Fun Posts and Holiday Disasters

The 7 most annoying things in hotel rooms and how to fix them!

I have had a tough week - I admit it. It has left me tired, grumpy and irritable. For a long time I have had a list swirling around in my brain of all the advice I would like to give to all the hotel managers of all the hotels we have, or will in the future, ever stay in. Over three decades of travel, David and I have stayed in hundreds, perhaps more than a thousand, hotels, B&Bs and self-catering cottages. They have ranged from 1-star, budget accommodation to 5-star luxury retreats. Some could only be described as rat-infested, flea pits. Others were so lovely I had to be pried out the door when it came time to leave.

13 tips to make flying easier - or how to survive a long haul flight without going nuts!

Aeroplane wing
David and I live in Australia and David loves to travel.  Australia is that big island at the bottom of the globe which is literally thousands of miles from everywhere. As a result we spend a lot of time on aeroplanes. Even on domestic trips we can easily spend five hours on a plane - and don't get me started about how long it takes to get to Europe, America or Asia. If time sitting in a tin can in the sky can make you an expert, then we are world experts on flying.

A Cyclist's Lament: Welcome to New Zealand!

Bicycles, totem poles
Sometimes David and I make things difficult for ourselves. When it comes to great countries to ride a bicycle in, New Zealand is right up there close to the top of the list. The whole country is criss-crossed by rail trails and cycle paths. We have come here to cycle. We are going to start out in Auckland, head north for a few days and then spend a week near Napier in Hawkes Bay.

Auckland is a city of 1.5 million people. You would think it would be a simple thing to organise bike hire for a two week trip in a city that size. Not for us, the easy option. David doesn’t hire bikes. He dislikes the way they are never as comfortable as his own bike and he hates the extortionate cost - often more than renting a car. He much prefers to subject himself, and me, to the enormous hassle and precision planning required to fly our bikes with us across the Tasman Sea from Australia. 

A Ghost Tour at Q Station, Manly

Do you believe in ghosts? I do - now! A ghost tour at Q Station,  the old quarantine station at Manly in Sydney's north, will shake the scepticism out of the most ardent non-believer.

It is well after dark. We have had a long, enjoyable dinner at the Boilerhouse Restaurant where, under the guidance of chef Matt Kemp, the food is nothing short of spectacular. Bob, our ghost hunting guide, meets us below the giant stairway which leads to the upper levels of Q Station. Earlier today we were told contestants on The Biggest Loser run up and down these stairs as part of their weight-loss regimes. I wonder how many don't make it - no wonder they say the place is haunted.

Life in the slow lane: Welcome to New Zealand!

We are standing in the slow queue at Auckland airport. We inch forward and stop.

Kiwis are lovely people but can't they count? Six customs officers are checking quarantine declaration forms. There are four for the line to our left and two for us!