Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 2

Australia Travel Blog: Melbourne Highlights & Impressions

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 1

Melbourne Public Transport

My first To Do List item for Melbourne was to see downtown and I decided to take public transport to reach it. I had to take a train from Wyndham Vale station, change at Southern Cross station and then get off at Flinders Street station.

Melbourne has a lot more routes than Toronto and there are a lot more variety of colorful trains. The transit system I found very efficient and functional; I had no problem reaching my destination. Whenever I was in doubt about the transfers or right stations, I asked either passengers or transit employees and they were beyond helpful.

Southern Cross station is a huge, mega transfer hub for various routes and I spent a lot of time at the station making videos and taking pictures. This station has a shopping complex or mini mall inside and I had my coffee and a snack. Small, medium, and large coffees cost $4.00, $4.65, $5.00 AUD and I find coffee is more expensive in Australia than Canada.

Flinders Street, Yarra River, Melbourne Downtown Waterfront

After changing to a different train from Southern Cross station, I got off at Flinders Street station. Flinders Street is an iconic, historic station which happens to be the busiest railway station in Australia. Its dome-shaped arched entrance with tower and clock give it a distinctive look and it is one of the city's most recognisable landmarks. The full station stretches two whole city blocks in the heart of Melbourne downtown.

A few steps from Flinders Street station is downtown waterfront along the Yarra river and there are tons of restaurants, including open-air restaurants and floating restaurants on the river. There is a cute, white pedestrian bridge called Even Walker bridge, which adds a different charm to the downtown waterfront part under the shadow of the skyscrapers.

Australia Travel Blog: Melbourne Highlights & Impressions

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 1

At the MEL Airport

I expected to meet live immigration officers at the Melbourne Airport Tullamarine Airport (MEL). But all the necessary immigration formalities were done by a SmartGates automated machine. I obtained my Australian Electronic Travel Authority or ETA online months before my trip, which is just an electronic visa for Canadians.

At one point when I was walking, a police dog came to my luggage and started sniffing. I stopped and let him sniff, but he lost interest right away and moved onto sniffing someone else.

The whole airport process went so fast and smooth that I thought I missed something. So I asked the standing immigration officer near the exit gate if there was something else. He pointed me to the exit gate and I was relieved.

First Hour in Melbourne

Once I found my relatives at the airport, we headed for the parking lot. The first thing I noticed was that it was not as warm as I was expecting. I was coming from Singapore, so expected hot and humid weather. But it was rather cool and even a light jacket would be appropriate.

If you are a world traveler, you know the feeling the first few hours in a new country. I was trying to notice everything surrounding me to my heart’s content.

Vehicles operate on the left side of the road and drivers sit on the right side, which is opposite than North America. Road and highway signs and markings look noticeably different than Canada as well.

Destination Wyndham Vale

We were heading towards Wyndham Vale, which is a suburb of Melbourne with 25,000 population. It took about 35 to 40 minutes to reach. Wyndham Vale reminded me of suburbs of Toronto like Ajax or Markham.

The first thing I noticed was that average houses are smaller than Canada and tress or plants are different too due to the hot weather. I noticed lots of birds and crows and their chirping was loud.

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 2

Wellington, New Zealand Travel Guide

Wellington, New Zealand Travel Guide

If you are staying in Wellington and having trouble to find things to do whilst you are on holiday then why not take a look go and visit the main attractions in Wellington. If you are not sure which are the main attractions in Wellington then in the next few paragraphs we are going to talk about some main attractions that you can visit. This will give you a good idea what you can do in Wellington and should make you want to book some attractions that you have not already thought off.

The Wellington Zoo attracts all ages young and old. They have different events during the day as well as taking a tour round the zoo its self. If you are looking for a gift or something for yourself to say that you have visited the zoo then you will able to go to the shop which is located in the zoo. When at the zoo you should get inspired on how big the zoo is and how much room the animals have to move around in. Due to the large size of the zoo you will able to get a map so you do not get lost within the zoo.

If you are staying in Wellington you should go around the whole island and see the beautiful sites and views. The best way of doing this would be to make an arrangement to take a tour with the tour guide Jennifer. She will bring the best out of Wellington and will provide you with loads of information about the history of the island. If you are looking for a bar tour in Wellington then she will also set up this special tour for you.

Museum of New Zealand is another main attraction that you should go and see. If you are thinking about the cost of this holiday in Wellington then you should worry on more when going to see this attraction due to the fact that it is FREE. Even though Museums can be boring for kids they have an area for them where they do arts and crafts whilst you go and look at the amazing artifacts in the museum. This will allow you to not worry about your kids breaking anything as they will be pre occupied with having in fun within the museum. Once you have left your kids or even if you do not have any kids you will able to go around the museum and be inspired on what is actually in the museum and will help you take your mind of things back home. But for FREE it is defiantly worth a visit.

If you are one of these people that are not sure on if you like tasting new foods why not face your fears and go on a Zest food tour whilst you are in Wellington. This will make your experience more enjoyable and will allow you to see what people actually eat in New Zealand. You go around walking from store to store and taste some of the most exquisite foods that you will eat.

