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    Asia & Oceania Travel  --  Reading Wednesday

    Book Review In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

    We listened to a couple of Audible book this past month while tooling about Australia in a Motorhome. If you haven’t been following that journey you might want to check it out here Caravan Travel Australia Part One and Part Two. Anyway, my friend Pam asked if I had read Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country. This book is old…published in 2000, one my husband read it when it came out. But I had not, and so it seemed like the perfect story for our long drive. Thanks Pam. Here is my book review In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson.

    Bill Bryson

    First of all, if you have never read Bill Bryson you are missing out on one of America’s greatest gems. What a writer, humorist, humanitarian and witty observer of people he is. Bryson has numerous book, but I had never read his book about traveling around Australia. Nothing could have been more perfect for us to enjoy, agree with and guffaw at on our road trip.

    Discovering the Undiscovered Country

    Bryson spends weeks and weeks while researching this book, traversing this incredibly empty, huge and surprising continent/country of Australia. In his telling of the journey he meets Australia’s most amazing creatures, encounters the most unlikely characters, falls in love with the solitude, all while finding humor in each and every unexpected moment.

    In a Sunburned Country brings to life a place that many will never get the opportunity to discover. I am lucky to have been here twice. And much of Bryson’s prose echo my own feelings about this lethal place (“more things that can kill you in malicious ways than anywhere else in the world”) and yet it’s like you just can’t get enough – forget the danger!

    Book Review In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

    In a Sunburned Country brings to life this usually forgotten country – with solid and cheerful people, low crime, safe cities, abundant sunshine, fascinating history and the craziest collection of animals. And yet, we hear so little about Australia in the media. Another reason you should visit. And whether you visit on your own, or via Bryson’s wonderful storytelling, you should get to know amazing Australia.

    Thanks for reading my book review In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson.

    *****Five stars – I definitely recommend it to travelers or those who dream to travel.

    Read last week’s book review Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

    My current read The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

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    In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
    Asia & Oceania Travel

    The Aussie Nest – Part Two

    Location: Australia

    A month in a motor home around eastern Australia has been a lot of fun, we have done and seen so many amazing things in this beautiful country. All from the comfort of our Aussie Nest caravan/motor home. If you didn’t see last week’s post, you can check it our here Caravan Travel Australia – The Aussie Nest Part One. In last week’s post I covered the first 14 days, covering about 900 miles. Today we continue the journey with The Aussie Nest – Part Two – the second two weeks.



    Australia is big. Nearly the same size as the USA but with vast areas of emptiness and limited infrastructure. I’ve been asked why we chose the region we did and also why we didn’t visit Sydney? So take a look at these two maps. One shows how big Australia is in comparison to the USA….even in the Aussie Nest for a month you can’t even begin to cover it. The second one shows, circled in red, the area we did cover over the past month. Seems small doesn’t it? But we were enchanted at every turn. The areas circled in blue, including Sydney, are what we visited, primarily via airplanes and car rentals on our first visit to Australia six years ago. So we had to make choices. These are the choices we made.

    Australia’s size in relation to the USA

    Leaving Booderee National Park

    We really enjoyed our three days in beautiful Booderee National Park, but three days is all you can book there for camping. So at the end of our first two weeks it was time to move on and start our second half of The Aussie Nest – Part Two. We continued south on a long day of driving to the tiny seaside historic village of Eden.

    Historic Eden

    We didn’t know a lot about Eden other than the fact it looked beautiful from the pictures. I was very interested in exploring some of the Sapphire Coast along Australia’s southern-most east coast. So we somewhat randomly chose Eden. With lots of time still to spare we thought this would be a good place to hunker down for a week in our little Aussie Nest.

    Eden Estuary
    Spoonbill on Lake Curalo, Eden

    We booked seven nights at Reflections Holiday Park Eden. Snuggled between the beautiful and windy Asling Beach and calm and placid Lake Curalo we really found it to be a beautiful spot. We paid only $26 USD for a lake view spot with all hook ups. Arriving mid-week, there were only a handful of other campers. But many more arrived for the weekend, and then left again on Sunday. Meanwhile we found the location, although occasionally windy, a real bargain.

    Historic Eden Church

    Perfect Location

    Each morning I did my run along a beautiful boardwalk and trail around Lake Curalo. We also did a hike around Lake Curalo, and walked the 2 km into the small town. The historic town of Eden was founded in the mid 1800’s and for generations was a whaling town. One of the best things here is the fascinating Killer Whale Museum. It’s very interesting, particularly the excellent video presentation about the history, geology and people of Eden. Whale tours are available from May – November.

    Killer Whale Museum
    The Whale Trail tour

    On a couple of days we unhooked the Aussie Nest and made our way to enjoy the Whale Trail, an interpretive driving tour about historic sites related to the whaling days. We also visited the historic Boyd’s Tower and Seahorse Inn, the Green Cape Lighthouse and Beowa National Park.

    Green Cape Light
    Boyd’s Tower

    Beowa National Park

    Broken up into two coastal sections around historic Eden, we made a point to visit as much of Beowa national park as possible. We hiked many trails and followed the interpretive walks. Here we spotted many more fabulous birds, as well as wallaby. The park offers trails for both novice and advanced hikers as well as picnic areas and viewpoints. Very enjoyable.

    Views from Beowa National Park

    Dining Out

    Taking advantage of being in a pedestrian friendly town, we had a delicious dinner at the Pikes Italian Bistro located inside the historic Australasian Hotel. We also had another night out in the neighboring town of Pambula where we visited Longstocking Brewery and ate fish and chips at Wheeler’s Seafood.

    Pikes Italian Bistro, Eden
    Wheeler’s Seafood, Pambula

    Time to Head North

    After 21 days and 1200 miles it was time to turn the Aussie Nest – Part Two around and begin our drive north, with 1200 miles between us and Brisbane. With seven days remaining we mapped out our final week which would include staying two nights in three different spots and one final night back just outside of Brisbane.

    Sunrise Farewell as we left Eden


    The Capital City of Australia often gets a bad rap as a destination. But we wanted to see it and it was easily along the way. We spent two nights at a very nice campsite Canberra Park close to the city, $36 per night. Canberra is a new city, designed and built specifically to be Australia’s capital. Australia’s states did not come together as a federation until 1901. The site for the capital city was not chosen until 1913. It would take another fifty years before the city of Canberra was complete and the filling of man-made Lake Burley Griffin was complete.

    Lake Burley Griffen, Canberra

    Before we arrived at our campsite we spent two hours at the incredible Jerrabomberra Wetlands Reserve and another hour plus at the Australia National Botanic Gardens. Both a must especially if you enjoy the wildlife and flora of the region.

    Jerrabomberra Wetlands Reserve
    Australia National Botanic Gardens

    The next day was jam packed. We took a boat tour of the lake, walked all over and enjoyed the garden city…which feels so much more like a park than a city, toured the very mid-century modern Parliament House and visited the National Gallery and Sculpture Garden. All of this in one day. We finished our very full day with a movie and a delicious dinner at the Capitol Bar and Grill.

