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That time we drove to Broken Hill

Broken Hill Welcome sign

So, I happened to be on a few weeks leave and a friend asked if we would come up to Broken Hill to collect him and his bike. Sure, why not!

ROAD TRIP!

Ford Concorde Red Dirt Australia

Took us awhile to get going in the morning, whatever, no rush. The usual “boring” drive that is the new hunter Expressway. I’m not dissing it, it’s great that it’s such a boring road, but it makes it difficult to a) stay awake and b) stick to the speed limit! Good roads like that deserve higher speed limits! If only Australian drivers could handle such things….

Oversized vehicle mining equipment Golden Hwy

Once we hit the Golden Highway, there was a fair bit of giving way to Oversized vehicles – either mining vehicles themselves or trucks carrying huge pieces of mining equipment. One time the police even cleared three lanes for one truck! No photos of the glory that is open cut mining in the Hunter, I couldn’t bring myself to look at the vast holes long enough to snap a picture.

Duneedoo Swan Motel
Swan Hotel, Dundedoo.

We took regular stops and driver swaps on the way. I eventually got brave enough to cruise at highway speed on the undivided roads! *clunk* goes the trailer. I also didn’t hit any roos, though there was one dumb sheep that walked in front of me deliberately I swear, and a couple of roos on the way home that seemed to have death wishes.

I didn’t know there was soooo many goats out there!!! So many cute baby goats following their parents around. So cute. I wanted to steal one! The goats were way smarter than the sheep, always running away from the cars rather than towards. There was also a few cows that just stood there and watched us go by, knowing they could cause us all manner of grief if they could be bothered to walk onto the road.

Bruce beret ibis menu space panda tshirt

We stopped for the night at Dubbo as the the sun was going down. Booked us a room at the Ibis Budget Dubbo. I booked through Booking.com while parked on the side of the road, and got us a room for $79, including Continental buffet breakfast! They normally charge $9/head for that.

Dubbo Ibis Breakfast

So the breakfast spread included the usual cereal, toast and spreads, along with youghurts with fruit, juices, tea and coffee. The room was “okay” . I found the bed quite comfortable, but Bruce found the foam mattress topper overheated him. The curtain main have come down while we were trying to adjust it, but ok well. We also had wifi in our room even though it’s meant to be only accessible from the common areas, because we were on the ground floor near the pool. I also got all classy and drank the wine I’d brought from home in the plastic cups provided in the room. ;) Oh they had good biscuits, as did the other two place we stayed. You know those prepaced two bikkies you get in your tea and coffee making facilities? Couldn’t fault any of them!

Sticky fried pork

We wandered down to the Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant (36 Victoria St, Dubbo NSW 2830; ph (02) 6882 6663) as it was the Chinese restaurant open on a Tuesday night (our first and third choices were both closed Tuesday nights). We had fried rice, garlic chicken, and the above sticky, shiny fried pork. I swear it was like eating Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs with the stickyness in the teeth. Apparently there was meat in there! But we got through it, our wine, and promptly fell asleep back at the ibis after watching Blades of Glory, that I happened to have seen at work, well parts of it, a few days earlier!

Golden dragon chinese tables
Classic country town Chinese restaurant stylings

Dubbo Ibis Hotel
Ready for bed!

After breakky and trying not to yell at the morning television that was screening in the cafe, we found some decent takeaway coffee at Grapevine near the courthouse and then were back the road by eight, aiming to reach Broken Hill before the roos got suicidal again.

There was a lot of…. not much. Wide, flat, open. And driving. Much driving.

passegering

So flat

Rainbow socks and red dirt

Antipasto

Dinner was found at Alfrescos Cafe (397 Argent St, Broken Hill, New South Wales 2880, Australia +61 8 8087 5599)…. so, while wrapping out heads around the half hour time difference, we nommed down this HUGE platter. So very very full! Which meant that the pizza we ordered, though a little over-cooked, was saved for breakfast and snacking on the next morning’s drive.

alfresco cafe

pizza

Full tummies and a few glasses of wine made the bed at the Hilltop Motel (271 Kaolin St, Broken Hill NSW 2880 ph (08) 8088 2999) inviting enough, watching the ABC on whatever timezone we were in and it’s usual Wednesday night satire until I couldn’t fight sleep any more

silverton sign

Silverton and the Mundi Mundi Lookout were about as touristy as we got.

