Showing posts with label The Travel Bug. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Travel Bug. Show all posts

Friday, April 17, 2015

Los Angeles

 Way back in early January we visited Los Angeles for a few days en route to Canada and in the interests of actually documenting some of our life events on the blog I thought it was about time I wrote a post about it!

We have visited LA on our way to Canada (and on two occasions also on the return trip) for the past three years.  Partly because we like to break up the long trip to Canada with the kids and partly because we love it there.  My husband lived in LA for a while in his twenties and gets a hankering for a visit every now and then.  I love the shopping and the restaurants!  The boys are learning to love it!

We have stayed either in Santa Monica or in Beverley Hills.  Both are great places but if I had to choose between the two locations I would pick Santa Monica.  Choose a hotel along the promenade and then it is an easy walk to the beach, playgrounds and one of LA's best shopping precincts.   If you are travelling with kids the promenade in Santa Monica is brilliant for children and a great place for them to explore and burn off some energy!

Despite our frequent visits to LA we have never 'done' Disneyland.  The boys have never even asked us to go. Everyone from the moment we get on the plane in Sydney assumes that is why we are heading to California and asks the boys if they are looking forward to Disneyland, so it isn't even as if they don't know about it.  They just don't seem to be that interested in going.  They do get excited about our annual visit to Pizzeria Mozza though!  

Activities for kids that they have enjoyed in LA have included a visit to the California Science Centre to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour.   The exhibit wasn't complete in January 2015 but it was still well worth a visit.  The boys couldn't quite believe the size of it, nor that it had actually been into space, and multiple times at that. The rest of the Museum is well worth investigating, it is similar to Questacon in Canberra with lots of hands on exhibits 

The highlight for the boys though was a visit to the Peterson Automotive Museum, the home of the Hot Wheels Museum and all sorts of other fabulous cars.  For my two little car fanatics this was literally paradise.  

They really enjoyed the Hot Wheels exhibit but they also loved the rest of the museum.  It is home to one of the largest automotive collections in the world and of course has lots of cars that have featured in all sorts of Hollywood films.  Including multiple Batmobiles and so on!

Their father loved this one, a 1966 Jaguar XKSS formerly owned by Steve McQueen!

My favourites were a toss up between these two!  Who remembers the movie the above car came from?  I seriously must have watched that movie a hundred times with my brother.

The boys could have spent all day exploring the museum and it is well worth a visit if you are in LA. 

The highlight for me in LA is the shopping and just simply exploring.  All of these photos were taken around Melrose Place as I love it there!

If you are looking for a decent coffee in LA - ignore everything on tripadvisor and other forums. Everywhere we tried was terrible.

Alfred we just stumbled across and thank goodness.  Perfect coffee every time.  They know what a flat white is.  Enough said.

Food wise the highlight of our trip to LA each year is Pizzeria Mozza!  We have two pizza connoisseurs in the family and they rate the pizza at Mozza as they best they have ever had!  Everything that we have ordered there has been fabulous though!

The Ivy at the Shore in Santa Monica is great too for breakfast.  Not so much for the coffee but do go for the atmosphere and the boys rate the pancakes highly!

Look at that bougainvillea.  A visit to the Ivy at the Shore is essential just to walk through that fabulous entryway.  Until next time LA!  

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


R and I recently celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.  The traditional gift for 10 years apparently is tin.  According to wikipedia the modern interpretation of tin is diamonds.  I would have been happy with diamonds, that goes without saying!  The gift I did receive though is even better than diamonds.

My lovely and ever thoughtful husband suggested to me that I choose a new painting to celebrate our 10 years of marriage and so I did.  I finally got my much longed for Alexander Mckenzie art work and it now hangs in pride of place in our dining room.

For the actual day of our anniversary though R whisked me away for a whirlwind getaway without the children.  It was the longest I had ever been away from them (5 nights!) and I struggled, but as I knew they were in capable hands with my parents I eventually relaxed and started to enjoy myself!

