We did this a couple of years ago. I decided to now start recording our travels. Enjoy the read.

Our Queensland Outback Trip started with at three hundred and sixty kilometre trip threw Dalby and Chinchilla, then twenty kilometers north of Miles to Possum Park. What you will notice upon arrival, during World War II Possum Park was a ‘top secret’ place, well guarded by a select group of Australian Airmen! Possum Park, then called 3CR RAAF Kowguran, was the largest bomb and ammunition dump on the Brisbane Line, our last line of defence in the event of a much-feared Japanese invasion. This depot then held up to two and a half thousand tons of high explosive bombs and ammunition, all hidden in twenty well protected underground bunkers. But now the secret is out! Possum Park is now a quiet and peaceful place. The bombs are gone and now the invasion’s friendly!

The town of Miles was known as Dogwood Crossing but later became ‘Miles’ in honour of William Miles, the owner of Dulacca Station, a local Member of Parliament and the Queensland Colonial Secretary. Miles is 339 km west of Brisbane on the Warrego Highway. Dogwood Creek was named by the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt when he passed through the area in 1844 on his journey to Port Essington in the Northern Territory. The only highlight in Miles was the Miles Historical Village and Museum located in Pioneer Street. It’s accurate recreation of a Queensland country town’s main street at the turn of the century. It contains a post office, general store, a bakery and a pub. The complex also features the old Australian Bank of Commerce, the Murilla Express building, an old cafe and Andersen’s Smithy where the famous Condamine Bell was first made. We walk into the Dogwood Crossing Miles Centre, which opened in September 2002. The centre holds displays and snippets of the social history of Murilla Shire, by recording local stories. It was designed to compliments the Miles Historical Museum as well as housing an Art Gallery, Library and IT Centre. We picked up a couple of nic nacks and headed back to the park. Late afternoon the park put on a fire and we all sat around with drinks in hand chating to everyone, and getting valuable ideas on what to look out for

On the move again after a short stay in Miles, we moved into Roma. Roma lies at the crossroads of the Warrego Hwy, Great Inland Way and the Carnarvon Development Rd.  Known for Gas and Oil production, Roma is also is also home to Australia’s largest cattle sales, held every Tuesday and Thursday at the Roma Sale yards. Tourists are welcome to come along and join in the unique atmosphere of a true outback experience, something that would not usually enter the traveler’s itinerary. With all the action, the call of the auctioneer, the fall of the hammer, the big hats and even bigger personalities and of course the smell of it, a day at the sales is a day not to be forgotten!

The most famous attraction in Roma would undoubtedly be the Big Rig, here you will learn all about Australia’s history in Oil and Gas exploration. From the first gas find in Roma over 100 years ago, through to today’s multibillion dollar industry, the museum houses a collection of photo’s, facts, stories and equipment which piece together the industry as a whole. We headed over to Big Rig and looked around a little and headed to the park so Kim could feed some ducks. We spent the next day with and early walk and a swim in the pool. Being a Sunday and out in the country, Shops don’t open. We were only staying 2 days, so it really didn’t matter.

Worthy of a visit whilst in Roma is the Cultural Centre, St Pauls Anglican Church, the Courthouse (est.1901), Mt Abundance Homestead, Meadowbank Museum and Roma Avenue of Heroes or just a general wander through the bustling main streets(being McDowall and Wyndham).

On the move again we hit Mitchell, this Maranoa River town, 568km west of Brisbane. Fine old colonial buildings represent early history. We Pulled up midday and parked outside the Great Artesian Spa baths.

The Great Artesian Spa complex consists of two pools set in landscaped billabong like surrounds. The Water, naturally heated to 43 degrees Celsius, is pumped from the deep underground Great Artesian Basin. It has absorbed an abundance of minerals from deep within the earth’s core. Local legend says that waters from the Great Artesian Basin have mythical healing powers.

After relaxing in the spa’s all afternoon we looked in the Courthouse which was the original courthouse where the infamous bushrangers Patrick and James Kenniff were committed to stand trial for the murder of a policeman and station manager in 1902. Late afternoon we headed to Neil Turner Weirwhich is a Fisherman’s Rest, peaceful picnic and fishing spot with abundant flora and fauna and is the perfect location for a relaxed picnic and our free overnight rest stop. I pulled out the fishing rods for Kim as a novelty and let her have a go at catching something.

