WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Beginning…

Holidays in IndiaI have always loved to travel and it seems as I get older that the urge to wander is getting stronger and stronger!

That is why I always love the beginning of the year. It is a time to perfectly contemplate a ‘clean slate’ of a year and the travel possibilities that I may explore.

I look forward to travelling with you all in my back pocket this year. I wonder where the wind will blow us?

Hip Hotels ~ The Gourmet Stay, Wellington, New Zealand…

So…where to stay in wonderful Wellington? Well I’ve found you the perfect hotel.

The Gourmet Stay is a hip hotel in Te Aro, right in the centre of Wellington city. It is just a short stroll to Cuba Street, Te Papa Museum and all the interesting sights of central Wellington.

The Gourmet stay is located above a gorgeous little café in Frederick Street. You can have your breakfast in the café in the morning which is heavenly. The café also leaves little muffins and cakes out after it closes for hotel patrons to have with a complimentary cup of tea or coffee.

The Gourmet Stay has 10 rooms of varying type. The rooms are simple yet fresh and comfortable. The heating and heated towel rails make it lovely and cosy in winter. The rooms range from $120 NZD which is very good value for the centre of Wellington.

Delightful Holly helped us with all our questions and needs and made us feel right at home.

The Gourmet Stay

25 Frederick Street

Te Aro WELLINGTON NEW ZEALAND

Phone : 0064 04 8016800

The Gourmet stay is perfectly located to give you a base to explore and enjoy Wellington. I do hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

My suitcase is making me very excited…

travel suitcase

Some people believe that your holiday starts once you arrive at your destination. Not me! As soon as I start to plan my trip I begin to get very excited about all the wonderful places I will visit, people I will meet and of course all those new shops to find.

When the departure date approaches and I get out the suitcase my anticipation reaches fever pitch. Just looking at my old case makes my mind race with all the possibilities of a new trip. This week I have been packing for Rahul and my trip to New Zealand. We are travelling with our great friends Sunny and Sita. I can’t wait for tomorrow…

Shops in Bellingen ~ the icing on the cake…

So you’ve found the perfect accommodation in Bellingen, you’ve visited the monthly markets and now you want the icing on the cake ~ shopping! Well here my top picks for some fabbo Bellingen shopping: EMPORIUM BELLINGEN ~ This lovely shop is housed in the huge, … Continue reading

Beaut Bellingen Backpackers…

Each time we visit Bellingen we always stay at Belfry Lodge which is better known as the Bellingen YHA Backpackers at 2 Short Street, Bellingen. We have been staying at this wonderful, old, two storey house since 1996.

One of the main reasons we love it is because of its location, location, location! It is found only a hop, step and jump from the main street of Bellingen and also to the lovely Bellinger River. The Backpackers has many different types of accommodation starting at $27 per person a night. We always stay in the four bed family room for $88 per night. You have to share the bathroom but it is just across the hall and very clean.

The Backpackers has a great atmosphere with many different types of people staying. There is an immense kitchen where you can prepare your own meals and meet some interesting people while you do. If you stay in one of the upstairs rooms you can sit on the wide verandah and gaze over the divine view of the river below. If you are lucky at sunset you’ll be visited by some cheeky possums…a real treat for children.

The Backpackers offers daily tours too if that’s your thing. Rahul and my boys like to borrow the Backpacker’s tyre tubes and float down the Bellinger River (which they did this trip). They also like to play snooker out on the verandah.

The managers, Joel and Holly, can be contacted on +61 2 66551116.

So if you are ever up Bellingen way try the Backpackers…you’ll be happy you did!

Say hello to Bello…

We have just spent a divine weekend in Bellingen, NSW, Australia. Each year we visit Bellingen quite a few times because we love it so much.

So what do we love about Bello?

  • It is a small character filled town lined with old shops in heritage buildings.
  • It has monthly markets which are phenomenal.
  • It has an interesting alternative community which really appeals to our family.
  • It has a wonderful backpackers lodge to stay at.

One of the highlights of visiting Bellingen is its huge community markets. The markets are held on the 3rd Saturday of the month and are extremely popular. You can find the markets at the showground in Church Street. The markets feature 100’s of stalls, live music, children’s rides and camel rides. The wonderful stalls are chocked full of antiques, organic plants, fruits and vegetables, crafts, clothing and anything else you can imagine. One of our favourite stops at the markets is the tasty Indian food van…mmm…yummy samosas with dhal for $5… a real bargain. The Sikh owner’s sense of humour is fun and original. When I ordered he said he would only give me my order if Rahul danced. Rahul obliged with a little Indian wiggle. He then wanted Rahul to stay all day as he said it would be good for business. When we ordered our naan he exclaimed “What! I’ll have naan left.” A real character!

Stay tuned for more posts on this wonderful town.

Magical Madurai…

If you are travelling to South India make sure that magical Madurai is on your itinerary. Madurai is one of the oldest cities in India and is full of wonderful sights. My “must sees” in Madurai are:

  1. Sri Meenakshi-Sundareshwara Temple…This temple is well worth the visit with its massive gopuras and statues. It is one of the largest temple complexes in all India. Be prepared for a queue to get in as it is a very popular destination for Indian tourists. Every day anywhere between 15,000-20,000 people pass through its front gates. It is open daily from 5am-12.30pm and between 4-8.30pm.
  2. Thirumalai Nayak Palace…Only one-quarter of this palace still survives. It has two eighteen metre high rows of columns on either side of the palace which are amazing to walk through. An old museum and many stone statues are housed in an adjoining hall and garden. I really recommend the wonderful light show (in English at 6.45pm nightly). This show depicts the Tamil saga of the “Heavenly Pavillion” and was very entertaining.
  3. Gandhi Memorial Museum…This is a well organised museum which depicts India’s history and the life of Mahatma Gandhi. When travelling to the museum you cross over a large bridge. On your return ask the driver to take you on the lower road under the bridge ~ this will give you a great view of Madurai’s washing being done on the banks of the Vaigai river. Vast lines sway with coloured clothing as far as the eye can see.
  4. Puthu Mandapam…This pillared hall can be found at the eastern side of the Sri Meenakshmi Temple. Here you can buy fabrics and waiting tailors will whip you up an outfit within the hour. I got a lovely white shirt made for 200 rupees.

We stayed at the Park Plaza Hotel located at 114-115 West Perumal Maistry Street, Madurai. It is a mid range Indian hotel that is very clean and well located just a short auto-rickshaw ride from the temple area. The great thing about this hotel is that the rate includes breakfast and dinner. We loved eating here as the food was tasty and  the menu extensive.