Category Archives: AUSTRALIA

Emirates Business Class Lounge in Melbourne, Australia

Emirates Lounge Melbourne Review

Review of the Emirates Business Lounge, Melbourne Airport

In 2016 Emirates Airlines opened a new Emirates Business Lounge in Melbourne Airport, located not too far from the old one in Terminal 2. With growing numbers of passengers due to more A380 services departing Melbourne, this larger new lounge can comfortably seat up to 241 people.

The Emirates Lounge at Melbourne International Airport is located upstairs at terminal 2. Upon entry to the lounge you are greeted by a very helpful staff member who fills you in on any information you need to know regarding your flight. As you then walk through the lounge, the first thing  you notice is the wonderful expansive views across the airport. This is a nice change from the Qantas International Business Lounge which is lacking any sort of view.

There is a main dining area which has both food and drinks. The selection of the food here was extensive and the quality was first-rate in this Emirates Lounge. As we were here for the EK405 flight which left at 18:45, dinner was being served and included lamb cutlets, fresh salmon, chicken schnitzels, roast potatoes, penne pasta as well as curries with rice.

As well as hot foods there was also a selection of salads, dips, cheeses, fruits and a couple of cake choices available for dessert.

With two bars available, one in the main dining area and another off to one side of the lounge – the choices of drinks are very good. Champagne, wines, beers and most spirits are available in both bars as well coffee machines, soft drinks and juices.

Unlike the old lounge there is no business centre in this Emirates Lounge.  There are some computers out in the open of the lounge but without the privacy that the old one had.

We rate this lounge very highly and can’t wait to hopefully take some more Emirates flights in the future to compare it with different Emirates Lounges around the world.

You can read our trip report from our EK405 Melbourne to Singapore flight or our other previous Emirates  Business Class  flights here.

For more information on Emirates Lounges go to www.emirates.com

Hilton Brisbane Hotel

Hilton Brisbane Hotel Review

Hotel Review of the Hilton Brisbane in Queensland, Australia

The Hilton Brisbane is one of our favourite Hilton Hotels in Australia and we recently returned from another wonderful stay here. It’s an excellent hotel in a great location, right in the heart of the City of Brisbane and its vibrant Queens St Mall. We will usually grab a cab from the airport (cost $40-$60 depending on traffic). Check-in is up on the 6th floor, which has a wonderful open atrium providing plenty of light. There are Glass Elevators which also look down into the Lobby and the Vintaged Bar & Grill area.

As Hilton Honors Diamond members we were upgraded to an executive rooms on the 24th floor, which had nice city views. The rooms are a good size with the usual big Hilton bed and comfy pillows. The bathroom is on the smallish size and did not have a bath, shower only. Be aware the mini bars here are automated, so if you move anything you will be charged for it (see our you tube room tour video here).

We used the executive lounge (located on the 25th floor) for the evening canapés and drinks (Mon-Fri is 6.00pm to 8.30pm and Sat & Sun is 6.00pm to 8.00pm). Have to compliment the staff in the lounge, they are always fantastic. The beer, wine and soft drinks are self-serve, but the staff will bring you spirits if you prefer. They also go out of their way to make sure your drinks are regularly replenished. There is a nice selection of cold canapés (including make your own caesar salad), as well as two hot dishes. The lounge is on the smaller side though so gets full quickly, especially on the Saturday night. If the lounge gets too full, they will send you down to the Lobby Bar with vouchers. If staying on a Saturday night, we would definitely recommend getting there around 15 minutes before service starts to ensure you get seating.

We didn’t try the breakfast in the executive lounge as Diamond members get the option of having the full buffet breakfast downstairs at Vintaged Grill which we opted for instead. It is a good breakfast, enough of a selection for us including omelette and egg station. While we didn’t dine at the Vintaged Grill restaurant apart from breakfast, we did stop by the Bar and grabbed some cocktails and dessert. Would highly recommend the Strawberry Milkshake dessert from here, it is simply delicious!

The pool area and tennis court at the Hilton Brisbane have recently been renovated. The pool area has a spa as well as some sun lounges to relax by the pool. There is a fitness centre that is not huge but is well equipped. You can see our Hilton Brisbane Pool Area you tube video here.

The location is great, right in the heart of town and easy to walk to the Brisbane River and Southbank precinct. It is surrounded by plenty of eateries and right in the middle of a shopping mall. The concierge was very helpful in giving us suggestions of places to visit, even providing us with complimentary water bottles to take with us on our walks.

We have no hesitation in recommending the Hilton Brisbane and look forward to returning here in the future.

For more information on the Hilton Brisbane go to www.hilton.com.

Balcony View at the Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel and Residences on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia

Hilton Surfers Paradise Review

Review of the Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel & Residences

Even though we have already stayed at and reviewed the Hilton Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast recently, we just spent a long weekend here felt that it was worthy of another brief review. On our latest stay here we were allocated a room in a different tower and found it was quite a different room lay out. (read our detailed Hilton Surfers Paradise review here).

On this occasion we stayed in an ocean view two bedroom residence on the 17th floor of the Boulevard Tower. This room had a smaller kitchenette but had amazing oceans views, especially from the master bedroom and ensuite.

The second bedroom was a good size with a double bed and still had the wonderful views.  The outside balcony wrapped around the room and had an outdoor table setting for four.

The Boulevard Tower of the Hilton Surfers Paradise is the tower where the pool and gym area is located so it’s quite handy to stay in if you are frequently wanting to go to pool area and The Deck Bar. As there is an indoor pool as well as the outdoor pools, the kids can have a swim no matter what the weather conditions are. On this stay the weather was warm so for us adults It was nice and relaxing to sit poolside and enjoy a cocktail while the kids tried out all the various different  pools.