On the road after breakfast our next stop was Morven, a town in South West Queensland in the Shire of Murweh. The town is located on the Warrego Highway, 91 kilometres east of Charleville and 665 kilometres west of Brisbane. We parked up in the Morven showgrounds for an overnighter. In the afternoon we took a walk to the small but delightful Morven Museum, Kerosene Tin Hut and Miniature Pioneer Village contain some fascinating memorabilia.

On display were miniature replicas of the pioneer township. Painstakingly recreated over 15 years, buildings that have long gone have been preserved. The attention to detail of the buildings and the early building techniques makes this display a unique attraction. The Museum also has a collection of Aboriginal grinding stones, stone axe heads, spears, columns and boomerangs. In the grounds there is the ‘tin hut’, built of kerosene tins which are a testament to Outback ingenuity. Late afternoon we gathered with another couple for a few drinks and some stories.


On the road again we hit the largest town in South West Queensland, Charleville which houses a population of approximately 3500 and is a rich pastoral area. With a history dating back as far as 1847 Charleville has prospered despite many a drought and flood, as well as having played a significant part in Australia’s early pioneer history. Today Charleville is a vibrant town with good shopping, restaurants and medical facilities. A trip through the West will not be complete without spending a few days sight seeing and getting to know our many local characters. Did you know that it was in Charleville that Cobb and Co had their largest and longest running coach making factory and it was also in Charleville that the famous rainmaking experiment, the Vortex Gun was carried out?

You can still see the vortex guns, or maybe you may like to visit the Bureau of Meteorology, explore the secrets of WWII held at the Charleville Airport, take a scenic flight over the beautiful mulga and gidgea country or perhaps just relax and take a heritage drive or walk. Conveniently located in town and within walking distance to shops, pubs and restaurants we stayed at Bailey’s Caravan Park. This was going to be a 3 night stay.

After getting our bearings we headed to the Charleville Cosmos Centre Observatory. On the way we stopped for a look at Vortex Guns. In 1902 Queensland was in the grip of a terrible drought, the desperation to produce rain was about to take a unique turn. Six vertical Vortex Guns were built and placed strategically throughout Charelville. They were charged with gunpowder in the hope the blast would change the atmospheric pressure and produce rain. Today two guns are on display in the Graham Andrews Parklands.

We then kept going to the Cosmos Centre and booked in for the following night. We headed back to the caravan park and got ready for legendary camp oven meals of Beef and Red Wine Stew, Damper, Hot Apple Crumble and Billy tea. When we purchased two yummy camp oven dinners, we were allocated one Yabby which competed in the famous Charleville Yabby Race. All great fun sitting around the camp fire and chatting will other travelers. The next day we headied for a tour of the Historic Hotel Corones Scones. Kim then looked around a couple of shops while I went for a look at the Historic House Museum, which began life in 1888 and is one of the few ‘Queenslanders’ left in Charleville. Originally built as the National Bank and Manager’s Residence, it has since been a boarding house and private residence. The building retains many original features, including the marble fireplaces. The historic collections include working gramophones, clothing and tools from the town and surrounding stations. The machinery collection includes a Dennis Fire Engine, Rail Ambulance, and a replica Cob & Co Coach.

That night we head to Comos Centre for Astronomy by Night. The evening presentation at the Cosmos Centre was a delight. Our tour was with an experienced guide of the Outback Night Sky and a look through powerful Meade Telescopes. We saw things as star clusters, planets, nebulae and learned about the Milky Way and how we fit into the Solar System. Special highlight was seeing the rings around Saturn. I shit you no lie, we did see the rings. The next morning we chilled by the river and did a spot of fishing. Kim caught a couple of Murray Cod, but too small to keep. Quiet afternoon chatting to neighbors in the caravan park, we started getting ready to hit the road again.

