Tag Archives: holiday

Packing Light: How to Make Sure Your Suitcase Doesn’t Weigh a Tonne

As we head into the festive season, many of us are preparing for holidays or trips home to see our loved ones. If you’re anything like me, you find that the worst part of travelling is packing (and unpacking)! Getting it right is an art form; a skill that is acquired over many many trips, on which you can hone the art of packing light. Thankfully, as a well seasoned traveller, I am here to help you out so that you don’t have to make the mistakes (and pay the excess baggage fees!) of my past …


  1. Mix and Match

Choose separates that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits. Staples such as jeans, denim shorts, a neutral coloured button up shirt and plain tops and t-shirts are great because they can be teamed up in a number of ways to create a wide range of outfits.

2. Plan Ahead

Aim to pack two outfits for each day you are away – one for the daytime and one for night. A week or two before you depart lay the outfits out on the floor (along with coordinating accessories and shoes), one at a time, and snap a pic using your smartphone. This serves two purposes: one is that you will know exactly what you need, and won’t overpack. The second is that you will have a ‘visual list’ of sorts so that you can easily pack your suitcase without leaving anything behind.

3. Layer Up

Choose items that can be easily packed and layered up in the event of inclement weather. Even if you’re heading off on an island getaway, you may get chilly inside air-conditioned venues and require a cardigan. Light knits, breezy dresses and a pair of tights will do the trick.

4. Accessorise to Maximise

Pack a range of accessories that can take your basics from zero to hero. A plain shirt and jeans can be jazzed up with the addition of a statement necklace, some big earrings and a great belt. Accessories don’t take up too much room, so you’re better off packing more accessories and less clothes.

5. Air Your Dirty Laundry

Literally, not figuratively! If you know you will be staying somewhere that has laundry facilities, make the most of these. Pack the bare minimum and wash and dry your mix and match separates for maximum wear.

Many of our fantastic locations offer convenient amenities including washing machines and dryers. To find out more, please visit our website.

Port Douglas: A Taste Out of the Ordinary

If you’re anything like me, many of your fondest holiday memories are somehow connected to food! Whether it’s dining al fresco on your honeymoon in Italy, or just fish & chips on the pier with your grandparents as a child, food plays a huge role in the celebratory nature of holidays and making memories. It makes sense then that so many holidaymakers go out of their way to find the most unique dining experiences wherever they go.

Port Douglas offers a number of such experiences, from rainforest to reef. One of the most unforgettable is at Flames of the Forest, where you can choose from a cultural Aboriginal experience or a romantic dinner for two by candlelight. Hosted by two local indigenous brothers, the cultural dinner is offered on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Set in a beautiful rainforest location these brothers actually explored as children, you will enjoy a delicious meal as they share with you some of their fascinating culture and traditions. The menu features native ingredients such as kangaroo, crocodile and lemon myrtle, combined with decadent delicacies including truffle oil, and presented with a modern flair, pleasing both the eye and the palette.

Flames Forest

For a memorable evening with your loved one, the romantic rainforest dinner will not disappoint. Available on Saturday nights, you will be awestruck by just the setting alone, as you take your seat at your table for two in this exquisite rainforest setting, surrounded by shimmering fairy lights and twinkling candles. This experience is also sometimes offered on Sunday evenings – it’s best to check the Flames of the Forest website for current details.

Another great experience can be had back at Ramada Resort Port Douglas. After the sun goes down, the onsite restaurant, Tree Bar and Grill, is illuminated by strings of fairy lights hanging from the ancient rainforest canopy encircling the restaurant. Local seafood features on the menu, along with more exotic local delicacies such as crocodile. There is also the option of tamer (but equally delicious) fare such as local fish and chips and Tree Bar and Grill’s signature deluxe wagyu cheeseburger.

Ramada Port Douglas offers a wide range of accommodation types, many of which have recently been refurbished. Resort facilities include a saltwater lagoon-style pool with swim up bar and waterfall, making it the ideal place to relax and enjoy the tranquility of Port Douglas.


Fright Night: The Spooky Side of Ballarat

Ballarat’s rich and colourful history is full of great stories about early pioneers and their quest for fortune in the 1800s Gold Rush, but if you talk to the locals, it’s the stories of the gold diggers that came and never really left that excite them the most. Apparently the Gold Rush settlers, and their successors over the next 50 years, were a bit of a motley crew; violent crime is a common theme from the stories of this era. As such, ghost sightings in Ballarat are pretty commonplace!


