Author Archives: Lovelly

About Lovelly

I'm a true traveller. Even when I'm home, I'm travelling at heart. I'm constantly looking at blog sites on travel and checking out the travel deals and you can be assured that I've got the travel and lifestyle channel on in the background. I'm fun, friendly and adventurous. I'm extremely passionate and driven and once I decide I'm doing something, there is no stopping me! I want to incorporate my passion for travel, exploring and excitement into my everyday life. So blogging it is!

Dragon at Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2017

Melbourne! I am here! And tonight, I’ll be going to Dragon! Come with me. Nat Harris is awesome and I’m so excited to be going to her new show. See you there!

LovellyCommunications

Natalie Harris had a stellar 2016, performing her solo show Good Grief to sold out crowds at MICF and Melbourne Fringe and being awarded Screen Australia Gender Matters funding to develop the show into a web series. Now, Nat returns to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with her brand new solo stand up show Dragon.

‘Dragon’ is the nickname Nat proudly gave herself at the age of 19 and persisted with until even her own mother finally started calling her ‘Dragon’. Now 31, she’s got an RSA under her belt, body corporate on her tail and two online dating profiles to her name. Her third solo show is filled with honest, divergent and hilarious tales of what it is like to be a self-made ‘Dragon’ in a modern world.

Natalie Harris (The Vagina Diaries ABC2, Twentysomething ABC2, , Fancy Boy ABC2) was a RAW State Finalist in 2012 and made…

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Exploring the Gold Coast with a Food and Wine Tour

When you’re new to an area, visiting or living, it can be hard to know where to go and what to do! It can be even harder when you have to start recommending places to visitors and guests who join you – and you have no clue! That’s why when I met Karen from Gold Coast Food and Wine Tours I was relieved! Someone who has done the research and can share it!

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Gold Coast Food and Wine Tours is an exciting addition to the Gold Coast food scene, with walking tours of Burleigh Heads, Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise. Tours are proving popular for birthdays and hen’s parties as well as guests visiting the Gold Coast. I’m excited to have my first one booked in for Saturday 29 April as a guest of Karen’s and I cannot wait!

Accredited tour guide and business owner Karen Inglis-Turner launched the food tour company to cater for the rapidly growing interest in the region’s food and wine.

“High quality dining experiences have put the Gold Coast on the map as a foodie destination, with food tourism one of our fastest growing markets,” says Karen.

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Taking on the challenge of showing locals and visitors around the secret gems of the coast’s food industry, her business could not have come at a better time.

“Food is on trend right now, with dining rating among the Gold Coast’s highest tourism drawcards. Thanks to popular programs like Master Chef, people are more aware of the provenance of food, and the time and effort that goes into its preparation.”

So what can you expect on a food tour?

You’re going to get insider knowledge of the industry and see the hidden gems and foodie secrets that only a local would know. You’ll also get to meet the people behind the food – bakers, baristas and brewers who are really passionate about what they do and are happy to share their knowledge.

Karen says “Our tours evolve as the hospitality industry changes. Venues open and close, so even if you’ve been on one tour. It’s definitely worth coming back to take another.”

I’m really excited to explore more of the Gold Coast and try amazing food and beverage offerings (see above!) The tour I’m going on will take me to Burleigh Heads, a place I haven’t visited much but I hear it’s amazing! People often opting for the chill vibe a bit further away from the tourist hot spots. Quite frankly, I can’t wait to try all three of these amazing tours and expand my Gold Coast knowledge.

To book your tour visit goldcoastfoodandwinetours.com.au. Yummy things, come at me!

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Girls Night is back at MICF 2017

It’s all begun! Get your tickets and don’t miss this fab show as part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2017!

LovellyCommunications

Expect witty. Expect wicked. Expect wonderful. Grab your girlfriends and get ready to giggle, Girls Night is back for Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) 2017! Shows will run from 29 March to 9 April 2017 at The Upstairs Lounge @ Little Sista in the center of Melbourne.

cath-styles-girls-night Producer and MC Cath Styles

Cath Styles is bringing together the cream of the festival’s funny ladies in a night to celebrate all things female and funny. This festival favourite is big on value and even bigger on laughs.