    I’ll say it is no Washington DC so if that is what you are expecting you will be disappointed. However, I am so glad we took time to see it for a brief couple of days.

    National Gallery
    National Gallery Sculpture Garden
    Parliament House
    Capitol Bar & Grill, Canberra


    We had been told to stop in Mudgee if it was on our route, as it was a historic town surrounded by wineries. So why not? We booked two nights at the Riverside Tourist Park for $25 per night, just a couple blocks from town. Before arriving at the campground we enjoyed a lovely wine tasting at Logan Wines and picked up a couple of bottles. Delicious and affordable. We had a quiet night at the campground after a long day of driving.

    Logan Wiines, Mudgee

    And then it rained. And rained. And rained. AND RAINED. I went for a morning run along the fabulous paved pathways near the Codgegong River but nearly drowned in the deluge. Back at the Aussie Nest we debated about what to do…but we only had the one full day so we dug out our rain coats and sloshed around the town. We had a lovely breakfast at Outside the Square Cafe, took a look at the beautiful historic buildings still lovingly cared for in this town founded late 1800’s and popped into the vast and eclectic museum. We had a nice dinner at Cade Kitchen & Bar.

    Outside the Square Cafe, Mudgee
    Historic Town Hall, Mudgee
    Mudgee Museum
    Cade Kitchen & Bar


    Another long drive as we made our way north. There wasn’t anything really special about Moree, other than the fact it was a five hour drive from Mudgee. Five hours is about our limit for each day. So we booked two nights at Moree Tourist Park campround for $25 per night.

    Moree is a tiny little agricultural town (wheat) that seems to be past its glory days although farming still rules. Parts of town are boarded up but the tiny downtown is still cute and thriving somewhat. It’s one claim to fame is the local Artesian hot springs. Our campground had a hot spring pool so we soaked in the pools and had a very relaxing day. Coincidentally that was our wedding anniversary too – 41 years! Not many restaurants in Moree, but we have been celebrating already through the week so we went out for nice Indian meal at Moree Indian Restaurant. By the way – Australia is FULL of wonderful Indian Restaurants due the immigrants. Indian immigrants make up 3% of the population.

    Aboriginal Art in Moree
    Moree Indian Restaurant
    Hot Spring fed pool


    After 28 days it was hard to believe this was our final day in the Aussie Nest. The Aussie Nest Part Two really flew by. Our final night was spent in Toowoomba, at Jolly Swagman Caravan Park about two hours outside of Brisbane. About $30 for one night. We spent the day packing up for our flight to Melbourne. Packing was much harder than the unpacking a month before, given our space restrictions. But we got it done. On our last night, with the cupboards bare, we went to dinner at an amazing Turkish Reataurant called Sofra in the lively and thriving downtown of Toowoomba. Despite some rain we walked around and enjoyed the murals. Next morning before departing we visited the incredible Cobb & Co. Museum. I enjoyed this final stop and wished for one more day.

    Murals in Toowoomba
    Delicious dinner in Toowoomba
    Cobb & Co. Museum, Toowoomba

    Grateful for The Aussie Nest – Part Two

    But finally it was time to say farewell to the Aussie Nest. We are grateful to how well it took care of us over the past month. Our journey covered 2400 miles, we stayed in 11 parks, visited 15 towns and two time zones. We saw hundreds of new birds, dozens of interesting animals and fantastic flora and trees. Ample breathtaking views, beautiful beaches, darling villages, spectacular wine, interesting history and wonderful, patriotic and welcoming local people. As you travel around in a caravan in Australia there is a surprise around every corner. You can never see it all. But you can try, and that is what we have done. Wild and wonderful. Australia is all that and more…and what a great way to enjoy it, in our little Aussie Nest. Thank you for joining us for the Aussie Nest – Part Two adventure.

    More Australia to Come

    But wait! We aren’t done with you yet Australia! Next we spend five days in Melbourne before heading to Tasmania for an entire month. The Australian Adventure continues and we invite you to continue to follow along. Life is good in Australia.

    Crimson Rosella, Canberra

    See last week’s post Caravan Travel Australia – Part One. Also check out our post Visit Beautiful Brisbane.

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    Asia & Oceania Travel

    Caravan Travel Australia – Our Little Aussie Nest Part One

    Location: Australia

    We are enjoying an entire month in a “Caravan” in Australia. Commonly referred to as a Motorhome or caravan, not a trailer or RV like we call it in the USA. Or a Tiki Tour as we referred to it in New Zealand. It’s a caravan/motorhome and we have completed two weeks of our four week itinerary. So let me tell you about the first two weeks, enjoying Caravan Travel Australia.

    Small But Mobile

    This is the fourth time we have done an extended time in a van or caravan. I’ve mentioned many times I am not one who needs a lot of fancy in my accommodations. Small is fine and I find it a fun challenge to live in a small space. Cooking in a small space, organizing a small space and generally making life comfy in a small space is a challenge I enjoy.

    The Aussie Nest

    Seven years ago we spent six weeks in tiny “Betty”, our vintage pink trailer. Then we lived in a ten foot van in New Zealand for five weeks in 2017. Next we did a ten day tour in Iceland in a similar van. None of the above had a bathroom, so our current living arrangement, a 20 foot Jayco with toilet and shower, seems luxurious!

    Wonderful Australia Birdlife

    The best part for each of these caravan adventures is being able to be on the go, and tuck into unique and beautiful parks and natural areas while we move about the country. So here is our story Caravan Travel Australia – Our Little Aussie Nest Part One.

    The Numbers

    Before taking you on a tour of our first two weeks of Caravan Travel Australia, let’s talk about the numbers. Many followers have been asking me about what this kind of travel costs. It’s not always less expensive, when you calculate everything together, so each person needs to consider what is most important. The below numbers are in USD. This video give you a little tour of the nest.

    Daily rental rate for this 20 foot caravan is $125 – in comparison a moderate hotel in Melbourne runs $130 and an Airbnb around $100

    Nightly camping rates have run us between$20-$50. The low end was for sites without hookups.

    Diesel fuel is costing about $4.50 per gallon. We traveled 900 miles the first two weeks and spent $200 on fuel.

    With the kitchen in the rig we cook the majority of our meals. Over the first two weeks we have spent $400 on groceries and $200 on dining out.

    You can of course make this less expensive or more expensive depending on your choices. But this is how it has figured for us on our first two weeks of Caravan Travel Australia.

    Let’s Go

    Our Little Aussie Nest Part One

    Dubbed the Aussie Nest, we have now been traveling in her for two of the four weeks. It’s time to report! Check out the graphic of the first two weeks. Here is a rundown of all the things we have enjoyed, places we have been and unique experiences we have had during the first half of our Caravan Travel Australia – Aussie Nest Adventure;


    We picked up the Caravan just outside of Brisbane at a rental agency called Let’s Go Motorhomes. The staff at Let’s Go was great and spent an hour with us going over every detail of the vehicle. And then off we went (staying left!). On this first day we headed North first to the tiny little town of Noosa. Immediately we learned that parking the rig in a small town was going to be a challenge. Eventually we found a spot and spent a delightful afternoon hiking Noosa Heads National Park. Australia is overflowing with National Parks, most are free, and we are enjoying them very much.

