Round 2 – Trip 4 – Townsville & Magnetic Island

Itineraries

November 2018

This was a really enjoyable 3 night getaway for some R&R. Townsville is a big regional town, but the main street was quite quiet when I was there. Possibly due to it being the cusp of the hot, humid and rainy season, but Uber drivers also spoke of them going through an economic downturn. 1 night felt plenty to cover Townsville.

Magnetic Island can be done as a day trip and it’s a very small island, but really beautiful. There were lots of longer hikes that I didn’t do and bays that can be accessed only by 4WD which I didn’t have, but I felt like I covered it quite well. 2 nights would be the max I’d want to stay there, particularly as the food really wasn’t that good.

Day 1 – Sydney to Townsville

Sydney to Townsville Flight – Virgin – Depart 10:30am Friday, Arrive 12:15pm (2hr 45min fight time, but gained an hour due to no daylight savings in QLD, $390 return).

Received complimentary upgrade to an exit row.

Taxi from Airport to the Ville Casino Resort ($24). Check in to Executive King Ocean Room for one night ($193).

Walk into town (1.7kms) for graffiti street art self-guided walking tour.

Light lunch at Shaw & Co Char & Bar at City Lane on Flinders St in the centre of town.

Uber back to hotel ($9)

Afternoon at the hotel pool, with swim up bar…

Dinner at Seasoned Restaurant on Palmer St. Uber there and back ($10 each way).

Day 2 – Townsville to Magnetic Island

Uber to Palmer St ($8) for Breakfast at Jam.

Walk back to hotel, check out and walk to wharf.

Ferry to Magnetic Island ($33 return) Depart 8:45am, 25min journey https://www.sealinkqld.com.au/timetables/magnetic-island.

Drop bags at hotel – Peppers Blue on Blue in Nelly Bay. ‘Superior Hotel’ room $328 on offer from Hotels.com for 2 nights.

Pick up hire car from Tropical Topless Car Rental in Nelly Bay. Barbie Car $90 per 24 hour rental.

Drive around island exploring.

Lunch at Picnic Bay Hotel.

Visit IGA for snacks.

Swim in Hotel Lagoon Pool.

Dinner at hotel restaurant, Boardwalk.

Day 3 – Magnetic Island

Early start to arrive at the Forts Walk at 7am as apparently the Koalas are most active early morning and at dusk….but only see one Koala sleeping.

Return to hotel for buffet breakfast.

Return Barbie Car. Hire Mini Moke ($120 for 24 hours).

Explore island in Moke.

Get gelato from Adele’s cafe. I think 2 very generous scoops in a waffle cone was $9.

Return to Hotel for swim in smaller hotel pool.

Drive to Horseshoe Bay for swim protected by stinger nets (stinger season is Nov to April).

Fish & chips on the beach from Horseshoe Bay Fish & Chips.

Return to hotel for a night swim in smaller pool (open until 10:30pm).

Day 4 – Magnetic Island to Townsville, to Sydney

Breakfast by the beach at The Early Bird.

Returned Moke.

10:15am Ferry back to Townsville.

Taxi to airport ($20).

Townsville to Sydney Flight – Virgin – Depart 12:35pm Monday, Arrive 4:15pm (2hr 40min flight time, but lost an hour due to daylight savings in NSW).

Received complimentary upgrade to EconomyX (premium economy).

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Higher Ground Melbourne Dining Room

Higher Ground Melbourne

Foodie Finds

Where: Higher Ground Melbourne, Melbourne City

When: August 2018

Meal: Brunch

Cost: Approx $30

Higher Ground was recommended to me by a friend who is a new Melbourne local. She described it as a place that would be ‘great for your instagram’. Sold!

When I arrived at Higher Ground about 11am on a Sunday morning there was a queue out the door. I went to put my name down, but when I told them I was a party of just one, they said they would be able to find me a seat immediately.

I was shown to a communal table with three other pairs already eating and ordered a coffee. Whilst waiting for the waitress to return I took in the beautiful surroundings of the building. At first I thought it looked like quite a hipster type place, but it actually feels very historical and just had a nice vibe.

I ordered the ‘avocado seed cracker, macadamia feta, mojo verde, poached eggs, toasted and fresh seaweed’ ($17.50) with a side of Berkshire Bacon ($6.50).

It was delicious. High quality ingredients, cooked perfectly. My only complaint was that it needed a little salt. There was salt on the table, but it was the type in a little dish that you would normally grab a pinch of. Not ideal on a communal table! I asked the waitress for my own little dish for hygiene and thankfully she didn’t seem to think I was a fussy nightmare….well not to my face anyway!

Would I go back? For sure. The food was tasty and the ambience was lovely.

