??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


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Sunset Dinner and Show Cruise – Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji

After a lazy day poolside, following a huge ( as always) buffet breakfast, we dressed up for a 4:15pm pick up for a sunset dinner cruise and show. The show was to be held on a small nearby island – obviously Robinson Crusoe Island.


The brochure promised us –
• 30 minute Jungle Cruise to the island

• Welcome Kava Ceremony

• Fijian “Lovo” (earth oven) Buffet

• Fire Walking Demonstration

• South Pacific Performance featuring Fire & Knife dancers

• Island bonfire and string band serenaders

and I must say it delivered!!

The bus arrived on time and after about a 45 minute bus trip we arrived at the Robinson Crusoe Island Ferry Jetty , with a few other mini buses and a coach.


We swapped our ticket vouchers for boarding passes and watched the first boat start its trip down the river. Our boat filled quickly. We were assured there was no deadly wildlife in the river, given instructions on the use of life jackets, then with a loud ‘BULA’ off we sped.


Our trip took us through the mangrove lined Tuva River. At the mouth of the river the sunset painted a glorious picture of orange glow. Small boats,the other ferry and palm trees cast silhouettes against the strong glow.



Docked on the island we were met by a serenade and we were led to the meeting area.


First we were told the story of chiefs and kava ceremonies. We watched a ceremony then all were invited to partake in Kava.

A bonfire on the beach followed. Songs were sung as hungry tummies awaited the final cooking stage of the Lovo. We soon watched the foods removed from their rock under earth oven.While the rocks were still sizzle hot we witnessed some Fijians walk on them. This must take a lot of mind psyching.


Dinner was served- a delicious menu of tender beef, chicken and an assortment of vegetables. With full plates on our tables ( and soon very full tummies) the performers serenaded us- melodic and peaceful.

The end of dinner signalled the start of the show- I was captivated from the beginning to the end. We watched as women and men performed traditional dances with a variety of costume changes. The knife dance was impressive but the fire twirling was what thrilled me the most- I have long been intrigued by watching the flicker of its dance. The finale is on the beach and without ruining it ,let’s say it was totally riveting and a spectacular visual.


To the strains of Isa Lei – The Fijian Farewell Song, our dinner show ended and we headed back to our buses via another trip in the island ferry.

It was a little unnerving wondering how the trip would be, aware we had seen no navigational poles but had seen tree stumps exposed in the rivers while on the daylight leg. The light turned out to be from someone sitting up on the roof with a large torchlight beam. A little concerning at first, but YOLO. The trip with the sparkling star sky canvas and the roaming floodlight beam added to the adventure.

Would thoroughly recommend this to Fijian visitors. It was an amazing evening! Money well spent 😀

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For Now , For Later, For Ever??

Now, no denying I’m a technology fan! I grew up in a home that promoted it. I love new gadgets and am up to date with my phones and tablets , not to mention apps. I see merit in the often put down selfie stick and love a good selfie. It is great to be able to take a photo or video memory of an adventure or experience – without having to invade the personal space of others by interrupting them to take a photo for you . This also eliminates that embarrassing moment when you need to ask the stranger to again take the photo because their first attempt wasn’t good enough.

So while I love what technology can do, I’m a little concerned about its imposition on living in the moment. Yesterday I attended a Fleetwood Mac concert. It was an outdoor arena in the Hunter Valley ( 2 hours north of Sydney for those not familiar with the area). The weather wasn’t so kind to us concert goers but it didn’t impact on the quality performance given by the band.

The seats we had were very good and close enough to the stage to see the full facial gestures. The side screens were good for an occasional glance but the stage held my attention. What amazed me was I had to dodge around not just the patrons that felt the need to stand and dance  ( don’t get me started on that haha) but their two arms extended with camera device, eyes gazing up at their screen, filming the whole thing, watching the performance through the lens of their smartphone or other similar gadget. I suppose they can relive the moment later, but did they really live the moment as it evolved?

What are your thoughts? Can we be too obsessed with recording for the future that we miss the present?

My photos of the night 🙂

Capturing the mood

Capturing the mood

Steve Nicks belts out a tune to the smart phones

Steve Nicks belts out a tune to the smart phones

Mick Fleetwood's drum set

Mick Fleetwood’s drum set


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Riding and Gliding 

Ever had a bird’s eye view of the top canopy of a rainforest? We did and what an exhilarating day it made ! We visited Kuranda on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, returning home on the Skyrail. For one who struggles with heights it provided challenges and I am proud to say I rose to the occasion. Our first leg of the journey was the Kuranda Scenic Railway. We raced to the Cairns station following our Google map instructions. Had we stuck with that we would have walked about 6 stairs onto the station, but no, I saw the station and took what looked like a short cut only to find the lift out of action so I had to walk the 30 or so steps up then down onto the platform – a lesson learned. 

