Interesting tool for finding well-priced flights

We’ve been hearing a lot about the AirWander website for finding well-priced international airfares.

This site is for travellers who want to include stopovers in international flights.

Stopovers tend to be particularly attractive to people who are not necessarily on a tight schedule.

The principle is simple: you take a round-trip itinerary and split it into multiple bookings with multiple tickets.

And then you add a stopover, which is a break of more than 24 hours between your origin and your destination.

This allows you to visit two or more locations on your journey at a cost that can be similar to the original point-to-point round-trip.

We’ve heard of travellers adding a stopover and saving money, although Australia’s isolation makes us sceptical.

Type a proposed destination into AirWander and it offers possible stopover locations and fares. Then fiddle with cities and dates in a bid to get the lowest fare.

When doing your sums, costs such as accommodation at the stopover site obviously need to be taken into account.

AirWander then refers you to third-party booking websites, in the same way as sites like Skyscanner and Momondo.

And, of course, there is always some connection risks – such as flight delays and missing luggage – with buying separate tickets from separate airlines.

Finding cheap flights Technology on the road Tips travel

We’re still here – with greater depth

Since our journey on this site started more than 20 years ago, we’ve met some truly wonderful people and collaborated with some incredible brands.

However, we didn’t quite realise the warmth of this group until our recent announcement that we were ramping up our Instagram presence.

Almost immediately, we received some lovely emails from you all, urging us not to phase down this site at all.  It was appreciated and quite moving.

So ‘Yes’ this site will continue to do what it does well – providing independent and frank first hand opinions and travel tips – and unbiased reviews of travel destinations; travel products and accommodation

It will work more closely with our Instagram sites @memorable_destination @memorable_travels @memorable_hotels and @memorable_experiences — while linking with our other social media.

These Instagram sites themselves reach out and link closely with other like-minded travellers.

The closer integration with Instagram will allow us to take the ‘Memorable’ travel tips brand along with the vertical video and pictorial revolution changing the communication landscape.

And in this new form, it will step up its collaboration and work with some of the best known brands in the travel field.

italy-1085237__340

Coming feature: Back to Italy

Our next feature will take us back to gorgeous Italy, for a look at a wonderfully restored  8th Century former monastery in an ancient village above the Amalfi Coast.

And, stay tuned for a new look (yes, I know…. another new look) that reflects all this.

Thank you again. We appreciate it.  And please join us on this new journey.

 

travel Website Notices

Come fly with us

Albert Einstein compared life to riding a bicycle: 

Stand still and you’ll fall.

Making sure that we did’t stand still has been a key focus since we started telling travel stories more than 20 years ago. What began as a personal travel blog, gradually broadened into a magazine-type website, supported by e-mail and a presence across social media.

However, in the past year, we started moving in a slightly different direction again – and all because of one word:

Instagram.

An astonishing change

It became glaringly obvious that our presence on  Instragram was substantially changing how we delivered content about travel, destinations, attractions, hotels and tourism.

instagram-1675670__340.png

 

And it wasn’t only us.

Story-tellers everywhere – whether writers, photographers, artists, photo-journalists or musicians – were moving to Instagram and producing some astonishing and unprecedented material.

We could see that Instagram had very quickly evolved into the world’s most successful magazine – and probably the most engaging media ever.

The ability to transport people to the point of a story has always been the aim – to make you feel as if you’re right there.

Instagram does this amazingly well – blending words, photos, video, GIFs and images like never before, to tell the story in many dimensions.

A no-brainer

Progressive travel and tourism brands also quickly recognised the potential – and for us it soon became a no-brainer.

We began planning changes early last year – firstly focused on promoting and cementing the ‘Memorable’ tag that has long linked our travel storytelling.

