Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Travel in Review

This is now my third year of doing reviews (2011 and 2012), and I think I've had a pretty big year. In fact we went on a trip somewhere every month except November.

January 2013
Started with a visit from DHs family and lunch at both Bills and Barrenjoey House

I took a family trip to Hawaii and Las Vegas, including a stay at the Cosmopolitan, dinner at Serendipity 3, dinner at Roys, Dinner at Lawry's Prime Rib and brunch at Mon Ami Gabi  at the end of the month

February 2013
We celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary in Newcastle

March 2013
We spent Easter and DH's birthday at the stunning Wolgan Valley

April 2013
I celebrated my sisters birthday with a girls lunch at Jamie Olivers

May 2013
We had dinner at Bell's at Killcare

I did the Nike She Runs 10K, so we stayed at the Blue at Woolloomolloo and breakfast at the Boy Charlton Pool Cafe

June 2013
We spent a night at The Darling and had dinner at Sokyo

July 2013
DH went to visit family in the Cook Islands and my sister, mother and I had a nice weekend at Spicers in the Hunter Valley

August 2013
We went to the Bledisloe Cup match in Sydney and stayed at the new QT, Sydney

September 2013
We ran the Blackmore's Sydney Half marathon and stayed at the Hilton

October 2013
Off to Africa, including:
Johannesburg, South Africa
Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Tangerine National Park, Tanzania

Lake Manyara National Park, TanzaniaSerengeti, TanzaniaNgorongoro Crater, TanzaniaGreater Kruger, South AfricaMarakele National Park, South AfricaKhama Rhino Sanctuary, BotswanaMaun, BotswanaOkavango Delta, BotswanaMakgadikgadi Pans, Nata, BotswanaChobe National Park, BotswanaVictoria Falls, ZimbabweLivingstone Island and The Devil's Pool, Zambia

December 2013
Melbourne for work

Lunch at Newcastle beach

A birthday lunch for me at Iceberg's Bondi Beach

Finishing of the year with a trip to Philadelphia, Washington DC, and a midnight run in Central Park - posts to follow in the new year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Kirurumu, Lake Manyara

October 2013

The Kirurumu is permanent tented lodges situated overlooking Lake Manyara. In fact it is most well know for the bar that overlooks the lake...

The tents were comfortable and even though they were permanent they still made you feel you were in amoungst nature.

 The bar was situated overlooking the lake and was a great place to relax and enjoy the view at the end of the day.

The food was okay, nothing special but edible.

My main complaint was the noise that came up the valley late into the night (cheesy disco music), not what you wanted for a safari experience.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Lake Manyara, Tanzania

October 2013

Not originally on our list we only visited Lake Manyara as you had to drive past (or through as we did) it to get to the Serengeti.

The Lake Manyara park is known in particular for its tree hanging lions, and while we did see some at the end it was a little crowded and disappointing.

The park was worth the trip, but I wouldn't have gone out of my way to see it.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Scotties, Newcastle, Australia

December 2013

We had a spare day and some nice weather so decided to take a trip up the coast to Newcastle.

 We're spent some time here, but never stumbled across this cute little take away place Scotties before.

Located within walking distance to the beach (100 - 200 m), it also has blankets so you can eat your takeaway on the strip of grass out the front.

The salted caramel thick shake $7 was a highlight

DH loved the hand cut chips $4, but found the battered Hake $8 to be a bit too oily

The Fish Burrito $12 was an interesting but tasty take on the popular fish tacos

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas in Melbourne

November 2013

On a recent work trip to Melbourne the Christmas displays were just starting to go up. While the warm weather might not make those in the Northern hemisphere feel like Christmas, the decorations sure help you get in the holiday mood!.

Not everything was out yet, but Myer had their in-store and window displays out.

Marriott Melbourne - a bit out of the way for most of the touristy things but still only a few km walk from the action and the rooms are huge

Sushi Burger

Sushi at Yoyogi (the salmon sashimi/sushi box is always fresh)

Run the river - just dress for the weather! (I wore to much clothes on a very hot day)
If in town for the holidays Myer has the window displays
Check out my older posts on other things to see and do in Melbourne

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sushi Burger, Melbourne

November 2013

I was introduced to Sushi Burger by a friend while in Melbourne for work a few weeks back.

 What is sushi burger I hear you say? This fabulous creation is two rice "buns" filled with delectable goodies and wrapped in seaweed. I had the soft shell crab sushi burger this time around (because how can you go wrong with soft shell crab).

This sushi burger place even had a sushi burger bento box (I should have gotten an extra sushi burger).

$12.50 plus an extra $1 for the soft shell crab

I can't believe this place has been open for 8 years and I've only just discovered it!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Iceberg's Bondi Beach

December 2013

I've cut into our posts on Africa to change it around a bit and also post the fabulous weekend DH and I had at Bondi Beach for my birthday.

Its been about 15 years since I was last at Bondi but I've always wanted to try Iceberg's Dining Room  situated over the Iceberg's swimming pool.

 Part of the attraction for this place is the view and it doesn't disappoint.

The menu was interesting, the seafood was described as sustainable, but all the beef was grain fed (I prefer grass fed), but we never the less found it hard to choose from the many tasty sounding options listed.

The virgin mojito looked better than it tasted.

Virgin Mojito $8

Our entrees however were superb, my fish was fresh and the combination of flavours worked well.

Pesce Crudo $28Sashimi grade fish with caviar and smoke curd

Gamberetti $26Lightly dusted local shrimp, lemon, aioli

My steak was cooked perfectly, while DH had a really nice piece of NZ Bass Groper

180g Eye Fillet $42, 50 day grain fed, Italian leaf salad, mustard fruit dressing

Grilled Bass Groper
with Amalfi Limone condiment & organic herbs
with puttanesca sauce

We ordered two sides to share, the salad looked disappointing but tasted great and I hate to think how much cream and butter was in the mash.

Pure di patate $10Mashed potato
Insalata di piselli $13Peas, farro, celery, mint, salted ricotta salad

I would recommend a meal here, the view is fabulous (at an iconic Australian location), the food is fresh and the service attentive (see how often you can say that in this part of the world).