Would I recommend it to you? Definitely. It will be great for your instagram haha! But, I wouldn’t recommend the Ricotta Hotcakes. They look so pretty and I didn’t try them myself, but three people on my communal table left theirs half eaten.

Hotel foyer, Adelphi Hotel, Melbourne

Adelphi Hotel

Accommodation

Where: Adelphi Hotel, Melbourne City, VIC

When: August 2018

Duration: Two night stay

Room Type: Comfy King Room

Cost: $780

I first learned of the Adelphi Hotel when someone I follow on Instagram posted about their stay at the hotel and the fact they had a dessert restaurant piqued my interest!

I also liked that the hotel had really quirky cool decor. Upon looking up it’s location on Flinders Lane I realised it was pretty central to many of the highlights of Melbourne, so it was my first choice to stay when an opportunity came up to combine a work trip with a weekend in the city.

Upon check in on the Friday afternoon I was offered a complimentary beverage to relax in the lounge whilst my check in was completed. This included alcohol, so I chose a glass of sparkling wine.

Soon after, I was escorted to my room by the check-in assistant who wheeled my luggage for me. She then showed me around the ammenities of my room, including the complimentary mini-bar which included chips, nuts, jerky, chocolate and lollies with bottled water, juice and flavoured mineral waters in the fridge (no alcohol). Look, I know I paid for these things in the cost of the room, but still it’s a nice luxe touch.

The room was on the 8th floor, which is the top accomodation floor underneath the rooftop bar and pool. The view from the room was underwhelming as it faced what looked to be converted warehouse apartments, but the view inside was very cool. Bold colours and patterns everywhere.

The bathroom was very, well lets say industrial. The endless stainless steel and one mirrored wall seemed a little more Orange is the New Black than trendy chic.

The rooftop pool was heated and had a glass bottom portion at the end that overlooked the laneway, but I didn’t get around to swimming unfortunately.

Would I stay there again? Perhaps. I enjoyed the stay, but I do feel it’s overpriced at almost $400 a night. Sure the location is convenient, but when I’m paying that much per night I at least like to have a view, or a bath tub!

Would I recommend it to you? Only if you are the type that considers spending $400 a night at a hotel a pleasant indulgence.

Historic Flinders Street Station in the heart of Melbourne City

Round 2 – Trip 2 – Melbourne

Itineraries

August 2018

This was part work trip with a day in the Melbourne office on Friday, followed by a weekend spent exploring the city.

Day 1 – Sydney to Melbourne

Sydney to Melbourne Flight – Jetstar – Depart 5:25pm Thursday night, Arrive 7:00pm.

Cab to Glen Waverley Novotel. Perfect for business travel, modern and clean.

Day 2 – Work then City

Uber from office to the city. Check in at the Adelphi Hotel on Flinders Lane.

Visit Betty’s Burgers on Elizabeth St for dinner. 30min queue even at 6pm.

Visit NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) to see the NGV Friday Nights exhibit that promised “late-night access to MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art”. I resisted buying tickets online as I considered the $4.50 ‘transaction fee’ on a $31 ticket extortion, but it was sold out when I arrived at 7:30pm (it opened at 6pm).

Walked around Southbank. The Yarra River looks a lot less brown at night funnily enough.

Returned to the hotel to have dessert at Om Nom. When I arrived about 8:30pm they were full, so I popped up to my room until they called to advise a table was ready just after 9pm.

Day 3 – City

Lazy morning sleep in.

Visit Hosier Lane to check out some of the street art on the graffiti lined laneway.

Visit ‘Wonderland’, Alice in Wonderland exhibition on at the ACMI (Australia Centre for the Moving Image) at Federation Square. The exhibit is now closed, but it looks like there is always something new to do there https://www.acmi.net.au/museum/.

Visit AC/DC Lane for more graffiti art.

Eat lunch at the Meatball & Wine Bar.

Night out with friends who are Melb locals. We attempted to visit the Milk the Cow wine and cheese bar in St Kilda, but without a booking we were left with only outdoor seating and rain looked imminent so we moved on. If you’re planning a visit here, firstly book and secondly be prepared for rude teenagers running the show who noticeably choose to ignore you.

To be honest the rest of the night was bar hopping and I can’t remember the names, nor any venue of note, so let’s just move on…

Day 4 – Melbourne to Sydney

Another lazy morning sleep in with late check out of 11am.

Visit Higher Ground Melbourne for brunch. There was a queue out the door, but as I was by myself I was seated immediately at a communal table with three other pairs.

Return to the NGV to see the MoMA exhibition, which is now closed. Like the ACMI it appears there is always a new exhibit to look at https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/whats-on/exhibitions/current/.

