Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, has always been known by many as the city of churches. Rather ironically, these days there are more bars and pubs than churches in the CBD, largely thanks to recent changes in small bar licensing.
The food scene in Adelaide has evolved drastically over the last five years; the entire CBD is now adorned with food trucks, small bars, tuck shops, cafes, burger joints and farmers markets. Adelaide is quickly rising as the next must-visit foodie destination. Expedia’s Aussie travellers spend 2-3 nights in the CBD, so that’s plenty of time to squeeze in 3 meals a day and about 5 snacks a day!
To really experience what this city has to offer, I pack nothing but an empty stomach. Adelaide, I am ready to chow you down.
Food on the go
Say bye bye to BLAT and the ham cheese sandwich, and hello to Vietnamese banh mi (baguette) and Taiwanese bao (steamed bun). Too busy for a sit down lunch? Grab a Soonta’s banh mi from one of their three stores across city and munch away. The crusty French-style baguette is pillowy soft on the inside, filled with fresh herbs, pickled vegetables and protein of your choice; go for the karaage chicken and roast pork with crackling.
Gua Bao is a popular Tawainese street food but made famous by chef David Chang who serves up a mean and meaty BBQ pork bun at his Momofuku restaurant in New York. Mamachau is where you can try this cheap and cheerful steamed bun that comes in four flavours – eel, Korean fried chicken, master stock braised pork belly and fried silken tofu for the vegans. They cost as little as $3.50 each (eel is $0.50 extra), you can easily smash a few of these buns in one sitting. Oh, and don’t forget the Sriracha hot sauce.
Dude food heaven
Looking for something more substantial, more meaty? No problem. Burger war is feisty here in Adelaide, with lots of to the best burger in town. The food truck pioneers from Burger Theory now have a permanent brick-and-mortar space at Union St where you can enjoy a juicy burger inside the shop instead of kerbside. Their addictive ‘truck sauce’ is a secret recipe no one knows. I amped the burger up with crispy pancetta and doused it in Adelaide Blue cheese sauce.
If you’re in the Norwood area, drop in to Nordburger. There are a lot more burger options here than at Burger Theory, but whichever you choose, you’ll come out satisfied and with a greasy grin on your face.
Unleash the carnivore within and pounce on the ribs and wings at Street ADL. in fact, anything meaty here is good. Be ready to get messy and eat with your hands – the twice cooked (braised then fried) ribs glazed with smokey BBQ sauce will have you swooning in ecstasy. The hot wings are indeed HOT, make sure to order a pint from the tap (local beer, of course) or from the extensive beer and wine lists to keep the fiery wings at bay.
Source: Out There Starts Here | 29 Jan 2019 | 12:08 pmLow rate, no booking fee, 17,000 hotels, 30,000 destinations.
Expedia’s South Pacific expert Jonathan shares his top tips for New Caledonia.
Whether you want to snorkel in turquoise pristine lagoons amongst tropical fish and turtles, horse ride with stockmen in vast cattle stations, meet local tribes who keep their culture alive, or enjoy fine dining before hitting the dance floor on an overwater nightclub, one country has it all, and much more. It’s time to discover New Caledonia!
We forgot to mention hiking in lush rainforests, taking a deep dive into waterfalls and freshwater pools, oh, and kite surfing, reef surfing, and scuba diving in one of the largest lagoons on the planet.
New Caledonia is the perfect mix of Melanesian and French traditions, just 2 hours and 30 minutes from Sydney!
After a short flight, you will land in La Tontouta International Airport, a 45-minute drive from the capital of Noumea through stunning forest-covered mountains.
With its satellite towns, greater Noumea has roughly 160 000 inhabitants; it’s a modern city, with a six-lane highway, bright new hospital, shopping malls and modern infrastructures.
Make a beeline for one of the resort regions like Anse Vata, which has properties for all budgets.
Time to Explore
As you wake up the next morning, it’s time to make your way to the city passenger port to board the ferry to Amedee Island. As you’ll hear everywhere, the weather is always better on Amedee, so don’t worry if the sun is shy when leaving the mainland!
From coffee and French pastries on board to a beautiful buffet lunch, dance show and craft workshops on the island, you won’t get bored. Hop on a little glass-bottom boat to discover the rich life of the lagoon, spot a turtle and come back to take a closer look with the snorkeling gear you can borrow from the island’s shop.
A great way to overview the New Caledonian Barrier Reef and Amedee Island is to climb up the 247 steps to the top of Amedee Lighthouse. The 19th century structure was built in France under Napoleon the third – it was dismantled into 3000 pieces and shipped over to New Caledonia!