The first two nights were spent in Port Douglas at the new QT Hotel.  R is a huge fan of the QT Hotel chain and stays at the Gold Coast one several times a month.  Yes, he travels a lot for work.

I haven't stayed at any of them, but when I walked into the hotel lobby and spotted this incredible wreath made of vintage glass sea buoys I knew I would not be disappointed.  It was made by Nic Graham of g+a, (the interior architects behind the QT chain) and is absolutely breathtaking in real life.  It is almost reminiscent of a magnificent sea creature with it's shimmering blue and green colours and the dangling ropes are tentacle like in their delicateness.

The rest of the hotel is equally as charming and full of fabulous vintage nautical references that I of course adored!

On our second day in Port Douglas R somehow convinced me to get into a helicopter.   My cheerful smile in the photo above really does not reflect how nervous I actually was! I know, for someone that worked as a flight attendant for years it is a bit crazy that I am terrified of small aircraft/rotorcraft! 

The helicopter flight over the reef was an amazing experience though and it really was a fabulous way to explore the Great Barrier Reef.  Such a different perspective to seeing the reef from a glass bottomed boat or snorkelling, both of which we have done on previous trips.  Instead from the helicopter we were able to comprehend for the first time the incredible vastness of the reef.  It  is so enormous it is actually visible from space!  It was also so pretty seeing it from above, a beautiful garden under the sea.  We saw huge turtles that were the size of small cars, sharks swimming at great speed and the highlight for me was seeing enormous, colourful drifts of coral spawn!  At one point we even flew over Australia!

Once again Tasmania was forgotten though!!

Port Douglas is very pretty and I loved our quick visit but after Port Douglas we drove back down the coast to Palm Cove which truly is the jewel on that part of the Queensland tropical coast.  There is just something about those enormous and ancient paperbark trees lining the beach and esplanade that really is spectacular.

We have visited Palm Cove several times before but it was the first time we stayed at Peppers.  As soon as we walked in I announced to R that we have to come back and stay here with the children soon!  The hotel is positioned directly opposite the beach where the playground and swimming net is located and is walking distance to all the great restaurants and most importantly for the children, it has two fantastic pools!

For our anniversary dinner we had the degustation menu at Nu Nu's. We were both left a little underwhelmed unfortunately.   The new location of the restaurant is stunning though.  Last time we dined at Nu Nu's, which was about 2 years ago, it was part of the Pepper's hotel. The restaurant is now located at the new Alamanda Hotel, (the old Angsana) and is positioned right on the waterfront.  I think it is the only restaurant in Palm Cove that is actually on the water and the location and atmosphere were absolutely perfect.  The food though, sadly it just was not as good as the last time we ate there. R informed the wait staff that he was allergic to peanuts and would prefer that no other nuts were included in any of the dishes he was served.  Literally every single dish we were served had nuts (yes no peanuts but everything else in the nut family just about made an appearance!)  To say that this left a bad taste in R's mouth would be the understatement of the evening.  We were unable to foresee this happening as the degustation menu is at the Chef's whim!  It was quite disappointing as the last time we ate there it was truly amazing and we were really looking forward to eating there again.  As in all things though, it might just have been a bad night and we would almost certainly eat there next time we visited Palm Cove.  I would recommend lunch or breakfast though to make the most of that view! 

Palm Cove really is magical.  It is so pretty and unspoilt and well worth a visit if you feel like a tropical holiday without the tourist element that is omnipresent at so many other Australian coastal holiday destinations.  

Our whirlwind getaway then wound up with two days in Melbourne that largely rotated around shopping, attending parties and catching up with family and friends!  R was quite put out with me for choosing what he deemed to be "family destinations" for our 10 year wedding anniversary.  He was desperate to go somewhere more exotic but for my first holiday away without children I insisted that we remain on the mainland and near an airport at all times! Next time though I think I am ready to cross the seas without them.... I just have to hope that my long suffering parents will put their hands up to look after the darlings again for me! 


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