Girls Night features an exciting mixed bag of stand-up, storytelling, sketch and musical comedy. The line-up changes every night and features: Mandy Nolan, Bev Killick, Nikki Britton, Alice Fraser, Diana Nguyen, Tessa Waters, Lauren Bok, Sally Kimpton, Georgie Carroll, MC Cath Styles and many more.

Always hilarious, Girls Night is hands down the ideal start to any night out at The Festival.

cath-styles Cath…

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Leaving Cherrapunjee and onto the next stop, Delhi!

We have loved our time in Cherapunjee so much. Exploring the state of Meghalaya and all its beauty has been an experience of a lifetime. The travel however, not so pleasant. Be prepared in this area for long drives, winding roads and a lot of down time in the car.

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We started our journey early from the hotel as it was at least a six-hour trip by car to the airport in Guwuhati. We did it in exactly six hours on the way. Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, is on our route and it can sometimes take more than one hour alone to get from one side of the city to the other. Our flight wasn’t until 5pm but it’s not worth risking it.

I had planned to spend the car ride diary writing and blogging. The scenery and my sleepy head wouldn’t allow me that. I just happily stared out the window and observed the daily life of the people in this region. It was so nice to just let my mind wander. It’s something I miss about commuting by public transport at home, the time spent gazing out the window pondering the world at large.

As always with me, a toilet stop was required. Fortunately, it also offered an excellent view and was an activity point we had passed many times but never stopped. Click the photo and back in the car.

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Random cows were spotted out the windows – spot the cow is a fun and fruitful game to play when driving along the roads of India.

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We made good time and were able to stop for lunch much closer to Guwuhati, giving us more time for the airport if we needed it. We went to a traditional restaurant filled with Bamboo scaffolding, furniture and even table mats seemed to follow the natural theme.

When ordering, I’m trying to mix up the dishes so Matt gets to try a wide variety of cuisines. We decided in the more rural parts to go veg only and stuck with that theme. Veg Pulao (a  rice dish), malai kofta (dumplings of sorts in a crème sauce – my friends absolute favourite so I ordered in honour of her) and aloo ghobi (potato and cauliflower curry). I over ordered, or perhaps they were too generous in their servings. Either way, all was delicious and the service, as so often it is in India, was wonderful! We also got to try Thumbs Up (I love the sugary indian version of coke) and water…. Fosters water!

 

We reached the airport well ahead of our 5pm scheduled flight. We farewelled our lovely driver Bablu and began the hustle bustle of the Indian airport experience.

Our flight on Jet Airways was wonderful. I’ve flown them so many times over the years and I think they have to be my Indian airline of choice. Lovely service, delightful food that comes around very quickly, and comfortable seats. It doesn’t look that great – but it tastes good!

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We reached Delhi and it was nice to see the familiar arrivals hall. I haven’t been to Delhi for quite some time but used to spend a large majority of my trips here staying with friends in their homes. I got to see the day to day life of Delhites. We only have one quick night here but I’ve arranged to do a half day city tour which our tour company Take Me to India kindly obliged. I think it’s nice for Matt to experience the history of the capital of India.

Our lovely tour operator Pankaj from Take me to India met with us. I cannot recommend them more highly and will continue to mention their wonderful service throughout my blog. If you would like to see a sample of my AMAZING itinerary, please do email me via the contact page. It was nice to meet face to face after so many emails and calls.

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We were put up in the Holiday Inn near the airport for convenience. It happened to also be a 5-star hotel. I am not complaining! We enjoyed a bit of luxury after our humbler, yet wonderfully serviced, hotel in Cherrapunjee. We dolled ourselves up and enjoyed a few cocktails and snacks at the hotel bar for an exorbitant fee. Go on, splurge a little! We collapsed into bed, ready for the Northern part of our adventure to begin!

(Yes, the pillows even said FIRM and SOFT! Luxury!)

 

If you would like to follow our journey on Instagram, please check out @Lovellyem and search the #tag #EmmaMattyIndiaSing2017.

Written on Day 10 of our 24 Day trip in India with stopover in Singapore.