    Noosa Head

    Next we headed to a small RV Park called Ingenia Holidays Landsborough, only about an hour from Brisbane. We chose this spot because it was close to the Australia Zoo where we planned to spend the next day. So we booked just one night here. I liked this tiny spot with a pond and lots of trees but the snake warning reminded me I’m in Australia. We paid $29 per night with hook up.

    We spent a wonderful day at the World Famous Australia Zoo (see it here), and then we headed south.

    Nobby Beach

    Nobby Beach is lovely little town right next to the famous Gold Beach. Although there were people swimming and surfing, we chose to do a couple of walks and hikes around the town and into the small Burleigh Head National Park. Having picked up plenty of groceries at the local Coles Grocery (our favorite Aussie market) we used our Caravan kitchen and enjoyed dining al fresco. We did take a walk to Lost Palms microbrewery and enjoyed a couple of beers with the locals.

    Nobby Beach
    Lost Palms Brewing

    Nobby Beach Holiday Village is where we spent these two days, about four blocks from the beach. It included a nice laundry and swimming pool. Price per night with hook up was $51 .

    Coffs Harbour

    We booked three nights at the Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park in Coffs Harbour for $31 a night with hook ups. This was a very large park with lots of rental cabins as well as lots of RV spots. Aussies seem to really enjoy the park model homes or cabins and most of the parks we have stayed in had a variety of options beyond camping. We had a couple days of serious rain in Coffs Harbour, so we took some time to do laundry and work on the laptop. But between rain storms we also enjoyed our morning run on the Coffs Harbour paths along the beach and we took a great hike out to Mutton Bird Island, a wildlife reserve. It was here in Coffs Harbour that we really began to discover so many wonderful Australia birds that were new to us.

    View from Mutton Bird Island
    Mutton Bird Island

    Despite the rain, on our last day we unhooked the caravan and made our way to the Coffs Harbour Botanic Gardens. We have encountered Botanic Gardens in nearly every town we have visited, and this one was particularly nice for both the flora and the number of beautiful birds. We enjoyed more than an hour of rain free walking through the gardens.

    Coffs Harbour Botanic Gardens

    Nelson Bay

    I thought this part of the Pacific Coast of Australia was truly lovely. It reminded me a bit of our home back in Gig Harbor, Washington. We spent three nights at the small but perfectly located Halifax Holiday Park. About 300 yards to the beach. Cost was $39 per night. We had lovely weather the day we arrived and we enjoyed walking around and seeing the beach.

    Nelson Bay
    Little Beach

    After a week in the Aussie Nest Caravan we decided it was time to treat ourselves to a nice dinner out. So we showered and changed and walked to a highly rated beach side restaurant called Little Beach Boathouse. Such a nice treat enjoying fresh caught local cod and barramundi as well as a delicious burrata and tomato salad. Perfect.

    Little Beach Boathouse
    Little Beach Boathouse

    The next day I took a wonderful long run into the town of Nelson Bay on a splendid pathway providing beautiful water and flora views. Back at the caravan a quick shower before we headed out for brunch. The host at the camp ground had recommended we visit the Inner Light Tea Room – a lovely small restaurant in the old light keepers home. Well, that sounded good, so off we went to enjoy the food and the spectacular views. We spent the rest of the day at the lovely golden sand Little Beach. A perfect day.

    Nelson Bay
    Inner Light Tea Room

    Next day was not as sunny, but was perfect weather for a little hike. We unhooked the Aussie Nest and drove to Shoals Bay, about five miles. Here we hiked up to the top of Tomaree Mountain. Not a very long hike but pretty steep – it was worth it at the top for the spectacular views. We saw a lot of interesting birds and kept our eye out for koala but didn’t see any – I’m sure they were there but they are camouflaged into the eucalyptus. Back down at the bottom we took a look at the beautiful Zenith Beach right as it started to rain. Perfect timing, as we headed back to our campsite.

    Tomaree Mountain View
    Zenith Beach

    While eating our dinner at the caravan that evening we were alerted of severe weather approaching. So we buckled up the caravan and watched the most amazing storm as it approached from the west. Really fascinating. Watch it below. It brought some rain but fortunately not the high winds predicted. Just enough to rock us to sleep. Next morning, we packed up and headed south again.


    Although we don’t drink much wine anymore, we wanted to try some of the award winning Australian wines found in this region of New South Wales. So as we headed south towards Booderee National Park, we decided to cut the long drive in half with a couple of days just outside of Sydney. We stopped at two wonderful wineries in the Hunter Valley, did a tasting and purchased a bottle at each, and met some really lovely locals who are very passionate about Australia and its wines. The area with its mountains and forests and vineyards looked so much like Central California, a part of the United States we are very fond of.

    Ernest Hill Vineyards
    Running Horse Winery

    At the end of a long day of driving we arrived just outside of the town of Vineyard and Ingenia Holidays Avina Camp Park. Since it was a weekend the park was pretty full with lots of kids and families. We paid $32 for a spot with hookups. We tucked in for the night after a long day. Next morning I did a run in a very thick fog, which burnt off about 10am and turned into the hottest day we have seen since leaving the USA two months ago…a hot 96 Fahrenheit. Day two we decided to just enjoy the warm weather, read and relax. Luckily the little Aussie Nest has aircon so we slept like babes, got up early and headed out to finish the drive to Booderee.

    Local Bird Life – A Gallah (photo from Merlin Bird Identifier)

    Jervis Bay

    In the tiny Jervis Bay Territory we arrived at Booderee National Park, Green Patch Campsite the most rustic of our choices for this itinerary. Booderee National Park offered us a large space with water but no electricity or place to dump. We paid $33 per night and booked three days in advance as it is very difficult to get a spot in this popular National Park. We didn’t mind roughing it for a few days to enjoy this amazing park.

    Mama Roo and Joey
    Wallybee in our campsite

    Each day we explored a different area of the 6400 hectare National Park. We hiked and walked and saw so much bird and wildlife it was absolutely astonishing. Every day we saw wallaby in our campsite and kangaroo all around the park. We also nearly stepped on a giant and venomous Red Bellied Black Snake and I got bit by a Red Bull Ant – that bite took weeks to heal.

    Booderee National Park
    Red Bull Ant (Wikipedia)

    We truly enjoyed the dozens of new-to-us birds we discovered, the ocean views, and local history. The park is pretty remote, with services like grocery not really available, but we had planned ahead, and had enough to make all our meals in the Aussie Nest.

    Booderee National Park
    Booderee National Park

    Continuing South

    After two weeks we now continue south where we plan to spend a week at the tiny town of Eden in Australia’s southeast coast, before turning the Aussie Nest back northward. Northbound we will stop in Australia’s capital city of Canberra, and then we will wander back to Brisbane staying inland. We are looking forward to more amazing Australia adventures in our little Aussie Nest as we continue our Caravan Travel in Australia. I’ll share part two of the story next week.

