On August 2, 2013Shitika Anand answered the question:The advatage of setting base in Brisbane is being able to see so many places outside of it, that are only an hour or so away from Brisbane central. Here are my top five short trip destinations from Brisbane:
Theme parks in the Gold Coast - A popular one with the kids and family, there are a three theme parks, Dreamworld, Movieworld and Wet n' Wild located only an hour south of Brisbane. They cater to the adrenaline junkies and the ones outside of that as well.
Mount Tamborine - Mount Tamborine is 2190 metres high above sea level that can offer you hours and hours of fun out of nature. "Tamborine" which is "wild lime" in the local Yugamba language, refers to the finger lime trees that grow wild on the mountain. There are options to go wine and beer tasting in town, sit at an organic cafe and drink beautiful tea or go for a few nature hikes.
Surfer's Paradise - Known as the party place of the country, surfer's paradise is located an hour and a bit south of Brisbane. Head down to the beach for a surf, or head to the Palazzo Versace hotel for a luxurious cocktail under a chandellier made with 80-crystals.
On August 2, 2013Shitika Anand answered the question:Apart from a tan, a greatly relaxed mind and perhaps even a hangover, there are real things that you can bring home from your visit to Bali.
Celuk's jewellery - It's beautiful, intricate work that even the locals can't seem to find or understand the importance and beauty of. Find them in little alleyways behind main streets of Seminyak and Kuta.
Go to Jimbaran's shopping area - Jenggala produces quality functional homeware that can be found in abundance in these markets at Jimbaran. The company’s ceramics factory in Bali runs tours, operates a showroom and offers daily Paint-a-Pot lessons from 9 to 5.
Mani's Art shop - About 22 km north of Denpasar, the village of Mas is a fountainhead of woodworkers and artisans. You can also see it all being made live in front of you.
On August 2, 2013Shitika Anand answered the question:Make sure you have a taxi organised prior to your arrival in Dempasar that will take you to your hotel, the airport scene is pretty intense, so you want to avoid last minute haggling. Book one night's accommodation in a villa off Seminyak - this will ensure you're living quite central and still not part of the madness.
Head out for a traditional Indonesian-style breakfast at cafes on the main street of Seminyak; there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to choose from along the main road.
Stroll along the beach road to check out the local shops and experience the Bali culture. Then take a taxi to Potato Head to spend the afternoon in the pool, overlooking the ocean, with a cocktail in hand. The vibe here is really great and will make you feel like you're truly on a holiday. Make sure you don't wear flip-flops to this place, because you might be denied entry.
Around 4pm, take a taxi down south to Ayana Resort and Spa, located at Jimbarin beach. You don't have to be a hotel guest here to visit their famous and stunning Rocks Bar. Have a meal at the Italian restaurant, located outside in the garden area and watch the sky change its colour as the sun goes down. After sunset, head down to the Rocks Bar which is literally located on a rock, adjacent to the ocean. Expect some seawater splashes every now and then. Their cocktails are some of the best in Bali, and the views make every sip worth the money.
On August 2, 2013Shitika Anand answered the question:Australians love their alcohol, be it at an underground bar, or a bar on the rooftop overlooking the city skyline. These are the best ones making the rounds at the moment:
Zeta bar – Filled with a sea of corporate uniforms, this posh rooftop bar is located on the level four of the Hilton hotel in the city. It overlooks the historic QVB shopping centre and serves up some of the best cocktails in the city.
Zanzibar - Situated in the cool kids' suburb of Sydney, this rooftop terrace might remind you of your grandma's backyard deck. It has that same nostalgia, that waft of a cooking roast and the vibe that one would crave on a Sunday afternoon. Come to watch a live gig or just be part of the hipster clan in town.
Hotel Sweeney's - Expect to get down and dirty at this city bar, where a pint of cider will cost you less than $7 and small sharing plates of Asian snacks won't break the bank either. There's a pole in here, so don't be surprised if your night starts off well and ends with you dancing to a Pussycat Dolls song.
El Topo - Modern Mexican food, tequila, in-your-face art and really cool music, all collide here at the rooftop of the Eastern Hotel. If dealing with Bondi hipsters aren’t your thing, walk up to this joint (next to the train station at Bondi Junction) and revere in serious Mexican culture.
Shore Club - This one is posh, it's expensive and it's located right on the beaches of Manly. It's a popular one in the suburb, also known as the Moet & Chandon Lounge, due to its all black and white interiors teamed with wooden flooring. Keep this one for the summer, because you need a nice, balmy night to really make a night of it at this bar.
