Seattle Stay Highlights: Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum and the Space Needle

Seattle Stay Highlights: Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum and the Space Needle

It’s been a couple of months since we got back from North America, I’ve been talking non stop about the Yukon and generally Canada and what an amazing experience it was to get all the way up north and see a completely different way of life. I am looking forward to sharing more info on that trip in proper detail later on on the blog because I am sure a lot of people who I spoke with wanted a direct itinerary and I will be happy to share all that information so you guys can experience the beauty of The Yukon also. For now, I would like to share some photos we took in Seattle on our way up to Canada.

Flying from Sydney to LA and then Seattle was a bit of a long journey. We flew United. People have mixed feelings about this airline. I’ve flown United once last year and again this year. In my opinion it is one of the most affordable airlines to go with if you’re heading to the States. When you live in Sydney, Australia a 14 hour flight is not something that scares you, its how long it takes to get to where things are happening, generally. It takes us 5 hours to fly to Perth alone, so we’re good flying. I have gotten so used to long haul flights, I can sleep up to 10 hours on them with no issues at all. The new United flights have all the latest entertainment and the planes seem new-ish. I think before June 2014 all United planes got upgraded to Boeing 777 which means the latest in seat entertainment and power sockets on all flights incl economy.

When we arrived in Seattle, it was cold and rainy. The cool thing was our hotel reminded me of a castle so it was nice and cozy. We got a suite and were located right in the centre of the city, within a 15 min walk to Pike St Market.

We stayed at Sorrento Hotel (4 stars on booking.com)

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Sorrento Hotel Seattle

 

This was exactly our room. Really spacious – great bed for getting over jet lag.

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Sorrento lobby

What’s funny is that the concierge is exactly the guy who told us to go to Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum to check it out (he is in this photo I took from the Booking.com site)

So the photos we took are of the Chihuly Museum and the Space Needle.

Inside Seattle Monorail

First you take the monorail ride to the Space Needle – Everything was built for the World Fair in 1962. It’s amazing they had this monorail and all the technology to build the Space Needle back then.

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You can see the Space Needle straight away. After all it’s 184m high!

On top of the Seattle Space Needle Mount Rainier

The view at the top gives you a 360 and on a clear day you can see Mt Raininer.

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On top of the Space Needle there is a self timed camera which then emails a photo to you. Here is ours. Thank you random dude who refused to get out of our picture despite his wife trying to tell him to. I guess it’s a photobomb! Whose Dad is this?

When you come down from the Space Needle, there is loads to do. We explored the Dale Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum and it blew me away.

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Incredible glass sculptures bigger than you can imagine.

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 This invention of Dale Chihuly’s called the Persian Ceiling, where various colourful glass objects are placed on top of a ceiling glass, creating a colour splash and an incredible effect when you’re underneath it.

Chinuly Glass Museum Seattle Display

These glass forests that just keep going. You feel like you’re in some magical world.

Chihuly Glass Museum Seattle Boats

These enormous outer space inspired chandeliers are everywhere. It’s with these chandeliers that Dale Chihuly exhibited in Venice – the first American ever to work in the Venini glass factory in Venice.


Chihuly Chandeliers

Chihuly Glass Chandeliers Colours

Chihuly Glass Museum Collage Flowers

 The outdoor garden area is as exciting as indoors.  It’s even more enchanting actually because the glass sculptures are placed among trees, flowers and all the colours match so that it feels as if the glass sculptures were born in this garden naturally. There is no man made feeling about Chihuly’s work. It’s something alien rather.

Chihuly Outdoor Glass Garden Red Sculpture Dale Chihuly Glass Sculpture Outdoor

     There are beautiful flowers everywhere. It is after all a garden.

