Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Get Up & Go winter edition

The winter edition of Australia's premier travel magazine for mature travellers (we like to think of them as grown-ups) is out and about now. Our cover story – and that bear is seriously magnificent – is of an Arctic odyssey in Canada, a special trip indeed.
We visit the misty hills of Dalat, Vietnam, a Royal beach resort in Thailand, the friendly Cook Islands and Mikimoto's island in Japan.
We eat Seoul food in Korea and go river cruising in Europe. At home we show large rocks in SA; a walk in Victoria that does more than keep travellers fit, we head to Queensland's warmth and enjoy Long Island in the Whitsundays and discover that there are no Oranges in Orange, NSW. And, of course much more!
There's P&O Cruises holiday in the Pacific to be won and until 1 August, a trip to China – don't miss out. Subscribe to the magazine now and get up and go! Visit:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Make a spectacle of yourself

If you, like me, wear glasses, it's always a concern travelling and worrying about losing yours specs. My travel advice always has been to: carry your prescription with you. But best of all, carry a spare pair of glasses, and maybe your spare pair can be your prescription sunglasses?
But frames are expensive and no matter what they cost on the lower price end - you want to look good and not have the old-fashioned Mr Magoo makeshift spare pair. Specsavers has partnered with The Country Road Eyewear Collection 2010 and has released a 24-piece men and women's eyewear range and are offering fabulous styles for the discerning traveller who doesn't want to sell the family heirlooms to pay for them! Specsavers have the frames in store now and the range starts from $199 for two pairs of frames> Bargain!
Henry Roth, Specsavers Style Ambassador says: "Whatever age you are, choose frames that fit your personality and individuality. You don't have to make the decision on the shape of your face or age. The Country Road collection has many colours and styles to choose from - and to choose two pairs."
And having two pairs of spectacles: "Match them to your mood and personal style. Add a burst of colour to your outfit, day or even the country you are travelling in."
To see the range of Specsavers Country Road fab frame collection and to find out where stockists are visit:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Must see list for Glasgow

Glasgow glory
Once the rough and tumble brother to the couth elder sister Edinburgh, Glasgow is on the up and up and. From a grim, industrial and rugged city in urban chaos, it has emerged a scrubbed and buffed city with golden sandstone buildings, coming out from under to show what the enduring and spectacular architecture has to offer.
Try some of the following sites on for size.

1. Glasgow Cathedral
Majestic and an exemplar of Gothic architecture, this beauty is the only cathedral in mainland Scotland to survive the reformation. Built in 1136, the present structure dates from the 15th century when the city’s trade guilds fought to save the structure.

2. George Square
A grand open space featuring statues of famous Glaswegians and other folk from the lowlands. Spot Robert Burns, James Watt, Sir John Moore and perched on top of a column is Sir Walter Scott. An oversight obviously, but Billy Connelly isn’t there.

3. Police boxes
If you are a fan of Dr Who you’ll notice a proliferation of dark blue 1950s ‘Police’ boxes that look suspiciously like the Tardis. I suspect there’s more to them than sitting in squares and on corners looking benign. Anyone spied a Dalek?

4. Merchant City
The Merchant City precinct is a planned 18th century civic expansion that showcases Glasgow’s boom years. The noble private and civic buildings have been reborn as apartments and stylish bars and restaurants. The outlandish exterior of a 1775 former mansion is now the Gallery of Modern Art. Flowery on the outside and housing sleek, clean modern lines of today’s art.

5. Glasgow Central Station
The station is a shining example of vast Victorian industrial architecture. It’s the busiest railway station in the UK outside of London; light and airy with cafes and shops hugging the wide concourse. The Heilanman’s Umbrella is a famous landmark, it’s the glass walled railway bridge which carries the platforms of Glasgow Central Station across Argyle Street. (Heilanman’s name derived from the Highlanders that met to keep in touch under the bridge when they came to Glasgow to find work after being displaced during the Highland clearances in the 19th century.)

7. Provand’s Lordship
A rare example of 15th century domestic Scottish architecture in the city is opposite the St Mungo Museum of religious Life & Art. Provand’s Lordship is the name of the stone manse, built for the chaplain of St Nicholas Hospital. Three storeys of history and charm, the ceilings and doorways are low and the rooms are furnished with sound oak furniture and period artefacts. There’s an authentic feel to this hoos!

8. Willow Tea Rooms
All over Glasgow you’ll see the geometric designs of one of Scotland’s famous sons, architect and designer Rennie Mackintosh. His best-known building is the Glasgow School of Art and on a more intimate scale, Mackintosh House. The Willow Tea rooms were designed in 1903 for local tea lady, Kate Cranston. For the price of a cup of tea you can enjoy his beautiful work, the silver chairs and mirrored friezes.

Monday, June 14, 2010

New Guinea moments

Just passed a beautiful long weekend in Sydney - but there was a definite chill in the air. Got me thinking back to this time last year visiting Papua New Guinea – and it was very hot. The pictures featured are at a dive resort in Tufi – accessible by plane or boat only. I was with a few other travel writers and we had taken boxes of books, pencils, notepads and some fun stuff to add to a classroom. The school on Tufi has 'rooms' with a floor, half walls and a roof. Damage has been done over the years with bad weather and there is no money to finance the school with equipment.
The majority of the students paddle from around the coast (sometimes for three hours) to get there. We distributed the gifts as discreetly as we could but the teachers introduced us to the children and they all welcomed us and thanked us with hearty applause.
One of my companions played soccer with them – and like kids from anywhere, they liked the outside bits of school better than the inside. If you are on a cruise in that region you may stop at Tufi - if you do perhaps drop some pencils, medium size shirts (for the teachers who earn almost nothing) and some good will.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I love Sydney

The day started out promising after a fortnight of rain - blue skies, and a crisp breeze carried the ferry from Sydney's Circular Quay to Cockatoo Island in the harbour. The island has been host to convicts who chopped the island apart and cut enough sandstone to build many of Sydney's finest buildings of the early colony town. It's also been a home for wayward girls, and foremost a mighty big ship building establishment. Now it welcomes campers, day visitors, concert goers and art lovers or art explorers. Hosting some of the exhibitions in this year's Sydney Biennale, the massive turbine room has exploding cars hanging from the ceiling, other empty spaces have been filled with innovative dioramas featuring social, political and esoteric themes. After coffee and a snack from the Canteen, we wandered over to another empty space that began to fill with fans of Warren Fahey and the Larrikins. Fahey and the band sang and played old folk songs that came from the early days of the island.
After a splendid day we headed back to the ferry and the heavens opened up and poured rain for the next few hours.If you get the chance go to the island - the FREE ferry leaves from outside the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) at the Quay on the hour. Oh Sydney, you never fail to impress.