Monday, October 31, 2011

Pub Etiquette 101: Dos and Don’ts

Everyone loves a good night down at the pub. The music, the atmosphere, the social element—it’s a mainstay of the Australian lifestyle. Whether it’s the quiet, old-world charm of a little country pub or the flashy elegance and glitz and glamour of a Sydney bar, a night out with friends (and soon-to-be-friends) is a great way to unwind. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind (apart from finding cheap travel insurance if you are on holidays) while you’re out so that your night is memorable for all the right reasons.


DO be respectful of other people’s boundaries, both physical and social. You don;’t want to claim your travel insurance after you have caused a fight! Just because you’ve got a few pints of Dutch courage under your belt, it doesn’t mean that the pretty girl at the bar wants your beer-breath in her face and your cheesy pickup lines in her ears.

DO drink responsibly. We’re not trying to be party poopers here, and by all means have a good night, but when it comes to alcohol, we all know there’s a line where it stops being fun or funny and starts being embarrassing. Don’t cross that line, and take efforts to make sure you respect your own physical limitations.

DO keep it mellow. There’s something about the mixture of hormones, beer, competition and excitement that has the potential to turn the vibe from happy to snappy faster than you can say bar fight. Make sure you don’t let yourself take things too seriously, or get caught up in any negative exchanges. Keeping things light, friendly and fist-free is a recipe for a good night out.

DO be polite to bar staff. It’s a long and trying night working behind the bar, and as the night wears on people’s manners go out the window. Respect your bar staff and acknowledge that if they don’t bring you your beer straight away, it’s probably because they’ve got seven other pint-glasses lined up ready to give out to other patrons as well.


DON’T gamble more than you can afford. One of the dangers of a night out at the pub is that you’ve got access to a number of different gambling facilities at the very time when you’re most likely to take the most risks. While it can be great fun swapping racing tips and putting some change through the pokies, make sure you keep an eye on your funds and don’t let the atmosphere and the alcohol detract from your ability to pay rent next week!

DON’T be self-conscious, or try to fit in with a certain ‘type’ if you’re in a pretentious bar. There’s nothing that can kill a good night out quicker than a bar where the staff and patrons think that pouring the perfect cocktail is a matter of national security and that Vogue is of equal importance as the Australian constitution. If you’re getting the uppity vibe from patrons or you’re feeling like you have to act a certain way to fit in, pay for your drink and head for the exit signs—plenty of fun awaits outside tools-ville!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Three Aussie Holidays, Three Ways

Heading down under for a holiday is a great idea for so many reasons. Australia is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, and for good reason. Not only do we enjoy a high quality of life with every comfort the average tourist would want, but we also have some of the most beautiful (and strange) wildlife, the prettiest beaches and the most vibrant and unique cities. Top it all off with the trademark Aussie attitude and you’ve got a tourist destination to rival any other in the world.

Australia’s popularity also comes, in part, from the fact that it is possible to have several entirely different experiences in the same country. From perfect Port Macquarie holidays to tropical safaris through rainforests in Cairns, and even chic city breaks in Melbourne and Sydney, there are several different Australia’s all rolled into one, all of which are ripe for the taking if you’re a tourist. Here, we’ve got three different Aussie holidays to choose from, each one as unique and rewarding as the last. Enjoy!

City Slickers

If you’re the type of person who could take or leave nature but really gets off on culture and architecture, Australia’s cities are for you. Sydney and Melbourne are the country’s largest cities, and boy, do they tire of being compared to one another! There is a friendly (ish) rivalry between these two dynamic cities, and as vehemently as you’ll hear someone from Sydney declare that Melbournites all wear black and it rains too much, there will be someone from Melbourne just waiting to fill you in on how superficial and culture-less Sydney-siders are.

In a way, they are the New York and LA of Australia, destined always to be compared against one another. Melbourne definitely trumps when it comes to the arts and culture scene, with a quirky, funky and very ‘New York’ feel to its alleyway bars and cafes. Sydney, on the other hand, wins far and away when it comes to natural beauty (it is surrounded by one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world, after all) and colonial history. Both cities are a must if you want to experience the culture of Australia and its people, so make sure you spend your time getting to know the local neighbourhoods as well as the city centres.

The Outback Adventure

If you’ve grown up watching Crocodile Dundee and can’t wait to experience the fierce red outback of this sprawling country, then outback adventure is for you. Head to the centre of the country to experience the geographical and spiritual heart of our land, Uluru. You can also explore nearby Alice Springs, and take a camel ride out into the desert to see one of the most spectacular sunsets you’re ever likely to see. Broome, in Western Australia, is another great outback town, with the added bonus of Cable Beach, one of the most gorgeous in the country. Darwin, in the far Northern Territory, is pretty much as authentic as you’re going to get, and although it is a capital city, it feels more like a bush town, complete with the threat of crocodiles on the beach and box-jellyfish in the water!