Then, a few months ago, we expanded our Instagram presence to three sites: 

@memorable_destination

@memorable_travels

@memorable_hotels

From now on, much more of our travel storytelling will focus on these sites – backed by this site and our existing presence on Twitter,  at LinkedIn and at Facebook 

We can also be found on Pinterest  – and in our home city of Newcastle, Australia, we have a monthly newspaper column.

follow-826033__340.png

Many of you have been following us since we started – and it would be great to share this exciting move with you.

And if you are not on Instagram yet, here’s how to do it. Once you have your account, it’s easy to Follow us — and we’ll Follow you.

Ian and Sue Roberts

travel

Hilltops attraction centres on a lone pine

A popular tourist attraction in Australia’s Hilltops Region focuses on a tree that became a symbol of courage.

A lone pine – long a poignant reminder of Australian and New Zealand spirit and sacrifice at Gallipoli in World War I – is a centrepiece of the Memorial Park at  the town of Boorowa.

IMG_1941

The pine stands silently at the end of an avenue of trees and plaques honouring the 26 Boorowa district men who were decorated for meritorious service during the ‘war to end all wars’.

Situated in an attractive location alongside the Boorowa River, the memorial park was established in its current form to commemorate the centenary of ANZAC in 2015.

IMG_3629

Lone pines have become a feature of World War I memorials in Australia, in memory of the battle of Lone Pine at Gallipoli – in which more than 2000 Australians and an estimated 5000-7000 Turkish soldiers died in about four days.

The Hilltops Region included the towns of Boorowa, Young and Harden-Murrumburra, in the south-west of New South Wales, Australia’s most populous State.

IMG_3588

These traditional rural areas have combined to create a modern and vibrant tourist area, focusing on history, culture, craft, agriculture, vineyards, restaurants, and quality stone fruit.

Hilltops Region travel

In a blink, here’s the future of travel safety

We tasted the future of travel during our latest European trip after encountering expanded eye-scanning systems at international airports.

It’s all part of Biometric E-gate changes being introduced or trialled at some airports around the globe.

stock-photo-metal-glass-handle-swirl-round-lens-unique-investigation-fingerprint-a7e6b323-1c14-4c1d-9fef-3ea16718a02c

Thanks to the Apple iPhone, most people seem comfortable with fingerprint identification – and we’d come across this technology at US border checks for many years. 

But, in the past year, we noticed a variety of other biometric screening systems appearing at some airports in Europe and the UK, to verify the identity of travellers.

The systems we encountered seemed to work hand-in-hand with boarding passes and passport checks by airlines themselves, but some of the trials have apparently tested whether scanning could replace such traditional systems altogether.

pexels-photo-1171285

At the same time, iris scanning is appearing at more and more airport security lines – sometimes on a voluntary basis as an alternative to lengthy passport-checking queues.

From our experience, the use of biometric systems seems a fairly unobtrusive extension of automation at airports.  Things do seem to move faster, which is always a big plus.

Logically, the scans should also help improve security.

The downsides?

Like every new system, there are hiccups. We came across scanners that didn’t work and others that were confusing to use.

And, we heard the occasional grumble among fellow travellers about data security and privacy.

stock-photo-black-dark-hand-open-finger-skin-palm-lines-fingers-7694d824-314f-41fd-b8cd-0123a49c18a0

However, that aside, it looks like biometrics is the way airports and possibly even airlines are moving, with the aim of improving and speeding-up the experience for travellers.

Now, if only they could find a way to replace the ancient airport baggage carousel!

Personal safety Tips travel

Lambing Flat Chinese Garden

Silence…. Except for the faint trickle of running water and the occasional splash of nearby Black Swans, the Lambing Flat Chinese Tribute Garden was peaceful and quiet.

Although only four kilometres from the thriving town of Young, in Australia’s Hilltops Region, the site could just as easily be a world away from anywhere.

It’s particularly hard to imagine the violent events that occurred nearby almost 160 years ago, during tension between Chinese and European gold miners.