Up and early for the long trip to Blackall. We first had a look at Augathella. Nestled on the bank of the Warrego River, 760km west of Brisbane, Augathella holds quite a few nice surprises. The noteriety of Augathella would undoubtedly be its claim to fame as ‘Home of the Meat Ant’, a large ant which can carry 100 times its own weight. Meaning ‘waterhole’, traditionally the town was a popular stopover for passing bullock teams resting their teams. These days there is no sign of the bullock teams, having been replaced by the constant flow of ‘Grey Nomads’ discovering the delights of this unassuming little town.

On the road again we hit Tambo. Tambo is a living museum of cultural history and a place for the visitor to gain insight into the lifestyle and heritage of Australia’s forebears. There are the sites of the early European settlement that was to lead pastoralists in the 1860s to flock to Tambo taking up land for grazing. The pastoral industry still remains the basis of Tambo’s economy today. Kim had to visit the Tambo Teddies Workshop and see the sheep skin teddy bears being created and sold. Each bear is named after a property in the Tambo district, giving them claim to some of the oldest settled country in Queensland.

Back on the road, and late afternoon we hit Blackall. Blackall is located on the Matilda Highway and is named after Sir Samuel Blackall, the second Governor of Queensland. The town was founded in 1846 by explorer Major Thomas Mitchell. Famous for many reasons, blade shearer Jack Howe put Blackall on the map in 1892 at ‘Alice Downs’ when he set a world record by shearing 321 sheep in seven hours and 40 minutes. It actually took another 58 years before anyone could match this feat and that was by machine shears. Blackall was also the first Outback town to start drilling an artesian bore back in 1885. It is also the home of the Black Stump which was used for surveying purposes and permanently marks the original Astro Station established in 1887. Anything west of this point is said to be ‘beyond the black stump’. We headed to the visitor centre and paid for camping in the rest area park.

The next day we explored The Blackall Woolscour. The Woolscore is the last remaining steam operated wool washing plant in Australia. The complex is a living museum with a direct link to Australia’s pioneering era. Building of the Woolscour started in 1906 and the Woolscour commenced operation in 1908 and operated until 1978. The complex consists of a the wool washing and drying tanks, 20 stand shearing shed, large sheep yards, shearer’s quarters, cook house, toilet and shower blocks. In 2002 the Blackall Woolscour once again started using steam to run the steam engine and the machinery.


On the road again for a late arrival to Barcaldine Homestead Caravan Park. Barcaldine’s charming facade, one that has earned it the tag of ‘Garden City of the West’, hides tumultuous tales of a controversial past.

In 1891, five years after the railway push into the outback helped to establish the township, Barcaldine became the headquarters of the great shearers’ strike. One thousand shearers laid down their blades in a defiant protest that reverberated around the nation and resulted in the formation of the Australia Labor Party and a graziers’ group that later evolved into the National Party. An enduring symbol of the strike lives on today in the Tree of Knowledge, the imposing memorial to the famous ghost gum in the town’s main street where the strike meetings were held. Unfortunately, the gum itself was poisoned in 2006, but the memorial built around the original stump is a wonderful display of modern art and timber workmanship

Setting up the caravan we joined everyone for the practice of boiling up the billy and cooking camp oven damper in the colas of fire, which started on this exact same spot 30 years ago, and is ever popular with visitors to the Barcaldine Homestead Caravan and Tourist Park. The great Aussie tradition has always been a hit with guests, who reckon this park has the best damper in the west. We had an early sleep because he next day we were waking up early for the Anzac Day dawn service in town. Early morning rise we headed to the Memorial Clock in the centre of the town then went back after breakfast for the marching of the diggers down the main street.

The next day we headed to Australian Workers Heritage Centre – a place of reflection, within the museum styled complex, we took a journey through exhibition space which celebrates the extraordinary legacy of working Australians telling a vitally important part of our nation’s history through its working life via interactive displays, film, photographs, artefacts and recreated historical work settings.