    Thanks for following along Caravan Travel Australia – Our Little Aussie Nest Part One. It might not be for everyone, but for us, it’s a great way to cover a lot of territory and experience nature in this amazing country. I hope you will come back again next week for part two.

    See last week’s post The World Famous Australia Zoo. Be sure to read Visit Beautiful Brisbane as well.

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    Asia & Oceania Travel

    A Day at the World Famous Australia Zoo

    World famous? Well yes indeed it is. The Australia Zoo, founded originally in 1970 as the Beerwah Reptile Park, became the Australia Zoo in the mid 1990’s. The zoo has been showered with awards over the decades for conservation, energy efficiency, tourism and business. World famous. So we wanted to spend A Day at the World Famous Australia Zoo.

    Steve Irwin

    Australia Zoo
    Steve Irwin’s legacy lives on

    Raised in Queensland, Steve Irwin helped his parents with the Beerwah Reptile Park and grew to be an expert wildlife rehabilitator just like his mother. Steve was called upon by the local government for crocodile relocation and rehabilitation. He met Terri Raines, a predatory animal expert, in 1991 and they married in ’92. The team began to expand the zoo and began the docu-series The Crocodile Hunter. As the Crocodile Hunter grew in popularity, Steve and Terri were able to expand their conservation efforts. They also expanded their family with the birth of Bindi and Robert.

    Steve and Terri, with the help of Steve’s mom Lyn, created a world class facility that rescues, rehabilitates and release over 7000 native Australian animals every year.

    After the tragic accident that took Steve’s life in 2006, Terri vowed to continue the work in his honor and today along with her grown children they remember and keep the legacy of the greatest wildlife warrior of all time, everyday at the Australia Zoo.

    Conservation Through Education

    It’s been 18 years since Steve passed but his dream of “Conservation Through Exciting Education” lives on. He left a legacy with the Australia Zoo which today encompasses over 700 acres (110 open to the public) and employs over 500 staff.

    The Australia Zoo is a world leader in conservation of both wildlife and habitat. Much more than just a place to view animals, the Australia Zoo works around the world on conservation projects, education, and crocodile research. Support is generated through the Wildlife Warrior program to fund the many efforts the zoo undertakes.

    Crocoseum at Australia Zoo


    Unique to this global wildlife operation is the Australia Zoo Hospital where you can actually view surgeries and recovering animals through a glassed-in viewing area. The Australia Zoo Hospital never turns an animals in need away, and accepts up to 30 animals a day. Many of the animals have been injured by cars, dogs, or other encounters with ‘civilization’. The day we visited we saw a koala undergoing surgery, a frogmouth bird, flying fox, and reptiles in incubators.

    It’s also possible to book a behind the scenes tour of the hospital when you purchase your entry ticket.

    Not a great picture, but this is a koala undergoing surgery
    Looking into the incubator and recovery room

    A Day at the World Famous Australia Zoo

    We arrived at the zoo at 8:30am and headed straight to the hospital. We purchased our tickets online and added the $2 fee to get a sneak-peek at the hospital. It was a great way to start the day.

    Using the map and event list provided at entry, we planned our day around the activities we wanted to see. We wanted to see the Bird Feed Out and the Crocodile show at the Crocoseum. So we worked our way around 110 acres of the zoo between these shows. It’s possible to hold a koala, pet a Rhino, and have a behind the scenes tour of the zoo. But we decided to just see as much of the zoo as possible on our own.

    The zoo is home to some 1200 animals and birds (see the list here) and is laid out in a lovely, clean and meandering way with beautiful flora, frequent facilities and friendly and helpful staff.

    Tough life being a ‘Roo

    Wandering with a Purpose

    We were ready for A Day at the World Famous Australia Zoo. Using our map we headed to see the wombats and reptiles before moving on to Grace’s Bird Garden for the morning feed out which was fun and informative. Next we visited the ‘roos, koalas, Asian elephants and tigers. Moving on to Bindi’s Island, home to boa, lemurs, echidna and giant tortoises. We took a trip to Africa to visit the giraffes, rhinos and meerkats.

    Poison Dart Frog
    Pink Necked Green Pigeon
    Asian Elephant

    Backtracking a little we headed up to see the large birds included the emus, cassowary, jabiru and brogas. A quick visit over to view the darling smiling quokka and then a brief lunch break at the Crikey Cafe. Next it was the dingoes and the Tasmanian devil before leisurely enjoying the wide variety of crocodiles and alligators. Now it was time for the show.



    A visit to the Australia Zoo would not be complete without enjoying the daily (sometimes more than once a day) Crocoseum Show. I loved this.

    The show begins with some fun activities to get the audience involved, and a short video about the beloved Steve Irwin. Next a wonderful display of some of the zoo’s incredible birds in flight, and a few snakes thrown in for good measure. Then it was time for the crocs.

    Casper the Cranky Croc

    The day we visited, Casper the Croc was our guy. Casper actually has a reputation as an aggressive and bit “cranky” croc and if you search online there are lots of videos of a near disaster a couple years ago when Casper came after Robert Irwin. Here are some details about Casper;

    • Casper is one of two leucistic (albino or light pigmented) Saltwater Crocodiles at Australia Zoo
    • Being leucistic basically means the animals have a dramatic reduction in dark skin pigment
    • Australia Zoo describe Casper as ‘one of the most aggressive crocodiles we have ever seen’ 
    • He has been paired up with the zoo’s other leucistic croc, a female named Wendy
    • Casper measures in at 3.7 metres long and weighs a whopping 350 kilograms
    • According to Australia Zoo his condition means he likely would have been picked on in the wild 

    The staff managing Casper during the show made it clear that Casper makes them nervous too, and there was no fooling around. This is serious and dangerous work, and watching them feed this amazing creature was heart stopping. But a not to be missed experience when visiting the Australia Zoo.

    Casper the Cranky Croc

    Crikey, Mate!

    Visiting the Australia Zoo is a must when in Queensland. Crikey, Mate – it’s an easy day trip from Brisbane, or enjoy one of the lodges or hotels in the region. Adult tickets are $67 AUD about $41 USD (which includes the hospital sneak peek). Child tickets (3-14) are $42 AUD about $26 USD. Multi-day and Annual Passes are also available as are Family Group Rates. Additional costs for behind the scenes tours, Koala Photo Opportunity and other wildlife encounter experiences.

    I had a grand time

    Thank you for reading my post Visit the World Famous Australia Zoo. I highly recommend this if you are interested in wildlife conservation, protection, education, and rehabilitation and release.