  
Our carriage was 14, the final carriage on the train. It gave us a great view of the train as it rounded the bends as it made its way to Kuranda I must say.

  
A running commentary was broadcast through the train telling of the history of the railway, and sights along the way. You can take a look at the facts here.  The making of the rail line and its tunnels certainly was an amazing feat considering the use of hand tools and lack of modern day surveying skills. 

 Sugar cane farms lined the track as we headed from Cairns before giving way to rainforest vegetation, some very deep ravines and spectacular waterfalls. We alighted at Barron Falls for a short photo opportunity then boarded the train again Kuranda bound.  

    
   
Our return journey from Kuranda was by the Skyrail. We chose the diamond view gondola, paying $12 extra each for the fear factor 🙂 It has a glass bottom so you can enjoy not only looking out but down onto the canopy of this majestic rainforest. The views in all directions were spectacular and even I eventually tolerated enjoyed  the view through the glass. I have a fear of heights, especially over water, so I wasn’t the least bit doubting that our first small stop ( we had been told to expect a few as we travelled) would see our gondola mid way between poles dangling over the river… And I was right! 

   
We alighted at Barron Falls and walked the short walks to the lookouts over the falls. They were a closer view from here than from the train station. From there we next alighted at Red Peak again taking a short boardwalk through the rainforest. Standing in awe of the tall trees, green vines and ferns making their way to the light via the trees, brush turkeys digging and sweet bird calls echoing the only sense that wasn’t tantalised was my sense of smell. No this rainforest doesn’t emit an odour. It was in fact the freshly lit cigarette a walker had to ‘share’. He could only have been on the Skyrail for a maximum of about 20 minutes and this board walk was only 200 metres and a return trip was a maximum of 20 minutes yet he couldn’t go without in that short time. He butted it out in a rubbish bin and when I made the comment that it was disappointing to have my time spoiled by his smoke he just stared and walked on. Imagine if that butt then started a fire in the bin then proceeded to the rainforest leaf litter. 

The final leg on the Skyrail into freshwater is very steep. We were lucky not to have to share our gondola ( had this luck all the way) and we both sat facing the descent ( the man loading passengers had said it was perfectly ok for us to do that without unbalancing the gondola – of course I needed the clarification of that point). To add to my fun it was gondola 13. The view was amazing as the rainforest gave way to the ocean. By now I was coping fine with the glass floor.

Another bucket list item ticked off . 


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Dreams do come true!

With Father’s Day tomorrow in Australia, I was looking through early posts on my blog. I knew I had written one about my dad and wanted to re-read it. I found it (take a peek if you like). I also found a list of dreams I had written – not dreams as in sleep time but dreams of things I wanted to achieve. I wrote it 2 years ago so decided to see if I could tick any off the list.

The Ticked

Visit Port Douglas and the Daintree Rainforest

Almost ticked. The flights and accommodation are finalised and we will be there in around five weeks time. We are traveling around Cairns to Kuranda and up as far as Cape Tribulation. It will be a planes, trains and automobile style trip ( oh and throw in a cruise ship too!)file2101291129795

Visit the Blue Grotto and Pompeii

In June last year my family (husband and two grown up kids) traveled to Italy. It was an amazing holiday, made extra enjoyable by us all sharing it together. We didn’t actually get inside the Blue Grotto. Heavy seas, high tide fast approaching and a long queue of boats meant we only saw it from the outside. But, still we saw it (and a lot of other pretty grottos on our sail around Capri

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Pompeii is hard to put in words. It’s like you can still feel the lives of the people there both before the catastrophe and as they faced it. I cannot even imagine the fear that filled them as some struggled to escape (but to nowhere) nor those that curled up tightly with their family aware they could not beat this beast. And, there, looming in your vision is the all powerful Mt Vesuvius.

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Do a Sound of Music Tour

What an amazing time we had in Salzburg (July 2015) fulfilling this dream. The Mirabellplatz Gardens were opposite our accommodation. This Garden is the scene of the ‘Do-Re-Me’ steps, gnomes and trellises .Of course I sang the song as I jumped steps,tapped gnomes on the head and of course skipped ( yes skipped!!) through trellised walkways. I also did an organised SOM bus tour where I danced around a rotunda singing walked around lakes and saw the church of the marriage.

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Watch Sunrise and Kochie Live

Sunrise is an Australian morning news TV program. It is filmed at Martin place and is visible from the street.I’m a Kochie fan so was excited to make the trip to Sydney to stand outside to watch.I was extra thrilled when a few months later I actually got to be part of an inside audience, something they don’t have very often.

