Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Bridge Climb Sydney

 I dreamed of climbing the Sydney Bridge, since watching Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's movie "Our Lips Are Sealed". I can't believe that movie came out 18 years ago ! I wasn't coming home without climbing the Sydney Bridge, so I booked online using my travel card. That was the one advantage, of having a travel card. If I used my bank card, there's a fee on transactions abroad.

I booked for 9am, so I got up early and stopped for a quick McDonald's on route to the Bidge Climb. I headed into the Bridge Climb and said my name. We were told to head up stair. Once everyone from our time slot arrived a team member from the Bridge Climb took us to a room, where she went over everything. We were given medical forms to fill out and we had do a breath test to counting to 5. Then we went had to get the famous Bridge Climb suit to put on. 

I took a photo of myself and asked someone in the group to take a photo of me. The changing rooms is a good chance to get some "personal" photos wearing the Bridge Climb suit, before putting your things in a locker. Then we had to walk through metal detectors.  

We then met our Bridge Climb guide, called Tom. He asked where everyone was from. I was the only Scottish person in the group. Everyone else was from England, Ireland, America and Australia. There was a lot of safety stuff we had to go through, before doing the climb. We had to put a harness on and attach it to the pole, then lean back. Once our harness was on, we got a shot at climbing a frame inside before doing the real thing. It must have took around an hour going through safety checks and getting ready.  

Then it was time for us to head out onto the bridge. I remember walking out thinking I've always dreamed of climbing the bridge and this is it. We had to connect our harness to the pole and follow Tom the guide. There was a long path we had to follow and a few ducking under poles, before getting to the stairs. We had headphones, so we could hear Tom speak. He said we didn't have to wear them, if we didn't want to. So I put mine round my neck, so I could enjoy the climb. One person was allowed up at a time, to climb the stairs. Tom headed up first and waited for us at the top, while another Bridge Climb guide waited at the bottom telling us when it was safe to go. I remember the Bridge Climb guide saying "so where are you from ?". I replied "Scotland".  He said he had family from Scotland and gave him his history on Scotland. Then it was my turn to climb the steps. There was a few sets of steps to climb. The next set was to the right abit, then the next set was to the left. I remember getting so far up and looking up, then down thinking am on my own. I loved reaching the last few steps on the ladder and burling round. It was like scene from "Our Lips Are Sealed" movie turning round seeing the view. 

Our first photo was at the start of the walk, once we reach the top of the ladder steps. Tom told us to do 3 different poses, although I find it hard to pose when it's someone you don't know. The climb wasn't scary. It was more or less a walk way path, built at the top of the bridge. We stopped at different sections for photos. Once we got to the top, we got a group photo and Tom chatted with everyone. Tom asked if anyone knew anyone famous who's climbed the bridge. I said Mary-Kate and Ashley. He named a lot of people I hadn't heard of, so I assume its celebrities in Australia. The only person I knew of, was Bindi Irwin. He said Bindi Irwin had been up recently, with her friends. Then he pointed over the water is to Manly And Bondi Beach is. He asked if anyone heard of the Bondi Rescue and said he was surprised it's showing international. Then we stood along the middle section and got to make a short video. If I was making my own video I would have probably said "hi everyone so am doing the Sydney Bridge Climb". As Tom the guide was filming, I was nervous what to say. I said I don't know what to say. He said say something like welcome to Sydney. So I stood randomly saying "Welcome to Sydney".

We walked back down the other side of the bridge. The walk is in a "U" shape.  Then we headed back down the ladder steps one at a time. It was the same guide as the person who told us when to go up. He said something about Scotland. I just heard the word "Scotland" and he laughed, so I laughed. Then it was my turn to climb down the steps. 

We headed back along the long path, back inside. Then we took our harness and suit off. Everyone was given a group photo and a certificate. The whole experience took about 2 and a half hours, but the Bridge Climb took around an hour and a half.

There's 3 different prices for the climb. Day Climb costs $303, Twilight Climb costs $368 and the Night Climb costs $263. I choose to do the Day Climb, as I wanted to see the views. Night you are seeing lights, but depends on your preference. The Sydney Bridge Climb is a once in a life time, so am glad I done it.  A lot of people get shocked when you tell them how much it costed, but it's not like you will do it again. My Australian family joked I could have climbed their house roof, for 100 dollars haha. 

