Friday, January 25, 2008

Benefits of a blogger: Great Australian Online Friends

One thing good about being a blogger is you get to make some good online friends, including 3 from Australia, including one with whom we are in constant communication. In fact, he contributed his candlelight vigil to Candlelight Vigil for Cancer Victims.

However, communicating via the Internet is nothing like face-to-face meeting, and one day, I hope to have exactly that. He lives in Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Now Queensland have a climate not very much different form ours, and I think if I ever go there, I would be quite comfortable. Comfortable? Well, not in the sense of squatting in his house. That would be a little bit too much to expect. In any case, there are plenty of other interesting places in Queensland and neighboring New South Wales that would be worth visiting, among which are:

Burleigh Heads, Queensland

Burleigh Heads in the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia, is a suburb. Burleigh Heads located along the Gold Coast Highway, 7 kilometre south of Surfers Paradise and 17 kilometer north of the border between Queensland and New South Wales. Like any Gold Coast community, you cannot escape from beautiful beaches, and for Burleigh Heads, there is the Burleigh Beach which is a well protected and you can get one of the best swimming, body boarding and surfing there.

The climate of Queensland is tropical and sub-tropical, not much different from ours. So it should be no surprise to find many nature parks like the David Fleay Wildlife Park which houses many native animals living in conditions as similar as possible to their natural habitats. Then there is the Mount Cougal Springbrook National Park with refreshing waterfalls and lush rainforest, the David Fleay Wildlife Park where you can see unusual native animals and the Burleigh Head National Park 81 km southeast of Brisbane. Plenty to attract the interest of Enviroman, my online nickname.

Those nature reserve parks may add an extra incentive to pop over to Burleigh Heads, Queensland and after bad experiences of hunting for suitable accommodation on arrival, you should have no doubt that I would rely on online accommodation booking sites like Burleigh Heads Hotels, especially as I have 24-hour broadband access to the Internet.

I understand that the above website have been revamped and a directory section has been added which makes it far easier to drill down and search for heavily discounted last minute accommodation in Australia. I checked and found last minute accommodation search. Perhaps this is what they were referring to.

I recently revisited the site after a long time of absense, and do not know if my memory is failing me, but the website seemed to have changed, if not in form and substance, but at least in appearance like color. However, memory after long lapse of time can be undependable. Anyway, this referece to being able to easily drill down and search for heavily discounted last minute accommodation in Australia perhaps could be referring to "Refined search" where you select your country, region or city, then specify check-in and check-out time, number of nights and number of rooms, number of guests, minimum star rating, and this part seemed most interesting, a slider to indicate your preferred budget. Hopefully a reader will try them out and provide feedback on their experience.

Manly, Brisbane, Australia

Manly is a suburb of Brisbane, capital city of Queensland. It is located about 16 kilometer east of Brisbane. 16 kilometer is only a half-hour drive, and the children of my good online friend in Sunshine Coast lives in Brisbane. But there is sufficient interesting stuff in Manly to keep me there. I might try my hands at boating as Manly is a popular area for boating. They have many boating clubs and its waters are well sheltered. Then there is Oceanworld Manly which houses dangerous Australian marine life like sharks, giant stingrays, turtles, plus reptiles like deadly snakes, crocodiles and other reptiles, and of course the Australian spiders. I might even try my "hands" at diving with the great fearsome sharks.

Accommodation, if I ever go, again will be via online accommodation booking websites like Manly Hotels

Coolangatta, Queensland

While the title says Coolangatta is in Queensland, it is actually a border town between Queensland and New South Wales. While I have another Australian online friend who retired to Thailand, our northern neighbor, I understand Coolangatta is popular with other Australian retiree, especially with its laid-back lifestyle. The town derives its income mainly from tourism and partly from other economic activities like fishing, seafood restaurants and holiday clubs. Ancients like us may get attracted to Coolangatta by the two-week Wintersun Festival normally held in June. The Wintersun Festival is a festival which try to recreate the atmosphere of the 1950s and 1960s with free entertainment and other attractions. Good enough to tempt me there which mean if and when the time comes, I may have to surf over to Coolangatta Hotels as the site claims to be able to offer last minute heavily discounted rates for accommodation booked through them. For a pensioner, that is important.

Byron Bay, New South Wales

Now Byron Bay is a town in New South Wales, but it is nearer to the capital city of Queensland and the capital city of New South Wales. It is only 140 kilometre south of Brisbane compared with about 600 kilometre north of Sydney. I have never seen a whale in my 59 years of life on earth, but if I get a chance to go to Byron Bay, that will be my chance of a lifetime, to see a real life water spouting whale rather than on on the television screen. Byron Bay have many good beaches popular with surfers. The more adventurous ones may go for sky diving while nature lovers will go whale and wildlife watching. I hope my daughters don't tag along because apart for snorkeling, Byron Bay waters also makes it an ideal place for scuba diving, which I do not encourage.

No need to ask me about where to go for accommodation, for by now you would now it will be nothing less than an online accommodation website like Byron Bay Hotels which I can do from the one device I am practically glued to the whole day long - my computer.

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