Mare, New Caledonia – Cruise Stop Over

We had been told by the cruise line and a few of the guests on our cruise that there is nothing to see in port Tadine at Mare. The only option was to take a bus ($15USD for adults and $12USD for kids) to Yejele beach. I believe them when they say beach is beautiful but I come from Albany and our beaches are too so I thought I would probably just stay on the ship.

The first thing I did in the morning was go up to the top deck to have a look at the island and discovered there was a little townsite where we are dropped by the tender (5 minute ride). So how could there be nothing to see? We got off the boat and where pleasantly surprised.

The first thing we came across was a swimming hole in the rock pools . Then we walked to the left for about 5 minutes and looked at the local buildings and where greater with bonjour! Or waves from cars from the friendly locals. This is also where we came across a public toilet. We then walked back the other way past some Markets selling sarongs and craft things. Nothing that looked like it was manufactured on Mare. But why not have a look? We where in no rush.

 There is a roundabout with with a memorial where I turned and headed inland and came across a local supermarket . I was dissapointed I didn’t bring any money with me so I could buy a drink and sit in the outdoor area and just watch the locals.

After I had wandered around I went back to the shore and went swimming in another rock pool that wasn’t crowded with people from the ship as it wasn’t as obvious (next to the roundabout). The water was a refreshing relief after my short walk around and the water filled with tropical fish. After I had my swim I got back on the tender and was back on the ship for lunch. I was off the ship for 1.5 hrs and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

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IHG Holiday Inn Potts Point

We stayed in Sydney for one night before going on a cruise out of Sydney for 10 nights on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas. You can read about that blog in my cruise section. 

We stayed the night at the Holiday Inn Potts Point and am pretty impressed so thought I better let you know about it. The hotel is located right next to the big Coca Cola sign in the heart of what is known as Kings Cross.

The Holiday Inn Potts Point is right next to the Kings Cross train station.

I’d recommend the harbour view room as you get a sweeping view of the CBD , harbour bridge, opera house and what I think is a cathedral. 

View from our room

We got a room with buffet breakfast included however if you want to save a few bucks there are places a minutes walk from the hotel serving all day $6 breakfasts. Here is a photo of our room.

Restaurant where buffet breakfast is served in hotel
Cheap breakfast place a minute from the hotel.
Our room

I think what I liked most about this place is the location. We strolled down to Wooloomooloo and back past some beautiful heritage buildings in less than 30 minutes. There are lots of nice hole in the wall cafes and a laundromat along the road heading down to Wooloomooloo. The place is not as squeaky clean as Clark quay and also not as expensive. I think a much nicer experience than fighting the crowds at Clark Quay.

Take a day trip to Collie

My Uncle and Aunt live in Collie, Western Australia so I have spent a few Christmas and Birthdays here. 

Collie gets hot. Really hot! So we used to go to the Black Diamond to swim which is just down the road from the families place.

It’s well known by locals but not advertised for travelers. So here is how you get there.

Head out of Collie on the Coal Fields hwy towards Bunbury. Turn left onto Ferguson Road. You will see the lake on your right. Drive until you see gravel parking on your right.

Me and my sister at Black Diamond.

Here is the Google maps location .

Me 12 years old @ Black Diamond

Checking out Art Deco buildings in Tiong Bahru

On my recent trip to Singapore I visited the suburb of Tiong Bahru. I’d read on other people’s blogs about the market and the Art Deco buildings and how great it was and I wasn’t disappointed

I think I only saw a glimpse of the suburb and next trip I will definitely go back for a bit more of an explore. You can find the path I walked in my Shopping in Singapore – it can be cheap blog.

I walked from the MRT to the market and the photos have uploaded in reverse order.

Below are some photos of the neighbourhood and the market. I got no where near enough photos! Next trip I will update this blog.

If you have a good walking route that discovers more Art Deco buildings please send me a message and a map of your walk ready for my next trip.

The famous Lor Mee at Tiong Bahru Market. The $4 bowl is enough for 2 people!
Upstairs in the Hawker Centre at Tiong Bahru Market
Fish Market on Ground Floor 
Fruit isle. Clothes and homewares on your left.
Egg anyone?

Buildings Opposite the Tiong Bahru Market
Exercise area Tiong Bahru HDB flats
The Famous Tiong Bahru Market

Shopping in Singapore – It can be Cheap!

It seems there is a perception in Australia that Singapore is an expensive place to shop. Well it is if you go to the wrong places and you don’t use the MRT. Checkout my Tips for using  Singapores MRT blog.

On my first trip to Singapore I went to Orchid Road as this is what all the travel blogs pointed me in the direction of. On my recent trip to Singapore I asked the receptionist at my hotel where the best place to shop was and she also said Orchid Road. I made the comment that it was very expensive and she agreed. WTF why send me there then. Derrrr. So here you go. My list of cheap and different places to shop.

Tiong Bahru Market

We took the MRT to Tiong Bahru Station Then strolled through the Art Deco buildings to Tiong Bahru Market. This market is best visited in the morning from 8am to 2pm. The lower story consists of clothing and home hardware around the outside and then inside is fresh fish, meat, fruit, vegetables and flowers organised into neat sections and it doesn’t stink like other markets in Asia. Upstairs you will find a massive clean hawker centre. Below is the route from the MRT we walked.

Clothing is about $30 a piece. Lunch $3 for a meal and $1.50 for a copi-c (iced coffee made from coffee, condensed milk and ice).


