Tips to ensure your next group tour experience isn’t a massive dud.
I used to be stubbornly against group tours. Like most independent and often solo travellers, I’d research and plan everything myself and arrange most experiences under my parameters.
Scoffing at the idea of joining a throng of camera-toting, loud tourists, I would remark that it was “my personal idea of hell”. Ignorant? Yes. Judgemental? Definitely.
These stereotypes DO exist for a reason, though. Anyone who has travelled enough will have run into the drunken Contiki groups or experienced a mass of tour bus patrons cut a museum line on their express passes. It can be annoying and certainly not to everyone’s travel style, but there are certain circumstances where a tour may be the best bet.
Last October, I challenged myself to eat potatoes, cooked or prepared in a different way, every day for the entire month. Almost every day since the conclusion of the challenge, someone has sent me potato-based content.
I’m not mad, this is the dream.
Recently, a pal mentioned that there was an annual potato festival in regional Victoria, merely an hour from Melbourne. It had been cancelled for the past couple of years (due to Covid-19), but it was back for 2022!
I was pleased to attend The Trentham Spudfest yesterday as a spec-tater… and I yam not sorry for any spud pun related eye-rolls that occur whilst you read this.
I ate potatoes, cooked and prepared a different way every single day for an entire month.
Why? Well, living in Melbourne, enduring the longest lockdown in the world I needed something that would keep me entertained, give me a sense of control and a goal to focus on. I set myself some ground rules to manage expectations which were:
🥔 Eat 1 potato-based dish per day for 31 days 🥔 The preparation method must vary each day (I.e no mash, then cottage pie as they are both mashes) 🥔 If a day is skipped it’s a potato for every meal the day after (as punishment) 🥔 Where possible, the potato is to be prepared at home (no takeaway potato every day).
If you googled “Kombucha Scoby Jerky Recipe” congratulations you’re A: awesomely weird and adventurous, and B: in luck, as I’m not going to force you to scroll 47 pages till you get to the recipe. Seriously how annoying is that tactic?
The Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival is a pagan inspired event, held in the deepest darkest (and coldest) reaches of a gorgeous southern valley in Tasmania, every year in the dead middle of Winter.
A festival of feasting, fire and frivolity that pays homage to traditions old and even older. Essentially serving as a celebratory ritual to bless the apple orchards for a bountiful year to come and a release of any negative energy in the surrounds.
It’s also a massive, muddy party with a shite-load of delicious local food and local booze.
Mum, Dad, Parents, Caretakers or anyone who kept us fed…
For most families I knew when growing up, the responsibility for cooking dinner was the domain of one person over another. Sure, some fancy kids had parents who shared the responsibility, but in my house, Mum was the major provider of the night-time meal.
Mum was (and is) an excellent cook, but there were definitely nights she simply couldn’t be stuffed. Not a fan of ordering takeaway she preferred getting “creative” with the back of the cupboard and bottom of the fridge. Mostly on a Friday.
Oahu, Hawaii is a popular tourist destination for a reason…
The gorgeous island is home to the largest local population, plus the highest number of visitors per year of any of the Hawaiian islands. It is a place of long white beaches, pristine waters, deep green valleys, very high waterfalls, and white high-rise hotels.
Many tourists visit Oahu for a five-star resort style beach holiday, with rooftop sun baking, designer shopping and swim up bars (that I’ve always been concerned are too far away from the bathrooms). Though the 5-star experience can be expensive, being an adventurous and curious traveller can also hit the hip pocket. Hard.
There are plenty of creature comforts for those that come to simply laze on the white sands of Waikiki, Oahu. Including the food.
It would be easy to visit from mainland America (or Australia) and eat the same food as home. Want to dine at upmarket steak houses, swish burger joints and fancy Japanese restaurants every night? You can, that sounds amazing, delicious… and expensive.
Prefer to explore further than the sanitised tourist strips (and traps)? For those of us who wish to eat local and save money for activities, here are some places to get your munch on.
Not being a typical wish list destination for most people’s food or cultural experiences, the Sunshine Business Association is taking aim to change this perception. Playing host to a progressive cultural dinner experience and walking tour around the western suburbs of Sunshine for the final Friday of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival MFWF.
What do you think about when you hear the words “Aussie” food?
Vegemite, Tim Tams, Fairy bread, Lamingtons, Pizza Shapes and a snag on the Bunnings BBQ are just some of the collective responses.
When Argentinian grill San Telmo was asked to think outside the square for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival they decided to stay on home soil and take inspiration from local Aussie ingredients and time honoured home-grown favourites.