Caves and waterfalls in and around Cherrapunjee

Sleep in!! After a few early mornings and busy itineraries, we were given a luxurious departure time of 9.30am. Though we struggled to sleep past 8am, the rest was welcomed. We didn’t really know what today had in store – generic sightseeing of waterfalls, caves and viewpoints was the description from our tour guide before he departed, so we’ll see!

We’ve been going to bed so early here, it’s been awesome catching up on the sleep. But when you wake, you’re famished and eagerly awaiting the breakfast buffet at Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort!

Off in the car again. Poor Matt. He’s been such a trooper with all this driving around for someone who gets really quite motion sick. Today would be shorter stints in the car so that should help. I did ask the driver to stop on the way past this beautiful little town. It was actually the place we started our walk to the Living Bridges but from high above on the cliffs it looks like a little toy town and it makes me smile.

 

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First stop was the Mawsmai Cave. As often happens in India, we went to look at a tourist attraction and became one. I knew people would LOVE Matt’s hair and they sincerely do. He always gets asked for photos first and as I stand back and giggle they say “Maam, Maam you please” and I’m also included in the picture.

We managed to get a break from the big group and had the narrow caves to explore all to ourselves. Unfortunately, this cave was really rather… well… dead! It has been touched, poked and walked on so much that it’s no longer living and growing. It still looked interesting but Matt explained it should be a lovely white colour and that, it certainly was not. It was wonderful having a science buff with me to explain a lot of what was going on.

We did find one other small cave which still had living parts and was a lot whiter and more vibrant. It’s nice to share these sights with people but it’s hard to ensure they are adequately respected and cared for.

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Our next stop was the Eco Park. The name baffled Matt as strewn all around the place, including down waterfalls, was rubbish. It’s a big problem all over India and although the messaging from communities and local Governments is “Care for the environment”, it’s not really practiced or enforced.

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Sohra, near to Cherapunjee and where many of the sights we were visiting, is one of the wettest places on earth. We just happened to be there in Winter aka the dry season. We were also informed that due to environmental changes they are not receiving anywhere near the amount of water they used to and hence some of the sights look quite different to what is advertised.

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One such site was Seven Sister Falls. This is all that there is of the waterfall at this time. We weren’t too disappointed as we had been forewarned not to expect much. It’s definitely inspired me to come one time in September, soon after the monsoon to see it in its true glory.

We walked all around the park. There were some amazing views of the valley and we could see where the waterfalls and rivers would usually flow. It was kinda cool walking across what would usually be a gushing waterfall and is currently a trickling stream. There were lots of locals nearby washing their clothes in the river. Always a fascinating sight to me.

We continued on to the next attraction, another cave. Arwah Cave. Each attraction had a bit of a walk which was good to stretch the legs (though we are still in so much pain from our epic trek to the living bridges). It was a beautiful winding walk around the valley under a thick canopy of jungle greenery. We spotted another waterfall as we walked and some lovely water features along the way.

It was definitely the big cave. We climbed down into this cave which was lit in parts along the way. Matt said this cave was definitely still alive and active. There was water running through the bottom and some of the features were clearly growing. We climbed up stairs and crawled along passages. We walked quite deep into the cave and at one point I did feel a little short of breath, we were inside the hill after all. Although bigger, I liked the intricacies and shapes of the Mawsmai caves better. But interesting to visit all the same.

Our final stop for sightseeing on this day was the Nohkalikai falls. I’ll share another blog on the interesting history of the naming of these falls and some more about this area. In short, Noh Ka Likai means “Leap of Likai” after the woman by the name of Likai leapt off the falls. Grim but interesting tale. We wandered around the grounds and I did actually LOL when I saw this sign. The irony!!!

 

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This was probably the most active of all the falls we had seen and we could only imagine how impressive it would be in the height of monsoon season. A beautiful turquoise pool of water formed at the bottom that was ever so enticing – apart from the epic hike down to the bottom. We found a small lookout which offered a better view of the falls. It also had some stairs, which we assumed led to another and better viewing platform. So we walked. And walked and walked. Instantly regretting our decision on this never-ending quest for better views.

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Matt was in pain from the trek and his muscles ached so he decided running down like a lunatic would help that pain… ok.