If this sort of paranormal activity tickles your fancy, there are a couple of guided ghost tours in Ballarat that you will enjoy. Eerie Tours, run by professional tour guide Nathaniel Buchanan, offers a great mix of history and mystery. This walking tour covers many historic points of interest and landmarks in Ballarat, with detailed descriptions of the buildings’ history and stories of their invisible inhabitants! There’s also a dinner and tour package available with a choice of dining venues. At just $200 for dinner and tour for a family of up to five people, it represents great value!

Eerie Ghost Tours E

Ballarat Ghost Tours will take you behind the secluded walls of one of Ballarat’s most clandestine buildings, the Sacred Heart Convent. From 1881 until 1995, this magnificent building was home to the Sisters of Mercy convent and boarding school. After the school closed in 1995 the doors were locked but the building has recently reopened, allowing curious visitors to tour the chapel, kitchen, classroom, nuns’ quarters, grand staircases and haunting hallways by lamp light. Hosted by professional guides and psychic mediums from Paranormal Australia, the tours tell the stories of those who once lived (and may still roam!) in the sprawling estate.

You can make a great weekend of it by checking in at WorldMark South Pacific Club by Wyndham Ballarat and then participating in one, or both, of these spooky tours. WorldMark Resort Ballarat offers a choice of studio or studio deluxe rooms and standard or deluxe apartments. Resort facilities include gym, tennis court, heated indoor swimming pool and bike hire.


To find out more about Eerie Tours or Ballarat Ghost Tours, visit www.eerietours.com.au or www.ballaratghosts.com.au

Coffs Harbour – Where the Mountains Meet the Sea

Every year for 11 years, my family would drive from Sydney to Maroochydore for our annual summer holiday, and every year we would stop at Coffs Harbour on the way. As a child I always loved to visit the Big Banana – a ginormous walk-through banana replica built by an enthusiastic American who was enamoured with his banana plantation.


Of course there’s much more to Coffs Harbour than the Big Banana. Located approximately 400 kilometres south of Brisbane on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, Coffs Harbour is the only place in New South Wales where the Great Dividing Range meets the sea. This fairly sizeable coastal town is also home to stunning tropical hinterland vistas, a pristine coastline, fantastic diving, restaurants and nightlife, making it an ideal holiday destination.

Natural wonders in close proximity to town include South Solitary Island, located about 15 kilometres north-east of the mainland. Here you will find the most isolated lighthouse on the New South Wales coast, along with a keeper’s quarters, both which were built in 1880. Nature lovers will also enjoy the many picturesque walking tracks the area offers. To see the region’s beautiful coastal environment in all its glory, visit Jetty Beach or Boambee Beach. At the opposite end of the spectrum, there is Coffs Creek Walk which will take you on a nine-kilometre journey through the picturesque forest just behind town.


Families are spoilt for choice when it comes to things to see or do in Coffs Harbour, but you can’t go past the famed Dolphin Marine Magic (previously the Pet Porpoise Pool). Here you can watch amazing dolphin and seal shows, feed the fish and baby penguins or even pat a crocodile or snake if you’re feeling slightly more adventurous. For something a little tamer, a visit to the Coffs Harbour Butterfly House could be on the cards. This enclosed rainforest environment allows kids to see, and even touch, a huge variety of Australian butterflies.


You will need at least a few days to see all that Coffs Harbour has to offer and Wyndham Vacation Resorts Coffs Harbour is the perfect seaside haven to relax and explore. Located a short walk from the beach, the resort offers self-contained one, two and three-bedroom apartments, as well as fantastic resort facilities including a pool and spa, gym, tennis court, barbecue area and tour desk.

Deliciously Dunsborough

Wyndham Resort & Spa Dunsborough overlooks Geographe Bay.
Wyndham Resort & Spa Dunsborough overlooks Geographe Bay.

Toby’s Restaurant & Bar lies in a picture perfect corner in Western Australia’s South West, along the waters of Geographe Bay and right in the midst of Margaret River’s burgeoning food and wine region. Its coastal position promises an abundance of top-notch seafood and the quality local ingredients means there is never a shortage of seasonal goods packed with sensational flavour and absolute freshness.

Situated onsite at Wyndham Resort & Spa Dunsborough, Toby’s Restaurant & Bar knows good taste. The well-crafted menu presents a fresh take on wholesome cuisine with butternut pumpkin, local asparagus, crisp greens, smoked meats and Margaret River venison being used. The desserts are devilishly good and breakfast caters for refreshing and hearty meals.

Fresh Margaret River produce creates magic on the plate.
Fresh Margaret River produce creates magic on the plate.