Chilling on a beach chair will top it up before heading back to Noumea in the late afternoon. Time to relax in one of the gorgeous resorts, or if you miss the big-city nightlife, hit the dance floor on the busy Port Belandre overwater bar and nightclub.
Isle of Pines
A trip to the outer islands is a must. A short 40-minute (Ouvea) or 30-minute (Isle of Pines) flight from Noumea will blow your mind. You don’t even have to go back to La Tontouta airport, as Air Caledonie operates domestic flights from Magenta Airport, located within the city.
If turquoise was a place, Isle of Pines would be it. With 3000 inhabitants, this quiet little island has just a few very special resorts and hotels, a small township with shops, a church and high school.
Tours usually include the cave where Queen Hortense hid, and according to the story, lived for a whole year. Daughter of Chief Vandegou II, Queen Hortense had to hide during intertribal conflicts in 1855 and took refuge in that cave – at the death of her father, succession conflicts were putting her life at risk. Bring a little offering to leave on the flat that used to be her bed. And if you’re lucky you’ll spot tiny bats nesting in the cave.
Hit the road and visit the ruins of the prison, built by the prisoners themselves in the 1880s. The impressive ruins are still held together by a network of roots and climbing plants.
Head to some of the most gorgeous bays and lagoons and jump onboard an outrigger canoe for a breathtaking sail that will take you to the pristine waters. Rays, turtles and local fauna will swim alongside the canoe.
Add a couple of days on the island to visit the natural pools – surrounded by the endemic pines that gave the island its name, you’ll swim surrounded with beautiful corals and sea life.
Another option is to treat yourself to the only overwater bungalows on the island at L’Escapade Ilot Maitre, an island resort a short 20-minute boat ride from Noumea. L’Escapade offers the perfect escape feeling, with world class snorkeling, literally at your feet!
A 2-hour drive along the west coast will take you to Bourail, where you’ll have the chance to stay in a gorgeous bright new golf resort at Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Spa & Golf Resort. With its impressive Kanak-inspired Grand Lobby and Bungalows, the resort offers a great golf course, and mountain and turquoise lagoon views. Meet the locals or visit a cattle station. The farm in Boghen will treat you with a degustation of local food, including traditional Kanak bougnat and French-inspired cured and dried meats. Learn about Kanak customs and culture or enjoy a 5-star golf course bordering the beach and lagoon.
Making your way further north to Kone, you will board a 2-seater plane to fly over the Pacific Heart, symbol of New Caledonia!
The Top North and East Coast will take you to tribal lands and you will soak into the most authentic and unspoiled parts of the island.
New Caledonia is a gem at the doorstep of Australia and New Zealand, so get back into your French schoolbooks and start planning your trip!
Source: Out There Starts Here | 8 Jan 2019 | 2:32 pmLow rate, no booking fee, 17,000 hotels, 30,000 destinations.
It’s dark outside the four-wheel drive, Mexico’s highways are quiet at 4am, there’s just us and a few passing cars on the road for the two and a bit hour drive. The sky hasn’t started to lighten as we hop out of the car, stretch our legs and slowly walk into the park.
Passing through the empty entrance gates and closed ticket counters, we feel our way over gravel and the occasional tree root, the glow of a phone lighting the way. Suddenly we stop, and our guides make it even darker – we’re told to close our eyes, put our hands on each other’s shoulders and slowly shuffle forwards.
Once we’re in position, we open our eyes, and the mighty form of the pyramid of Kukulcan, Chichen Itza’s famous stepped pyramid, looms in front of us. It rises out of the darkness, up into the sky. Piercing through the clouds, reaching towards the full moon, the 24 metre high pyramid and the surrounding ruins make up one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The Bushman Photography Chichen Itza sunrise tour is a tour like no other.
Normally, visitors to this mysterious ancient civilisation view the pyramid with the company of thousands of others. From standard opening hours until closing, there are crowds of people lining up to buy tickets, take tours, walk through the ruins and in particular take a photo in front of the mighty Kukulcan pyramid.
However, with Bushman Photography’s private sunrise tour, just a lucky handful of people are here to see the ruins. We have the place to ourselves. No one else is in sight. We walk past a few groundskeepers quietly sweeping and setting up for the day on our way in but that’s it. In front of the pyramid, we have the entire forecourt to ourselves, so we set up our cameras for long exposures and test out the pyramid’s otherworldly acoustics – if you stand right at a certain spot, and clap your hands, you’ll hear the sound echo back through the pyramid.