    For our wildlife “we are both their greatest enemy and their only hope” – Bradley Trevor Greive

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    See last week’s post Visit Beautiful Brisbane Australia

    Learn more about visiting this beautiful country at including my visit to The Great Barrier Reef

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    Jabiru on the nest
    Asia & Oceania Travel

    Visit Beautiful Brisbane Australia

    Location: Brisbane, Australlia

    We started our second visit to Australia in the beautiful city of Brisbane. We came to Australia six years ago and saw many of this country’s top sites. But not Brisbane. So on this visit, which will be for two entire months, we began in Brisbane. What a delightful surprise it was. Here are my tips to Visit Beautiful Brisbane Australia.

    Brisbane Skyline at sunrise

    Where to Stay

    We spent four nights in Brisbane and wanted to be in the center of town, so booked a room at Royal Albert Hotel/Apartments in the CBD. In a historic building, we chose the Royal Albert for its location but what a nice surprise it was. A huge room with a small kitchen and a washer dryer were a big bonus for us. At only $114USD per night we were really happy with this choice.

    The Royal Albert Hotel

    We did not do and see everything in this beautiful city, but we did as much as we could. Brisbane is undergoing a big transformation in preparation for hosting the 2032 Summer Olympic Games, so there is a lot of construction. But we easily managed around it and enjoyed everything we saw. Below is our day by day recommendations to Visit Beautiful Brisbane Australia.

    Arrival Day

    Our overnight flight from Manila had us arriving in the morning – too early to check in to our hotel. So we dropped off our bags and headed out to wander and get a feel for the city.

    We were hungry so we headed down to the Brisbane Riverwalk area, one of the best things this city has going for it. On the way we enjoyed a stroll through the City Botanic Gardens, a beautiful space right in the CBD. Next we wandered the Riverwalk, but we did need to dodge some construction, before arriving at the Riverbar and Kitchen for lunch. Absolutely delicious and healthy lunch at this riverside open air restaurant.

    City Botanic Garden
    Riverbar and Kitchen
    Quinoa, kale and chicken salad at Riverbar and Kitchen

    Feeling revived we wandered away from the river and made brief stops at the Anzac Square Memorial, Jacobs Ladder and the beautiful City Hall at King George Square. Definitely go inside and check out this gorgeous building. We headed back to check-in to our hotel and had an early night with some much needed rest.

    Eternal Flame at Anzac Square
    Auditorium at City Hall

    Day One Highlights

    City Botanical Gardens

    Brisbane Riverwalk

    Riverbar and Kitchen

    Anzac Square Memorial

    City Hall and King George Square

    Royal Albert Hotel/Apartments

    Day Two

    I got up early and did a long run on the river walk enjoying the sunrise on this remarkable and well-used space. Runners, walkers, cyclists all enjoying a beautiful early Sunday morning.

    Riverwalk ancient lava flows, Kangaroo Cliffs

    Back to the hotel for a shower than off we went. This was going to be a full walking day but we were rested and ready. We had yet to pick up any groceries, so we began with a delicious healthy breakfast at Felix For Goodness, just a few blocks from our hotel. Fantastic food. Don’t miss it.

    Aussies love Avocado Toast and so do I
    Coffee at Felix for Goodness
    Falafel with red pepper hummus

    After breakfast we crossed over one of several pedestrian bridges to the South Bank of Brisbane. We spent the next several hours walking for miles admiring the sun, the river, the impressive architecture and the clean and sparkling skyline. We made brief stops at the iconic BRISBANE sign, Nepalese Peace Pagoda, Rainforest Walk and Kangaroo Point.

    Brisbane Sign on the South Bank
    Nepalese Pagoda
    Rainforest Walk
    Historic Kangaroo Point Neighborhood

    We had walked about 8 miles so it was time to try the City Cat Ferry, one of the best things Brisbane has going. A dash into the convenience store to purchase the GO Card (also works for buses) and then on board the ferry. Just for fun we rode down river away from the city to admire some of the well appointed homes before disembarking and grabbing the next boat back towards the CBD and an afternoon rest at our hotel.


    The City Cat Ferry offers efficient, inexpensive and abundant boats up and down the river all day every day. Cost is minimal. A much smaller boat called the KittyCat hops back and forth across the river, and the City Hopper runs a limited route to some of the central stops – both are free! They are all frequent, clean, and easy to use.

    After a quick refresh at the hotel, we grabbed an Uber to a restaurant recommended to us called Kick’in Inn to try Australia’s famous “bugs”, similar to crawdads. It’s a fun spot especially if you are with a group where you can order a wide variety of Cajun style foods dumped directly onto your paper covered table.

    Kick’In Inn
    “Bugs” and more

    Day Two Highlights

    Breakfast at Felix for Goodness

    South Bank Brisbane

    Brisbane Sign

    Nepalese Peace Pagoda

    Rainforest Walk

    Kangaroo Point

    City Cat Ferry

    Kick’in Inn

    Day Three

    After another morning run on the Riverwalk we were off to visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. We had booked our visit a few weeks ago, including an opportunity to hold a koala. Queensland and Lone Pine are one of the only places where holding koalas are allowed.

    It was after we had booked our Lone Pine visit that we realized there is a boat you can take right from South Bank Brisbane up the river to the sanctuary. Most people book both the boat and the sanctuary tickets together, but if you are like us and already have your sanctuary tickets, you can book the boat separately with Mirimar Cruises. I’m really glad we took the boat. It offered an interesting narrated hour-plus boat ride. The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was established in 1927 when Queenslander Claude Reid realized that the fur-trade was decimating the koala population. Starting with just two, he began his life’s work of protecting, rehabilitating and breeding Australia’s unique marsupials (no they are not bears!) Today the sanctuary is also home to a large collection of native birds, kangaroo and wallaby, tree kangaroo, amphibians, reptiles, dingo and 130 koalas.

    A Koala Cuddle at Lone Pine
    Mama Roo with Joey

    Back to the hotel for a quick refresh and then we go back on the City Cat to ride at sunset in hopes of seeing Brisbane’s Flying Fox. Brisbane is home to a large population of Flying Fox (also known as Fruit Bats) and dusk is the time to see them. The City Cat is a great way to enjoy viewing these animals that are so important to the balance of the ecosystem.

    Historic Story Bridge

    We disembarked after dark near the beautiful historic Story Bridge built in 1935 and enjoyed the Brisbane night skyline as we walked to our dining destination of Greca. Definitely eat at Greca, located under the Story Bridge and offering delicious Greek food and wonderful service all at a great price.


    Day Three Highlights

    Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

    Mirimar Cruises

    Story Bridge

    Greca Restaurant

    Day Four

    There aren’t many hiking opportunities near Brisbane, but we had heard about Mount Coot-tha, so on day four we headed that way. Back on the City Cat just a few stops to Regatta, where we admired the historic Regatta Hotel. We then walked more than two miles to the Brisbane Botanic Garden detouring unexpectedly through a very old cemetery. We were happy for the detour though because the cemetery offered some outstanding bird spotting opportunities.

