Posts Tagged 'Tangalooma'

Paradise FOUND!

Our last leg of the trip.  Moreton Island. We didn’t know much about this place, but knew when planning our vacation that we wanted to go someplace really “beachy.”  We wish we spent less time in Melbourne and more time here.  It’s the kind of place where you have to pinch yourself because it is so beautiful and unreal – Tropical Islands calendar quality unreal. 🙂

Getting there: A flight from Melbourne to Brisbane.  An overnight stay in a Brisbane hostel. A tram-ride, followed by a bus ride, followed by at least a two mile walk (with our suitcases) in the hot sun – following some sidewalk-less road, hoping it will lead to the ferry dock that happens to be in the middle of nowhere.  (Most people would just pay for a shuttle or cab…but not us.  What’s that saying about the ‘road less traveled?’ 🙂 ) We eventually made it (only once having to ask directions). Lastly, a 75 minute boat ride to the island.  Soooo worth it!

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More about Moreton:  This island is completely made up of sand – making it the third largest sand island in the world.  Fraser Island is the largest and is also part of Australia.

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We stayed at the Tangalooma Island Resort(We used credit card points to stay here for free).  We were immediately welcomed by the staff, given a short orientation, and taken to our rooms early (where our luggage was already waiting for us).  Our room was HUGE and had a nice outdoor patio.  We immediately changed clothes and headed for the beach.

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The beach had the softest sand, was immaculately clean and very swimmable.  One small area of the beach was roped off because that is where the wild dolphins visit every night for their feeding.  More on that in a later post.

Even though this part of the island housed the resort, it didn’t feel like it.  It was peaceful, ultra-relaxing, and not many people around.  It felt like we had our own private beach. 

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The weather was perfect…hot and sunny.  But the forecast for the next day predicted some rain and clouds.  We decided to take full advantage of the sun with some kayaking, laying on the beach, and swimming for our first day there.  Ahh…paradise!

Our Australian adventure!

Ok, we are back in action.  The vacation was fun while it lasted, but we are back to work starting Tuesday.  There’s a lot to write about – but for now here are the Cliff’s Notes.  I’ll follow up with separate posts on some of the really fun things we did. 

In sickness and in health:  Our first day in Sydney and Micah is sick.  He started feeling sick on our 10 hour flight.  We took a shuttle to our hostel, but still had about three hours before we could check-in.  Perfect sightseeing time? Well, yes…for me. 

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Micah stayed back and slept in the lobby area.

Micah was in bed all day and night, but fortunately he was feeling better by the next morning.  This is when we did most of our Sydney city sightseeing (Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Botanical Gardens).

That night, we ate some Malaysian food for dinner and settled into our room.  In the early early morning, I started feeling REALLY sick.  Sparing all the horrible details…I was sick the entire night.  I barely slept a wink.  We were going to be climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge in a couple hours…and I was still chained to the bathroom.  I made Micah promise he would still go…as our tickets were purchased months ago and were non-refundable. 

Miraculously, my body came through (with the helps of some drugs Micah rushed out to get that morning).  We successfully did the Bridge Climb!  And then…pretty much spent the rest of that day back in our room.  My body was only willing to behave for a few short hours. 😦

Somehow managed to make it through the 2.5 hour climb…and with a smile.

Sadly, this was the only day we had time to go to Manly Island and Bondi Beach.  But instead…we stayed in watching many hours of Olympic coverage on TV and forcing myself to drink little sips of Gatorade.

For richer or poorer: We were warned when planning this trip that Australia is expensive, but we didn’t realize how true that was until we got there.  This has to be one of the most expensive countries to live in.  $3.00 for a regular bottle of water.  $2.50 for a candy bar.  $7 for a McDonald’s breakfast meal.  $15 for Covergirl Mascara.  $20 for a 6-pack of beer.  I think you get the point.  There wasn’t a single thing we did that didn’t cost a ridiculous amount of money

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Those two drinks cost $7.40 at the convenience store.

Food and transportation was where we spent the bulk of our money.  Lodging actually was reasonable (but that’s because we stayed in hostels, or budget hotel, and used credit card reward points for some places).  The “good” thing about both of us being so sick was that we didn’t have big appetites and could easily share meals and weren’t forced to eat fast food the whole time.  We managed to stay away from all fast food until the very last day (the exception being McDonald’s soft serve ice cream cones – those were a steal at $.50 each.  I ate one or two many of the days.  Mmmmmm).

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Burger King to us, Hungry Jack’s to Aussie’s. 

Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane all had fairly decent public transportation – but, it isn’t cheap.  To get from the airport into the city was at least $15 to $20 a person – one way.  We walked or took free trams when we could.  One time, we had to take a cab…for a 10 minute drive to the airport it was $30.  The ferry ride to Moreton Island was $70 each…roundtrip at least.

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The free tram in Melbourne.  We took advantage of this many times.

Fortunately, we could use our credit card at many places.  Our Capital One card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees, and with the  US/AUS exchange rate, it’s in our favor.  🙂

We also tried to be resourceful when we could.  The tap water is safe to drink, so we continually refilled our water bottles.  We purchased granola bars and fruit, saving our money to buy the pricey dinners. 

For better or worse:  I was REALLY excited to eat all the foods.  But, Australia doesn’t really have it’s own unique cuisine.  Everywhere we went, we had a plethora of Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, Malaysian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and bar food.  Nothing really that new to us.  We tried when possible to seek out the unique foods – for example, kangaroo and emu pizza (which was delicious). 

In Melbourne, we went to Chinatown and ate at Dainty Szechuan (a restaurant I’ve read rave reviews about).  We were sorely disappointed.  The two (expensive) dishes we got were way too salty, and we ended up leaving with tons of food left and no desire to take it home with us.  😦

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Looks really good, but tasted so so salty.  😦

When in Sydney, we took two tours…and they were both really great.  We got to see a lot of sights, sample many many wines, and hang out with the koalas and roos.  That was money and time well spent.

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Yes, they really are THAT cute. 

We stayed in Melbourne for 3.5 days and that was probably 2 days longer than we needed.  The central downtown area of the city is quite small and not a lot to see.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s a beautiful city with beautiful architecture and friendly people.  The Queen Victoria Market is awesome.  But overall, it doesn’t have the attractions like Sydney does (which I’m sure the Melbournians are proud of). We actually got bored.  We would take our lunches to the park and lounge around (napping even) for a couple hours (which was great).  We were anxious to leave and move on though.  However, we did have fun browsing around Melbourne Costco and Target (two of our favorite stores in the states…and abroad!)

SAM_0912Lounging at many of the nice parks in Melbourne…and snacking too! 

The best part of our adventure was Moreton Island.  It’s off the coast of Brisbane. It’s the third largest island in the world made entirely of sand.  We stayed at the Tangalooma Island Resort – and it was fabulous!  The highlight was being able to feed the wild dolphins that come to visit the island every night.  Working on the video of that…cameras weren’t allowed up close to the dolphins.

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A 75 minute ferry ride is all it takes to get to this amazing piece of paradise.

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We basically had our own private beach – as there weren’t a lot of people around.  It was THE best beach we’ve ever been to.

As stated earlier, I’ll write more about some of the experiences we had – but for now, that gives you a good glimpse of our time in the land down under. 


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