On August 1, 2013Shitika Anand answered the question:It’s not just the ladies on Sex and The City that made long lunches and weekend brunches popular, every city around the world specialises in this joyous meal. Whether you do it with your girlfriends, your parents, partner or even by yourself, these are the top places in Sydney you need to brunch at:
Trio, Bondi – One popular amongst the locals, this restaurant knows your way to the heart. Be it with a haloumi degustation or a freshly-made granola with fresh berries. The tables overlook the blue water of Bondi beach, making life seem a little bit sweeter than the icing sugar-dusted banana bread on your plate.
Balmoral Boatshed – This place is packed with fresh flowers, baskets of bright fresh fruits, yellow furniture and big groups of families. If you’re heading to the Northern Beaches, then Balmoral Boatshed is your calling, especially when it has an L-shaped outdoor deck area where you can watch the kids play with the seagulls while you sip on your mojito! Win-win.
Poolside Cafe – Don’t be surprised if you share your Sunday brunch with your girlfriends plus the entire Australian rugby team. This restaurant is located adjacent to Sydney Botanical Garden (great to go for a stroll post-brunch) and above Sydney’s oldest outdoor pools, Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool. P.S. you may see eye candies swimming in the pool while you sip on that coffee, just warning you.
About Life, Rozelle – One for the solo bruncher, this organic food store café is a contender of Wholefoods in the U.S. Its menu is a mixture of superfood supergreen smoothies, quinoa salads, buckwheat pancakes, gluten-free quiches and a whole lot of other pretentious meals. Love the Miranda Kerr lifestyle? This is your destination… FYI, its sister chain is located in Bondi.
On August 1, 2013Shitika Anand answered the question:Sydney is home to Australia’s top fashion designers, with big names like Alex Perry, Sass & Bide, Collette Dinnigan, Camilla & Marc and Zimmerman girls, among many other residing in this city.
If you’re after local designs and fashion, then head to Oxford Street in Paddington to visit the original stores and shops of these designers. You’d find a good mix of fashion, interiors and beauty on this street, making your shopping trip an experience as opposed to a chore.
For an international purchase, Castlereagh Street in the city center has all the big names like Chanel, Gucci, Versace, Hugo Boss, Fendi and Prada, waiting to welcome you in their luxurious kingdom.
Westfield Pitt Street also has a ton of high-end designers residing within it, like Miu Miu, Ksubi, SABA, R.M. Williams, Napoleon Perdis, Roger David and many more.
On August 1, 2013Shitika Anand answered the question:Boutique hotels are the new upcoming and trendy locations in Sydney at the moment. From iconic destinations to the newly opened New York-inspired properties, this city has it all, if you're after a chic, cool boutique hotel. Here's my pick of Sydney's beat boutique accommodation:
The Storrier - Ticked away in a laneway in Kings Cross, this brand-new hotel is filled with work created by Sydney artist Tim Strorrier. The interiors are eye-catching, while the white marble reception desk clashes against the posh ambience. Price Superior suites start from $245 per night; deluxe $270; executive $345.
Diamant Hotel - If the dramatic city views from the terrace balcony don't excite you, then the little treasures in your room, like the Kevin Murphy hair products, Xbox, iPod docking station and a pillow menu should. Located in the convinient location of Darlinghurst/KingsCross, this hotel is great for business travellers, who might be after a quirky and stylish experience. Price Deluxe rooms $188; district and harbour rooms $228; courtyard rooms $268; William Street boulevard rooms $268; courtyard suites $468.
Fraser Suites - The most amazingly located pad, right in the heart of the city, this is Sydney's first five-star all-suite residence, designed by London's famous Foster + Partners (same guys who built the Beijing Airport and London's Millennium Bridge - are you impressed, yet?). This 42-level accommodation has views to diet for and a penthouse that will break the bank and melt your eyes - worth the $1500 a night, you decide. Price Studio deluxe from $239 per night.
Ravesi's - For the surf, sand and sun lovers, this boutique hotel located bang opposite one of the Australia's most famous beaches, Bondi. The deluxe beachfront suite is the one worth the big bucks, with uninterrupted views of the sea and a beautiful home-style room to make your stay feel as personal as possible. Side-view rooms $260 per night; beachfront rooms $325; one-bedroom suite $295; split-level suite with terrace $295-395; deluxe beachfront split-level suite $495.