Yellow leaf road

These events, known as the Lambing Flat riots, led to a law called the Chinese Immigration Restriction Act – the beginning of the so-called ‘White Australia Policy.’ 

However, that was obviously well in the past in 1996, when the Lambing Flat Chinese Tribute Garden was established to recognise the contribution of the Chinese community to Young and Australia in general.

It would, indeed, be hard to think of a more restful and tranquil place.

IMG_3611.JPG

We visited as part of a brief swing through the Hilltops Region, a popular tourist area in the south-west of New South Wales, the most populous State in Australia. 

Hilltops Region covers a diverse, historic and relaxing rural area centred on the towns of Young, Boorowa and Harden-Murrumburrah.

An afternoon storm cleared as we arrived at the Lambing Flat Chinese Tribute Garden and the sun breaking through the clouds spotlighted an amazing mix of colours.  

The light sparkled from wet rocks and the colourful plants and trees were reflected from all sides as we crossed the bridge to the garden. 

LRG_DSC03837

After making our way past the marble lion sculptures that guard the garden entrance, we wandered down a pathway covered in yellow and red fallen leaves until we reached the Pool of Tranquility.

The view across the garden to the aptly named Chinaman’s Dam was stunning and we sat in silence, soaking up the beauty of the surroundings. It was good for the soul.

Eve 2

Sitting in a valley surrounded by low hills, Young is the commercial and service centre for an agricultural area long known for its stone fruit, sheep, cattle, pigs, cereals, and vineyards. 

Under the Hilltops Region banner, the area is also a key part of a growing tourist trade focused in part on history, culture, arts, crafts and boutique farm-gate produce such as fruit jams and spreads.

And, the riots at Lambing Flat (an early name for Young) are a significant part of that heritage. Gold was found in the area in 1860 and, within months, there were about 20,000 prospectors in Lambing Flat – of which an estimated 2,000 were Chinese.

LRG_DSC03877.jpg

Apparently believing that the Chinese miners were abusing the settlement’s scarce water resources, Europeans attacked and drove off the Chinese.

When about 11 men were arrested, thousands of miners rallied and demanded their release. The men went to court, but were set free.

Eventually, police ranks were boosted; one European miner was killed; the courthouse and trooper’s barracks were burned down; shots were exchanged; and the Riot Act was read for the only time in New South Wales.

Controversial then, the gold rush period is now viewed as extremely significant in Australia’s development. Young boasts an excellent folk museum, which draws large numbers of visitors.

The town has gone from strength to strength. Among other things, it is regarded as the nation’s premier cherry-growing district.

IMG_3628.JPG

And, to get a complete idea of the development of the area’s culture, we thoroughly recommend a visit to Chinaman’s Dam and the stunning Lambing Flat Chinese Tribute Garden. 

Australia Hilltops Region Regional New South Wales travel

Town House Motor Inn, Young, Australia

The Hilltops Region of south-western New South Wales, has plenty of  boutique and traditional accommodation options.

For our visit, we based ourselves in the town of Young and deliberately booked into the area’s original motel, the Town House Motor Inn.

IMG_3588.png

We knew that the Town House Motor Inn dated to 1960, but had recently welcomed new owner-operators – and was being refurbished. 

It was an ideal opportunity to see how the revamp was going. Here’s the ‘Memorable Destination Review’:

Q: Was the booking process simple and problem free?

A: Yes. We checked prices with a few online booking sites; found the best price; and booked. The process was straight-forward, flexible and easy, without booking fees.

Q: Did the Town House Motor Inn communicate after the booking?

A: We received a confirmation email, but  were delighted to see that the motor inn’s has a great Instagram account, a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and an excellent  website.

This communication was particularly informative – and the Instagram account, in particular, allowed us to  gain a good idea of the scale of modernising underway at the inn.

Q: Does the Town House Motor Inn have street appeal? 

A: The frontage to Zouch Street, Young is tidy, visible and easy to find. The Town House Motor Inn is right in the heart of Young’s central business district and is also in the restaurant and civic precincts.