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Cook a three course meal

My cooking IS getting better. Maybe because I don’t do it so often now we are empty nesters. This makes the times I do it no longer the compulsory chore it used to be.

carb fettcake

Learn more conversational Italian

My Italian is still VERY limited but I loved listening to others using it during our travels. I was able to read the train ticket machines which was helpful.I also had a few(very simplistic) conversations-mostly transport or food related. Sadly since our return non-use means I need a HUGE refresher course.

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These on the list are YET TO BE COMPLETED but are still important to me.I’m taking Abbey Lee off the list though as I don’t watch the show much now.

*Visit USA again and see Abby Lee Dance Studio – and hopefully Abby Lee 🙂

*Visit Churchill to see the polar bears in the wild

*African wildlife safari

*Go to the Melbourne Cup

*See the Canadian Rocky Mountains by train

*Fly over Antarctica – preferable ice class 🙂

*Attend a dawn service for ANZAC DAY

*Be on Sydney Harbour for New Year’s Eve

*Write a children’s picture book

*Write a collection of short stories

Have you ticked off any of your own dreams lately? Did they live up to your expectations?


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Bucket list Sunrise

This story starts maybe even as far back as eight years ago. I’m a Kochie fan. If you aren’t an Australian reader of my blog, you may be wondering who, or what, is ‘KOCHIE’. If you are an Australian reader you may be thinking ‘There are Kochie fans??’ lol. Kochie (David Koch) is in fact a male host of a morning show called Sunrise. This airs on free to air TV each weekday 6 am until 9 am.

He’s not ‘manly’ in the Australian sense of the word, he frequently relates stories about his family, has been awarded Father of the Year in 2007 and isn’t afraid to voice politically incorrect viewpoints without rudeness and has a blog based on finance. He is a product of state education, has been reported as being an average scholar and is of average appearance but has made good in a world built on appearances. I refer to him as ‘the thinking woman’s crumpet’.

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The show is broadcast from a studio in Martin Place (CBD Sydney) and I have often said I wanted to visit this but each holiday break would run away and I never achieved this bucket list item. This year however is the new me. I’m making plans and getting them done (it is only January, so I hope I’m still as enthusiastic when I revisit this in say June ha ha).

Last Monday I decided Friday would be the day that I would travel to Sydney. I even tweeted @kochie_online about my intentions (another bucket list to be retweeted by him). Instead of a retweet I received a reply!! I realised it was just a ‘polite’ reply but still the bucket list tick off happened and I decided to keep up the momentum and attend the plaza where it all happens.

My day started at 4:45 am on Friday as I needed to be on a 6 am train.

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It is a 20 minute car drive hour trip plus one hour and 45 minutes train ride to the city. I saw the real sunrise from the train carriage as the train sped over the Hawkesbury River Bridge.

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Arriving at Central station I had to ask for help as to where my next train went from. Arriving at Martin Place I faced 7 train exits so with a quick check of google maps I was off up the 20 or so steps to daylight and ‘my’ Sunrise. I walked down to the windows for a vantage point (hardly anyone was around). The blinds were drawn but they were of the type that block out sun but not view, and so through the muted black, there he stood! The view was much better through the curtain than it appear in the photos.

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Over excited I began posting photos on FaceBook and replying to friend’s comments like a silly school girl. I checked with the security guards about if/ when Kochie would be in the plaza and was it common for him to hang around long enough for photos. With a smile and a look that said, ‘Hmmm is this crazy lady a stalker??’ in his eyes (or was that my guilty interpretation) he assured me there would be ample photo time. Just the words I wanted to hear. With a hint Kochie was coming outside for a segment, I  didn’t even say ‘Excuse me, sorry’ once as I bustled my way to standing within arm’s reach of my man of the moment. There was no time for niceties in this pilgrimage. I watched him eat the succulant lamb cutlet. I just realised writing this now I should have had one myself then I could have  truthfully stated we dined together 🙂 Bad slip up on my part haha. Of he went back inside as the show ran overtime. I think it may have been relate to the breaking news about Justin Beiber but all I was worried about was would this deny me my photograph!

My patience was eventually rewarded when Kochie came into the plaza for photos, at the end of the long over due show. He displayed a humble approach to each person waiting for photos and autographs, engaging all, young and old alike, in easy conversational banter. His smile appeared to give a genuine sense of being a warm human with a caring disposition. I had the most exciting morning and it was a fantastic tick on the bucket list.

The only photoshop needed was to remove the security guard from the background. Not sure why he lingered close hahaha!

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And, a TV screen capture with a feeble attempt at pixilation to hide the identity of the strangers around me

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