Vast spaces of nothing, views to the border and relics from the days of the silver mine (hey creative name for a town right?) and Mad Max.

Silverton

Mundi Mundi lookout

Just so damn open.

hubcaps

Our aim for the drive on the Thursday was Cobar, so I booked a couple of rooms at the Cobar Central Motor Inn (18 Murray Street Cobar NSW 2835 Phone: 02 6830 2000). There was this weird system where you checked in at the motel across the road.

I love lamp

The rooms had this funky lamp, and pre-marked bedspreads and walls. Classy :)

Cobar Central Motor Inn

The shower was hot and the bed comfy and I slept like a log after the boys brought me back Subway.

blue bathroom

Daily grind Nyngan

Daily Grind Cafe in Nyngan (97 Pangee St, Nyngan NSW 2825) was our breakfast/coffee stop for the morning on Friday, toasties all round and some nice coffees to sip while seeing the other side of the railway station and the helicopter.

Daily grind Nyngan

Of course there was just the fun to be had of being in the Bogan Shire. Yeah, not much excitement :p

helicopter

Big Billy

I have to say the only other pauses of note that day were the big billy!! And getting back to Tronno and getting back home for my birthday the next day!

at coles

Amazing Weekend at the QT Gold Coast – So retro, much hipster, so fun

So, I won a trip to the QT Gold Coast, with air fares and stays in the “Hinterland View” (not beach) room with a awesome King bed from a “Mardi Gras recovery” weekend comp from Star Observer – obviously I’m queer enough and gave the right answer as to my NEED for such a trip!!

Where do I start?

Oh, the trip there!

rain rain go away

Did you know that Virgin Australia now gives you a little snack and drink on their flights? (you can still buy booze and cheese if you choose to of course!). They also have an app to download before your flight so you can access “free” entertainment. Warning : Take VERY good headphones, because the drone of the 737 is insane and will drown out anything you try to listen to.

holiday grin

So what were the snacks there and back?

OJ
OJ or water was offered both ways – tea and coffee is dependant on turbulence, which that was a crapload of on the way up

macadamia short bread
Yummy bikkies at morning tea

almonds and soy rice crackers
Not so yummy crackers and nuts in the evening.

Alright so we got there, with a bumpy landing due to the storms….

storm landing gold coast

Got the bus and the (very new) tram, and arrived to check in at the QT Gold Coast.

lemonade qt gold coast
Lemonade in the lobby on arrival

cute girls in the lift
Cute swimsuit girls in the lifts.

1106 gt gold coast
1106 – Hinterland views, King bed

So, the room…..

WAS AMAZING!!!!

Let’s start with the bed. The bed that sucked us in for early nights….

king bed qt gold coast

Oh my, what a comfy bed. No wonder Bruce was out by 8pm after good food and drinks! King Bed (two singles together, so that ridge in the middle) with hard and soft pillows, a bolster and a perfectly weighted cover for sleeping under an air conditioned sky.

They made it up the second day and placed my bunny, Costy, right in the middle for me :D

So… the rest of the furnishings…

There was a lot of keeping with the 60s beach theme

beach door bathroom
beach towels and bathroom doors

cane chairs
cane chairs

pinapple candles
Pineapple Candles and tealights

hello cocky light
hmmm the nightlight is a cocky, that I can buy for $100 from the gift shop!

mirrors qt gold coast

Mirrors are a theme, I’m told. Mirrors and glass are abundant, and there was a lighting guy associated with the original design of the building. It really shows throughout – the space seems expansive… in an enjoyable way!

minibar

The minibar is stocked with essentials…. vodka, gin, underwater camera, condoms…

minibar

and thongs!

thongs in string bags

hair bands

AND a hairband with your shower cap!!!

For sure.

