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Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Holiday in Oz.

At last, I've got some time to let you know about my hols.
I have to be careful, as my beloved thinks that using the computer for anything but serious work is the device of the devil. That's why there wasn't much posted from Aussie.

Arrived in Cairns on Monday evening.

Cairns was great, nice clean town, not tacky. Sort of half way between Wellington and Taupo.
Lovely hotel (Pullman reef casino)gorgeous rooms, luxurious beds, views over the sea from the balcony.

Not bad price, about $840 for 4 nights, and when we arrived we found that we had got extra discount of $192 which we could spend on breakfasts, meals etc.
Went out on the reef next day at 8:00 am. Used a company called Down Under Cruise and Dive. Very good. They supplied wet suits (for buoyancy more than warmth, the water was 240C. They also supplied prescription goggles at no cost, which was great for me, as I'm very short-sighted.
Snorkeling over the reef was one of the great experiences of my life.

The water was lovely and clear, with multi-coloured fish everywhere. Saw a small turtle swimming slowly away, and managed to follow it for about 100 metres.

I had forgotten how salty the water was, and how much it burned as it was forced up my nose by the pressure of the water. The sun wasn't too bad, but the sea was a bit choppy.
Saw a very unusual effect. As another snorkeler swam past, the bubbles formed by his fins were a gorgeous peachy-pink. It was like swimming through pink champagne. Lovely.
Plenty of food (sausages, steaks and salads) but no alcohol for safety reasons.
Moved to a second reef position after lunch, another swim (saw a shark) then back to Cairns on a helicopter.

Went for a feed that night at Fish Devine, not bad, but more like an upmarket fish and chips.
Took the train next day to Kuranda. Lovely scenic trip, lovely views.

Kuranda was OK for half an hour, but we had to spend 4 hours there. Not recommended.
Took the Rainforest SkyTrain back to Cairns. Well worth the expense (about A$50 each)

Went to dinner at The Salt House. Great food, reasonably priced (about A$120 for 2).
Pleased to note that almost all of the white wines offered were NZ.
Flew off to Alice Springs on the 4th day.
As a Scot, who is careful with money, I did not use the hotel minibar, but rather bought some wines from a bottle shop.

Tyrrell's Wines
Old Winery
Pinot Noir 2009
This was odd. Did not taste particularly good when opened, but even after 12 hours it was a bit vinegary introduction, strong tannins, but a long smooth velvety finish. Cost A$14.50

Wild Oats
Cabernet Merlot
Oatley Wines, Mudgee NSW.
Wow. A huge hit of fruit and berries.
Long intense vanilla and berry finish.
One of the best if tried under $A20

More on Uluru tomorrow.


  1. I have been reading Bill Bryson's Down Under over the hols, and he has taken a very similar trip to you. Looking forward to hearing about Uluru, I would LOVE to go there

  2. The Oatleys used to own Rosemount wines which used to be exceptional so I'm not surprised the Wild Oats was good

  3. I'm sure that Richard (of RBB) would like to stay in the Pullman Hotel.

  4. Great post.


  5. Like your wife, I'm not into heights. If I'd come (no Pullman jokes please, Comeinyourpants!), there'd be nail marks on your other arm too.

  6. Nice to be back. Even you Oh aged and grumpy one.
    Uluru was much more than I expected, I'll try and get it all down today.

    I'll certainly be looking for that Wild Oats in NZ. Which Rosemount would you recommend?

    I'm sure that Richard(of RBB)would enjoy the Pullman. There's a live jazz performance each week.

    Make another note to self: DO NOT TAKE RICHARD(OF RBB)ON SKYTRAIN

  7. The current Rosemount offerings are a pale imitation of what they once were. Rosemount is now just a brand of the Fosters empire and are churned out along with the Penfolds, Wyndham, Lindemans, Wolf Blass labels. At the top however there are some good offerings. I recommend Mountain Blue Shiraz when on special. Woolworth/Countdown tend to 'promote' at $20 plus off occasionally. If you can buy this wine at say $19 its a bargain.


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