The Bridge Climb gave me the photos, to write about my experience. You can buy your Bridge Climb photos, for $60.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Travel Money Card Pros And Cons

I have always been against using a travel money card abroad, as I hear about charges. As I was going to be traveling Australia for over 3 weeks, the travel money card seemed the safest. 

I use currency compare websites, to see where's the best rate. It was really easy to buy currency and set up an account. However when my card came, I couldn't sign in. It was saying wrong username / email or password. I phoned up the travel money card help line and I was told I need to try different web browsers. It wasn't even letting me sign in with the app, never mind trying different web browsers. The app on my phone would have came handy, to see how much money I had left. I was able to check the money was added at a cash machine, before leaving the UK, but I didn't want to spend my holiday at cash machines. In the end I decided the easiest way around it was to use my card first. Then when it declined, I knew I spent all my money on my card and could use my cash.  

It was easy to use, than stand and count foreign currency.
I booked the Sydney Bridge Climb and Australia Zoo Koala hold online, using the travel money card. There was no charge as the websites are Australian Dollars. 
I was able to use the touch screens to pay at McDonalds, than stand and wait in a queue.   
Some shops it showed the total in my currency, so I knew how much I was paying.   

I wasn't able to access the website or app, so I couldn't see the balance.
The LEGO Store, UGG and Australia Zoo automatically changed to my currency, but in the top corner it said 2.5% charge. I asked if I could pay in Australian Dollars without the charge. They said travel cards automatically revert to your currency. I took my card out and said I'll just pay cash, than pay a charge. 
There's charges which will vary from card to card. My one there's a £3 charge for inactive months, after 12 months. So you're best to cancel it as soon as you get home. 

I still had money left on my card at the end of the holiday, so I came home with some cash. I only paid cash in the LEGO Store, UGG, Australia Zoo and a few other places. I would say it's good seeing how much you are paying in your own currency, but when there's a charge take your card out and say you'll pay cash. It will save 2.5% charge.  

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Melbourne In Photos

I've put together my favourite photos, that I took from my week in Melbourne. A few of them you might have seen on my Instagram (Click here to follow me on Instagram). They were taken around South Bank, Hotel Room (Crown Promenade), Hosier Lane, Chadstone, Docklands, St Kilda, Shrine of Remembrance and Royal Botanical Gardens. I like the ones from the hotel room facing onto the Crown Hotel. The Crown Hotel building changed colours at night, so it looked really effective in the photos. 

Monday, 30 July 2018

Top Paddock | Melbourne

I searched places to eat in Melbourne, before traveling. All I seem to find was a lot of dumping, sushi and burger places. Jasmine my friend messaged me to saying Top Paddock Cafe looked nice and Instagram type. It was like having a free tour guide, with the many ideas she was messaging. Jasmine said she felt like she was back in Australia searching things to do haha. I googled Top Paddock Cafe, to see what it was like. The food looked so perfectly set, in every photo. 

The Royal Botanical Gardens was on the way to Top Paddock, so I took a stroll through the bottom section of the gardens. Then headed across the bridge, to Top Paddock Cafe. I felt like I'd went from Australia, to Beverly Hills. The street reminded me of walking down Beverly Hills, with fancy shops and cafes. It looked very Americanised.   

Top Paddock Cafe is located on the corner of Church Street, in Richmond. I was walking up the street and spotted a small cafe, thinking it looked fancy. It was a glass building with benches outside and high plants around the cafe. I was about to cross the road when I looked back reading a small sign saying "Top Paddock" and realised that was the place I was heading to. I turned back and headed in. The waiter said how many ? I said "just me". She said ok follow me and took me to a long table, on my own. I sat down and looked at the menu and every meal seemed to contain porridge. I then got my phone out and looked up Top Paddock Instagram, to see if I can see try see what all the nice meals are in photos. I remember messaging Jasmine on Facebook saying "help me everything seems to have porridge, is it normal to sit and eat porridge at lunch ? She wasn't replying, so I ended up picking : 

Organic quinoa, brown rice, vanilla porridge, poached stone fruit & rhubarb, Melbourne rooftop honey & pistachios

And a bottle of cola  

Jasmine did reply after I left saying what I picked was fine, as most of the menu had porridge. It also didn't help I was sitting on my own, something I've only done a few times. So I didn't have anyone to compare food with. It is a lot easier to sit on your own in another country, than places local. The food was different and tasted nicer, than I imagined when you think about what ingredients are mixed. The bill came to $21.50, which I thought was good for a healthy food cafe.