    Historic Regatta Hotel
    So many Cockatoo in the cemetery

    We arrived at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, a wonderful large garden space and we were amazed it was free. The 56 hectare gardens are part of the city of Brisbane since 1970. A definite must-visit. The hike up Mount Coot-tha Reserve begins at this park. Starting at the Botanic Gardens visitor center the climb to the lookout is about two miles. The dirt path with several stair climbs meanders through native trees and flora and we spotted so many common and one rare bird.

    Brisbane Botanic Gardens
    Mount Coot-tha Reserve
    The Lookout at the top

    Reaching the summit you are rewarded with a spectacular view back down to the city. If you aren’t up for the climb, it’s possible to drive or take a bus to the summit. We caught the bus back to the CBD.

    Our final night in Brisbane we walked back to the South Bank and enjoyed a wonderful seafood dinner with a lovely view of the river at River Quay Fish. Another perfect way to end another great Brisbane day.

    Beautiful Brisbane
    Local Baramundi at River Quay Fish
    River Quay Fish

    Day Four Highlights

    Regatta Hotel

    Brisbane Botanic Gardens

    Mount Coot-tha

    River Quay Fish

    Time to Go

    Our four days in Brisbane was only the beginning of a two-month visit that will include Tasmania. As part of a visit to Brisbane it is an absolute must to head up to the Australia Zoo. We did this on day five as we headed out in our RV for a month on the road. I’ll talk about the Australia Zoo in next Friday’s blog post. But it would be easy to add it when you Visit Beautiful Brisbane Australia.

    Next week I’ll have a post all about the amazing Irwin Family Australia Zoo

    Visit Beautiful Brisbane Australia

    Brisbane was so much better than I expected and I would love to visit again when all the construction has wrapped up. There are numerous museums we did not make it to, and wonderful performing arts of all kinds. One of Australia’s largest cities, I have to say it is now one of my favorite cities in the world.

    Brisbane Sunset

    Check back next week to learn more about our visit to the Australia Zoo and keep following as we continue our Australian journey.

    See last week’s post Our Favorite Things to do in Panglao Bohol and our popular post Cooking Class in Hong Kong.

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    Asia & Oceania Travel  --  Island Life

    Our Favorite Things to do in Panglao/Bohol, Philippines

    Location: Panglao/Bohol, Philippines

    We spent an entire month relaxing on the island of Panglao in the Philippines, a tiny island connected to the larger island of Bohol by a bridge. We came with few expectations. In fact, after a three week whirlwind of Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong, we were looking for some peace and quiet. We certainly found it, and a whole lot more. Panglao/Bohol is one of the most underrated destinations we have found. We loved it and will be back. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Panglao/Bohol Philippines.

    Panglao Sunset

    Keeping it Simple

    We originally thought we would rent a car for a couple of days to see some sights. But our wonderful Airbnb host suggested we not. He explained how crazy the drivers were, and we had to agree after just a few days of walking around. So instead we hired a private driver on two occasions to spend the day seeing sights. We also went by Tuk Tuk or Tri-Cab to a couple other sites and beaches close to our bungalow. The hired driver was safe and economical. Our host helped us secure a driver rather than going with a tour. Total cost of an entire day for two people was less for a private tour with driver than it would have been for us to go on a group tour on a bus. And we could pick and choose the sights we wanted to see.

    Alona Beach

    Since we were in Panglao/Bohol for four weeks, we had lots of time to enjoy the sites as well as time to just do nothing. We like to do both! I understand most people probably won’t have a whole month, so I’m listing the things we did and how we liked them and you can pick and chose what works for you.


    We spent the month of October, and every day was hot and humid. During the month we saw a couple of cloudy days and a couple of torrential downpours with thunder. Weather changes quickly so be prepared all the time. October is considered the end of the rainy season, with the dry season being December to May, however the high temperature does not fluctuate much throughout the year. It was 87 degrees Fahrenheit pretty much every single day.


    So let me tell you our favorite things to do in Panglao/Bohol Philippines;


    Our hands-down favorite was visiting the Philippine Tarsier Foundation Sanctuary in Corella on the island of Bohol. If you only do one thing here it must be this. There are other places to see tarsiers on this island but the Philippine Tarsier Foundation is the one that is working to protect, save and conserve these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat for all to enjoy for generations to come.

    Our visit included an informative video and then a guided tour into the forest to see up close and personal four Tarsiers who had bedded down for the day. Tarsiers are nocturnal, and because they feel safe, they return to the sanctuary each morning and spend the day. I was smitten by these darling, tiny and highly endangered little beauties. PLEASE don’t visit places that put Tarsiers in cages. These beautiful creatures only survive a very short time if in a cage. Visit the Philippine Tarsier Foundation.

    Philippine Tarsier Foundation

    Our second favorite was snorkeling the Napaling Reef with Freedive Academy Panglao. This reef is off the Northwest side of Panglao. This snorkel tour does not involve a boat, instead you are swimming right off shore in a beautiful protected reef. The highlight of this is to swim with millions of sardines…I am not kidding MILLIONS! There’s also many other tropical fish, and amazing coral. It was very cool, the water is clear and clean and our guide took so many great photos and videos for us to take home. Cost was only $20 per person. A must do in Panglao/Bohol Philippines!

    Millions of sardines
    Napaling Reef, Panglao
    Napaling Reef, Panglao

    PLEASE NOTE – we chose not to swim with the Whale Sharks because we did not feel this activity was eco-friendly or sustainable for the health and welfare of the whales. We discourage you from doing this activity.


    We made our way to two waterfalls, both on Bohol. The first one is not far from the Chocolate Hills, but is down a long dirt road. Because the road to Pangas Falls is rough, not as many people visit. Our driver managed it and we were thrilled to arrive and find we were the only ones there. The set of small falls create a beautiful pool to swim in. Ropes are provided to pull yourself through what is a pretty strong current. It was a lot of fun and I am so glad we got to do this all by ourselves. Turned out to be one of our favorite things to do in Panglao/Bohol Philippines.

    Pangas Falls
    We had the place to ourselves

    The second falls we went to was much taller. Can Umantad Falls is located a lot farther away from Panglao and it took us about two and a half hours to get there. We did not swim here although we could have and there were lots of visitors enjoying swimming. To get to the falls you have to pay a guy on a motor scooter to take you down the steep hill to the entrance of the falls. I wasn’t expecting that so I had to psych up to get on the back of that scooter. But it was very pretty and I’m glad we visited.

    Can-Umantad Falls
    Can-Umantad Falls


    We visited two caves, one on Panglao close to our Airbnb and one on Bohol, more than two hours drive away. We loved the one on Panglao, but didn’t really love the second one.

    On Panglao only about 15 min drive from where we were staying is Hinagdanan Cave. Entrance fee was under $2 and you walk down some dark stairs and then suddenly you are deep in the earth with the most crystal clear beautiful pool of freshwater. Life jackets are available if you need a boost of confidence, but we enjoyed a swim in the cool refreshing pool with the filtered sunlight coming through the top of the cave and the tiny bats flitting around. A definite must visit.