Home of the “Young-Un’ an enduring legacy – this offspring is the only direct descendant of the Heritage listed ‘Tree of Knowledge’ – symbolic of the Shearers Strike of 1891.
Set in over two hectares, the Workers Heritage Centre has been designed with the weary traveller in mind. Beautifully landscaped gardens and shady trees surround a sparkling bore fed billabong creating a cool outback oasis, with the convenience of picnic, barbecue and playground facilities. After lunch we took a drive to Aramac. Described as ‘an oasis in the dry of the Central West’, Aramac has undergone a recent transformation with the launch of the nationally recognized, Harry Redford Cattle Drive Re-enactment. In the main street of Aramac Stands the White Bull replica which tells the story of the most historically significant cattle stealing case ever recorded in Australia.
Henry ‘Harry’ Redford (better known as Captain Starlight) commenced this daring cattle ‘duffing’ feat on a property called Bowen Downs. As part of the recognition of this feat, you are able to browse through the Harry Redford Interpretive Centre in the main street of Aramac. Another Billy tea and Damper late afternoon and a chat with fellow travelers we hit the hay early.


Up bright and early for the road to Longreach. Longreach itself is the quintessential outback metropolis and a tribute to life on the land. We saw pastoralists wandering the streets in search of saddlery, stock feed and machinery in the large range of stores selling rural items. The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame is a tribute to these country folk past and present. Its diverse and enormous collection of memorabilia and informative displays deserve at least a few hours of attention, if not a full day. We stopped in at the Longreach Top Tourist Park and parked the caravan near the spa pools

We headed in town and checked out the shops and watched the Harry Redford Old Time Tent Show out back of the Kinnon & Co Shop. This is Aussie outback humour and ingenuity at its best! It’s a hilarious hour of entertainment featuring animals, stockmen and improvised live theatre with a laugh a minute. Kids love it and so do adults. Based on the traditional outback travelling shows, it’s hard not to be charmed by the simple delights of bush theatre.

That night we boarded the Longreach Explorer.  We relaxed on top the deck with 360 degree views of the majestic Thomson River.  Our captain captivated us with stories about the river, its wildlife and indigenous links.   We stopped at Sunset Bend to toast the sunset and take in the stunning colours of the outback sky.  As the colours faded into starlight, we docked at Outback Dinner & Show.  We relaxed under the stars with table-service dining featuring camp-oven themed modern cuisine.  Live on stage, was quality guest artists that entertained us with their songs and stories.

The next day we headed to The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre, Australia’s premier outback heritage institution. Since its opening in 1988, the Hall of Fame has played host to over one million interstate and international visitors – providing each one with a spectacular outback experience.

Situated in Queensland’s central western town of Longreach, the museum, stunningly constructed from timber, stone and corrugated iron, is truly reminiscent of the outback. With its unique design, the Hall of Fame stands comfortably amongst the rugged yet vibrant rural landscape. Inside, the Centre’s five themed galleries proudly display the history behind some of Australia’s greatest and bravest explorers, stock workers, pastoralist, and Aborigines. The exhibits comprising an eclectic mix of objects, images, touch screens, audiovisual presentations and open displays, allowing visitors to interpret the outback story in their own unique way.

The museum also houses a vast reserve collection which forms a unique work-in-progress display. From behind a glass wall, visitors can view archival material, photographs, artworks and various other items used for research and in new display development.
That night we took in the live Outback Stockman’s Show; which is a tribute to the skills of past and present stockmen – a true depiction of the unique quintessential Australian character.

Entertainer, Lachie Cossor, formally from Yackandandah, is a third generation horse breaker and stockman, and has been in the entertainment business for 10 years. Lachie has worked with Jack Bragg around Julia Creek, won open campdrafts, has a state Saddle Bronc title and has won both the King of the Ranges and Snowy Stockmans Challenges. Lachie delivers a highly professional show featuring trick horses and dogs, a one tonne bull and so much more. It was a laugh a minute. One of Kim’s highlights.

The next morning we headed to the QANTAS Founders museum.This was the highlight of my visit to the region. We thoroughly enjoyed our day at the museum and would recommend it to everyone. Firstly the whole venue is very well presented and maintained. Staff were friendly, helpful and actually care about their visitors. The exhibits were attractively and thoughtfully displayed, and the history of the iconic QANTAS airline is presented in a highly engaging and effective manner.

