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Brisbane – Australia Zoo

Due to the unexpected delay to the embarkation onto Sea Princess due to Cyclone Oma, I decided to visited Australia Zoo. I had meant to go when I came to Australia in 2017, but it was too hot and my friend Nicki had told me it was quite big to walk around and there was very little cover. Being a bit apprehensive about the amount of walking and the temperature, I decided not to go. On this trip, my solo friend, Sue, had decided to fly out to join me for the NZ cruise and the rest of the trip in Australia. With this in mind, Sue and I decided that if we were going to go to Australia Zoo, we were going to do it in style so we hired a chauffeur driven caddie which came with our very own tour guide. We decided that this would give us a good chance of seeing a lot of the zoo and we wouldn’t have to walk a lot!!

a map of the zoo

We arrived at 10am in time for our Caddie tour and we had 5 hours to explore the zoo. As we drove around, our first stop was with some lovely ladies who were holding some of the animals for visitors to have a photo taken with (they had a professional photographer on hand as well). I took a few snaps.

After taking some lovely selfies with the animals, we continued our tour and went past the tortoises where there was a talk about them. We stopped briefly for photos. They were massive. They are native to the Galapagos Islands.

We were given some kangaroo food and then went to the kangaroo enclosure to feed them. They were all just lazing around and looking cute.

Walking through the kangaroo enclosure, we then came to the Koala area. I much preferred seeing the Koalas in their natural habitat which you will see in later blogs.

We then headed off to Africa. Africa was Steve Irwin’s dream and his family have bought it to life. It really is a big ‘enclosure’ and has the animals together as they would be in Africa.

We then continued on to see the crocodile show. I have put a video of this on my facebook page. We were given VIP seats and also got to meet some of the other animals.

After seeing the show and having some lunch we headed out to the Animal Hospital. Australia’s largest and busiest wildlife hospital. While in there, I saw a kangaroo in a man made pouch who had just arrived. It’s mother had been killed and they managed to save the joey.

We were also shown the operating area and there was lots of Koala’s in there in who were injured or they had gonorrhea (which is quite common among the Koalas).

We then took a look around the rest of the zoo, which included birds, meerkats, lizards and the tigers.

Our next stop was at ‘Bindi’s Island which is where the Lemurs were. The Lemurs were roaming around and you are requested to remain at least two feet away from them. If they come to you, that is different, but you shouldn’t approach them. They looked like they had a lot of character and the keepers certainly knew them. The island was also home to the tortoises.

Before leaving, we visited the Steve Irwin museum. I have lots of photos and it was nice to see him so well remembered.

My Facebook post of the Crocodile show caused a bit of a controversy, as my Facebook friends accused the keepers were of tormenting the crocodiles for the performance as shown in the video. Although I don’t tend to agree with zoos, I found Australia Zoo very nice and pleasant and the animals looked well cared for and had plenty of space.

There is currently a big problem for the crocs in Queensland. There is new legislation that allows for the harvesting of crocodile eggs for commercial and scientific use. Australia Zoo has put up a petition here to try and stop it. Also, here is a link to a Facebook video by the Irwin family explaining it in more detail.

As always, I have a lot more photos, so will upload them all to my Facebook page. Thank you for reading, and don’t forget, that, if you are looking for a holiday, I am now an Independent Travel Consultant and can take your bookings. My Facebook Page is linked here. I look forward to hearing from you!

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Sydney Part 1

After visiting Newcastle, we travelled slowly overnight to our scheduled stop in Sydney. We were due to be there in the early hours on the 20th February staying overnight until 11pm on 21st. The first day, we were due to be anchored in the harbour and would get to Sydney by tender. The tender would take us to the Man of War steps right by the Sydney Opera House. The Man of War steps is also right near the Botanical Gardens, so a good opportunity to take a stroll though them too, if its what you like doing.

I was going to take the train to Katoomba, but the weather was very low cloud and intermittent showers, so I opted to do a hop on hop off bus. I decided I would get off and change to the Bondi Beach tour.

The photos below are of the ‘living’ building which I loved when I came to Sydney in 2017.

I got off at the stop for the Australian National Maritime Museum. This was included as part of my city ticket and also included entrance on to the HMAS Vampire (ship) and HMAS Onslow (submarine). I found the submarine to be very small considering the amount of crew it would have to hold and the beds were tiny!

After completing (there is still a small section of the tour I haven’t done so will find a time to do the whole tour) as much as I could and getting back to Circular Quay, I decided to go back to the ship, have dinner. After Dinner, I got the tender back to shore, and by then it was dark.

As I was waiting the Arcadia was scheduled to dock at the Overseas Passenger Terminal which is located in Circular Quay.

I had planned to do some more touring on the second day (21st Feb), but due to Cyclone Oma, Brisbane Port had been shut, so I spent the morning trying to sort our my onward journey. In the end, I got off the ship and went on a small cruise around the harbour. The weather was, again, raining and very grey.

So overnight in the early hours of the 22nd February, a letter was slipped under the door from reception informing us (all the people who were due to get off in Brisbane) that due to Cyclone Oma, we would not be getting to Brisbane until the 26th. As my second cruise was delayed, I thought that it would be handy to stay on the ship until Brisbane. Unfortunately, it was not possible to stay on the ship till Brisbane as it transpired that it was very possible that they wouldn’t be stopping there at all. Because of this a flight was booked and P&O had booked us all into various hotels. Of course, this delay also meant that I had three days in Brisbane. What I did in Brisbane will be shared on the next blog!

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Preparing for an 87 night holiday!