I hope you will take these attractions into account when you are looking to take a trip to Wellington in New Zealand.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on March 12, 2010.

Family Skiing in New Zealand

Vacations and Holidays in New Zealand

Deciding on the perfect family holiday when you have children in early to late teens can be something of a challenge, with children not yet independent but wanting to spread their wings. One of the best family friendly holidays, and one where parents can relax, knowing that their children are safely occupied, and are enjoying themselves very much, is by booking a skiing holiday in New Zealand.

There are many family ski packages available, both budget and deluxe, which include beginners and advanced ski tuition, with all the equipment that you will need available for hire, package deals for all transport needs, and a variety of different types of family accommodation, from chalet rooms to self- catering apartments.

The New Zealand ski season lasts from about June until November, and both islands have family ski resorts with package deals on offer. Ski areas include The Remarkables Range near Queenstown, offering 220 skiable hectares in a 700 hectare reserve. Coronet Peak is a ski field also close to Queenstown – with easy beginner slopes to more difficult runs, Coronet Peak offers skiing and boarding, equipment hire and a snow sport school.

Cardrona is in the centre of the Southern Alps and offers chalet accommodation for families and great apre ski evening entertainment at the Cardrona Hotel, with shuttles from Wanaka and Queenstown, equipment hire and a snow sport school. Mount Hutt is another option, only 25k from Methven and close to Christchurch, Mount Hutt offers accommodation, from 5 star to backpackers and family apartments, with a nightlife second to none. Mount Hutt offers skiing, boarding and heli skiing, and has a six seater summit chair lift. Whatever your preference for a healthy outdoor family skiing holiday, there will be a resort in New Zealand to suit your needs and style.

Complete package deals including airfares, transfers, accommodation, and ski slope bookings can easily be purchased. Skiing holidays offer the challenge of learning to ski by day. There are also snowboarding options and other snow sport activities that will be guaranteed to challenge the kids and perhaps wear them out a bit. Adult parents can either take up the challenge of skiing, shop at boutique shops or take photos of outstanding scenic views and simply enjoy the breathtaking scenery. With a New Zealand skiing holiday you will get all the relaxation of an out of doors holiday without a lot of travelling, and using the shuttle services. You will enjoy cozy, after ski family style entertainment, with musicians, good café or restaurant meals, enjoy bars, and pubs and quiz nights that will keep the family fully entertained and amused in a nice old-fashioned way. There are ski lessons for everyone, beginners and advanced, easy slopes to practice on, and all equipment is for hire. All that you need to do is to put in some training, so that you can bend ze nees, and you are guaranteed a fun, family holiday that everyone will enjoy, skiing in New Zealand.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on Feb 4, 2010.

Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moorea; Heaven on Earth

Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moorea

The world is full of beauty, and beautiful places are always attractive to tourists. There is probably no greater advertisement for a country’s tourist industry than a non-captioned picture showing beautiful scenery, unspoilt land and smiling faces. And perhaps more than any other region, the South Pacific has all of this in great quantities. Nowhere is this more in evidence than in Tahiti, the largest island in French Polynesia, and an attractive proposition for any sun-seeking tourist with an interest in living the relaxed life. If you had to put a visual picture to the word “holiday”, then perhaps the most immediate one would be one which corresponds very directly to what you will see in Tahiti – palm trees, sandy beaches, the whole nine yards.

In fact, Tahiti is a series of islands, and also the name of the larger island which makes up most of the landmass of the small French protectorate. The island of Tahiti, in fact, does not quite have the same beach lifestyle as the rest of the country, but what it does have is a lot of holiday resorts which feature the aesthetic beauty of the South Pacific in all its glory, along with the capital city, Papeete. Papeete makes for an excellent base from which to see the rest of Tahiti. Also on the main island are some volcanoes which form part of the breathtaking natural scenery of the area. Off the main island you will find, though, some of the most heartbreakingly beautiful scenery that you have ever seen.

Bora Bora is recognized as being among the most desirable locations for a honeymoon that the world has to offer. In the holiday resorts of Bora Bora you will find the immediately recognisable overwater bungalows, wooden huts raised on stilts over the lagoon which surrounds the island. These range from some very affordable accommodations which will suit the pocket of any visitor and serve perfectly well as a marvellous setting from which to see the area, to more luxurious bungalows which make for the ideal setting for a honeymoon. Anyone who could look at Bora Bora, its tropical lagoon, coral reef and the overwater bungalows and not want to visit, must surely have seen everything in their life.

Moorea is seen as the more exclusive sister island to Bora Bora, but is in truth not that much different to it. This is not to denigrate its charms, which are extensive and very clear to anyone who pays a visit. In fact, on Moorea the main selling point is that it is simply something different to Bora Bora – equally beautiful in a different way, with stunning views over any of its two gorgeous bays. The overwater bungalows are also present here, as are garden bungalows and apartments which are set among a relaxed atmosphere which would make not just honeymooning couples but also any casual traveler feel absolutely blissful. Beyond these two islands there are still others, making a package deal a worthwhile choice for anyone looking for a break in the sun.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on Oct 11, 2009.