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We gave up after a while and settled for q pretty incredible view. Not too shabby. Then we walked up, and up, and up… again!!

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Our sightseeing day ended at the famous Orange Roots restaurant. It’s the partner restaurant to our lovely hotel, Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort. They appear to be the most esteemed tourist venues in this area. We opted for a thali as you get a little bit of everything and we were rewarded with a tasty meal and excellent service.

They even have a bell so you can tell them just how good you thought it was. “Ring if you liked it”. So I rang it!

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That brought a close to our lovely day of sightseeing. I think in all honesty we could have crammed the one extra day into the others and had two days of travel and two days of sightseeing. However, it’s also nice sometimes to have down time – something my itineraries often don’t allow.

One last sunset. One last delicious buffet meal with our gorgeous Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort staff. I just had to have a photo with these gorgeous women. Again, Athiti Devo Bava.

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If you would like to follow our journey on Instagram, please check out @Lovellyem and search the #tag #EmmaMattyIndiaSing2017.

Written on Day 9 of our 24 Day trip in India with stopover in Singapore.


Biking around the Gold Coast

Last year I got a new bike! I feel like a five-year-old at Christmas! It’s all shiny and new and ever so pretty. As soon as I found out we were heading to the Gold Coast, I knew I wanted my very own bike. I’ve borrowed bikes from family and purchased second hand bikes, but this time I wanted it to be all mine.

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Cycling as a mode of transport is a delightful concept. I have dreamed of a time where I can be a bicycle commuter. I aimed to do it in Sydney, but the fast paced streets are not safe for my cruisey style. I did it in Melbourne for a few months, but then my work shifted to the suburbs and my crusty old mountain bike was no match for the massive roads and busy commuters. But now, being on the Gold Coast! A city that is flat as a tack with bike paths as far as the eye can see. It’s the lazy bike riders dream!

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I feel safe and secure on the road and actually, I can get to many places on bike paths or even through bike trails in the Broadwater Parklands. I’m enjoying the rides for pleasure and seeing my new area by bike.

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My partner is commuting to his work at Sea World Australia and so I’ve made a deal that I’ll ride with him at least one way, and possibly both. That’s a 40 minute round trip and it’s a great way to start or end my work day. I’ve also been extending my bike ride to go past Sea World and explore The Spit and marina area. It’s so lovely having the bush on one side and the bay on the other.

I’m yet to venture along Main beach and all the way down to Surfers Paradise, but I promise I will. As much as I can, I want this bike to be my mode of transport. Especially with the lovely basket in the front, it’s very achievable.

 

On your bike. Bing bing!


I miss writing for me!

Reality check – I travel as a lifestyle and I am fortunate to do a lot of it! 

My job is on my computer. My desk is wherever I am (it’s generally my lap.)

I love people telling me I can’t earn a living and continue to galavant. Or that I can’t buy a house and travel. Ummm watch me! 

I work to travel. To explore. To experience. 

I build my life and my career around my adventures. I’m loving that I can have a rewarding career, loving boyfriend, goals of investing in my future and still see so many amazing places.

A lot of work I’ve been doing in the past year has been around writing content. So much content. I’m so busy writing posts, articles, copy and more, that there is no room for my creative writing.

I’ve been to SO many places and I get asked all the time for my advice and guidance. It’s all stuck up in my head. I haven’t had, or I haven’t MADE, the time to share it. It’s my goal this year to blog in real time and to also re-live some of the wonderful travel moments I’ve had. Such as this, sitting at the top of a waterfall in the tropical jungle of Xilitla, Mexico.

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Travel is a part of me. It’s not something I do. I live for it!

I love that this blog is a platform where I can share my stories and those of the people I meet and places I see. I hope that people can feel inspired to take on their own adventures. Writing about travel transports me to exotic lands and wonderful places. It’s a blessing to get to have these experiences in real time, when writing, and later again when I read back over the adventures.

This year, I will write! For joy. For me.


A day trip to Lake Dawki and the border of Bangladesh

Our wonderful India trip has been organised by Take me to India, a tour agency in India. While preparing for this trip, I’ve been checking out the Facebook Page of Take me to India regularly. I spotted the below post and noticed it was also in the Meghalaya region where we were travelling. I sent it to our contact, he kindly added it in and arranged all of our plans so we could add this incredible lake to our itinerary.

