At last the time is down to weeks now and not months before we are off on the next trip. We are taking a short trip to Bali in just over 4 weeks time and it can't come soon enough. Not only time off together but I think we got a great deal on the flights. Jo is chasing Gold status this year and I've got to get my Silver back so we looked at what was the quickest way to earn flyer points and status credits. See our YouTube video here for details.
By doing a LOT of investigation I uncovered a Qantas Business class flight that departs from Brisbane and goes via Melbourne to Denpasar during daylight hours for only $680 each. At last check the price for the same day is at $1000 each so it pays to get in early. The flight also gains 9900 flyer points and 180 status credits for the one way flight. However if you expected the same value on the return leg you would be.....very wrong!
I don't understand, but expect Mr Joyce would have a exceptionally good reason why the return leg, via Melbourne too, is more expensive by over $100 but only attracts 2100 flyer points and 60 status credits. So we will be looking elsewhere for our return trip, perhaps Jetstar as they offer a direct Business Class flight to Brisbane for around $600.
Rest assured there will be videos about all the flights and accommodation reviews so keep tabs via the Channel.
I know I have chosen to reside in an area well known for it's extreme heat but this is getting tiresome.
We have not had a day in the last 6 weeks when the temperature has been less than 40 degrees Celsius with it usually hovering in the mid 40's and topped out at 49 degrees the other day. No rain to speak of, it does look promising every few days with the clouds building up in the afternoon to see some small isolated showers skirt around us. To smell the rain but not to feel it is torture!
I still manage a 5 klm walk each morning up and down the look-out hill, or 1 tank hill, as it's known locally for obvious reasons if you saw it. This walk, by necessity, is taken as early as possible in order to escape the high temperatures but still manages to raise quite a sweat before work.
I've been checking the Accor website every few hours waiting to see if any announcements have been made about the winners of their Ambassador competition but nothing. Today I received a phone-call to my mobile from a Singapore number which I at first had reservations about answering it thinking it might be some off-shore telemarketer. It was however a fellow from Accor offering me congratulations on winning the competition and just wanting to touch base. He requested a photo of me and emailed me an agreement to say I would appear in any promotional activity as needed. All quite exciting although obviously nothing will probably happen for sometime but the title of Accor Australian Ambassador has a certain ring to it, eh?
Jo's mum flew back to Queensland this morning and we moved into the Sebel Docklands Apartments for two nights before heading back to work. We didn't realise that Sebel are a part of the Accor Group and had booked through booking.com instead of direct so missed out on some points, bother it! Again the position is great as it's right on the water at Docklands but the first room was a bit grotty so asked if we could change and were given a second choice which was much better. I suppose it being New Years Day and they would have been at capacity last night the cleaning staff would have been under the pump to get things cleaned for today.
The hotel has a reasonable gym on the ground floor, not that we considered using it as this was to be a very chilled couple of days. There was a pool but it was an inside, heated pool which loses it's appeal to me as it was quite loud with kids playing and only quite narrow access on one side with no room to sit around. I suppose that for a lot of the year in Melbourne a heated, indoor pool would be used much more due to the cold weather.
We spent the next two days just relaxing but managed to get out and about the last day to re-visit some places like some of the Graffiti lanes and Young & Jackson's pub in Flinders Street.
Over our few days in Melbourne we sampled the delights of numerous bars and restaurants.
The few that stick out for us were the Max Bar and Restaurant on Hardware Lane. This is on a small but very popular lane which has a huge selection of eateries, Italian in style, the food and service was great and the fact they had Spanish and Italian wines available at a very reasonable price was the icing on the cake.
We stopped for pre-dinner cocktails at Eau de Vie on Malthouse Lane. This establishment is well known for it's theatrical presentation and preparation of an incredible array of cocktails. Involving fire, liquid nitrogen, smoke etc etc. Each cocktail was worthy of a round of applause, it was unfortunately too dark for my camera to do any filming.
Lastly, one of our regular dining delights is China Red in a arcade off China Town's Bourke Street. Nothing flash but very tasty and huge servings and all ordered from a touch screen I-pad type affair on the wall above each table.
Xmas over and done for another year and looking forward to 2019 with high expectations. Melbourne as well as being my birth city has always been a place I've enjoyed spending time in, at the right time of year of course. Melbourne Winters can be wet and miserable and even Summer has it's occasional "cool change" that can send the mercury plummeting in an hour or so.
These few days the weather gods smiled and we had wonderfully warm days without it being too hot. We spent the first few nights at the Pan Pacific at South Wharf which was a first for us, both with the hotel name and the position.
The position was great, right next door to the huge DFO shopping mall and a minutes walk to the Yarra River bank which has an absolute plethora of bars, cafes and restaurants to choose from.
The hotel itself promised big things by the size and décor of the lobby area but really didn't quite follow through with the rooms. Nothing in particular but the rooms just didn't have a real 5 star feel about them although they had a real 5 star price.
The miracle of Xmas is alive and well as Jo made her flight by about 20 seconds and arrived at her mums late last night. All is well with the world and we had a wonderfully merry Xmas lunch at a riverside restaurant with no cooking or dishes to be done by anyone.
Merry Xmas to one and all!
As I said, the logistics of living remote can be challenging at best. Saturday afternoon when I arrived in Brisbane I rang Jo to confirm all was well. Just as a last minute comment I asked if she had checked the amount of fuel in the work vehicle to ensure enough for the trip. Oopps, not enough and the shop was already closed for the weekend and wouldn't open again until Monday morning at around 8:30.
Jo's flight leaves at 12:40 and it's usually a 5 hour drive to Alice Springs! My last call from Jo was just as she left Ampilatiwatja around 8:45 and sounded like she was in a chopper with the juddering and rattling of the corrugated road at top speed could be heard. She wasn't sure about making the plane so we would meet up somehow the next day, Xmas day, somewhere, sometime.
Woohoo, by my reckoning I have just been awarded the Accor Ambassadorship for Australia!!
The voting closed at midnight tonight and my entry was just ahead of the next Aussie entry but as the voting website has now closed down I cant see exactly how far ahead my entry was. The official announcement won't be for a few weeks yet so I am still not 100% sure but pretty confident.
As the Australian Ambassador I get 5 nights accomodation valued at $1500 at any Accor Hotel, the next years Accor Plus membership paid for at $350, get featured in a promotion video for one of their hotels plus be able to submit blogs and vlogs about any stays in Accor hotels. Bit exciting but won't count my chickens just yet until the official announcement.
Do you think this is a bit showy?????
The logistics of planning family get togethers when everyone is spread out across the country is a huge headache. It's also compounded by Jo and myself working apart and trying to coordinate work commitments too. The plan so far...I will drive the 500 klm's to Alice Springs on Friday before Xmas then catch a flight to Brisbane on Saturday. My daughter is flying down from Cairns on Saturday and we will spend the weekend in Brisbane then pick up Jo on Monday and all drive to Noosa.
We will meet Jo's son and daughter and her partner also flying in from Alice Springs for Xmas dinner with Jo's mum and auntie. My daughter flies back to Cairns on Boxing Day while Jo's mum, Jo and myself will fly to Melbourne on Saturday for a few days. We will then say good bye to Jo's mum who flies back to Queensland while we fly back to Alice Springs. Jo then drives a work vehicle and I drive our car back to Ampilatiwatja where I will spend 2 days before driving the 3 hours back to Tennant Creek.
Easy, isn't it?