The 90 minute jet tour was awesome, made all the more enjoyable by the passion, knowledge and enthusiasm of our guide Tom, who is also the museum curator. The museum also has a great cafe and gift shop – we had the best lunch here of the whole trip. The Nancy Bird Burger was to die for! In conclusion, there are so many fascinating exhibits and truly inspirational stories at the QANTAS Founders Museum – it is a must for all Australians. That afternoon we started to pack up and utilized the pool and spas.


Back on the road, and back to Bardcaldine Homestead Caravan Park. We arrived in time for the Tree Of Knowledge Festival. The next day we took the opportunity to have watched the Tree of Knowledge parade in the main street then followed a punt at the Barcaldine Cup race meeting.

That night we headed to the showgrounds for markets and goat races.

The next day we took the best tour in the outback. Exclusive to Artesian Country tours we learnt the real history of Aboriginal and European contact around the first town on the wild frontier. We traveled through ancient lava flows to one of Australia’s oldest Dreamtime carving sites, over 10,000 years old.

We then visited the lava blow holes, gorges, caves, the first pioneers’ cutting into the outback, old grey rock, Settlers and Cobb & Co. campsite. The next day after saying our goodbye’s to a couple we meet in the park, and Kim could say her goodbye’s to their Kelpie puppy she’s been play with for the last couple of days we were on the road again.


On the road we hit Alpha. We were going to have a couple of hours here, but being early and Sunday, nothing was open, so we made the move to Emerald. We hit Lake Maraboon Holiday Village for the home away from home experience. You get to relax and take in the tranquil surrounds of the lake, and put your feet up and admire the beautiful wildlife or for the thrill seekers enjoy some water sports. We parked the caravan and explored the dam. Up early the next day we took a drive to Rubyvale and Sapphire. Rubyvale is a town in the Australian state of Queensland, approximately 61 kilometres west of Emerald. Situated in a region called the Gemfields, sapphires are mined extensively in the area.

We went to the Miner’s Heritage – Australia’s Largest Walk-In Underground Sapphire Mine Tour. Miners Heritage was established in 1982 as a working mine , it was then decided to run Mine Tours , after the mine entry & underground showroom were completed Miners Heritage was officially opened for its first Tour in 1984.

All the guides are underground miners so their knowledge is first hand. The mine tour takes in a tunnel section, Monkey Drive,  that was dug in 1906 by Charles Hagan, we then learnt about the wonderful history of the Gemfields and much more. 

After the Tour spend some time in the underground museum. The ‘Heritage Room’ is full of stories about famous sapphires and the characters of the Gemfields. We then headed back for a look around Emerald. Some of my history comes from Emerald.

My uncle was a well know footballer. I went in the Emerald library and found some history of my uncle in the Emerald School Book. The next day we took a drive to Springure, the area was where my Great Grand Mother lived in the early 1920’s. We heading back to the caravan park for dinner with a couple we meet in Bardcaldine. We spotted them in Alpha and found out that we were heading in the same direction.


On the road again we headed thorough Springsure again and onto Rolleston. Rolleston was the area of my Great Great Grandfather, who worked on a cattle station early 1900’s. We did and overnighter in the caravan park and had a nice cold drink at the Rolleston Hotel. We then hit the road for and overnighter in Miles Caravan Park. We already looked around miles so we just went into town and had a look at a couple of shops.

We then hit the road for another overnighter in Dalby. We parked and checked out the cemetery and the grave of my Great Grandmother. We looked around at some shops in town and had dinner at the local pub, before heading back to Brisbane the next morning.

Some things we learnt.
More things to do in Longreach.
Do more free overnighters.
Zero phone coverage unless you are in Dalby, Miles, Charleville, Bardcaldine, Longreach.
Pub meals are cheaper than buying food to cook up.
Watch fuel station distance.
Take a better camera, the sunrises and sunsets are a must.
You meet great people in all the caravan parks on the way.

We are so looking for at our next outback trip.






Singapore is known as a bustling metropolis that also happens to be one of the cleanest and safest cities of its size in the world. You’ll find historic sites like the Thian Hock Keng temple, superlative shopping (including gargantuan malls) and numerous beaches.