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Seattle stay: 2 days

Time of year: April (spring time)

Hotel: Sorrento Hotel, Seattle (4 star)

Other Cool Seattle Things:

1. First ever Starbucks cafe

First Starbucks Seattle Inside Starbucks First Ever Seattle

2. Pike Place Market - Seattle’s original farmers’ market est 1907.

3. Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation (Microsoft was founded in Seattle)

4. Seattle is home to so many cool startup HQs such as Urban Spoon, Rover and Simply Measured

5. The Gum Wall at Pike Place Market

6. Nirvana taking punk to the masses at EMP (Nirvana exploded in Seattle in 1991)

EMP Museum Nirvana Seattle

7. Star Wars costume exhibit at EMP

Star Wars Costume Exhibition EMP Museum Seattle

8. The Ferris Wheel

Seattle Ferris WheelI really enjoyed our time in Seattle. It’s a very cool city and it didn’t rain as much as I though it would :) A highlight was that we bought a Seattle local umbrella which I now use in Sydney all the time because our weather has been super wet lately.

Have you been to Seattle? What are your highlights?

x

Fraser Island Escape – On My Getaway List

Fraser Island Escape – On My Getaway List

I love taking mini holidays around Australia, the recent trip to Daydream Island was such a relaxing and new experience, although quite short. So next time you have a few days or a long weekend, don’t underestimate the power of travelling to sunny QLD. It truly is a tropical paradise up there!

A shorter trip than Daydream Island, Hamilton Island is next on my “To Visit” list.

It’s a World Heritage Listed Island. Did you know that it is also the largest sand island in the World? Whaaaat!

So what are the top things to do on Fraser Island once you’ve made your way over there?

1. I heard Fraser Island is great when you’re exploring it on 4 wheels. 4Wheel Driving at it’s best can be booked through Sunset Safaris

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Head off on one of the hundreds of sand tracks linking lakes, rainforest and other natural attractions. Drive to mighty sand blows and the towering multi-coloured sand cliffs of The Cathedrals. Or stop to float in fast-flowing Eli Creek straight to the ocean. 

2. You can also sleep under the stars in luxury lodgings.

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Stay in an eco-friendly resort where you can indulge in massages, cocktails and restaurant meals. Or enjoy the privacy of a beach front home surrounded by bushland and wildlife. 

This one sounds like me! I once stayed in the Amazon jungle for 5 nights in Peru and it was amazing to sleep without walls and hear and experience the wild night life in its purest form.

3. Be at one with nature

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Spot raptors and stingrays on a canoe tour and some of the islands 354 species of birds on a ranger guided walk. The island is home to the rarely seen ground parrot, powerful owl and some 18 birds of prey. Sail next to dugong, turtles, dolphins and sharks or see them on a tour of the beaches and Indian Head. Keep an eye out for migrating humpback whales between August and October. 

4. Aboriginal and European history

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You can read 700,000 years of evolution in the wildflowers and centuries of climatic change in the huge sand dunes. See Aboriginal middens, fish traps, scarred trees and campsites at least 5,000 years old on a guided tour. Visit coloured Arch Cliffs, where Aboriginal men once played didgeridoos to migrating humpback whales and Moon Point, once a sacred birthing place reserved for Aboriginal women. Explore the shipwreck of the S.S Maheno, which was built in 1905 and served life as both a luxury trans-Tasman passenger ship and World War I hospital ship, before being beached in a cyclone. Join a heritage walk and learn about the island’s European namesake, Eliza Fraser, who was with her husband Captain James Fraser when their ship, the Stirling Castle, ran aground in 1836.

References taken from Australia.com

 

 

 

Exotic Places to Visit in Australia

Exotic Places to Visit in Australia

To any locals reading this, Australia might not stand out as the most exotic location in which to travel. But aside from the sunny locations like the Gold Coast or the Sydney harbour, there are a whole number of striking nature spots that are waiting to be admired, some more celebrated than others. An exotic place doesn’t have to have tall palm trees, straw huts and a shoreline of glowing white sand; exoticism can also be low-key, mysterious and intriguing. Here are a few different exotic places to visit during your time in Australia, whether you’re there for a lifetime or just a few weeks.

 

Lord Howe Island

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With hiking, snorkelling, and hand-fishing galore, Lore Howe Island is an exotic destination that would fit comfortably on anyone’s bucket list. Beautiful beaches and reefs, several awards, and a World Heritage listing all play a part in making this island one of Australia’s most spectacular places to visit. Plus, the glorious nature is combined with top quality Lord Howe Island accommodation, thanks to resorts like the Pinetrees Lodge.

