane enthusiasts (read, plane geeks) a 5 day stay at the Sydney Airport Stamford in which you never leave the room would be the perfect holiday. As long as you have an airport view room. And you need to ask for airport view because sometimes they put you on the other side of the hotel. I’ve never had a problem getting the room with a view yet and we have stayed there *a lot*. Including several long stays where we rarely left the room. ;) Here is a panorama of the view from the room – click for a larger view.

Panorama of the view from the Sydney Airport Stamford

However you will have to do a little moving the chairs around, because for some unknown reason the hotel puts them away from the window. This is fine, it doesn’t take a lot of work and once you’ve done it you can sit down with your scanner flicking through the air control frequencies and enjoy the view. In fact you might not leave the room at all. Why would you go outside to watch planes when you can do it from the hotel? The only possible *better* view would be sitting in the control tower..

There is one small problem. If there are two of you, there is only one chair. However we share nicely and there is the ottoman at the end as well. Planes fly right over the top of the hotel – and you can barely hear them thanks to some amazing double glazing. It is quite the experience.

We stayed there with my parents who had the room next door. It is times like those when you realise how nutty they are. We’d parked in the carpark and The Other Half got a brilliantly fantastic park in between the concrete poles I mentioned. Then we decided we wanted to go out for dinner, but we did not want to lose the park. What to do? My Mum suggested we “borrow” one of the big witch’s hats and put it at the entrance to the park – she meant it as a joke, but Dad and I decided it was a brilliant idea and picked one up. They were incredibly heavy so the two of us had to drag it halfway across the carpark giggling the whole way. It worked too – the fantastic park was empty and waiting for us when we returned. There was heaps of spare parks, no harm done but we were happy. ;)

The next morning we had breakfast in the buffet for the first time. We did not know they had an egg chef. But they do. :) Good to know! I had me a nice omelette. We saw the Singapore A380 for the first time. Amazing.

BYO binoculars, scanner and bottles of water. Remember to put the “do not disturb” sign on the door. We almost had a visit from housekeeping before we got out of bed. Use the door chain as well, just in case. Of course you do that anyway when staying at a hotel, right?

No, the Sydney Airport Stamford did not pay me for this post however if they happen to be reading this I will happily accept a free stay or something. Because I love ya’all. And your hotel ain’t cheap, but it *is* worth it. And I didn’t roll the housekeeping carts and steal a shedload of Aveda toiletries, however sorely I was tempted.

5 star hotels, planes, Sydney