First thing we did after dropping off the bags in the hotel was a walk to the Chinatown Street Markets. The busy streets encapsulate all the sights and sounds visitors expect of Chinatown, with hundreds of stalls selling everything from silk robes to lucky cats. There are plenty of ‘Made in China’ goods on display and lanterns swaying in the breeze above your head. There’s also a fantastic range of street food carts amongst the shopping, with fresh dim sum and crispy duck. Remember to haggle with a smile if you want the best price. But we weren’t in the market to buy junk; we were there for the experience. The market is open during the day, but it looks its most picturesque at dusk, with the lights shining brightly and the sound of hawkers tempting you to check out their wares.

Back to hotel for a quick dip in the pool, we changed and headed to a late afternoon tour of Gardens by the Bay. While some people find Gardens by the Bay a little too artificial for their liking, it’s still worth checking out for the ingenuity and uniqueness of its design. The Flower Dome has recently set a Guinness World Record for being the largest glass greenhouse in the world.

So there you have it, even non-gardening enthusiasts will find something of interest among the 380,000 plants here. The outdoor gardens are free of charge but it’s worth paying the entry fee to walk the Skyway. We ended at Supertree Grove. The tall trees measuring between 25 and 50 metres tall, the iconic tree-like vertical gardens are designed with large canopies that provide shade in the day and come alive with an exhilarating display of light and sound at night. This experience was breath taking and beautiful to watch. My camera was going nonstop for all the show. From here, we walked to Marina Bay Sands or ‘that boat building’, as it’s often referred to, for a much needed rest and a refreshing night drink.

If you’re not a hotel guest, unfortunately you can’t access the iconic infinity swimming pool, but you can do the next best thing: catch the elevator to Ku De Ta (level 57), grab a cocktail and a spot on the balcony, and explore the city sights from the sky.

Closer to ground level, we found restaurants and plenty of shops to keep Kim amused, as well as the casino if a flutter takes your fancy. After taking many spectacular photos we quickly headed down and across from the Marina Bay to view the laser and water show. ‘Wonder Full’ is the story of Water and Light creating Life, told with Water and Light. The spectacular explores humanity and the beauty of the human experience through original footage of the people of Singapore, an original sound score and an abundance of technologies spanning the 15.4 hectare (38 acre) Marina Bay Sands site. The show takes you on an emotional and heartfelt journey through the use of water, fire, light, laser and other high impact Mega Media elements. The show features motion pictures and music produced in Singapore with heavy local influence.

Check out our video here:

Down by the water we took a night ride on the River Cruise. It is similar to that of the day ride, minus the discomfort of the sunny heat. In place of the bright sunlight, a dark blue sky shadows our journey down the riverbanks, giving us opportunities for some stargazing at the same time. Whether you decide on taking a day or night ride on the Singapore River Cruise, one thing’s for sure,  you’ll be embarking on an experience like never before.

Our last stop on the cruise was Clarke Quay which brought us alternative things to do and see that don’t purely revolve around nightlife. Sure, just joking. Clarke Quay is famous for its stunning waterside restaurants and exciting collection of bars and clubs. Making the distinction between the best restaurants in Clarke Quay and the area’s best nightlife venues is no easy task, purely because many of the restaurants here double up as great bars and pubs too. We had one of the best nights at Wings Bar, which takes its name from both the food it serves and the 1940’s aviation theme which is evident throughout. To find this popular American eatery, head to Clarke Quay and look for the replica plane hanging above its entrance (which is actually the largest P-51 Mustang model in Asia), and then follow the replica runway down into the main restaurant area. As for the food, you’d can’t come to a place with a name like this and not try their specialty; their tantalizing variety of sticky chicken wings, as well as ribs, are certainly not to be missed. Wash all that feel-good American food down with a beer and you’ve got yourself an all-round fun, tasty, (and a little gimmicky) dining experience.

Sleep was on the cards and the next day we woke up late and lazed around the pool until we headed to Airport back to Brisbane, Australia. We have earmarked at trip back to Singapore very soon.

