A Christmas tipple.

It’s that time of year when most people (well, most Australians at least) give the bottle a bit of a nudge. Admittedly, I give it a good go at Christmas parties, but at least I stick to beer and wine. On my last trip to Vietnam I got quite tipsy on rice wine and in the morning I had stomach cramps to go along with my hangover-cum-monstrous-headache. My stomach cramps may have had something to do with the fact that we (about twenty of us) were all drinking the sickly sweet rice wine from a large wooden bucket. Out of shared straws. While dancing around it. It was up there with the worst alcoholic drink I’ve ever had. Then again, if you want to fire up your Christmas party it gets you drunk very quickly. And, if you want some other novelty drinks for your Christmas party here are my Top 5 worst alcoholic drinks of all time: Read more

travel apps

My favourite travel Apps.

For quite a while I refused to take my phone with me when I travelled. I actually liked being away and feeling like I was truly away. And I certainly didn’t want to sit in a cafe with a beer in hand and update my Facebook page about sitting in a cafe with a beer in hand. I resisted for a while then one day, a few years back, I flew into London for a connecting flight to Zurich and all the planes were grounded because of fog and I was put up in a hotel. The problem was that someone was picking me up from Zurich airport. I couldn’t call or text until I got to the hotel, but by then it was too late because they were already on their way to the airport. I had to call them from the hotel phone to tell them what happened. That cost me 80 dollars. A text would have cost me 50 cents. From then on I took my phone with me when I travelled. Then along came the iPhone and I now sit in a cafe with a beer in hand and update my Facebook page about sitting in a cafe with a beer in hand. Read more

Scooter accident waiting to happen

Five ways to poo your pants.

I have been scared a few times in my travels (restaurant bills in Europe scare the hell out of me for a start), but thankfully nothing too bad has happened to me. Actually, that’s not true. I didn’t die or break any bones or end up in jail, but I have had a few almost-poo-your-pants moments. Here are my Top 5 Scariest Encounters (in no particularly scary order):

Gun to the head – Trans Mongolian train, Russia
The train was trundling along through the middle of Siberia when I was confronted by two scarily drunk Russians on my way back from the dining car. One asked a me a question in Russian and when I said that I didn’t understand he began shouting at me and grabbed my arm so I couldn’t get away. Then he reached into his jacket and brought out a gun. A gun? It took my brain a second to register that he was holding a real-life handgun. As he was bringing the gun up to my head his friend screamed out ‘NYEY! NYET! and grabbed his arm. The gun fell to the floor. They both dived to the ground and a struggle for the gun ensued. It took me another few seconds for my brain to figure out that it was probably a good idea to get the hell out of there. Read more

world's best hotel

World’s Best Hotel (minus the stained sheets).

A survey released this week by travel website Travel+Leisure ranked Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana as the world’s best hotel in 2014. The survey ranks the tops 500 places to stay across the globe, and was compiled based on the opinions of the website’s ‘experts’ and thousands of readers. The winner was the Triple Creek Ranch in Darby where a bed for the night will set you back US$1,400 – and that’s their ‘basic’ room. Second place went to the Nayara Springs in La Fortuna, Costa Rica (US$845 a night) and in the third spot was the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace in Budapest (US$750 a night). Australia gone a guernsey with the Southern Ocean Lodge in Kangaroo Island (US$1,300 – $2,700 a night) coming in 4th, and the Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island (up to US$3,247 a night) rounded out the top five.

Yes, but do they get the true experience of travelling. You can’t have truly experienced Costa Rica unless you’ve slept in a bed covered with giants ants or got the real taste of India without stained sheets that smell like vindaloo. So, I’ve decided to make my own list. This is my Top 5 World’s Worst Hotels: Read more

vegemite and ox penis

Vegemite and Ox Penis.

I stumbled upon a website that listed the most disgusting foods in the world (by country) and amongst the camel’s feet, tiger’s testicles, pork uterus, ox penis, cow urine and maggot-cheese was Vegemite. Come on. Vegemite is not disgusting. Yes, it doesn’t look the most appetising, but it fair dinkum tastes good on ya toast in the morning. Also under the ‘Australia’ list were witchety grubs and beetroot! The ‘American’ list of disgusting foods was just as strange (as in strange that they made the list). On that list was Spam (okay, fair enough there), iceberg lettuce and peanut butter.