Everything came with a price if you wanted to take it home. $110 for the robes, $10 for the hair dryer’s bag…

beach shower room

tied up doorhangert
Much loved DND hanger

So, we spent much time listening and watching MAX, discussing religion and politics, and having sexy times…

cossie

We managed to make it to the pool once, though we stayed for not so long

pool bar QT

Didn’t drink in the swim up bar though…

But what about the food, Fiona??????

OMG we had some AWESOME food while there

First up? Cocktails and pizza at the Stingray Bar

stingray rain

So, while we were rained in on the first day, we went for some cocktails, wine and beer at the Stingray bar. We were sheltered, and watching the rain as you see above, which only got worse, to the point of calling off international rugby league games…

cocktail

cocktail

margarita!

pollo chicken pizza qt stingray

And a delish chicken pizza

So, What about the included breakfast?

The breakfast at Bazaar is $29/head and SOOOOOO worth it!!!

There are selections from all over the world: Congee and rice for Asian palates, cold meats and cheese for Euros, cereal, yoghurt and so forth, an bacon, eggs, and MADE TO ORDER omelletes for those wanting to endulges.

There is also coffee, tee, and a selection of juices, smoothies, milks and so forth!

tea

JUICE!

european breakfast QT hotel

my selection

yoghurt, bircher muesli, cranberry juice

euro selection

yoghurt, croissant

DIY omelette
My made to order omelette

What else did we do?

well, we drank a lot, made use of the HOT water in the shower,

Got Room Service:

fish taco $7
$7 fish taco

caesar salar

IMG_20150502_191038178

And had this amazing cheese platter

cheese platter QT

bruce octopussy

Gawd I love getting away!!!

Sydney for yummy Chinese BBQ, rice noodle dumplings and fire alarms

Okay, so we really went down for Cirque du Soleil Ovo, but the highlight of any Sydney trip is gorging on decent Chinese food… mmmm…. At two of the Emporer’s Garden locations, and yummy as usual :D

Chinese BBQ
BBQ Duck and Pork

Chinese BBQ
BBQ Pork with rice noodle

Yum cha dumplings
Garlic and Prawn

Yum cha dumplings
Scallop

Yum cha
Cha sieu pao

Yum Cha coconut jelly
Coconut Jelly

Yum Cha tea
Contemplating my tea

Aaron's Hotel Haymarket

We stayed the night at Aaron’s hotel, Haymarket, which I think about $120 for the night on Wotif. An older hotel, with a rickety lift, step in odd places, a skylight in the room that let light in WAY too early, and a fire alarm that got us all out of bed before we wanted to be because it goes off sometimes with the steam from the showers.

Aaron's Hotel

But the shower was hot and the bed very comfortable.

Aaron's Hotel

Aaron's Hotel

Aaron's Hotel

I’d stay there again, it’s amazingly located right next to Market City, but this time with an eye mask. And maybe earplugs so the fire alarm wouldn’t wake me :/

Hotel Forumle 1, Sydney Airport

The Formule 1 hotels are soon to be renamed something like Ibis Budget. There you go.

All I wanted was a hot shower and a comfy bed.

Hobar2012 455 - Copy

As I had to be on a plane at 6am. And Formule 1 obliged, for $89.

Hobar2012 457 - Copy

Honestly, it was great for the price, and so convenient to the Domestic terminals! :)

Hobar2012 456 - Copy

Keepin’ warm.

Hotel Ibis, Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne
Room 507

My second stay at Ibis Little Bourke, this basic, but adequate, hotel, located ultra close to Southern Cross Station and within walking distance of all the best conference venues ;) (read about my first stay here)

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

I managed not to injure myself in the shower this time. The air con was quieter, and the towels better. I did pay more ($103 per night, this time through wotif, last time was through Qantas, but it WAS school holidays and a weekend this time).

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

They have a luggage storage area which we used, but don’t leave valuable there, because I kinda just walked in to get my bag and could have left with anything. You can pay for a locker there, or at the station, if you need. I just carried my zenbook around for the day ;)

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

Loved the 11am checkout, and our room was available before lunch on the day we got there :) I’m sure I’ll stay there again!

Global Atheist Convention 2012 Melbourne

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