Things to consider:

We were quite surprised by Changi airport, it’s massive and I do mean MASSIVE, their customs/immigration process is very relaxed compared to Brisbane though so that was a surprise and we felt as though we had no clue what we were doing.  Just a tip keep the stub off the incoming passenger card in your passport as they ask for it when you depart, might seem obvious to others but we got caught out and had left ours in our check in luggage so had to endure a stern lecture and felt like naughty school kids as we filled in a ‘lost card’ form and had to line up again, lol.

Take water EVERYWHERE you go, we saw a lady become extremely sick on a bus tour from heat exhaustion it was terribly traumatic for her and her partner. Dehydration is a very real concern in the heat particularly if you are from a cooler climate.
Observe signage about photography, and if in doubt ask permission. We saw so many people up close taking pics of the offerings put out for the hungry ghost festival for example and it was clear at times this was not welcomed or appreciated.

The food is fabulous as everyone else said, if you are worried take Travel Bug (by the makers of Inner Health, bought at any pharmacy) starting 5 days before you leave we use it each time we travel anywhere. Kim has a rather dodgy stomach and so cannot promote it enough, I can eat all sorts of things that would normally upset my stomach and it just gives me that peace of mind to try local foods. People seem to think food poisoning is your only concern but often people experience stomach upsets when you eat foods your body is unaccustomed too.




Man, where do we even begin.  Paris was the most awestruck, the most wide-eyed, and the happiest. We spent the day wandering among some of the main attractions, stopping for café lattes and macaroons, shopping in the boutique stores and generally loving every corner of this gorgeous city. In pop culture, Paris is heavily romanticized as one incredibly beautiful city. In reality, it is exactly that. Even better.

Several of the city’s most recognizable sites flank the river, so our first stop after arriving was along the promenade water front for a tour in a glass covered tour-boat-come-water-taxi that stops at the Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame, Hotel de Ville, the Louvre, Champs-Elysées, and the Eiffel Tower. Some of us stayed behind and explored under the Eiffel Tower.

That afternoon while everyone relaxed back at the hotel we headed back up to the main street and took a bus ride just north of the Eiffel Tower to the end of the famous Champs-Elysées shopping street and the the Arc de Triomphe.

You can walk up to the top for an alternative view of Paris, but we had a Cabaret Dinner Show at Lido De Paris, which was the site of one of the first Dinner Cabaret Shows invented here. And it was within these walls, where it was born, that it is done with the most style. 

When in Paris, be won over by the charm of the French-style shows and savour the treats for which there gastronomy has become internationally famous. Late trip back to the hotel with a drive around the Arc dc Triomphe we hit the hay because the next day was going to be huge.

The next day we all jumped in the bus and our first stop was one of the most iconic buildings in Paris and the setting of Victor Hugo’s ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame,’ this stunning cathedral is not to be missed. The original Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, which had stood on this site, was nearly as old as Paris itself. Unfortunately this cathedral did not survive all the wars it faced, and was rebuilt in the 12th century as the Notre-Dame. Make sure that you walk all the way around the outside, and don’t miss the stunning rose windows on the inside.

Since its appearance in ‘Sex and the City’ (the scene of Carrie and Big’s kiss), visitors began attaching love locks, padlocks with sweethearts’ names on them, to its panels in 2008, the Pont des Arts has become a veritable tourist attraction. Peruse the padlocks and their messages we added our own that night, and toss the key into the Seine to guarantee our romantic flame burns for an eternity.

We then strolled up Rue Bonaparte and made a pit-stop at Ladurée along the way. World famous for its mouth-watering macarons, Ladurée’s patisserie selection is a true feast for the eyes (and mouth!). Kim had a field day.

Most of the time it was shopping time for Kim. Champs-Elysees (it is quite expensive and there are mainly chain stores), the most beautiful avenue in the world is still worth a visit. The buildings are beautiful and the little alleyways on both sides are full of bistros, bars and clubs to explore. Fans of the Tour de France may also know this place as the final stage of the race course.

We discovered why Paris is known as the City of Lights when we headed back to Eiffel Tower late afternoon then onto the Louvre Museum and met some friendly local photographers. After admiring the Louvre and its spectacular glass pyramid bathed in a golden glow sunset, we set off toward the River Seine. We crossed one of the river’s historic bridges and soaked up the romantic atmosphere along the UNESCO World Heritage-listed riverbanks. 