Great Ocean Road

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Located in Victoria, the Great Ocean Road marks the home of the Twelve Apostles that stick out of the ocean just beyond the shore. This alone makes it a spectacular place to visit, but there are also plenty of community activities to partake in. For instance, the close by village known as Port Fairy is famous for its fishing, or you might be more interesting in staying at Queenscliff, a town that takes great pride in its beautiful architecture. Filled with history and a worthwhile range of surrounding villages to visit along the way, this road truly lives up to its name.

 

Phillip Island

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Neighbouring Melbourne, Phillip Island covers a massive area with over 100 kilometres worth of seashore. Apart from its beautiful beaches, here you will discover just how stunning a coastline of rocks, mangroves and wetlands can really be. On top of this, penguins, koalas and fur seals – among other wildlife – roam the land with the same degree of confidence and freedom you will no doubt feel once you arrive. This location is ideal for travellers wishing to challenge their sense of adventure by scavenging through unaltered land.

 

Uluru

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Also known as the Red Centre (due to its red-ish appearance, and the fact that it is located in Central Australia), Uluru is perhaps the most famous and adored landmark on the continent. This sensational rock is well over three hundred meters high and is both spiritually and culturally valued by Indigenous Australians. Aside from the pleasure of being able to watch its colour change as the sun rises and sets, a series of Uluru tours can be taken for additional insight into the significance of this incredibly dramatic backdrop.

 

Upon reading about these locations, most people would agree that the most beautiful and fascinating parts of Australia can be found outside the big cities and closer to the outskirts of the land. It is here where magic feels entirely possible, where wildlife thrives and nature is indestructible. So if you’re hungry for a completely unique traveller’s experience, consider exploring these areas. Not only will you come out feeling invigorated, but your love for Australia will be well and truly realised and justified.

 

 

Daydream Island Escape Featuring Paklite

Daydream Island Escape Featuring Paklite

This is the second time I choose Paklite to get me through the luggage business of travelling! I really love my Paklite purple case and appreciate the quality and superb design behind Paklite luggage.

I’m going to show you their newest product, the Paklite Duffle Bag. Above is a glam travel shot of my husband wheeling the Paklite bag towards the plane. :)

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It comes in three sizes. Featured here is the smallest one – Small Trolley Case in Black.

Best for packing light, fits on any plane and was perfect for domestic carry on. Sometimes you get asked to weigh your bag to make sure its below 7 kg and we got asked once on the way back to Sydney from Brisbane, but other than that no weighing procedures were done as the bag looks so small.

The most important feature of this bag for me is the extendable handle and wheels. It’s so easy to just wheel around with you and feels like you have zero luggage.

I agree with Anton that “Hard shell cases are sleek and stylish and are all the rage in the travel world today, however they’re not suitable for all types of getaways. These soft but sturdy duffels are designed with adventure travel and shorter escapes in mind, where a hard case would be impractical,” Anton Botha, Brand manager at Paklite.

This compact Paklite case sure did enjoy getting wheeled around Hamilton and Daydream Island :)

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We were only there over the Australia Day long weekend but that’s why this bag was so perfect. Small domestic giveaways and guaranteed carry-on admission!

If you haven’t heard of Daydream Island, check them out. It’s the only resort I know that has a living reef and you learn so much about  natural habitats of stingray, sharks, clown fish, parrot fish, dori.

Some shots captured from the Island:

collage daydream


The Duffel Bag RRP From $159

A note from Paklite:

Helping people travel in style and comfort for more than 50 years, Paklite is one of Australia’s longest established and most recognised luggage brands, renowned for its high-quality, innovative and affordable products, with the new Escape range following suit.

I choose Paklite for all range of escapes! Here’s to more of those mini holidays this year!

x

 

 

Travel Tips for Australians Heading to Europe

Travel Tips for Australians Heading to Europe

 

It’s a long journey all the way from Australia to Europe and once you’ve endured that epic flight, you want to make the most of your time on the ground. A trip to Europe is an adventure of a lifetime, where you can encounter different cultures and visit fairy-tale cities with long and impressive histories. Soak it all in and enjoy your trip from start to finish with these travel tips especially for Australians.