On August 1, 2013Shitika Anand answered the question:This entirely depends on what side and part of Sydney you're wanting to view, but let me classify it in a more distinct manner for you:
Views of the Sydney Harbour, Opera House and the Bridge - Climb the Harbour Bridge and get a 360-degree panoramic view of the harbour. From up high above, you can see right up till the Northern, Eastern beaches and the density of the Western suburbs. This view can also be enjoyed from Blu Bar on 36 in Shangri-La hotel. All you need is, a cocktail in hand!
Views of the coastal line in and around Sydney - Go skydiving at Woollongong, we wrote a story about it. When falling from 14,000 ft, you forget what gravity and the idea of staying alive feels like. All you can see is turquiose blue ocean, the architectural land in shades of green and brown and the shore line right up till Manly Beach in Sydney. If you have the adventure bug in you, this experience is not to be missed!
On August 1, 2013Shitika Anand answered the question:The Sebel Pier One - A popular destination for hosting receptions, this ballroom overlooks the world-famous Sydney harbour and is located directly under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The location also makes it convinient to have wedding photos taken with an overwhelming architectural backdrop.
Park Hyatt - Featuring uninterrupted views of the Opera House and clear blue water, this ballroom is a favourite amidst celebrities in Sydney. It only houses an intimate party of 70, and serves up world-renowned cuisine to the guests. This is one of those spots where you'd have the wedding, the reception, the after party, followed by a romantic night in their top-class Sydney suite valued at $6700 per night. Luxury at its best!
The Tea Room Gunners' Barracks - You have the national park on one end and then the view of the quiet harbour on the other, this beautiful treehouse setting is perfect for an intimate, quiet wedding that needs a bit of Sydney's charm.
On July 31, 2013Shitika Anand answered the question:Sydney is a really well-planned city. There are buses, trains, trams (in some parts of the city), ferries and taxis to take tourists around town.
For tourists, there is a free shuttle that does a loop of the city, starting from Circular Quay till Central station, starting from 9am till 5pm. It's a popular one amidst city workers too, as it's treated like a 'hop on, hop off' bus. Hitch a ride from anywhere on George and Elizabeth Street.
The buses are really well distributed, so whether you're going to the Eastern Suburb beaches like Bondi, Coogee, Bronte, Vauclause or Rose Bay, there are buses that will take you directly from the city to the beach. Even the northern beaches and suburbs (acoss the bridge) are well connected with city center.
If you want to make a day trip to Manly, get on the ferry for a $7 return ferry, and go across the harbour from Circular Quay. The views are fantastic, the ferry boat is massive and you get to see the famous open heads where the harbour meets the ocean. Ferries are less frequent than buses and trains, but it's a must-do, even if you just make a round trip back to Circular Quay.
Check the bus, train and ferry times on www.131500.com.
However, if you're staying in the city and want to discover your surroundings, put on your sneakers and walk around. The pedestrian pathway is beautiful and you'll spot more things on foot than on a bus or taxi.
On July 31, 2013Shitika Anand answered the question:There's so much multiculturalism in the country, you almost forget what the true Aussie food is like in the country. While there isn't really a defined true Aussie food, there are snacks that you can take back to your country, as a souvenier.
Vegemite - A dark brown coloured paste made from yeast extract, this Aussie staple is one to get used to. It's an acquired taste that might take longer than anticipated to like. Kids in Australia grow up with vegemite on toast. Just how Americans feel about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Aussies feel that and a little bit more about vegemite on white bread. It's extremely high in salt and packed with preservatives; it'll last long in your pantry. P.s. Brad Pitt tried this, and loved it; there's a story there.
Tim Tams - Another Aussie superstar, this chocolate covered biscuits are a local pride. They come in over 15 flavours now, but if you want the real stuff, go for the original. As they say, 'you wouldn't be able to stop at one'. So buy a few packs for family back home.
On July 31, 2013Shitika Anand answered the question:Sydney is one of the lucky few cities in the country where the weather isn't bi-polar. Unlike Melbourne, where you can experience all four seasons within 24 hours, Sydney is more constant.
Temperature in Sydney from May - September is cool. You'd get a high of 17-18C (65F) and a beautiful sunny winter day and by sundown it would go down to a minimum of 7C (44F).
November - March is summer time in Sydney which tend to get really hot. Expect the temperature soar up to 35-38C (100F) around Christmas time, but the nights are breezy and cool with a low of 16-18C (65F).
My personal favourite months to be in Sydney are April (Autumn) and October (Spring) - the temperature is just perfect for a light jumper, the days are beautiful and crisp and the nights are balmy. These are outside the peak season periods for travelling as well.