Visit Federation Square and enjoyed some rare sunshine sitting on the stairs whilst listening to some live music.

Uber to the airport.

Flight – Virgin – Depart 5:00pm Sunday Night, Arrive 6:25pm.

Freycinet Lodge

Accommodation

Where: Freycinet National Park, Tasmania. Australia.

When: September 2018

Duration: 1 night stay

Room Type: Premier Cabin, Jetted Tub

Cost: $404.10

(Booked whilst Hotels.com had a 10% discount offer on)

Freycinet National Park is simply STUNNING! So why would you choose to stay anywhere else aside from in the park? Well, I mean why would you choose to stay anywhere else besides a hotel in the park. I assume you can camp in there, but I think we’ve established I’m not the tent kinda lady!

I arrived at Freycinet Lodge about 4:30pm after doing the Wineglass Bay lookout walk. It was meant to be an easy walk, but turns out I’m unfit and it was hard AF. I arrived at the hotel quite disheveled, but the clerk on reception gave me a warm welcome.

Check in was fast and I was in my room to enjoy the afternoon sun streaming through my windows. I was pretty impressed with my room/cabin. It was spacious and the spa bath looked incredibly inviting!

After a quick shower and change I headed back to the main building to attend a ‘Meet the Maker’ wine event being held in a conference room off to the side of the main bar and restaurant. Here I was able to try many of the wineries I passed on the way to Freycinet but didn’t have time to stop in.

Having not eaten since early that day, those wines went to my head so I popped out for some air and to see a magnificent sunset off the back deck of the hotel….

I wasn’t overly fussed by the menu at the hotel restaurant, so I instead stayed in the bar and ordered a burger from the bar whilst I planned my itinerary for the following day. There aren’t that many options once you’re in the National Park, but I wouldn’t recommend the bar burger. It was rather half-assed. Perhaps I should have tried the restaurant.

I returned to my room and found that turn down service has been and left me the cutest chocolates with ‘Freycinet Lodge’ printed on them. And because I was travelling alone, I got to eat both whilst drinking wine in that beautiful spa bath! The underfloor tile heating had also been turned on, which would be a welcome surprise in winter I’m sure!!

There was a well equipped mini-bar with lots of local Tassie treats I’ve seen at Salamanca Markets and my favourite thing was complimentary still water. Seriously, it’s such a cheap thing for a hotel to provide, literally cents per bottle, so it really pisses me off when I spent a couple of hundred on a room and it’s not provided.

Would I stay there again? Yes, don’t get me wrong, it’s expensive but I actually felt like I got value for the price considering the high standard of the room and the remote location.

Would I recommend it to you? Absolutely. Go. Now!

Henry Jones Art Hotel

Accommodation

Where: Hobart, Tasmania. Australia.

When: September 2018

Duration: 1 night stay

Room Type: Deluxe Spa Room, Harbour View

Cost: $387

This was my second stay in Hobart within a year. Last visit I chose to stay at the Macq01 which I LOVED, but I was very curious about the Henry Jones in the beautiful old IXL Jam building, so this time I decided to try out the hotel across the road.

I checked in about 5pm and being September, still quite cool weather wise and off-season, the hotel was pretty quiet. My booking included valet parking, but there was plenty of free spaces out the front so I just pulled up, for my bags out and walked inside.

Check in was quick and easy considering I had already prepaid my booking with Hotels.com. My room was on the second floor and the check-in clerk who was a young girl much smaller than myself offered to help me with my luggage as there would be stairs to get to my room. I was lugging around a few bags so I happily accepted her assistance, but felt bad when she struggled with my 15kg suitcase!

The room was quite large with a modern, yet traditional feel. Let me explain that. The facilities, including a spa bath and giant walk in shower felt that of a modern hotel room. However the furnishings style were quite traditional and the balcony exposed the old historical factory facade of the building, so it felt quite old school. It worked for me.

There is art all over the hotel, as the name suggests. In my room I found art that I could purchase if I so desired and it was also all around the hotel in the hallways.

Wifi was included which was fast and plentiful for a one night stay. There was a pod coffee machine in my room and a well stocked mini-bar, which was quite expensive. There was also a turn down service which occurred whilst I was out at dinner, but this was just some T2 night time tea. You’ll win me over with chocolate thanks!

I had a drink at the bar in the foyer but didn’t dine at the restaurants at all. The location suited me. It’s quiet as it’s just off the wharf with minimal traffic, but close to the centre of town including the MONA Ferry terminal and Salamanca Markets.

Would I stay there again? No, it was a good experience, but I felt it was overpriced for what it was, particularly since it was off season.

Would I recommend it to you? No, my pick in Hobart is the Macq01.