Toa Payoh

As soon as you get off at Toa Payoh MRT station you are at the HDB hub. You will see Macdonalds on your right and a row of shops on your left. We followed the row of shops on the left until they finished and then turned left. Walked through a car park and then popped up in the middle of Toa Payoh mall which is open air . There are eateries at both ends. Shopping includes shoes, clothes phone repairs, electronics and household items.

This is a great stop because you can do a loop and end up back at the MRT seeing new stuff along the way.

Clothes $5 – $30, shoes $20. Fresh juice any flavour combo $1.50.

Mustafa

So on my recent trip to Singapore I decided to show my friend (who was a first timer to Singapore) the Mustafa Centre in Little India on our last day of our trip. Her comment “why didn’t we come here first?”

There is everything (EVERYTHING) you can think of here and it’s open 24 hours. You can easily kill 3 hours if you have the energy. I have been here twice. Once mid afternoon and once at 8.30am. I recommend the early time because it is no where as busy. It’s a good to plan to do this first thing in the morning when all the other shops are still closed and you haven’t adjusted to the 10.30am opening times.

It’s a 2 minute walk from Farrer Park MRT.

I purchased a lot of lollies and chocolate that you don’t get in Australia for my nieces and nephews, some shoes that look like Birkenstocks for $35 and the below dress for $39 for my neice. Evidently she didn’t like it! Pfft.


Bugis Street Markets.

A mish mash of food and shopping. I think go from 11am. This place gets really busy later in the day. The ground floor sells stuff for tourists which is more expensive. The same things can be found upstairs for cheaper. You will find clothes , bags, shoes, electronics, bathers and caps. Clothes price range $5-$10.

Give yourself a few hours and maybe meet back at the hotel instead of trying to stick with your travel buddy. This place is a maze!
I purchased 4 x I love Singapore bags for presents for $10. Zip top and internal pockets.

Note that all prices in this blog are SGD.

Tips for using Singapore’s MRT

Singapore’s MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) is awesome. I strongly recommend you take advantage of it. It is super easy but here are some tips to make it even easier for you.

Phone Apps that come in Handy

On my first trip to Singapore I found myself riding the MRT for what felt like 45 minutes because I didn’t switch trains thinking it would be easier to stay on the one train. To avoid this I use Google maps to determine the best Line to use to get to my final destination, when to switch trains and how long it will take. (see below right mobile phone screen shot of google maps instructions).

Once you arrive at the MRT you find yourself looking at 4, 5,6 different exit options. To avoid confusion I use Singapore Maps (by http://www.streetdirectory.com/ ) to determine which exit I need to take once I arrive at the MRT station. A big time and mental health saver when you are worn out from hours of shopping.

Both these apps are free however as you can see there streetdirectory.com fee app comes with adds.

Also pick up a pocket size map of the MRT at the information booth at the MRT Stations to compliment the above 2 apps.

Final tip on Apps. I take a photo of the Google maps instructions at my hotel room so the instructions are readily available when I am approaching the station.

Get a 3 day Tourist Pass

You can buy a 1,2 or 3 day tourist pass at ticket booths. The pass allows you to ride as many times as you like for the duration you are in Singapore. The 3 day pass is $30 however you get a $10 refund if you return the tourist pass to the ticket booth at the end of your visit.

You can put the pass in your wallet or bag and swipe your bag over the entry point instead of getting your card out every time. When you purchase your pass ask the ticket booth what time they close so you know when you will need to get it back to them by to ensure you get your refund.

Info on the Tourist Pass can be found here https://www.thesingaporetouristpass.com.sg/

Take a taxi

Yes you have forked out $20 (once you receive your $10 refund) on a MRT Tourist Pass card so you want to get maximum value, but let’s think about this. Imagine you have just finished a 3 hour marathon of shopping or walking around the zoo. Your legs are killing you. You are tired because you are recovering from jet lag and or waking up early because you are excited to be on holidays. Your kids are fed up. Is the $8-$10 taxi ride home really a big hit on your hip pocket for sanity and a bit of reprieve from walking through the heat? Your on holiday. You are there for a short amount of time. If you are tired. Take the taxi home! They are cheap and you will appreciate it. Trust me.

AirBNB get on board!

I’ve been hearing about AirBNB for a while now. And finally got on board, staying in 2 places this month in Perth. If you haven’t I’d recommend you start!

I am usually disappointed when I stay in hotels in Australia. The mixture of high prices, bad attitude staff members and dirty rooms thrown in with the $25 and upwards parking really irks me. However TripAdvisor has helped weed out the bad ones over the years. Also when I visit Perth I like to have my own space. Sorry family it’s just how I roll.

So what is so good about it? The places I have found are self contained. Have a homely feel and are out of the hustle and bustle of the CBD.

Today we where greated with a fresh bunch of flowers, beer in the fridge , LED TV and a little self contained studio with a really nice ensuite.

Let’s get things straight. We are not in Perth to be a tourist. We are here for study, to shop or to fly out so we don’t care if we are not in the touristy spots. If you are visiting Perth you need a car anyway so chances are you will be hiring one, so do yourself a favour. AirBNB.

The following photos are for Antonia’s place in Palmyra, Western Australia.

P.s this was typed on my iPhone So keeping short and sweet.

Holiday toe shot! Also my travel foam roller. Great after a day of hard core shopping.

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