Our private guide takes us through a brief history of the region and the mysteries, like the acoustics that you’ll find here. In the dark, it’s even more mysterious – and marvelous. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we soak up every second. Okay, we spend a few minutes posing for photos in front of the pyramid – we take eerie silhouette shots, selfies and happy shots. And then the serious photography begins.
Bushman tours are run by photographer Mario Dib, and here’s why they’re the far superior way to see this rare sight:
- Mario is passionate about giving guests to Mexico truly unique experiences, away from the crowds.
- He provides each guest with a DSLR, a handful of lens and a memory card to use for the duration of the tour.
- For anyone with an interest in photography, or even just someone with an appreciation for getting the right shot, this is the perfect tour. You don’t need to lug a DSLR around Mexico with you, especially if you might be flying to flop at one of the many Cancun resorts or all inclusive hotels that are a few hours drive away.
- You’ll get into locations when the lighting is best and when the crowds are quiet.
- Mario gives you all the top tips to photography Chichen Itza so you can get the perfect shot.
- Top notch guides are brought in to share information at sites.
We spend the last 20 minutes before sunrise exploring the Great Ball Court that’s adjacent to the pyramid, and then settle in to watch the sun’s rays creep up the steps of Kukulcan.
Now here is a big distinction that sets Bushman’s tour apart from other Chichen Itza tours. There are a few ‘sunrise’ tours – but you arrive almost at the end of sunrise. And by the time you’re finished, and start exploring the other ruins, the crowds have started to congregate. We were finished at the pyramid before the sunrise tours started to arrive, and had a private tour of the rest of the ruins while those tours headed towards the major ruins.
Mario’s tour doesn’t end there. It’s back in your private transfer to the beautiful historic town of Valladolid. We have breakfast in the heart of the town, eating traditional eggs, drinking coffee, before heading out for a stroll along the streets. The colonial Spanish architecture is great photography fodder – the bright, pink coloured walls of Valladolid Museum in particular are beautiful at every angle. Mario knows all the local hotspots – including hidden perfumeries, chocolateries and day spas. We peer our heads into each one before heading back to the car for another stop.
The day continues with a dip in a private cenote. There are hundreds of cenotes, underground sink holes, around the Yucatan Peninsula. However, big tours often go to manmade or crowded cenotes. We stop in at a family owned and run cenote, where a little puppy keeps us company as we head down into the underground. We gasp as the crystal clear water appears and spend around an hour cooling off with a dip.
The drive back to our hotel in Playa Del Carmen is around two hours, plenty of time to scroll through our images, choosing our favourite ones, discussing editing techniques and how we might have taken different photos.
We’re returned to our hotels with memories only a few people in the world will ever have, and the photographs to prove it.
Lisa was the guest of Bushman Photography
Source: Out There Starts Here | 6 Jan 2019 | 10:53 pmLow rate, no booking fee, 17,000 hotels, 30,000 destinations.
Have you ever had a hotel room where you could turn the lights on, turn them off, order room service, adjust the air conditioning, use the TV and turn the fan on with just your mobile phone?
The Grand Park City Hall is fresh from an extensive renovation and a serious technology upgrade. It is also the first Singaporean hotel to have in room app technology that means you never have to turn on a switch, find a remote or stumble around in the dark looking for the air con control panel. All you need to do is download the app on your phone. Soon, you’ll be able to use the app and your phone’s facial recognition to check in and out. That’s what I call streamlining services.
One might ask, is this really necessary?
- Frequent travellers, business travellers, or even those on a long haul holiday will tell you how tricky it can be to work out how to find and then use various controls.
- The air con is often in Fahrenheit, you need to get up out of bed to turn off that one pesky lamp in the corner, you have questions about how the shower works.
- The app takes care of all those pesky little problems – there’s even a live chat function where you can ask a question, any question, and get a speedy response from the attentive hotel team.
One might expect that a highly tech savvy hotel room might be ultra modern. Instead, the Grand Park City Hall’s rooms are minimal, yes, but still have a flair of old world glamour, with a muted grey colour scheme, black and white photos of the historic Singaporean district the hotel sits within, and moody hanging lamps. The bathroom sits inside a glass cube, breaking the mould of traditional hotel room floor plans – there are automatic blinds you can lower for privacy, but I like how it opens the entire space up.