The Beach Break

If Australia were famous for one thing above any other, it would have to be the beach. With over 10,000 beaches around the country, there’s nothing Australians love more than surfing, swimming, sun baking and fishing down at the local stretch of sand. There are so many brilliant coastal towns to visit, and whether you’re staying in beachside Port Macquarie accommodation or a resort on the white sands of the Whitsunday Islands, you’re bound to be mesmerized by the sheer beauty of the sea that surrounds this country.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

6 Things To Do In Ballarat

Ballarat is one of Victoria’s most beautiful and historic centers and if you haven’t visited yet, you should. Originally settled as a rural town, Ballarat came to symbolize gold following the great gold rushes of the 1800’s and early 1900’s. In particular Ballarat is famous as the scene of the Eureka Stockade, an armed uprising by miners protesting licensing fees that ended in 35 deaths. It’s easy to fill up a week or two roaming around this picturesque city, though if you are short on time, at the very least include these 5 ideas on your list.

Stay in Style

Ballarat Accommodation is all first class, though if you have to choose only one place to stay, try the George Hotel. Built in the 1850’s, this charming colonial style hotel is a magnificent building and will provide you with all the luxury you hope for. From polished fancy door knobs to beautiful bed linen, this hotel is like none other.

Sovereign Hill

Modeled on Ballarat of the 1850’s, this re-created gold mining town consists of over 70 buildings based on those that lined the main street over 150 years ago. For around $20 you can step back in time, feel the excitement of the Ballarat Gold Rush and even do a tour through an underground mine. Also containing the Gold Museum, Sovereign Hill is well worth the visit. Allow plenty of time to check it out properly.

The Botanical Gardens

Take a break from the history and relax and enjoy the serenity of these impressive gardens. If you are looking for a peaceful place to have your lunch or read a book, look no further. A collection of mostly native plants and flowers, these gardens are famous for their Begonias, a Ballarat specialty, with Ballarat even hosting an annual Begonia Festival in March each year.

Visit The Ballarat Fine Art Gallery

The Oldest Art Gallery in Australia, the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery is an impressive building and has an equally impressive collection of colonial era art. A particular highlight is the tattered original Eureka Stockade flag. If you are even remotely interested in art or history, it’s worth taking the time to visit this Ballarat gem.

Have A Beer

There are more than fifty different pubs in the city of ballarat, all full of charm and charater and no two are the same. Do as the miners do, and cool off in one of the historic watering holes and reflect on the lives of those who came there before you.

Pay Tribute

Walk down the Avenue of Honour, a 22 km stretch of trees planted in memory of those who fought in World War Two. This beautiful and somber boulevard is a stunning memorial inspired by the many Ballarat men and boys who went off to fight for our freedom.

Enjoy Ballarat! It is a city full of history, character, friendly locals and is the perfect place to get away to from the city. You’ll not only enjoy your stay, but you’ll leave knowing both more about the area and also about what it means to be Australian.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Great Places To Go On A Cruise

One of the most relaxing ways to totally unwind and enjoy your self is to take off on a luxury cruise. There is no shortage of spectacular destinations so the hardest part is going to be deciding where you want to go. From the super active youngster looking to party, to the retiree hoping to relax and unwind, cruises offer something for absolutely everyone. One of the following cruises is sure to be exactly what you are after.


Cruising around Malaysia will have you living it up on a magnificent vessel and stopping in for some once in a lifetime experiences. If you are an animal lover you will have to stop by the Elephant nursery at Kuala Gandah or spend an afternoon visiting the Sandakan Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Facility. These incredible animals will win your heart and leave you wanting to take them home with you. For a tasty and exciting side trip, spend some time enjoying the local cuisine in Kuala Lumpur, have a Laksa, and spend the night at one of the luxury Malaysia hotels.


Consisting of 330 islands, there is plenty to cruise around here and the locals are probably the friendliest people on earth. This tropical paradise includes 4000 square miles of reef, so this is the perfect place to do a little snorkelling or even scuba diving. The water here is clearer than almost anywhere and is guaranteed to be warm no matter what time of year you visit. Fiji holidays are amazing in any form, though there is no better way to see this incredible part of the world than from the deck of a luxury cruise boat.


For a completely different kind of cruise, head north into the cold waters off Alaska .You will feel a million miles from home as you navigate these stunning waters, sharing them with hundreds of seals and dozens of whales. Your stops on land will be equally thrilling as you’ll have the chance to hike across glaciers, check out volcanoes, go on a dog sled ride and walk through glacial waterfalls. Magnificent bald eagles will also never be far away. This northern wonderland is an amazing place to do a luxury cruise.


For the classic summer cruise experience, you can’t go past a Caribbean adventure. This is truly a heavenly area with incredibly beautiful people, and is that perfect holiday that you’ve been waiting you entire life for. Sparking blue waters will entice you into them at every chance, with swimming, snorkelling, diving and jet skiing some of the better excuses to dive in. There are heaps of amazing reefs to explore underwater, then on land get your fill of historical wonders by visiting some ancient Mayan pyramids. A cruise in this part of the world really does have it all.

For a holiday that provides total relaxation along with lots of opportunities to see something new, you can’t find better than a luxury cruise holiday. Relax, get comfortable and enjoy!