On January 6th 2019, I am embarking on an epic (for me anyway) trip and going away from my husband, kids (23 and 24 year old who have both left home) and dogs for 87 nights. I am doing half a world cruise on P&O’s arcadia, a two week cruise on Sea Princess around New Zealand, travelling onto Sydney to spend 4 nights, collecting a hire car and travelling to Melbourne over 10 days before arriving in Melbourne for 4 nights and heading back to the UK on 29th March. I will be visiting lots of places, but before I leave, I wanted to share some useful information of tips to make your stay on a cruise ship easier and to make the cabin homely which I collected from members of my world cruise Facebook group that I set up just after I booked the tripOn January 6th 2019, I am embarking on an epic (for me anyway) trip and going away from my husband, kids and dogs for 87 nights. I am doing half a world cruise on P&O’s arcadia, a two week cruise on Sea Princess around New Zealand, travelling onto Sydney to spend 4 nights, collecting a hire car and travelling to Melbourne over 10 days before arriving in Melbourne for 4 nights and heading back to the UK on 29th March. I will be visiting lots of places, but before I leave, I wanted to share some useful information of tips collected from members of my world cruise Facebook group that I set up just after I booked the trip.If you were going on such a long trip with your partner and leaving your home empty, you would have to consider such things as informing your insurance company or arranging a house sitter, keep the heating on low (if in the winter), have your mail held at the local office, emptying and turning off fridges and freezers etc. Fortunately for me, my husband is staying, so I didn’t have to do any of this.

If you were going on such a long trip with your partner and leaving your home empty, you would have to consider such things as informing your insurance company or arranging a house sitter, keep the heating on low (if in the winter), have your mail held at the local office, emptying and turning off fridges and freezers etc. Fortunately for me, my husband is staying, so I didn’t have to do any of this.

The following are my suggestions to make your holiday more enjoyable.

Magnets – these are handy on a cruise because the walls are steel, so you can use them to attach your daily paper (which has details of activities on the ship) and personal items (photos of loved ones) to make your cabin more homely. I’ve purchased four to start me off and they are of my home town, Bristol. I hope to buy a magnet in each port as a small memento of my trip so will have a few more before I get home.

Magnetic hooks – again, these can go on the wall and are useful for hanging your bag, coat, bathrobe and anything else that hangs and should save you space.

Seasickness tablets or bands – I haven’t ever suffered from sea sickness but I have a fear of suffering seasickness! I have purchased some Sturgeon which I use if the Captain says the sea state is going to be really rough. On a Cruise ship, you know when its going to be bad because seasickness bags get put out by all the lifts!

Travel socket – I’ve got a travel socket that has two plugs and four USB slots. Most cruise ships have only one plug in the cabin, so I always travel with my travel plug. It will also be useful for Australia as I have an Australian adaptor for it too.

Packing cubes – These are a godsend! Even though they look small, they can hold a lot of clothing. In case you’ve never heard of them, here is a link to them on amazon

Waterproof bag – If, like me, you enjoy a bit of snorkelling, swimming or going on a boat, a waterproof bag is a good investment. As well as keeping everything dry, if you take them in the water with you, they act as a floating aid. You can see them here.

Mosquito repellent – on this trip, I am travelling to ‘at risk’ places such as the Panama Canal and some of the South Pacific Islands. Advice from some surgeries (this has been discussed at length on our Facebook group) are to take malaria tablets, but others have been advised to just use a repellent with ‘Deet’ in and to cover up. Because we will be leaving at around 4/5pm, we ‘shouldn’t’ have any problems as mozzies tend to come out in the evening. Of course, it is up to you what you do – I am not advising you either way!

Sunscreen (natural if going in sea – some affect the oceans) – Sunscreen is essential if you are, like me, very white and burn easily! The problem with sunscreen is that it is reported that sunscreen is responsible for bleaching Coral because of Oxybenzone (a detailed article from the Guardian is here). If you are aware of this and you want to swim but not to cause any damage to the sea, there are ways to do this. When I swim in the sea, I tend to wear swim leggings and a rash top (I purchased mine from Coolibar in the USA) and also swim shoes. The only bit exposed is my face, so I always search for a sea friendly brand of sunscreen – there are plenty out there, just search the internet.

Travel blanket – I like to take a travel blanket – nice to have something familiar when travelling and, if on a cruise, it makes a good shawl to go onto the decks in the evening if you fancy popping out for a bit of fresh air.

Cable tidy bag – AI never know where to find my cables so invested in cable bag for all my cables and bits and pieces like batteries (for my cameras), selfie stick and mini tripod.

Torch – In my Facebook group, some people have advised to take a torch as, in the Cabins on Arcadia, the reading light is really low on the back of the bed so is not as effective as it has been designed to be. You also never know when you might need a light!

RFID purse for out and about – protect your credit cards and passport from being copied and fraudulently used. Some countries have prolific pickpockets and it has be know for people to carry a credit card machine around to capture wireless charging.

Travel WiFi dongle/hotspot hub – I managed to find a travel wifi hub which holds a sim card and is unlocked so can be used in any country. At the same time, I found a 24gb data sim from 3 (both on Amazon – the sim was cheaper on Amazon than buying direct from 3). I am hoping this will allow me internet access in port so that I can update my blog and Facebook page. I’m not sure how long it will last, but will report back.

Mini Air Humidifier – Again, another discussion in our World Cruise Facebook group was the dry air and trying to ensure our wellbeing (especially on a long cruise). This mini one had been used by someone in the group and was recommended. They suggested using it at night. You can purchase it with Amazon here.

Water bottle (metal) – With all the worry of pollution in our seas, I wanted to take a bottle with me so opted for a metal bottle rather than a plastic one. I purchased mine from Amazon. I purchased one similar to the one in this link.

I hope these ideas help you when packing for a long trip (particularly a cruise). The next blog will be when I start my holiday and leave Bristol to go to Southampton on 5th January.

If you have any suggestions for essential items for a cruise or holiday, please comment.