Excited for my first proper stopover in Dubai

Dubai is an extremely popular stopover point between Australia and Europe. I can’t actually count now how many times I’ve been through the airport. I know the layout of the terminal rather well and I always make a beeline for Starbucks and a quick dose of FREE WIFI. But, I’ve never left the airport. However, now is my time! Next week I’m heading to the Kingdom of Bahrain to visit a friend and this time, I’m going to Dubai!


Photo credit: Amar Saleem

My dad says “If you like shopping and you like sand, you’ll like Dubai.” Well, I quite like both those things so I should be sweet! But in terms of things to do, I had no idea where to begin.

For the past eight years, I’ve been booking my trips with a wonderful travel agent at STA Travel. Gerry is my human Lonely Planet. Any travel question I have, he can answer. So when booking my trip through him to Dubai, I asked “Any tips for Dubai?” The following incredible advice came through that I just had to share! It’s made me very excited for my trip.

Dubai is split into  four main areas:


Deira is the bustling area near the airport and Bur Dubai is on the other side of Dubai Creek opposite Deira. These areas have the souks and the older buildings like the Grand Mosque and Bastakiya which is a restored heritage area. The little boats ( Abras ) which go to and from across the creek are a fun way to sight see.  The souks aren’t as interesting as say what you would find in Istanbul/Morocco  etc but pleasant enough.


This is the playground of Dubai with big sprawling hotels and resorts and iconic hotels like the Burj Al Arab,  its worth a wander around here though distances are great and transport limited.

DOWNTOWN  ( This is the area on the bustling Sheik Zayed Road )

This is home to lots of the malls  like Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates ( The one with the ski slopes ) and the tallest building in the world Burj Khalifa. Also close by here in the sea is the  Atlantis Resort built on the  Palm Jumeirah which has a great aquarium and waterpark if that is your thing.


This is the newest area with some wonderful new architecture and a pretty good paved beachfront walkway. It’s the main night life area for westerners.

Getting around is quite easy, the metro serves most places and there is a limited monorail but it goes out to the Atlantis and quite a nice journey, then there are local buses and taxis, I used to catch taxis all the time but the traffic over the years has become hideous and not just at peak hour when thousands of imported workers head off for the day.

If you take Dubai for what it is, it’s fine and fun!

The cheaper places to stay are in Deira and more authentic cheaper places to eat or the malls have what you would expect. There is a time out guide to Dubai which is good for insights into stuff to do,  he heavily advertised dune bashing/BBQ’s are fun but don’t think you are getting a bedouin experience!!

Jump in headfirst, ignore the bling and its not a bad stopover!


After much deliberation, and of course checking with Gerry, I’ve decided to stay near the Dubai Marina. I think I’m always drawn to the water. No real plans are locked in but I welcome any extra tips of advice. I’ve got just two days and I can’t wait to see all that I can see. Watch this space for lots of Dubai insights and tales from the sandy lands.

I love change… so why do I feel so strange?


Recently I’ve made a lot of big changes in my life. Moved interstate. Moved in with my boyfriend. Finished up with some long term clients. And I’m saving to buy a house. I love change! It’s full of adventure and it brings new and exciting developments. So why do I feel so strange? Off centre and not driving forward in my usually ambitious manner.


I’ve always welcomed change in my life and am a firm believer in the whole door closing and a window opening business. Or vice versa. What is often not mentioned when these new and exciting changes happen, is the exhaustion that comes with it. The long drive from NSW to the Gold Coast ( much more to come on that) and the move into the house I got! Moving house and Interstate is tiring. But after a few days, it’s back to business as usual right? Nope! It’s the emotional wave and the shift into my new zone I was not ready for.

It’s taken me two weeks to give myself grace for feeling this way. I felt lethargic, drained and a little bit lost really. I’m in this glorious new location (see the walkway to my pool above for just one example!) with  so much activity and beauty all around me. I’m overjoyed to be living with my partner and stepping onto this new path together. I’m thrilled for him and his new job. It’s a new life together and there is so much possibility. I’ve felt awful that I am feeling tired and worn out. How can I feel this way when I have so much to look forward to and I feel so genuinely happy in my surroundings?

Well – that’s change for you folks. It’s a shift in energy. A new mindset. Let alone the new timezone for me, literally. I started to worry about the future. What happens now? What’s next? What do I do?! I’m someone who always plans the next move, I think two steps ahead and I’m prepared for the next adventure to begin. I’m not ok with the … lull.


Some darling friends gave me Unicorn cards for my birthday this year. I love unicorns, so they nailed it on the present front. They know me too well. I was in quite a state last week and I asked the cards… “please, tell me what to do next”. And I then pulled out this card … CHANGE! “The changes you’re going through are positive.”

I sighed audibly with relief.

Change is a natural part of life. For most people, changes come in a series or spread out over time. That’s not my style of course. All the changes, all at once please! The more the merrier.

I guess it makes sense – but it didn’t feel natural to me feel so thrown by the changes. I felt so unsure and off. I worried if maybe I had made a bad decision and this wasn’t the path I’m meant to be on. But it is. The changes are positive. Change isn’t easy – and it’s the challenge that makes it even better! A time for growth and development. Pushing the comfort zone and making us take the next uncomfortable yet fruitful leap.

This new understanding has given me such an ease in these past few days. I’ve now given myself permission to be tired, to take it easier and to adapt at my own pace to the new. I can’t wait to see what happens next… but it’s ok if it takes a little while longer to all fall into place. I’m ok if I don’t fire on all cylinders every moment of the day… I’m in QLD – RELAX!

So for now, you’ll all have to suffer through my sunshine and roses posts as I literally go out and walk around in the sun and smell roses! I so look forward to exploring and experiencing my beautiful new life on the Gold Coast.

Have you had a big change lately? How have you adapted to the new? I would love to hear from you.