So what sets Toby’s Restaurant & Bar apart from other restaurants? Executive chef, Colin Lyttle said a passion for local produce is behind the restaurant’s success. “We are so fortunate in Dunsborough to have access to an abundance of top quality produce and local wines from the wider Margaret River Region. This enables us to get creative and produce dishes that not only excite the tastebuds, but also pay tribute to this very special part of Australia,” said Mr Lyttle.

Toby’s Restaurant & Bar was recently named a finalist in the Catering Institute of Australia’s prestigious Gold Plate Awards in the Licensed Casual Dining – Country category. So pay a visit to this superb restaurant to enjoy delicious dining and a wine list brimming with Margaret River’s finest in an intimate yet relaxed atmosphere.

Toby’s Restaurant & Bar makes the most of its seaside location by offering scrumptious seafood on the menu.
Toby’s Restaurant & Bar makes the most of its seaside location by offering scrumptious seafood on the menu.

Where to Stay

The resort is set on beautiful landscaped gardens.
The resort is set on beautiful landscaped gardens.

For an unforgettable holiday in Western Australia’s South West, stay at Wyndham Resort & Spa Dunsborough. Situated on the beachfront overlooking Geographe Bay, the resort is the perfect base to explore the region’s beautiful natural surrounds and the famous wineries of the Margaret River region. Wyndham Resort & Spa Dunsborough boasts a heated swimming pool and spa, tennis court, gym and Escape Day Spa. The stylish, well-appointed accommodation includes studios and self-contained one and two-bedroom apartments.

Great Places to Stay: Surfers Paradise

Surfing is a popular pastime at the Gold Coast’s stunning beaches. Image courtesy of Gold Coast Tourism.
Surfing is a popular pastime at the Gold Coast’s stunning beaches. Image courtesy of Gold Coast Tourism.

The vibrant and eclectic seaside culture of Surfers Paradise has long been a holiday hot spot. Known for its fusion of city and beach lifestyles, it encapsulates the very best of non-stop action with a laid-back, casual vibe.

The skyline is studded with skyscrapers towering above the golden beach while beach-goers lounge in the sun’s rays or cool off in the crashing surf. On the streets there is no shortage of action packed activities and buzzing enthusiasm from an array of attractions. No matter what you’re after, it can all be found within this iconic holiday precinct.

Stay in Comfort

Wyndham Surfers Paradise is located in the heart of Surfers Paradise, just a few blocks from Cavill Avenue.
Wyndham Surfers Paradise is located in the heart of Surfers Paradise, just a few blocks from Cavill Avenue.

Wyndham Surfers Paradise is situated in an unbeatable location, right in the heart of this beautiful beach city. It’s directly opposite Q1, the fun of Cavill Avenue is just a few blocks away and you can be relaxing on Surfers Paradise Beach after just a five-minute walk.

Two-bedroom ocean view deluxe apartment at Wyndham Surfers Paradise.
Two-bedroom ocean view deluxe apartment at Wyndham Surfers Paradise.

The self-contained one and two-bedroom deluxe apartments are spacious and stylishly appointed with fully equipped kitchens, laundries and balconies, with most apartments overlooking the ocean, river or hinterland. The fantastic hotel facilities include an outdoor heated pool, spa, gym, tour desk, lobby lounge, recreation deck with alfresco seating and barbecues, and a ground floor dining precinct.

Hotel facilities include an outdoor heated pool.
Hotel facilities include an outdoor heated pool.

Activities and Attractions

From fishing and kayaking to beach volleyball and mini golf, there is no chance you will be bored when there is a plethora of activities and attractions on Wyndham Surfers Paradise’s doorstep.

If adventure calls, Surfers Paradise will deliver. Take a thrilling jet boat ride, feel the rush of surfing or test your bravery on a ride at the Adrenaline Park. The entertainment hub of Circle on Cavill plays host to Strike Bowling Bar, Minus 5 Ice Bar and sensational restaurants.

Family Fun

Timezone is absolute heaven for children, teenagers and the young at heart – there is laser tag, ten-pin bowling and much more. Other fantastic family fun can be found at the Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and Infinity.

For spectacular panoramic vistas nothing compares to SkyPoint Observation Deck at Q1, where you can marvel at the 360-degree views from 230 metres high. With so many great things to see and do, Surfers Paradise is a destination waiting to be discovered.

Cavill Avenue is full of action with dining, shopping, nightlife and more.
Cavill Avenue is full of action with dining, shopping, nightlife and more.