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During the road trip to Coffs Harbour from Brisbane, I stayed at Quality Inn. Coffs Harbour is not an international tourist spot, it doesn’t like Gold Coast. That is only a stop-over spot in Pacific Highway to Sydney. So, there are not any five-stars hotels which is similar with those one in Gold Coast. The accommodations in there are motel style and resort style.  That is a bit hard to find a comfort and good quality place to stay. Finally, I picked Quality Inn, that is not too bad. This is a motel style accommodation, but the place is quite new and clean.  Also, the room is quite big, it got a king bed, a bed, a sofa and a small living room area. But that is not bad. Moreover, it got a free wifi too.

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That is a good place to stay. Lastly, their location is good, there is a woolworth within a walking distance. I did a three minutes driving to the park beach shopping where has a KFC and woolworth.

However, that is a bit expensive, $175 per night.

Address:

22 Elizabeth St,
Coffs Harbour
NSW 2450

Crowne Plaza@Surfers Paradise

Last week, we brought a night of Mystery Hotel deal from Wotif for our stay in Gold Coast. This kind of Mystery Deal is very interesting, the website won’t tell you which hotel you will have before the payment is completed. Only the roughly location, such as Sufers Paradise South or Boardbeach, star rating of hotel, some facilities details are listed with the deal. Buying this deal sounds like playing lucky draw, that is fun.

We spent $111 for a 4.5 star  Mystery Hotel deal at Surfers Paradise South.  End up, we got a night in Crowne Plaza at Surfers Paradise.  That is quite good, we got a big room, it got double beds. I think this room can  accommodate up to 4 people, but the bed is double size, not king size. If you choose to have 4 people, may be that is a bit small. We got 2 people, that is very good enough for us. This room is already a Superior Room(Normally, $151 per night,save $40 per night), which is bigger than a standard room.

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Also, it got a balcony which has a view of surfers paradise, although, that is not a ocean view room, I was still able to see the beach front.

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For bathroom, that is very clean. The floor sounds like making of marble. That is very very good.

Apart from the room, the hotel got some facilities, such as tennis courts, pool and gym room. That is a 4.5 star hotel!

Also, I got their reward club. Then I got a free wifi too.  It got 3Mbps download, that is not too bad. If you are willing to $19 per day, you can have a better speed wifi.

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The club rewards included a late check-out! Instead of a standard 10am, we can checkout before 11.30am without any charge.

That is only one disadvantage, which is not free car park. You need to pay $15 per day for parking, but that is a undercover and lock-up car.

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Lastly, you have to pay attention when you enter the room. You will see a bottle of wine sounds a free Complimenting  wine. That is a free with terms and conditions.  That is only free if both of you go to the Four Winds 360° restaurant at the top level and have their seafood buffet, then it is free. Unless you open it, then you need to pay $30 for this.

Generally, we had a very very enjoyable stay in this hotel!

Address:

2807 Gold Coast Highway
Surfers Paradise
QLD 4217

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I and my wife went to Cairns for holidays last week. We took a very early flight from Brisbane, that was 7am. We arrived at 9.30am. That sounds a bit late for a full day tour and that was tired. We woke up at 3.30am.  We chose to take a ride on Skyrail, which is somethings easy.

Skyrail is a cable over the rainforest from Freshwater Cairns to Kuranda. The total length is about 7.5km. You can enjoy the magnificent view of rainforest and Barron Falls.

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Also, during the cable trip, there are two stops, Red Peak station and Barron Falls Station.

At Red Peak Station,  there is a free eco-tour to rainforest. The tutor gave a brief introduction about this rainforest to us.  That was quite informative.

 

Red Peak Rainforest

 

The second stop is Barron Falls Station,  There are a walk trail in there and a few lookouts which can see Barron Falls.

That is quite nice!

 

Barron Falls

 

During this trip, we had a cable car journey and a bit of bush walking too.

Lastly, if you stay in a hotel at Carins City, Skyrail can organize a pick up service.

Cairns Airport

Last week, we went to Cairns for holidays. We stayed in a hotel at Cairns City. The first problem we had how to go to our hotel from Airport. We did some research.  Taking a coach bus sounded a cheaper option, the most expensive is $19 and the cheapest one is $10. I travelled with my wife, therefore, that was around $20 which is a reasonable amount. However, I landed at 9:30 am and we booked a pickup service to Skyrail from our hotel at 10:40. That was very rush.  At the end, I chose to take a taxi.

I found that is a better option than by a coach. The taxi trip was around 10 minutes from airport to Cairns City, and only costed $25, which is included $4 airport access fee.  If you travelled with someone, that is a similar price to coach and that is faster. Sometime, coach required to drop off other passengers at a number of hotels. Taxi will drop you off to your hotel directly.