There’s traditional Peranakan patterned tiles, floorboards instead of carpet (always a good choice) and plenty of beautiful pieces of photography that bring a bit of the building’s history into the space. The same can be said for the rest of the hotel, which stretches across 10 floors and occupies a historic Colonial-style building that feels like it has been restored to its formal prestige.
The hotel’s common areas, the lobby, the Tablescapes restaurant, are a study in chic interiors, with baby pink chairs, intricate metal screens and hanging overhead lamps providing the perfect spot to settle in for dinner for two. Then there’s the rooftop pool, where lounge chairs sit in the water, day beds sit alongside the waters edge and a mini gazebo perches on the corner. The gym has views down to the street below so you can people watch while you hit the treadmill. The best views are from the Crystal Club lounge, where Club room guests have access to breakfast, evening drinks and canapés and an outdoor rooftop lounge area where the brightly coloured windows of the Old Hill Street Police Station are just part of the almost 280 degree views out over the city. The view is a nice taster of what awaits outside the hotel – historic Singapore is just on your doorstep.
Whether you want to rejuvenate from your journey with controls at the touch of your phone or head out into the city, Grand Park City Hall is a brilliant spot to stay in Singapore.
Source: Out There Starts Here | 14 Dec 2018 | 6:35 pmLow rate, no booking fee, 17,000 hotels, 30,000 destinations.
Summer is upon us, and you know what that means. It’s time for sunbathing on white-sand beaches, ice-cold beverages with tiny umbrellas, and plenty of outdoor adventures. What’s the best place to do all that? A South Pacific island, of course.
With swaying palm trees, dramatic coastlines, and shimmering turquoise waters, the archipelagos of Samoa, Fiji, and Vanuatu are the most beautiful islands in the South Pacific. And you live in one of the best places on earth to take advantage of these gorgeous landscapes. Book a stay at one of these pristine properties and hop on the next flight for your most photogenic holiday ever.
Talofa! You’ll be hearing that word a lot in Samoa. It means “welcome”, and these islands are renowned for their hospitality. Samoa is also famous for its traditional dances and gorgeous coastline. It’s one of the most unique cultures in the South Pacific, and has to be experienced to be believed.
Where to Stay in Samoa
Le Vasa Resort
Courtesy of Le Vasa Resort
Nestled on the westernmost point of Upolu island, Le Vasa Resort is accessible, yet perfectly secluded. Just ten minutes from the airport and five minutes from the ferry port, you’d never guess you’re actually on a historic site. A thousand years ago, Samoa’s final battle with Tonga took place here—an epic tale the Le Vasa staff is more than happy to share with you. These legends are all part of the experience, which also includes authentic local activities and delectable regional cuisine at on-site restaurant Cocolini’s by the Sea.
Return to Paradise Resort and Spa
If you’re looking for truly untouched coastline, look no further than Return to Paradise, on Upolu’s southwest coast. In 1953, the beach caught the attention of Hollywood scouts, and the movie Return to Paradise was filmed there. However, the landowners refused to sell out to corporate interests, finally developing the land just a few years ago. This resort was built by the villagers, and is proudly 100% owned and operated by Samoans and staffed by extended family. It may be one of the island’s newest properties, but you’re sure to enjoy an authentic holiday.
Things to Do in Samoa
Image via Martin Valigursky/Shutterstock.com
It’s not only Samoa’s culture that’s impressive. This island nation is home to many stunning natural landscapes. Sign up for the Forgotten Bay Scuba Tour and you’ll get to snorkel from a secluded beach, looking beneath the waves for reef sharks and turtles. For the adventurous, there are the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks, naturally formed waterslides only about a fifteen minute drive from the capital of Apia. And no traveller can miss To Sua Ocean Trench, which literally means “Giant Swimming Hole”. Climb thirty metres down a wooden ladder to snorkel in this picturesque locale.
When you picture sparkling lagoons, pristine beaches, and over-the-water huts, Fiji is probably the first island that comes to mind. And you’re not wrong: Fiji is one of the most idyllic islands in the South Pacific.
Where to Stay in Fiji
Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa
Courtesy of Hilton Fiji Beach Resort
Located at the northern tip of Denarau Island and sprawled over 2.5 kilometres of private beachfront, Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa is the ideal couples’ retreat. Koro, the resort’s brand-new, adults-only zone, includes a private bar, pools, deck, and beachfront created exclusively to eat, drink, and relax. There is even an adults-only restaurant, KORO, serving up Mediterranean tapas and plenty of fresh seafood. Bringing the kids? The resort has a complimentary children’s club, giving you the peace of mind to relax—and still enjoy these amazing adults-only amenities.
Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort
Live the laid-back island lifestyle at Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort, a sparkling, newly renovated property on its own private island. Yanuca Island sits off Viti Levu’s south coast, surrounded by deepwater lagoons. The resort recently added the Reef Wing, an adults-only section with a separate entrance and check-in desk and exclusive pools and restaurants. It also has nightly entertainment, bringing in international DJs and chefs for pop-up parties and restaurants throughout the year. Relax in the spa or spend an active day parasailing or snorkelling. At Shangri-La’s, the day is yours.
Nanuku Auberge Resort
Be treated like royalty at Nanuku Auberge Resort. On this private, 500-acre estate, you’ll discover fine dining among the treetops or on a coastal cliff. Enjoy exceptional massages on a treetop platform suspended over the beach. And you’ll have one-of-a-kind experiences, like tending to mangroves with the locals, planting coral, and even beekeeping. Arrange for a secluded outdoor movie night or an excursion to the resort’s private island—or, simply book a room with a kitchen and bring in the resort’s private chef for the ultimate meal. At Nanuku Auberge, it’s all about you.
Musket Cove Island Resort and Marina
Off the main island’s west coast lie the Mamanuca Islands, one of Fiji’s most beautiful areas. Musket Cove Island Resort and Marina perfectly captures this island chain’s laid-back vibe. Relax around the island’s largest swimming pool—you’ll find plenty of those tiny umbrellas you’ve been dreaming of at this sun-soaked property. With its daily snorkelling trips, sand-between-your-toes beach bar, and bright, airy villas that welcome you with a slice of island-baked coconut lime shortbread, you can’t capture the Fijian spirit any better than this.
Things to Do in Fiji
Image via Martin Valigursky/Shutterstock.com
If you want to sunbathe on white-sand beaches all day, this is the place to do it. But there are plenty of activities you can take part in, too. The South Sea Island Full Day Cruise takes you just thirty minutes from the city of Nadi. You’ll feel worlds away as you spend the day swimming, snorkelling, and kayaking on this secluded island. Back on land, visit the Naihehe Caves on an off-road quad bike safari. But first, you’ll participate in a traditional kava ceremony, a must-do on any Fiji trip. For another unique experience, the Suva Day Tour takes you around the charming capital, giving you a taste—literally—of Fiji’s culture.
A short hop across the Coral Sea to Vanuatu, and you’ll be witnessing rare traditions like nanggol (bungy jumping from wooden structures), camping on active volcanoes, and diving acclaimed shipwrecks. The treasures of Vanuatu are only amplified by its under-the-radar status.
Where to Stay in Vanuatu
Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu
Image by Cleo Codrington, courtesy of Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu
Located just minutes from town on exclusive lagoon frontage, Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu is an oasis in Port Vila. The resort offers idyllic overwater accommodation, with uninterrupted views from your private balcony and direct access to the lagoon’s warm waters. In fact, Seema Goundar, director of marketing, says, “When people see images of our Overwater Villas, it can easily be assumed that they are priced out of reach, but the resort team prides themselves on providing competitive rates. Service and that ‘special touch’ are all part of the experience when you stay with us.”
Breakas Beach Resort
Looking for a tropical getaway with an awesome location, atmosphere, and vibe? You can’t go past Breakas Beach Resort. This adults-only hotel is located directly on its own private beach—we’re talking dining with ocean panoramas and your feet in the sand. Lounge by the infinity pool or work your way through the cocktail list at Salt Bar. Oh, and don’t forget your surfboard. Breakas Beach Resort is perfectly positioned on the best surf beach in Efate. It’s just one more way to fully experience all Vanuatu has to offer.
Things to Do in Vanuatu
Image via Gekko Gallery/Shutterstock.com
Vanuatu’s main island, Efate, is filled with activities for intrepid adventurers. On the Efate Island Safari, you’ll head inland to take a dip in a refreshing swimming hole and get a glimpse of fire-walking and other ancient traditions. The Glass-Bottom Boat & Snorkelling Cruise takes you in the other direction, out into Mele Bay to check out what’s below the surface in this legendary dive spot. Really want to go all out? Nothing will take your breath away like a helicopter flight that lands you on the rim of Ambrym Volcano. Peer into the volcano’s fiery depths for an unforgettable experience.
Header image via Joshua Fawcett/Shutterstock.com
Source: Out There Starts Here | 3 Dec 2018 | 12:56 pmLow rate, no booking fee, 17,000 hotels, 30,000 destinations.
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