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I got onto Take me to India after chatting to my friend who also loves India and partners with the company. I showed her the “brief” itinerary I was thinking of, she put me in touch with the local company. In one day I had back the most beautifully laid out itinerary with everything I wished for and some added bonuses. I booked it in right away!

The day started with a three-hour drive. It was a necessary evil to enjoy the beauty of the lake. Poor Matt struggles in the car so he tried to rest most the way. I took in all the incredible vistas and views the curving mountain path had to offer.

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We made a stop at an incredible valley viewpoint. The way the land here ebbs and flows is spectacular. It’s so nice to simply stand and admire all that is around us.

 

 

As you approach Lake Dawki, the traffic builds. It’s clear this is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. We soon saw the stunning blue of the water and the sun shimmering across it. We then noticed the 100’s, or possibly 1000’s, of people are splashing at the edges of the lake and walking across the sand banks. There are wooden boats paddling along with happy passengers and people selling their goods on the border of India and Bangladesh.

We hopped out at the Dawki Boating area and walked down to the water’s edge. We were instantly surrounded by boat paddlers wanting us to choose them as our oarsmen. Our driver was there to assist us and guided us in the right direction, before we knew it we were in a boat and heading out across the lake. It’s a beautiful spot filled with laughter as people splash in the water. The odd holler from the armed guards at the border alerts someone to the fact that they’ve crossed over into Bangladesh without an entry permit – woops!

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The waters are crystal clear. Deep aquamarine hews float across the surface but as you look down below the boat, you can see clearly to the bottom. The water fades from aqua, to green, to a loyal turquoise blue. It’s reasonably quiet out on the water and you can enjoy the peace as you float through high walled cliffs covers in lush green jungle at the top.

The boat floats towards a pebbled beach like area and the driver offers us a chance to walk around or go to one of the little pop up cafes. We take the opportunity to put our feet in the welcoming water, it looked so refreshing and cool. But no. It was bloody freezing. Icy, blood stopping, cold! Fresh is definitely one word. We soon left the water and decided to enjoy a juice in the little bungalow of a café. Not before being stopped by passing Indian tourists who wanted a picture with sir and madam.

The café owner was a hoot! I said one word in Kashi to him and he spent the rest of our time telling me about the area in Kashi language. He eventually clicked on that I wasn’t really keeping up so switched to broken English. He pointed to two little camping tents propped up on the pebble areas. “Home stay. One night. 2000 rupees. Small one. 1200 rupees.” Ohhh we said trying to seem excited and not shocked at the extortionate price to sleep on pebbles. He was very lovely and insisted we come back and tell our friends. He then wanted us to have a photo with him, but not on his camera, on ours. Matt sensed it was a marketing ploy and that we were meant to go out and share the photos of his business to the world. So, here they are! Call Nowell’s next time you’re in Dawki and stay by the lake.

We blissfully floated back with the sun on our faces and the calm waters around us. The hustle bustle grew as we approached the shores and it was back to the busy reality of India. We had a quick look at the offerings of the market – some sort of fermented cherries and Indian snacks, we passed.

Our driver then took us briefly to the border of Bangladesh and India. It was heavily guarded and I wasn’t quite sure what we were meant to do there or if we were allowed to take photos. I held my phone up and the guards didn’t seem to do much so we posed for a few pictures, looked over at Bangladesh and off we went again.

A little stop on the way home at a small home-style restaurant. We watched the cricket and some hilarious television show which would equate to “Indian Kids Got Talent” – super cute. So many restaurants here serve a mix of Indian and Chinese food. Today we mixed it up with fried rice and mushroom chow Mein. We’ve opted to stick to vegetarian only while in these more rural parts. The food has been super delicious and there’s so much variety, we barely noticed the lack of meat.

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Long drive home and I was surprised how much the day had taken out of us. We arrived just after sunset and we collapsed onto the bed. We’ve enjoyed our afternoons of rest and catching up on reading without the distraction of internet and TV. Another successful day of exploring beautiful Meghalaya.

