Australian Bush tucker: Lets put on a barbie

22 September, 2007

Australians are very fond of their ‘bush tucker’. Bush tucker is associated with food cooked outdoors either on camping sites or at out-of-station trips.

These usually include cooking or rather, barbequing meats of their iconic animals such as Kangaroos, Emus (a flightless bird), Barramundi (fish) and yabby (crayfish).

The famous Aussie slogan, ‘Let’s put on a barbie’, cannot emphasize their love of cooking outdoors anymore than this.

Their modern-day, but traditional food items include vegemite (a black yeast spread); meat pie (minced meat pie); Tim Tams (chocolate coated biscuits); Anzac Biscuits (large wheat biscuits).

Then there Vanilla Slice (a custard pie slice topped with vanilla icing); Lamingtons (pieces of sponge cake coated with chocolate and any other flavoured icing and coconut); and Peach Melba (slices of peach served with whipped cream and sometimes with a scoop of ice cream).


Yap Islands: Where giant stone money rules the roost

21 September, 2007

yap-4-reduced.jpg

One of smaller islands of the Caroline Islands, Yap Island lies in the western Pacific Ocean. It is part of a cluster of islands that collectively called Yap Islands. These four islands are though, appear as separate islands to a naked eye but are joined together underwater as a large coral reef.

The islands are mostly covered with local flora, dotted with mangrove swamps and surrounded by reefs. It encloses a lagoon that is part of the giant coral reef on which the islands are based.

Though, it is one of the most traditional of the four main states of Micronesia, it is popular in the region for its one unique item – stone money. Giant, hollow, carved stone disks are used as currency in this tiny nation.

These ‘stone money’ are like every other world currency includes different sized-disks indicating different denominations. Not only the size but the stone and the age of the disk also determines its worth. And like everywhere else on earth, the more disks a person or a family posses, the higher is his status among the locals.

The islands’ locals called Yapese are one of the most expert navigators of the Pacific region. There are legends of locals travelling in canoes thousands of kilometres navigating only by starts and patterns in ocean waves.


Wonderful resorts at Moorea Island

20 September, 2007

morea-island-2-reduced.jpg

It’s name means ‘Yellow Lizard’, the island itself is shaped much like a giant fork lying in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Moorea Island, part of Society Islands, a group, which itself is part of the larger, French Polynesian archipelago and a French Protectorate, lies some 17 kms northwest of Tahiti, a famous tourist attraction in the region that draws thousands of visitors every month.

Moorea like its famous neighbour too, gets its fair share of tourists thanks to its close proximity to Papeeta, the Tahitian capital. Ferries often does round trips between the two islands. It is often featured in American wedding magazines as an ideal honeymoon destination.

For those, who wish to make a beeline to Moorea, here are some of the better places to stay:

Sofitel Moorea Beach Resort:
BP 28 | (formerly Sofitel Ia Ora Moorea), Maharepa, Moorea, Society Islands 98728, French Polynesia

Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa:
Moorea Island,Bp 3410 Temae, Maharepa, Moorea, Society Islands 98713, French Polynesia

InterContinental Resort & Spa Moorea:
Papetoai | PO Box 1019, Moorea, Society Islands, French Polynesia

Sheraton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa:
Papetoai, Moorea, Society Islands 98729, French Polynesia

Fare Vaihere:
Baie d’Opunohu | Papetoai, Moorea, Society Islands 98729, French Polynesia


Daydream Island – For all those daydreamers out there

25 May, 2007

day-dream-island-resort-3-reduced.jpg

Daydream Island is one of the many favourite holiday destinations for the Queenlanders in the Whitsunday Islands archipelago. One of the seven islands of the ‘Molle Group’ in the Whitsundays, Daydream is a small island measuring only 400 meters at its widest point.

With ever-present tropical waters and white-sandy beaches, supplemented with plenty of under-age activities, it is not hard to see why this tropical paradise is famous among the residents of the sunshine state.

There are only two resorts that cater to ever growing tourist population. The one, which is at the north-eastern end mainly, caters to day tourists, while the newer one, Daydream Island Resort and Spa, have all the facilities for over-nighters.

Similarly, all the tropical islands, Daydream too, offer a plethora of activities to suit all ages. Some of the popular ones are snorkelling, water polo, kayaking, tennis, beach volleyball, mini-golf and even yoga sessions.


Rottnest Island — Home of the Quokkas

25 May, 2007

rottnest-quokka-1-reduced.jpg

One of the main islands and holiday attraction off, the coast of Western Australia is the ‘Rottnest Island’. The island is so-called as it main inhabitant is a cat-size marsupial called ‘Quokka’.

According to the legend, when the Dutch explorers arrived here, they were so taken aback with the teeming population of Quokkas, that they, in disgust, named it as a ‘Rott enest’ (rat’s nest).

These quokkas are the main inhabitants as well as the local attractions – more than the island itself – are usually found around human population as they like to savage for food.

Numbering about 10,000, they usually feed on leaves and barks of small trees and bushes, as well as grass and other small plants, which they take fancy to.

It is only due to the exclusion of feral cats and foxes from the island that Quokkas have been able to survive, and thus, multiply.


Rottnest Island – Holiday attraction off the west coast of Australia

24 May, 2007

rottnest-island-2-reduced.jpg

Off the east coast of Western Australia, lies a small island called the ‘Rottnest Island’.

Home to a unique, marsupial, called Quokka, Rottnest Island is located about 19 kms off the coast of Australian city of Freemantle, the island quite small, with just 11 kms in length and about 4.5 km wide.

One of the main attractions for the Western Australians, the island is classified as an ‘A Class Reserve’, meaning that there are strict rules guarding the island regarding the preservation of its beauty and heritage and hence, no private ownership is allowed on it.

But a few inhabitants, who are mostly hospitality workers and those too, reside in or near Thomson Bay, the main settlement on the island.

Rottnest Island have some historic buildings as well as pleasant beaches, all are which withing walking or cycling (common mode of transport) distances from each other.

Among some of the popular sites are Stark Bay, Salmon Bay and Strickland Bay which offers some of the most beautiful reef displays off the islalnd.

During the WWII, the island also served as a Military Installation, guarding the Australian coast against possible Japanese and German attack. It has been a holiday attraction for the last 50 years.


Top activities must for every visitor to Rottnest Island

23 May, 2007

rottnest-island-1-reduced.jpg

For visitors, to completely enjoy the thrills of Rottnest Island, it is necessary to go along the these walking trails to better acquaint themselves with the island.

Vincent Way Heritage Trail
This 2 km walkway, taking about 45 minutes will take you by all the buildings situated on Rottnest Island’s old settlement.

It starts at the seawall, built between 1846-49, by the Aboriginal prisoners, and takes the visitors past, Cottages H, J and E, the Buckingham Palace, the Lodge Resort, Chapel, Ranger’s Office, and the former residence of Governor Hampton, who use to live here in the summer of 1864.

Cape Vlamingh Heritage Trail
This single kilometre walking trail takes a leisurely 30 minutes and takes the walker past the wreck of Kiryo Maru, Bridge Rock and Blow Hole.

Along the way, you will also be view dolphims frolicking along the coast, Quokkas and Dugites, as well as island’s flora such as the sea berry saltbush and the coastal daisy.