Muri Night Market, Rarotonga

Muri Night Market is held on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday nights from 5pm – 9pm (weather permitting). The market is next to Muri Beachcomber accommodation where you’ll also find the bus stop. Take cash as there is no EFTPOS, there is an ANZ ATM nearby. Most mains are $10 – $15, desserts like chocolate eclairs and coconut cheesecake are $5+.

Do a local school as well as the environment a favour by renting a plate and cutlery for a gold coin donation, such a brilliant initiative ….

Rent a plate at Muri Night Market

Rent a plate at Muri Night Market

Noodle Tent – choose your … Read the rest

Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

If you’re visiting Isle of Pines on a cruise ship, chances are a tender will take you to shore where the sandy curve of Kuto Bay stretches out in front of you, with the seaside restaurant at Hotel Kou Bugny in the distance. It’s about an 800 metre walk to Hotel Kou Bugny and you’ll most likely pass BBQ’s and food stalls set up by locals for visiting cruise ship passengers.

Isle of Pines - Kuto Bay and the seaside bar and restaurant at Hotel Kou Bugny

Isle of Pines – Kuto Bay and the seaside bar and restaurant at Hotel Kou Bugny

Food and drink stall at Kuto Bay, Isle of Pines

Food and drink stall at Kuto Bay, Isle of Pines

If your plans … Read the rest

Mystery Island, Vanuatu

Chances are if you’re visiting Mystery Island in Vanuatu you’re going to be on a cruise, although the little island does have an airport and air strip. We were onboard the Carnival Legend, part of the Carnival Cruise Line that also owns P&O Cruises. We sailed out of Sydney late December 2017 and arrived by tender to Mystery Island on 1 January 2018.

Carnival Legend tenders - used to get passengers from ship to shore (photo taken in Isle of Pines)

Carnival Legend tenders – used to get passengers from ship to shore (photo taken in Isle of Pines)

Mystery Island with Carnival Legend anchored in the background

Mystery Island with Carnival Legend anchored in the background

Mystery Island is uninhabited because it is thought to be … Read the rest

ibis Budget Hotel Auckland Airport – Update

In 2014 I moaned (First World problems) about the lack of tea and coffee making facilities and fridge in the rooms at ibis Budget Hotel Auckland Airport. However a  recent early morning flight out of Auckland, and the chance to save some dollars, meant I decided to forego the lack of facilities and return to the hotel.

On check in to my $107 room I almost did a happy dance when I saw a fridge and what I needed to make a hot drink. So if you’re after a cheap sleep and a cup of tea in a comfortable budget … Read the rest

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco is at the less unusual end of the unusual accommodation spectrum, but it’s a charming red brick complex built in the style of English terrace houses. The Grand Mercure isn’t in Nelson, but in the suburb of Monaco, it’s five minutes drive from the airport and about 15 minutes drive to Nelson city centre.

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco

The Grand Mercure has a mix of hotel rooms, one bedroom studios and one and two bedroom cottages.

We’re members of the Accor Plus programme and last year I wrote about some of the advantages to Read the rest

Surcharges and an unexpected travel booking fee

Monday 24 October is Labour Day and for some cafes and restaurants that means adding between 15-25% to a diner’s bill to cover extra wage costs incurred by opening on a public holiday. New Zealanders are used to public holiday surcharges but they will probably come as a surprise to visitors from overseas. NZ Public Holidays list all the dates that surcharges may apply so it’s a useful reference for visitors.

Fortunately, for every cafe that has a small sign inside saying a public holiday surcharge applies, there’s likely to be a cafe nearby with a big sign outside saying … Read the rest

Detour to Tonga

We recently returned from a week in Tonga and have updated our Tonga Guide. It was our third visit to the island nation and we spent our time on the main island of Tongatapu and took day trips to ‘Atata and Pangaimotu Islands.

Royal Palace in Nuku'alofa

Royal Palace in Nuku’alofa

If you’re looking for a good value destination Tonga is a good choice, although flying to the outer islands will make a stay more  expensive. We paid NZ$125 per night for accommodation and breakfast at Little Italy Hotel in Nuku’alofa and thought it was good value for money. More Tonga Accommodation.… Read the rest

Cheap P&O Cruises out of Auckland – May/June 2016

Reading the Escape section of the Sunday Star Times over the weekend I was surprised to see cheap P&O cruises out of Auckland advertised by House of Travel. When I look at cruise ads they’re usually for the following year, and prices quoted are often quad share, not this time.

One example is the 9 night Pacific Island Hopper cruise on the Pacific Pearl departing Auckland on 7 May, priced from $749 per person twin share. Ports of call are Noumea, Port Vila, Lifou and Mare. See all four cheap cruise deals via House of Travel – Update: the deals … Read the rest

Join Accor Plus for cool room upgrades, discounted stays & up to 50% off meals

Cool upgrades first because I’m sure that’s what readers want to see, then the business end where I list hotel brands part of Accor, and explain how Accor Plus works (Accor Plus is part of Le Club Accor Hotels loyalty programme). The information is based on our experience as Accor Plus members for nearly two years, it’s not written in association with the hotel chain.

Cool upgrade Number 1* – Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Spa
We booked a superior room for two nights at Sofitel Queenstown but were upgraded to a luxury room. The upgrade included complimentary evening drinks … Read the rest

Cheap fuel in Rotorua

A travel tip for visitors to Rotorua, especially those fuelling up cars and boats. Fuel in Rotorua is competitively priced compared to other areas of New Zealand, but even within the city you will find some petrol stations cheaper than others. We’ve found that Mobil at 238 Te Ngae Road (the road to the airport) consistently has some of the cheapest fuel in town. You will also find the other petrol stations on Te Ngae Road – Caltex and Gull competing on price. Note that Mobil display the prices for diesel, 91 octane and 95 octane roadside so you know … Read the rest