That was a good option for us. As a result, we took a taxi from our hotel to Airport. The airport fee access is only applied all taxi getting out from airport, not entry. So, end up, our taxi fee is cheaper, only $20. If you stay in Cairns city and need to go to/out from Airport, I think  taking taxi will be a good option for you.

(Note that: most of hotel receptionists will help their guests to call a taxi, please note that, there will be extra $1.50 as the call out fee. If you are willing to walk a little bit, there are a number  of taxi ranks in the City)

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I am in Australia for around 15 years.  I had a number of chances to move other states. Every times, at the end, I chose to stay in Brisbane.

I think I made a right choice so far. Last Monday, I went to Canberra for a business trip. I arrived at 7.50 am, that is so cold. The temperature was only minus 4 degree. When I walked out from the airport, that was freezing.

For weatherwise, Brisbane is much nicer. In winter, there is a quite warm, at morning, that is only 11-15 degree. Sometimes, if the weather is good, we have plenty of sunshine, the temperature can be over 20 degree.  That is a good place to live!

I am glad to settle down in Brisbane!

B-717 – Row 22

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Yesterday, I went to a business trip from Brisbane to Canberra. We travelled by a Qantas B717 which is a small jet.
We checked-in very late, so we got the second last row (Row 22)in the plane. Although I got a window seat(22A), but that was next to the engine, I had no views at all. In addition, that was at the back, we were almost the last one to have dinner, all hot food were gone, I only cloud get a box of salad. That is bad.
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If you travel by B717, please check-in earlier and do not choose Row 22.

Cathay Pacific October Specials

Source:Open Clip Art Using Under Public Domain Attribution

I booked a ticket from Brisbane to Hong Kong by Cathay Pacific. I will fly around October. That is a huge discount price, around late $800, close to $900. Such a good price. Well, if you fly between 10 January 2015 to 12 June 2015, the price will be around $786, more attractive!

Snorkeling@Great Barrier Reef

We are so luck to live in Queensland, we are closed to Great Barrier Reef which is one of  seven natural wonders of the world, we just need to take a  two hours flight to there or  even we can driving to Cairns and take a cruise to there !

A few years ago, I went to cairns and joined a tour to Great Barrier Reef. I took a high speed wavepiercer for about an hour to outer barrier. And then I did snorkeling in there! I saw a beautiful underwater ocean life! I even saw a large Sea turtle was swimming just under our tour group. I think Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef should be one of  “must do” activities in your lifetime!

QANTAS is not in my list of favourite airlines. I only travelled with them twice and the last time was several years ago. However, recently, I travelled with them. I am quite impressed.

The flight crews were very helpful, but the key factor for my impression is in their flight meals. They were very delicious.  I loved them  a lot.

Wine@QANTAS

First of all, they still offer small bottled wines. As far as I know, most airlines do not offer them anymore so that they can cut costs. Personally, I love this kind of small bottled wines a lot.

Chicken with Rice@QANTAS

Secondly, the meals are tasty. They are not just meat pies and beef. They offer rice, pasta, chicken and fish. These choices are suitable for our Asian tastes.  I am impressed with this offer,they were able to do this although this was a flight to Auckland, meaning there were not many Asian people on board.

Dessert@QANTAS

Thirdly, the portion is just right, not too much or too small. It included a main course and salad. Also, it has a dessert(ice-cream). Sweet!!!

I will consider travelling with them if I need to fly.

NZ GST

Source:Open Clip Art Using Under Public Domain Attribution

In Australia, we have the GST (Goods and Services Tax). Most of the goods we buy in Australia have GST, but if you are a visitor, you can claim the GST back at the airport. In the major international airports, there is a counter for the claiming of GST after you pass immigration, if you bring the goods you bought in Australia. All you need to do is keep the receipts and take the goods to the counter. Then you can get back money.

When I travel to New Zealand, it is a different story.  I bought some souvenirs in Auckland. I kept the receipts and brought the souvenirs in my hand carry luggage. It’s done the same way in Australia. When we passed the immigration counter in Auckland, I was looking for the place where I could claim my GST, BUT THERE IS NO SUCH THING IN NEW ZEALAND! All visitors cannot claim their GST in the airport. That is different from Australia! Thus, I suggest if you need to buy souvenirs, you can buy them from the shops which are located in the area after you have passed the immigration counter. They do not charge any GST. I checked the thermal mud products that were the major portion of our souvenirs; they were cheaper if they are without GST.  Please be aware of that when you travel to New Zealand.