Being HHonor Diamond members we were still given access to the executive lounge while staying in the residences. This is an excellent lounge (on the 15th floor of Orchid Tower) with wonderful staff who really like to look after you. We opted to have breakfast in the lounge instead of the buffet breakfast at Salt Grill on this trip (Diamond members are now charged $10 per person for the buffet). While there are no hot dishes in the lounge, it was still adequate enough for us. The evening canapés and drinks are available from 6.00pm to 8.30pm Mon-Fri and 6.00pm to 8.00pm Sat & Sun. There is a selection of two hot canapés and a good selection of Tapas items to eat. If you are like us and are travelling with kids, they will love the wide selection of sweets available, including the fridge full of Connoisseur ice creams! It is self-serve beverages including beer, wine and soft drinks.

The Food Store is located in the lobby area of the Hilton Surfers Paradise and is another breakfast alternative for those wanting a quick bite to eat. Open from 6.00am to 10.00pm you can eat in or get the food delivered to your room for $8.00 per order if you don’t want to wait around. We had a late lunch of burgers all round and they were delicious. We were even given a complimentary plate of little sweet treats which was a nice gesture.

For more information on Hilton Surfers Paradise and Residences go to: www.hiltonsurfersparadise.com.au

Sea World on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia

Sea World Gold Coast Review

Sea World Resort & Water Park, Gold Coast, Australia

Sea World on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia really does provide an entertaining and educational day out for families. There is so much to do here for all age groups – arrive early and spend the whole day learning about marine animals, brave the rides and adventure zones, watch the captivating shows, meet your favourite Nickelodeon character and enjoy the sweeping views of Sea World from the Monorail.

Rides

The newly opened Nickelodeon Land at Sea World is a fun area for those with younger kids. This area features rides and shows based on popular Nickelodeon characters including the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles, SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer. There are character meet and greets in this area throughout the day so be sure to check to boards for the various times. You can check ride restriction heights here for the Nickelodeon Land rides. You can view our Nickelodeon Land Walk Through YouTube Video here.

For bigger kids the three main thrill rides are the Viking’s Revenge Flume ride (min. height 95cm and under 120cm must be accompanied by an adult), the Storm Coaster (min. height 110cm and under 130cm must be accompanied by an adult) and the Jet Rescue ride (min. height 125cm). Both our boys (aged 9 & 10) really enjoyed these rides and we were lucky enough that when we were there (March 2016) it was pretty quiet and it was a weekday, so not much queuing for the rides.

Another really cool part of Sea World which our kids loved was Castaway Bay which is an adventure playground where you can climb and explore the five levels of the Sky Fortress or ride the Battle Boats where the adults can take revenge on the kids and get them soaking wet! For something a little more challenging the kids can try the Sky Climb for an extra fee (min. height is 120cm and under 140cm must be accompanied by an adult).

There is also the Monorail which takes you around the park and is a nice way to get to see just what Sea World on the Gold Coast has to offer.

Sea World on the Gold Coast

Monorail

Shows

Affinity Dolphin show is one  of the main attractions at Sea World. Here you get to learn a bit more about how these magical mammals live and their affinity with humans along with what we can do to help to maintain their safety. There are two shows daily at 11.15am and 3.30pm.

Another very entertaining show is the Fish Detective Sea Lion show. These cheeky sea lions will certainly provide the kids with plenty of laughs. This show is on twice daily at 10.15am and also 2.30pm.

Jet Stunt Extreme highlights some of the world’s best jet ski competitors and is certainly action packed with plenty of stunts and flips. You can catch this show daily at 1.30pm or 4.15pm.

For the smaller kids there is also a Dora the Explorer show called Dora’s Best Friends Adventure Show and is held daily at 12.15pm and 3.15pm. If your kids like the TNMT there is also a Turtle Power Show held at 11.00am and 1.45pm daily. They will also enjoy the 3D SpongeBob film which is shown pretty regularly throughout the day.

Animals

There is no shortage of animals to observe and learn about here at Sea World. Our favourite exhibits were;

  • Polar Bear Shores where you can watch these playful creatures from both above and beneath the water.
  • Penguin Encounter where you get to taste a little bit of what life is like for the large king penguins in Antarctica.
  • Penguin Point which houses the small fairy penguins.
  • Shark Bay which is a two level exhibit showcasing stunning tropical fish as well as plenty of sting rays and sharks. It also has some interactive touch pools where you can feel starfish and other rock pool creatures.
  • Ray Reef which is full of sting rays of all sizes that actually come up to the surface and let you get a feel of their slimy bodies.

On top of all this there are also many different animal adventures available at an extra cost, such as meet the dolphins or swimming with the sharks. They also do Helicopter rides and whale watching tours at certain times of the year (from June-Oct) – you can access more information on these adventures here.

Gates open at 9.30am and the rides start from 10.00am with the park closing at 5.00pm

General admission pricing is $79.00 per person (no child prices or family tickets available). Children under 3 are free.

If you are planning on visiting more than one theme park on the Gold Coast, they do have a combo pass available which is better value for $99 per person and includes entry to Warner Bros. Movie World, Seaworld and Wet ‘n’ Wild (read our Movie World review here).

You can also check the maintenance schedule here  before arriving to see which attractions will be closed during the time that you will be visiting.

For a full listing of ticket prices and park information – go to www.seaworld.com.au