ibis Sydney King Street Wharf

Another post from the shed, this one’s awaiting the elusive transtasman bubble …..

“We can use Accor points to book an ibis in Sydney for the one night we need” says Mike. “Book it Danno” I said and didn’t think about it again until we stepped through the door. The ibis hotels we’ve stayed in have been more functional than funky but stepping inside ibis Sydney King Street Wharf showed me that ibis hotels can be cool too.

Lot 51 bar/cafe seating area at ibis Sydney King Street Wharf

Lot 51 bar/cafe seating area at ibis Sydney King Street Wharf

The coolest part of the hotel is the Lot 51 bar/cafe … Read the rest

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 membership. … 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

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 link to membership details. 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 and tapas from 5pm-7pm in the Executive Lounge, and complimentary buffet breakfast. … Read the rest

A cheap sleep at Auckland Airport – ibis budget hotel

Updated post – 14/2/2018

I’ve never slept in an airport, I should have in Prague when flight delays meant I arrived in an unfamiliar city late at night with no accommodation booked. Lesson learned, ever since I’ve pre-booked a bed for my first night. Curiously there’s a website devoted to Sleeping in Airports, Auckland Airport comes out on top for the South Pacific.

Personally I need a decent sleep so I’m not wrecked for my next day of travel. To bypass traffic and to make an early start not quite so early we stayed at ibis budget hotel, … Read the rest

Cheers Bookme – Shantytown, & Monteith’s Brewing Co in Greymouth

Bookme is an online tourism site advertising activities and attractions at discounted prices. We checked out the West Coast deals and booked Shantytown, $10pp (usually $31.50pp); and a Monteith’s Brewery tour $10pp (usually $20pp).

Shantytown Heritage Park, 10km from Greymouth
Shantytown is a re-creation of a gold rush town and has 30 shops and buildings. A ride on a steam train is included in the admission fee. Pay $7 extra to pan for gold, Mike brought home a few flakes. You may be able to have an old time photo taken in Golden Nugget Hotel (see our Shantytown tip below). … Read the rest