    Hinagdanan Cave
    Crystal clear at Hinagdanan Cave

    On Bohol, and about two hours from Alona Beach is the Cabagnow Cave Pool. This cave is deep but with a complete open top. You have to go down a steep ladder to enter. We were there right after a big rainstorm and the water was not very pleasant looking. I’ve seen photos where it is not so brown, but the day we visited it wasn’t very appealing. Also the care of the surrounding area is very poor, very muddy and rocky with no facilities, so we really thought we could have left this off our itinerary altogether. Disappointing. We only paid about $1 each so no great loss!

    Cabagnow Cave Pool
    Cabagnow Cave Pool

    Popular Tourist Sights

    There are several other miscellaneous sights scattered about with numerous options for getting to these sights. We did not do all the sights, some of them seeming a bit tacky to us, but here is what we did do;

    Cadapdapan Rice Terraces – these beautiful terraced rice fields stretch golden across the landscape on the hill above the Can-Umantad Falls. When we visited rice was in harvest and along the stretch of road throughout the region rice is laid out to dry. Very pretty and worth a stop if you are in the region, easily combined with a visit to the falls. There is also a restaurant here.

    Cadapdapan Rice Terraces
    Cadapdapan Rice Terraces

    Chocolate Hills – these geological formations are fascinating. And although the vantage to view them is very touristy, we are glad we went to learn. Wikipedia says – The Chocolate Hills form a rolling terrain of haycock-shaped hills—mounds of a generally conical and almost symmetrical shape.[5] Estimated to be from 1,268 to about 1,776 individual mounds, these cone-shaped or dome-shaped hills are actually made of grass-covered limestone. The domes vary in size from 30 to 50 metres (98 to 164 ft) high with the largest being 120 metres (390 ft) in height. One of Bohol’s best known tourist attractions.

    Definitely worth a stop on Bohol.

    Chocolate Hills
    Chocolate Hills

    A Few More Sites

    Tigbao Bamboo Hanging Bridges – I had seen some photos of these twin bridges that hang over the Sipitan River and I wanted to check it out. So we did. To cross the bridge you pay less than $1, and the view is very pretty. Although the bridges sway, I felt completely safe.

    Tigboa Hanging Bridge
    Tigbao Hanging Bridge

    Baclayon Church – historic and beautiful old Catholic Church built in 1727 of local limestone coral blocks, this is a favorite stop on most local tours. There is a museum, but we did not go inside, we just admired the exterior.

    Baclayon Church built in 1727
    Historic Bacylon Church


    We visited several tourist beaches during our stay and there are many more we did not visit. The most beautiful beach we thought was Dumaluan. There are many resorts on this stretch of white sand but we visited through a small private park and paid 100 pesos (about $2) for access to the beach for a day. Alona Beach, which was the closest one to our Airbnb, is also the most crowded and home to lots of resorts and departure point for dive boats. The Alona area of Panglao is definitely the tourist base, but it’s also pretty and a nice place to swim.

    Dumaluan Beach a beautiful long stretch of white sand
    Alona Beach is home to the tourism base on Panglao

    Doljo Beach is also nice, but very shallow. Much of the island is surrounded by coral reef and you can walk hundreds of yards in shallow water. Doljo was like this but also beautiful. We spent a couple of hours on Momo Beach, where lots of locals and no tourists were enjoying the white sand. It was very swimable but a bit remote to get to.

    Doljo Beach
    Momo Beach

    Resort Day Use Pass

    We discovered how inexpensive it is to visit local resorts on a day use pass and we took advantage on three occasions. All three were amazing and we definitely recommend this if you are staying in a place like our Airbnb that, although it has a pool, is not located near the beach. All passes included food and drink. We recommend the following;

    Close to our Airbnb in Dinao

    BE Grand Resort – This beautiful resort was about a mile from our Airbnb. There was a gorgeous pool, a lovely manmade sandy beach with stairs down to the ocean. We had one of the best meals we had all month in their restaurant. We paid 1200 pesos (about $22 USD) and that included $15 towards food and drinks. I really appreciated the beautiful and large locker room with showers.

    Nightly rate at the beautiful BE Grand mid November starts about $140. This beautiful hotel would easily cost $600 a night in Maui.

    The pool at BE Grand Resort
    The bar at BE Grand Resort

    Two on Doljo Beach an Easy Tuk Tuk Ride

    Modala Resort – We really loved this beautiful beach resort as well. The pool was busy but very nice. A very shallow but long white beach fronts the property. Our lunch here was delicious and the service was great. We paid 950 pesos (about $18 USD) and that included $12 for food and drinks.

    Nightly rate for mid November at Modala is around $253 per night.

    Infinity pool at Modala
    Swimup bar at Modala

    The Bellevue Resort – not far from Modala Resort is The Bellevue Resort. We liked the pool here but the beach is very shallow. We had a nice relaxing day. Cost was 950 pesos (about $18) with 600 pesos for consumables. Restaurant was more expensive than the other two resorts but the food and service were excellent.

    Nightly rate mid November at The Bellevue Resort is around $135 per night.

    Clearly if you want the full resort experience but you are on a budget…Panglao is the place to go.

    Morning Bloody Mary beach side at The Bellevue Resort
    Authentic and delicious lunch at The Bellevue.


    We used the tiny kitchen in our Airbnb most days as we usually do to stay on budget. However we did eat out a few times during our month on the island. Here are our favorites;

    A Little More Upscale

    The Pearl – located in the Linaw Beach Resort walking distance from our Airbnb. Our host recommended we visit and also made a reservation for us so we could sit with our toes in the sand at sunset. The service and view were impeccable. We had a full meal with several drinks and it was only $30. A lovely evening.

    Beach dining at The Pearl
    Sunset Dinner at The Pearl

    BE Grand Resort, The Food Hall – while visiting on a Day Pass to the BE Grand Resort we had what was possibly the best meal during our month. The service was amazing, and the food was on point, beautifully presented and absolutely delicious and authentic.

    Our favorite meal in the Philippines at BE Grand

    Gerardas Family Restaurant – our Airbnb host recommended this very authentically Filipino family restaurant and we are so glad he did. It was very inexpensive, (huge meal with drinks and desert $25) the service was great and we were able to try several delicious Filipino favorites. Several locations throughout the Bohol area. We enjoyed this place so much we went again on our final night on Panglao.

    Gerarda’s Family Restaurant
    Halo Halo is a favorite local dessert of evaporated milk shaved ice and fruit at Gerarda’s

    Very Casual

    The Garden Cafe – my deaf friend Veronica, who used to live on Bohol, recommended this restaurant. It is a restaurant that employs deaf people from Bohol. We liked this concept and wanted to support their cause. We enjoyed our meal especially the lumpia. $28 for a big lunch.

    Lumpia at The Garden Cafe
    Crispy Pork Garden Cafe

    Toto e’ Peppino Pizza and Italiano Restaurant – we went looking for a Taco place we had heard good reviews about, but when we found it closed we ended up at this wonderful little Italian spot. Pizza was authentic and delicious, service was great and as usual…so inexpensive. $18 dollars for pizza, salad and beer.