7 Things We Love About Sydney

Sydney. Big, bold, beautiful and brilliant, the Harbour City is one of a kind, and a constant magnet for tourists year-round. Whether you’re taking in the views on a Sydney Harbour cruise or exploring diversity in the thriving, sprawling Chinatown, Sydney is a city of many faces, and one that never fails to impress. The debate between Melbourne and Sydney as to which city is the best in Australia may rage forevermore, but there are so many reasons to love the largest city in Oz. Here are seven of them:

The Beaches

Sydney’s beaches are clean, picturesque, iconic and absolutely drenched in beautiful bronzed bodies. From Bond to Manly, the beaches attract thousands of visitors each week from all over the world, and so they should—it’s rare to find this much beautiful nature in such close proximity to a major global city.

The Fashion

Melbourne might like to consider itself the fashion capital of Australia, but Sydney has a unique style and it isn’t afraid to play with colour (something our monochromatic southern sister might do well to remember). The suburbs of Sydney all have a distinct sartorial style, and it is part of what makes the city so interesting to explore.

The Food

Ah, the food. Sydney’s dining scene boasts some of the best chefs not only in Australia but also in the world. There is a vibrant scene here with a focus on high quality produce, multiculturalism and seafood, and whether you’re enjoying a Lebanese banquet in the heart of the Western Suburbs or a harbourside indulgence at one of the city’s finest restaurants, you’ll definitely come away impressed.

The Nightlife

Sydney’s nightlife is like an untamable beast—ever-changing, pulsating and with many different faces. Whether you want a quiet drink, a raucous night out or a place to take in some of the best new music in Australia, Sydney provides all this and more with its non-stop party scene.

The History

Sydney is a city with a lot of historical swagger. The site of the first European settlement in Australia, and home to a rich indigenous culture long before that, Sydney is rich with cultural significance and is ripe for the picking for any history buffs out there looking to understand the origins of modern Australia.

The Markets

To market, to market…and then to ten more. If market-hopping makes you happy then a weekend in Sydney will see you grinning from ear to ear, as it boasts more weekend markets than almost any other city in Australia. There are farmer’s markets, fashion markets, art markets, antique markets and almost any other outdoor selling-spree you can think of. Get in on the action and nab yourself a bargain, because Sydney’s markets are second to none.

The Harbour

It’s commonly agreed upon that Sydney Harbour is one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world, and when you see it before you on a nice day, with the water sparkling and the Bridge and Opera House both rising majestically from the scene, you’ll find yourself agreeing, too. There are so many ways to enjoy the harbour, from a Sydney Harbour dinner cruise to climbing the Aussie icon—the Harbour Bridge—and surveying the city from a bird’s eye view.

Believe it or not, they are true and exceptional parenting stories.

What mother dreams of having an abnormal baby of say; 10.8 kg? Or what father wants 888 children? Oh, wait a second are we really concern about what a mother thinks, or a father plans… in this article? No, rather my question is at what age do you think a mother plans her pregnancy, conception and child birth or does she even plans it at all? Tangled? Oh I beg don’t be. For what I will be sharing with you here is something equally tangled.

I have some strange “believe it or not parenting facts” for you. Mulai Ismail, the second ruler of the Moroccan Alaouite dynasty had an estimated 888 children (of course through different wives you nuts) from as many as 500 wives. No wonder he would have had to have had consummated his love with an average 1.2 women per day for more than 60 years to make them conceive.

And for all those males out there who are proudly smiling at the fact while looking down onto their wives… here comes a blow. A Russian peasant women “Fedro Vassilyey” gave birth to 69 children. She experienced pregnancy 27 times. She gave birth to 16 twins, 7 triplets and 4 sets of quadruplets and 67 out of 69 survived. Wow! It’s time to pass on the credit guys.

Records has it, fortunately or unfortunately, world’s youngest mother till date happens to be Lina Medina, she conceived her son, when she was not even six years of age (5 years, 7 months, 21 days). Her parents suspected a tumor that turned out to be a conception. Records also have it that Lina started menstruating when she was three years old. Lina is still alive today but does not appear in media while identity of the father remains unknown. Indeed unfortunate but true.

While Lina suffered pregnancy at a tender age, Mrs. Rajjo Devi from India awaited it for 70 long years (or if her husband is to be believed 72 years) and finally gave birth to a baby girl.

Talking about some more strange stories of pregnancy tips and child birth, the youngest couple to have a baby is from China. Where the father was nine and the mother, eight; yeh! I guess, they did what their parents alone were supposed to do… by mistake! But what would you say to a man of 92 years, holding his 21st baby and planning to proliferate until he turns 100? He certainly cannot be called mistaken; he ought to be called determined; this Rajasthani (Indian) man named Nanu Ram Jogi is “the MAN” for this article.

Our last but not a bit least story about strange parenting is about a baby that weighed 10.8 kg at the time of birth, his mother was Anna bates of Canada. She was a woman of 7’5’’ and gave birth at home in Seville.

Although medical science have an answer to all the stories mentioned above, to us it seems strange, miraculous and disgusting. Pregnancy is indeed bliss but only in accordance with many other factors otherwise it becomes a nightmarish.