It is within walking distance of the main street shopping area; the Hilltops Council office; Young Library, the NSW Government Service Centre; and the Hilltops Regional information service. It is also surrounded by eateries.

IMG_1858

Q: How did check-in go?

A: Smoothly. We arrived slightly earlier than expected on a chilly and foggy day, but our room was ready and warm, with the heater operating. The staff member on check-in was professional, helpful and friendly in appearance and manner. We were shown the off-street car parking area;  given directions to our room; and handed our door key and free wifi code. 

Q: How was accessibility, particularly for senior travellers.

A: The Town House Motor Inn does well, given the decade in which the original units were built.  

For a start, guests can drive directly into the off-street car parking area, from where it is a short, level walkway to the rooms. 

There were no stairs to enter our unit and it was a simple matter to wheel our luggage inside. It was also a level and step-free walk to the breakfast room and outdoor leisure area.

Our unit – which appeared to be one of the older-style rooms – was practical in design, compact; warm, well lit, comfortable and spotlessly clean. Light switches were sensibly mid-height;  door handles opened with little effort; and there were easily-reached clothes hangers in the open-front wardrobe.

 We found the bathrooms and showers simple to negotiate – but the height of the handbasin, shower hub and room layout around the toilet could have posed problems for a person in a wheelchair.

Q: Was the bedroom big enough?

A: There was plenty of space. The room contained a particularly comfortable Queen-sized bed, individual lights over the bed; wardrobe; chair; bedside draws on either side; and a luggage stand.

IMG_1835

There was impressive high speed wifi, tea and coffee-making facilities and individually controlled air conditioning.

Complimentary biscuits, replaced daily, were a nice touch.

Q: Were other facilities adequate?

A: The unit featured a bench area suitable to serving food and drink; a minibar; microwave oven; flat-screen television set; a kettle; and tea and coffee-making facilities.

A wide range of teas and coffee was replenished daily, as the unit was serviced.

IMG_1838

The bathroom was fitted with quality toiletries, fluffy towels, which were changed daily and a hair-dryer.

Our room (and every unit it seemed) opened directly onto a landscaped garden area and a self-service laundry adjoined the motor inn.

Q: Did the Town House Motor Inn have adequate charging points?

A: We always carry a multi charger and our unit easily catered for our six electronic devices. 

It was pleasing to see that the room included a power point on either side of the bed, ideal for using mobile phones as alarm clocks.

Q: How was breakfast?

A: Breakfast was included in the room rate – and was typical hearty country fare.  The breakfast room was easy to reach, spacious, comfortable, spotlessly clean and looked out onto an outdoor seating area.

IMG_1933

There was a wide range of cereals; toast and toppings; fruit juices; coffee and tea; and fresh fruit – as well as sausages, meat patties and baked beans.

A television in the breakfast room was telecasting around-the-clock news. 

Q: Were there any problems with the Town House Motor Inn?

A: None. The owners of the facility are obviously making a big effort – and are doing all the right things.

IMG_1936

It was interesting to see how they are renovating the inn while maintaining a high level of service. We were certainly impressed with the way in which the owners are documenting and promoting the renovation on Instagram. Top marks!

The friendly and highly professional attitude of the managers and staff was a highlight of our stay.

Age Friendly rating

Print

8/10: From our experience, it’s our opinion that the Town House Motor Inn makes a genuine effort to be ‘age-friendly’, within the confines of the area’s first motel. 

We would return without hesitation – and would be interested in casting our eyes over the accessibility features of the new rooms.

A particular mention must be made of the inn’s social media communication, which is logical, but especially progressive and appreciated.

Duration of stay: two nights

Location: The Town House Motor Inn is located in Zouch Street Young, a key centre in the Hilltops Region of New South Wales, Australia’s most populous State.

Australia Hilltops Region travel