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If you would like to follow our journey on Instagram, please check out @Lovellyem and search the #tag #EmmaMattyIndiaSing2017.

 

Written on Day 8 of our 24 Day trip in India with stopover in Singapore.


Bucket List of places you must stay in your life!

All good things come to an end, but before they do, let’s make the most of them. Add this top 5 to your bucket list and you will certainly be living life to the max. From beautiful accommodation to incredible “once in a lifetime” experiences, we suggest you go and visit these locations before you reach those pearly gates.

1: City Palace, Udaipur, India Every little girl’s fantasy is to be a princess and men wish to live like a king – so do it! Stay in the Frateh Prakash Palace, Udaipur. Situated in the desert of Rajasthan on the shores of incredible Lake Pichola, you’ll think you are seeing a mirage- but in fact its your oasis. The hotel is a converted palace so every room is unique. Enjoy life in the lap of luxury and you may even meet the king or ride an elephant in the palace gardens. Anything is possible when you’re living like a royal!

2: Xilitla, Mexico Escape to the jungle to experience the strange and unique. Xilitla is home to the incredible Castillo de Sir Edward James – an eclectic jumble of architecture which was one man’s dream and legacy. If you ever wanted to feel like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, this is the place for you. Surreal is the word and it’s got groove and feeling. If miracles happen, if you believe in magic, then you’re sure to see it here.

3: Granada, Spain  If your eyes don’t get to see the amazing colour display put on by the skies in Granada, you have missed out. Stand at Mirador de San Nicolas at dusk with a Spanish guitar and church bells playing in the background, as the ancient Alhambra is cast into darkness. Strolling the curving lanes of the old city and escaping into caves in the hills – Granada is a hidden treasure trove of secret tapas bars and wonderful architecture.

Photo credit: Clinton Ross

4: St Maarten A Caribbean island set in the most pristine waters you’ve ever seen. Indulge completely by arriving on one of the many ocean cruises that visit this island paradise. A spectacular experience that you just cannot get anywhere else in the world is Princess Juliana International Airport where planes land on the beach! Spot the planes as they are mere specks in the distance, run into the crystal clear topaz water and have your breath taken away as a 747 jet passes over your head.

5: Paris, France. No bucket list is complete without the spoils of Paris. The shopping, the fashion, the monuments, the vibe – it all adds to the experience that is Paris. Not only a city for lovers, the arts and cafes will keep you entertained no end. Stand a top the hill area home to the Sacré-Coeur, sacred heart church and Montmartre art district. Enjoy a café au lait and a nutella crepe as you see the magnificent city of Paris, complete with famous Eiffel tower, sprawl before you. Why Paris? Because it’s Paris darlink!

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Photo credit: Ellen Bird

What are your must stay places around the world?

 


The Tirhatuan Sanctuary is the perfect Melbourne getaway

This was exactly the stay I needed! Sanctuary is the perfect word for Manuela’s beautiful space at The Tirhatuan Sanctuary. The moment I walked in I felt the tension from my body go and knew I was in a warm and welcoming place. The decor in her home is incredible and you feel very much immersed in nature. 

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Not only is the home surrounded by trees and a wonderful thriving garden, but you have the mountain ranges nearby. There is a golf course across the road where we went for a wonderful sunset walked and Manuela shared her extensive knowledge of the area. 

Manuela can also cater for guests and the food was amazing. I was offered champagne on arrival, teas and hot drinks at regular intervals and there were always snacks at the ready. I was given a nourishing soup for dinner and a lovely fresh breakfast of juice and avocado on toast. All for a very reasonable additional cost. The food and drinks are all vegan, and although I’m not a vegetarian or vegan, I didn’t feel without. It was delicious and refreshing. You’ll never go hungry here.

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Macca the guardian cat watches over the house.

I’m often travelling to Melbourne and will make this a regular stop. It’s a bit further out but after a busy few days of work nearer the city, it was exactly what I needed. I left feeling rested, fresh and generally calmer. Highly recommend the Tirhatuan Sanctuary for a relaxing retreat and getaway.

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Activities for guests to relax and switch off.

Book your next stay at The Tirhatuan Sanctuary through Airbnb 


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