Book a tour

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Booking a tour is a wonderful way to see Europe. It takes all the stress out of the organising process, plus when you are at each destination, you’ll have informative guides to give you a greater understanding of the places you are visiting. Tour Companies such as albatrosstours.com.au have many different itineraries allowing you to find one to suit you. Whether you are a first-time traveller looking for an introduction to the continent or a seasoned wanderer opting for the benefits of a tour guide, a tour is an easy way to get the most out of your travel time.

Don’t overschedule

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As it is such a long journey, it can be tempting to try and see everything all at once. However, don’t overschedule by trying to pack too many places into your itinerary as you can end up having a very rushed, tiring trip. It is better to spend longer in each place so you can become immersed in the culture and head off the beaten track to visit sites outside the usual tourist attractions.

Organise visas and passports

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Allow yourself plenty of time to organise your trip, especially all your travel paperwork. Get your passport sorted well ahead of time and remember to check expiry dates. It is important to also research each country’s travel restrictions. Russia, for example, has very tight border controls so getting a visa is a lengthy and complex process that cannot be rushed.

Pack light

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Many cities in Europe are renowned for their shopping, especially the fashion capitals Paris, Milan and London. So pack light, taking only the essentials with you, so you can take advantage of the excellent shopping there. Also, bear in mind that European winters are much colder than those in Australia, which means that often Australian clothing isn’t quite warm enough for the climate. It’s best to buy winter coats and shoes while you are away as they will give you the protection from the cold you need. I found a cool article on 15 items of clothing to pack for any trip here.

Learn a few phrases

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Be a courteous tourist and learn a few phrases in the native language of each country. Even just memorising the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ will make for a more pleasant interaction with the people you meet along the way. The question ‘do you speak English?’ is also useful, so you can nicely ask if they will speak your language, instead of assuming. Bring a good phrasebook with you as well, just in case you forget.

Will you be heading off to Europe soon? What are your travel tips for making the most of your European experience? Share your experiences and suggestions in the comments section below.

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Travel in Style on a Budget

5 Ways to Travel in Style on a Budget

As much as we’d like to pretend, most of us are not flaunting Audrey Hepburn’s style on our budget. And when it comes to travelling, it’s safe to say that style can sometimes go right out the window as we’re forced to opt for practicality instead. Below are a handful of sneaky style suggestions for next time you’re travelling on a budget.

Look the Part

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The first thing that identifies a traveller is their luggage, so look and feel the part of the effortless travel aficionado with on-point travel luggage. You can pick up a stylish carry-on bag from luggage-specialty websites like Bags To Go, which will set you up for a stylish arrival at your destination, even if you don’t feel all that fancy after a long flight!

Clothes Make the Man

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Clothes do make the man… and the woman. Travelling on a budget may cancel out the option of wearing the latest in fashion trends, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look stylish on your trip – you just need to choose your wardrobe carefully. The key is to opt for a small number of classic, easy-to-match items. That way, you will give yourself numerous wardrobe options without having to carry too much. It’s also worth considering a few small accessories, which can really cement your style. A large statement necklace or stylish, relaxed hat can make all the difference and make you feel more presentable.

Budget Doesn’t Have to Mean Slumming It

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Just because you are holidaying on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to stay in shady pub rooms or 16-bed hostels. There are a huge range of budget boutique hotels and B&Bs popping up all around the world that have incredible character and will make you feel at home while away from home. You may find that many of these places also have deals with local restaurants or can set you up with a local guide, making it all the more worthwhile.

Vintage

If you want to see a new city but are stuck between an awful tourist bus and a personal limousine, now is the time to embrace vintage style and take to the streets with a bicycle. Nothing feels more carefree and effortlessly cool than gliding by the crowds, taking in the sights, and not being caught in the traffic. While it’s probably not as relaxing in cities like San Francisco, a nice flat village in Vietnam will make a cycling tourist feel all the more vintage-chic!

Take the Bare Essentials

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Hair, makeup and basic skincare tend to fall by the wayside for many travellers. It doesn’t take much to go from travel eek to travel chic, and the secret lies in the basics. Bring with you small or sample versions of your favourite moisturiser, foundations and mascara, and any other essentials. They are small enough that they won’t affect your luggage, and you will feel positively stylish while strolling the streets of your holiday town.

How do you travel in style on a budget? Share your suggestions below.