New South Land

Ancient cultures in a new south land

Rhonda and Jeff Albom at Albom Adventures describe an enchanting garden in one of New Zealand’s most beautiful cities. I love Dunedin; it is a slice of Scotland in the antipodes, where Robert Burns embodies the very heart of the city, and shops advertise fresh haggis. The magnificent railway station is the most photographed building in New Zealand, and the city is home to many wonders, not least the steepest residential street in the world, where future Olympians must surely live.

A good Chinese garden is a journey through many realms: of beauty, imagination, culture, emotion, and the senses. Every detail carefully thought out and implemented, here one may relax in an oasis of tranquillity amid the city’s bustle. Not that Dunedin bustles a great deal, but the place of peace is located here.

cruise ports good bad

Cruise ports: good and bad

Paul and Carole of Paul and Carole Love to Travel – catchy name, that! – have solicited advice from a shipload of cruisers as to their notions of the best and worst cruise ports. I’ve only been to a couple of them, but the verdict(s) tally with my own views. There’s one port stirring a bit of controversy, and amusement.

Then again, I love cruising, and if a port isn’t highly rated, I’m happy to sit with a good book and a cool drink and watch everyone else wasting their time.

But some ports are absolute crackers, and posts like this get me itching to go cruising again.

Scottish High Road

Scottish High Road

Angela and Graham of Mowgli Adventures give some practical advice on this classic Scottish road trip. I’ve actually driven most of this route a couple of times now, and I have got to say that it is one of the great road trips of the world. And I speak as someone who has done the Great Ocean Road, and a lot of Route 66 – once in a red Mustang.

The scenery is incredible. The Northwest, especially. Pick the right time of year, either spring or autumn in my opinion, and the roads are uncrowded, there are plenty of places to pull over for photographs, and the weather is clement. Well, usually. 

And the route is made up of great driving roads, mostly. Narrow, twisty, up hill and down dale, prepare to enjoy the trip. My son and I did it in a Jaguar, and it was exhilarating. We still talk about it.

Angela and Graham drove in a campervan, a far more practical vehicle, but their tips and pointers are relevant to all.

Magic Kingdom

The Grown-Up’s Guide to the Magic Kingdom

Kris of Nomad by Trade gives an insider’s guide to the Magic Kingdom. Where the best eats are – the photo shows the yummiest snack in the park, something called a Dole Whip, which sounds pretty dire in Australia, but apparently “dole” means something else in the States – the best rides, the best photo opportunities, even a few places to kick your boots off and relax a bit. I once spent half of a jam-packed day at the Magic Kingdom – the other half being at the Kennedy Space Centre – and it was awesome. Being able to shave a few minutes here and there makes more time for more things to do.

Not nearly enough time to see everything, but I had fun. I might go back another time and maybe tuck into a bucket of that Dole Whip stuff.

Airmiles

Earn airmiles without flying

Josie of Josie Wanders is living the dream. She and her husband are taking a year off to travel the world, and every day or so I get a blog post from a new place, each destination more exotic and exciting than the last.

She has been able to save a bundle on the cost of this junket by accumulating points. Points from flying, points from hotel stays, points from buying everyday groceries, points here, points there. They all add up, and before you know it you’re flying long-haul First class to the next exotic destination. For free. What a life!

I’ve done my share of these sort of shenanigans, but I totally take my hat off to Josie. She’s got the points game sorted.