I’ve eaten some pretty disgusting foods in my travels, so here’s my list of the 10 most disgusting foods I’ve eaten (and of course I have to show you pics of all the grossness in all it’s glory): Read more

Cambodia beach

The Best Beaches in the World.

My daughter Jasmine and I recently went to Cambodia and one of our highlights was taking a snorkelling trip to a (virtually) untouched island where we swam in clear warm waters and…well, that’s what we did all day. It wouldn’t quite make my Top Ten list of the best beaches that I’ve been to, but it was certainly up there. There are so many other wonderful beaches in the world that I’m yet to go to, but in my travels so far here are (in no particular order) my favourite beaches:

Alofi, Wallis and Futuna
I had the entire island to myself for two days (besides a few wild pigs). I slept on the beach and lived on Sao biscuits and tins of tuna. Heaven. Read more

Cycling in Kep

My best (and worst) bike rides.

On our recent Dad and Daughter Adventure to Cambodia we went on a bike ride around the coast near the small village of Kep. We had such a lovely time – even if we had to stop quite a few times because locals wanted to take a photo of my daughter (they loved her long blonde hair and blue eyes). We skirted the coast along a virtually deserted road, stopping to watch crab fishermen haul in their catch and even lazed on a beach for a bit. I do try get on a bicycle as much as I can when I travel. It is a great way to get a feel for a city or just a pleasant way to amble through the countryside. I haven’t done any serious bicycle journeys (and I would like to one day), but these are my top 10 bike rides from my travels: Read more

bondi beach sydney

Travel highlights of 2013.

There wasn’t a lot of travel for me in 2013 (there was a good excuse, though – see below), but I still managed a couple of overseas trips and a few jaunts in and around Australia. So, without further ado here are my Top Ten Travel Highlights of 2013:

Luca, Melbourne, Australia
On February 18th 2013 I began a great adventure. My wife gave me a little boy. Yes, I know it’s not really a travel highlight, but it is one the of the most exciting journeys you can possibly take. And he is a little traveller already. Luca is not even one yet and he has been on 12 planes – and I’m very happy to say that he is not one of those screamers! Read more

Methven Heliski

Getting on the piste.

I’m off to New Zealand tomorrow to go skiing. I’ll be based in Methven (near Christchurch) and I’ll be skiing Mt Hutt, Craigeburn and also heli-skiing in the Arrowsmith ranges with Methven Heliski. And boy, am I excited. The heliskiing day (which is NZ$975 for 5 runs!) is my birthday treat to myself (I’ll be doing it actually on my birthday!). The first time I went heli-skiing (back in 1995) was with Methven Heliski and it was one of the best ski days of my life (what am I saying, it was one of the BEST days of my life!). In fact, I often get asked what is my number one dream travel destination and it’s always the same answer: heliskiing for a week in Alaska (and I will do it one day!). If you haven’t guessed, I love skiing and, if you can just indulge me for a moment, I’d like to share my five favourite ski runs that I’ve hurtled myself down over the years. Mind you, these aren’t just ’ski runs’, I consider them amazing travel/adventure experiences: Read more

Encounter Restaurant, LAX

Table service with a view.

On my recent trip to the States I went to Encounter Restaurant in the ‘Theme Building’ at LAX for dinner with my daughter Jasmine (although the Theme Building was built in 1961, the restaurant didn’t open until 1997). I’ve always wanted to go there after seeing photos of the bizarre Jetsons-esque interior, with groovy bubble motifs in the ceilings, spacey retro mod tables and chairs and a ton of lava lamps everywhere. Rather appropriately we went there after a day at Disneyland (the restaurant was designed by Disney imagineers). The experience begins when you catch the elevator up to the restaurant, where you are bathed in green light and they play tiki-suave-spooky alien muzak. We got a table right by the window, and besides the groovy decor (and good food), the other great thing about Encounter is the view. LAX is one of the busiest airports in the world and you get a bird’s eye view of planes landing and taking off. And, best of all, you don’t feel like you are ‘in’ an airport – and you don’t get those bloody annoying flight announcements. Read more