    Toto e’ Peppino

    Garlic n’ Lemon Bistro – this highly rated Alona area restaurant says it’s Thai, but we actually didn’t find much Thai on the menu. However we did find delicious food, giant portions, lovely service and great prices. Our dinner was $25 and we took lots of food home.

    The Signature Dish – Garlic Shrimp at Garlic n’ Lemon Bistro

    Guitarwoodhouse – We came to the Guitarwoodhouse just because it was a must see. We only had a beer and an appetizer (an authentic Filipino pork dish called sisig), but the Guitarwoodhouse has a full menu, bar and nightly music in a unique setting.

    The Guitarwoodhouse, Panglao
    Trying Sisig for the first time

    Much More

    There is much more to do on this beautiful island, and we think we should come back and visit again. We did not get out to any of the outlying islands but there are multiple options to do this. Diving, snorkeling and free diving are very popular activities and draw the most visitors.

    Our Airbnb bungalow was perfect for a long stay, complete with pool, bottled water and a kind and helpful host. We paid with tax and fees $69 per night. Rate varies by season. With a long stay it included a weekly house cleaning. We would definitely stay here again.

    Our little bungalow in Danao, Panglao
    Enjoying the pool

    How To Get Here

    Originally we had booked an Airbnb in Cebu City on the island of Cebu. But that got canceled, and in hindsight we are so grateful it did. Otherwise we would not have ended up on Panglao/Bohol. But we already had a flight to Cebu City from Manila that we couldn’t change. So from Cebu City we took the two hour ferry to Bohol. See it here.

    However, there is no reason to go through Cebu. You can fly direct to the newly opened Panglao Airport from Manila. There are also direct flights to Panglao from Korea.

    The Bellevue Resort

    We Will Be Back

    We did not meet any other Americans. This surprised us given how popular Vietnam and Thailand are with American travelers, why not here? Likely the Americans here are staying at the resorts or are full-time expats we did not encounter. It’s a very inexpensive place to retire. We only met a couple of Europeans. Most the visitors are Korean, Japanese and Chinese. We thought it was an outstanding destination.

    We had the best day snorkeling Napaling Reef

    Our Favorite Things to do in Panglao/Bohol Philippines

    Thank you for reading our post Our Favorite Things to do in Panglao/Bohol Philippines. We definitely think more people should visit here. It is so inexpensive, and also beautiful. The beaches are clean and the food is good and the people are friendly. It is now the most, budget friendly place we have ever visited since we started our world travels more than seven years ago. It beat out Bulgaria by about $15 per day. You should get here before the secret is out.

    Our next stop is Australia for two months…we hope you will continue to follow us on our Grand Adventure.

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    Asia & Oceania Travel  --  Food & Drink

    Cooking Class in Hong Kong with Pots n’ Pans Cooking Studio

    Location: Hong Kong

    Y’all know I love to eat. And I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Traveling around the world gives me such great opportunities to learn and eat the best of all the countries and cultures we explore. It’s rare that I don’t love the food in a country we are visiting, and our visit last month to Hong Kong China was one of the best. So let me tell you about our Cooking Class in Hong Kong with Pots n’ Pans Cooking Studio.

    See my post My Favorite Cooking Classes Around the World here


    Cantonese Cuisine

    What is Cantonese cuisine? Focused on fresh ingredients but also relying on many dried ingredients for flavor, Cantonese cuisine is well known in the USA because of so many immigrants. Pork, chicken and beef are common but so is offal, chicken feet, duck tongue, snails and other seafood.

    Rice with Sausage was one of the best things we ate while in Hong Kong

    There are so many delicious dishes in the Cantonese cuisine from fried rice, beef with noodles, greens in oyster sauce, and so much more. While visiting Hong Kong we really enjoyed rice with Chinese Sausage, Beef with noodles, Rice Noodles, Lo Mein, Wonton Soup, Spare Ribs, Congee and Fried Chicken to name a few.

    Pots n’ Pans

    I found Pots n’ Pans Cooking Studio through Viator. I’m sure glad I did. This beautiful cooking studio was founded in 2013 and our instructor (owner) Bill spoke perfect English and guided us through a private cooking class. Classes often include a market tour, and you can book private or group tours with Bill. I highly recommend this experience if you are considering visiting Hong Kong. We enjoyed it very much. Be sure to come hungry!

    Pots n’ Pans Cooking Studio Hong Kong

    Cooking Class in Hong Kong with Pots n’ Pans Cooking Studio

    We arrived at the studio in the Kwun Tong area of Kowloon easily via subway. Bill was very flexible for our arrival time since we were the only ones in this particular class. Bill put together a wonderful course and menu for us that included; Pork Dumplings, Stir Fry French Beans with minced pork, Fried Rice with fermented veg and Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs.

    Owner Bill was a great instructor

    We started by getting the ribs going, because they would take the longest. We browned the ribs then added ingredients for the ribs to slowly cook in a broth of sugar, ginger, vinegar, Xiaoxing wine, and soy sauce. After more than an hour, the ribs were absolutely delicious, fall apart tender and one of the best things I have ever eaten. I will definitely make these at home.

    Pork Ribs start…
    …to finish

    While the meat was slowly braising on the stove top we made dumplings filled with minced pork, ginger and green onions. I’ve made dumplings before. They take some practice, but we did pretty good. We then browned the dumplings on the stove top before adding a mix of water, corn starch cooking wine, oil and soy sauce. These little pillows of goodness were served with a dipping sauce of soy, sugar and chili oil. OMG. Yummy.

    Forming the dumplings takes practice
    Maybe not perfect but taste divine

    We stir fried the rest of the minced pork mixture while parboiling the beautiful French green beans. We tossed all that together with some chicken stock, soy sauce, cooking wine and sugar, let it reduce then serve.

    French Green Beans start…
    …to finish. Yummy.

    We quickly stir fried the pre-cooked rice, mixing in a delicious ingredient I have never seen before – a fermented greens and olive paste from a jar. It added such a delicious flavor and texture to the fried rice. At the last minute we tossed in some toasted pine nuts.

    Bill was so easy to work with. Here we stir fry the rice with fermented vegetables and olives

    So Much Food

    We sat down to enjoy this amazing feast and we ate until we thought we would explode. And then, we took home a big doggy bag which we enjoyed again the next day back in our Airbnb for dinner. I know I can make all of these dishes back home, or even on the road as we continue our travels. Simple and fresh ingredients, with a touch of Cantonese love. Perfect.

    Arne can’t eat another bite!

    Come to Hong Kong

    We loved our week in Hong Kong and expect we will come again. Whether you are here for a week or just a few days, spending a few hours with Bill at Pots n’ Pans Cooking Studio is a must. We would do it again!

    Thank you for reading my post Cooking Class in Hong Kong with Pots n’ Pans Cooking Studio. You can try these simple recipes at home yourself…or visit Hong Kong…you won’t be sorry.

    Read last week’s post Visiting Hong Kong for the First Time here.

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