Continued on to the charming neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, famous for its vibrant café culture and as a gathering spot for Parisian intellectuals and artists throughout the centuries. After checking out some street life we headed back to the fountain and Eiffel Tower for some more photos and time-lapse movies. We lasted all night and watched the sun rise the next day. We ended lasting 24 hours awake and jumped in a cab back to the hotel to pack and jump in the bus back to London, catching up on a sleep all the way back.

Best thing I can pass on:

The best way to see Paris: ON FOOT. Paris is a very walkable city because it isn’t that big and there’s a lot of interesting things to see. Roadside cafes lace almost every corner, historic monuments adorn its roundabouts, and the smell of freshly baked bread coming from local boulangeries fill the air. Walking is really the way to go.  Many tourist attractions can be visited in a day just by walking. For example, the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Place de la Concorde, Jardin de Tuileries, and the Louvre are situated next to each other. You can spend one full day checking all these out. (Actually, you can spend one full day inside the Louvre and it still won’t be enough.) However, if you’re too exhausted to walk, the best alternative is the subway or the METRO. One thing we totally loved about Paris was its expansive 300-station train system that connects much of the city. It’s cheap and efficient, and it’s seldom crowded because there’s always a train every five minutes or so.

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On the move again and heading along the Loire, passing the castles of Amboise and Chaumont. We then stopped into Orleans before reaching Paris.

Orleans is an interesting and important town on the Loire River, and the main city in both the Loiret department and also the Centre (Loire valley) region. Situated south of Paris and east of Le Mans, it is a large town with more than 300 000 inhabitants.

Despite its central location in France a significant part of the historical centre of Orleans avoided damage during the Second World War, and the town has an extensive historic centre with many fine buildings to admire.

Because Orléans does not form part of the ‘major sights’ of the Loire Valley to the west or of Burgundy to the east it is perhaps less visited than it would otherwise be: that is unfortunate because it is a very attractive city with lots to see and so
including an extensive historic centre and many buildings of interest and several important musesums and garden.

The city is stunning, and has a historical background to match up to its amount of awesome. Known for a famous battle, won by hero Joan of Arc, We loved being able to walk the streets and just simply marinate in the culture and beauty.

It is quite easy to get your bearings in the centre of Orleans. The principal region of interest to visitors is around the cathedral and along Rue Jeanne d’Arc, the region of the town between here and the Loire river and the Pont Georges V bridge about 500 metres to the south, and also north of Rue Jeanne d’Arc to the Place du Martroi, Rue d’Escures and the Hotel Groslot.

We started exploring in Place du Martroi, which is a large open square surrounded by numerous imposing buildings and a very pleasant introduction to the city. In the centre of the square there is a large 19th century statue of Joan of Arc. The streets near here contain many of the larger shops such as FNAC which are found in most important French cities.

From here we followed Rue d’ Escures towards the east. One of the most splendid houses in Orleans, and open to the public, is the Hotel Groslot in Place de l’Etape, a very ornate and distinguished 19th century red brick building with a fine interior of the period.

We turned south towards the cathedral along the Place de l’Etape where we reached the Orléans Tourist Office and the open area in front of the cathedral. Be sure to visit the tourist office because there are many other interesting sites of note including several churches and other historically important buildings that you are lilely to overlook without a guide map. We didn’t have that much time to really explore.

The Cathedral Sainte-Croix is the most important historic monument in the city, a 17th centre gothic style cathedral with very old origins that has a great deal of impressive stonework ornamentation, in particular the façade which also features three large round windows and two square towers. The stained glass windows inside the cathedral were added in the year 2000. Near the cathedral you can also see a part of the walls that surrounded the original roman town.

After exploring the cathedral, we walked straight along the Rue Jeanne d’Arc, the broad avenue to the front of the cathedral created at the beginning of the 19th century, at least as far as Place Charles de Gaulle. This is not the most beautiful square in the town but it is here that you can see the historic ‘house of Joan of Arc’. 

The Place de la Republique is another pleasant square along this road.
We kept turning to look behind us as we walked west along Rue Jeanne d’Arc because the view of the cathedral from here is very beautiful.