knowitalltravel

A few ideas for Tasmania

OK i know I’ve been way lazy recently with my blogs. Busy times = less blogging, and apologies to my regular followers. But fear not, the blogs are making a comeback.

I have just returned home from a long weekend in Tasmania… a place I had not visited since my high school days in the early noughties. And I was very impressed with what I saw and did.

So I thought I would just write a few of my recommendations down to kick start my blog rennaissance.

For the arty farty ones: If you are in any way shape or form interested in arts, then the MONA gallery is an absolute must see! Not only has it revolutionised the way that a gallery is experienced (via its high-tech individualised iphone style guides), but the design of the space and the artwork is simply amazing! Arguably the best gallery I have ever been to. Certainly up there with the likes of a MOMA (NYC) or Louvre (Paris). It has its very own style and the artwork of great stature.

For the thrillseekers: The Port Arthur Ghost Tour is really an awesome experience. My hot tip, head to port arthur for the ghost tour, and in doing so, save yourself a good amount of money $20/$30 on entry fees into the site. If you go just before the tour starts (about an hour or so) you will be granted entry onto the site to have a look around, and you will also be able to do to the ghost tour. The tour is HALF the price of a standard daytime entry, so you can pay for a nice dinner back in hobart! THe ghost tour itself was a good 90 minute of goosebump creating fun. If you are into the mystical, then it’s well worth your visit. There are over 2000 reported “paranormal experiences” from ghost tours over the past 20 odd years. And THe guide told us that as recently as 6 weeks ago, there was a “sighting” of a famed ghost on site.

For the eaters: The MONA cafe provides an exquisite range of spreads and vinos to suit many palettes. Do yourself a favour and get into the food here! If you are planning on checking out the famed cadbury factory, make sure you visit during the week so that you can take part in the tour!

So people, get down to Tasmania, in one of the far corners of the globe. It really is a beautiful spot to visit.

Stopover Saturday - Singapore

Singapore is a great spot for a quick stopover, but I would put emphasis on “quick”… as for an international city, it doesn’t have a great amount of buzz or magic in my opinion. Definitely if you haven’t gotten off the plane and left the beautiful airport before, then you should take a a few hours to a day to check out what the city does have to offer.

Common routes where stopover is required here: Anything between Australia and Europe, Australia and Asia, Australia and the Middle East, or between Europe and Asia.

Airport facilities good for stopover: They are plentiful and clean. You can do an abundance of things comfortably at SIN.

Transport options: MTR trains, shuttle buses, public buses, taxis.

Distance from airport to the “action”: Only about 30-35 minutes on an MTR train to the busier parts of downtown Singapore, similar by taxi.

What to see in 3 - 6 hours: You can definitely make it to downtown Singapore and back in this time frame. Head to Marina Bay, where you can walk around, pop your head into the Marina Bay Sands hotel and Casino, and finish with a ride on the Singapore Flyer, all whilst enjoying the tropical air. That will take about 3 - 4 hours, so if you have a couple more, jump on the MTR to Harbourfront to the Vivo City shopping centre. Grab some food here and head back to the airport.

What to see in 6 - 12 hours: You could see quite a lot of the city in 12 hours. There’s not a great deal to see. I would extend onthe 3-6 hour plan, head to Marina Bay, do the Singapore Flyer, check out some shopping centres, find a nice restaurant (they are well priced) at Vivo City which is above Harbourfront MTR station. Sit on top of Vivo City overlooking the cruise docks. Jump back on MTR to Little India, have a wander around here for a while, enjoying the scents and sights. Any extra time should be spent relaxing or using the rooftop pool back at Singapore Airport - only $10 to use!

What to see in 12 - 24 hours: Add to a trip to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Chinatown, Orchard Road for the stereotypical tourist experience and probably a few hours sleep!

So there you have it - a quick guide to a stopover in Singapore. If you have more questions about this - feel free to email me at knowitalltravel@gmail.com or post a question to me.

Metropolis Monday - London

I have visited London a number of times, since 2003 I have been 5 times. With every visit I would have to say my enjoyment of the city has improved, however at first I was not very impressed with it. It was too cold, too grey, dirtier than anywhere else and the Londoners were depressed! In 2008 I went to London to visit my brother who lives there, and to see Wimbledon (needed to tick it off my Grand Slam list). There was a good atmosphere in summer. I really think that the city will make this years 2012 Olympics a fantastic event, likely to match or exceed the success that Sydney showed when hosting the Olympics 12 years ago.

Population: 8.2 million within city limits, 12 million + in metropolitan area.

Best time to go: The summer months are ideal. January and February can be a bit depressing.  

Events: Olympics and Paralympics 2012, Wimbledon, Notting Hill Festival.

What makes it unique: The Royal Family, grey skies, happening vibe.

Who should go: Don’t come if you are looking for sunshine. Those into big cities will enjoy, but not all. You either love it or you’re not really impressed by London.

London town, the crossroads of British life and culture, a centrepiece of the British Empire. Only a town like London could control the majority of the world’s economy and have undeniable impact and persuasion on various worldwide trends across an array of cultures.  

The city has its ups and downs. More recent times have really displayed this. Arguably best defined by winning the rights to host the 2012 Olympics on a sunny day in July 2005, only to see an awful terrorist attack the next day. This city is a true rollercoaster ride.

I think that you really need to see London in Summer to enjoy it. The Londoners come out to play when the sunshine comes out. During winter, it is a bit of a depressing place to be. I highly recommend making the most of the long hours of sunlight in June/July/August and warmer temps. The best things to do in London are to see the historical sights, as well as to get involved in the local culture. I also firmly believe that the food and bars are something London should be proud of. There is a huge variety to please anybody’s needs, and everything has a little funky edge to it.  

Sightseeing: Do the London Eye - well worth it, just be sure to get there early or go when there’s showers predicted to avoid the queues. Rain comes and goes as the minutes pass.

Shopping: Head to the new Westfield London in Shepherds Bush or Westfield at Stratford. Both very chic and very big.

Drinking: London has a lot of nice places to drink. In fact, London has the majority of the world’s top 10 bars. The pubs are also great fun.

Eating: My favourite lunchtime snack was going to the cafe called “Eat.” and getting a freshly made sandwich with some salt and vinegar chips on the side. Delish!

Walks: Do a walk along the Thames River from the London Eye to the Tate Modern. Also, the back laneways that come off from Oxford and Regent Streets are very unique and have a lot of life and cafes.

Sleeping: Very expensive, find somewhere near a tube stop.

Getting Around: Public transport all the way. Get an Oyster Card and top it up as you go. Depending on which zones you are passing through, expect to pay between 6 and 10 pounds to use the system each day.

To/From airports: Too many airports… too many options. Depends on time constraints… but regardless, taxis are always going to be very expensive… even for a large group. Stick with trains and buses.

Go to London and find something about it to like, because it has a lot to offer. Soak up the vibe and immerse yourself in British life.