Beach Cottage on Tour, Up Up and Away

Fri 29th, Mar, 2013

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Sponsored Post Tourism Australia TQUAL


Hi, how the devil are you guys?

Well I have been continuing on my little trip around Australia, travelling with a team of bloggers for Tourism Australia and T-QUAL and since I last spoke to you, found myself in lovely Queensland and then on to the Top End (yes all in the last few days – that’s a lot of miles people!)


This leg of the trip jetting into Brisbane, a city I have yet had the fortune to visit since I moved my life to the other side of the world and one I very much wanted to experience….


Unfortunately I didn’t get to see too much of the city…this was for sure a flying visit, but I can assure you I will be coming back again soon…

And when I say flying visit I mean literally flying…in a hot air balloon and also flying down the side of a cliff by flinging myself with the aid of a few ropes down the side of a rock face…


I have to say though, if there is one way to get up and see how beautiful this planet we are living on is, the basket of a hot air balloon is the way for me…

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Hot air ballooning has never been something that has been high on my wish list of things to do but now I’ve done it I will definitely be doing it again with my family, this would be a great memory making experience for the Beach Cottage Crew.


Everything up there is calm and peaceful…the air is different and the world takes on a whole new perspective, literally, from up above…

We travelled up in the sky high up above the Earth with Floating Images who took care of us very nicely (like all operators on this trip a T-QUAL endorsed operator, meaning quality, value and trust).


Up in the clouds with me were lovely Caz from Ytravelblog (if you are looking for travel tips real-girl style this is the place for you) and Nat from MummySmiles who for some reason I made smile a lot, apparently my face is hilarious – you can also head on over to their blogs to see more things we experienced on this trip.

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Next up I went to a day spa and pampered myself with a facial and a 2 hour massage to rest my weary travellers bones…. oh actually no that didn’t make the schedule…how about you throw yourself over a sheer drop and try your hand at a little abseiling?  Hmmm, interesting….

While I can heartily recommend putting yourself in the basket (and styling it would be good too if you could possibly wangle that, I mean hello can you imagine getting your hands on that basket and foofing it a bit, phew) of a a hot air balloon and leaving yourself at the mercy of a guy you have never met before to take you on the ride of your life, throwing your forty-is-the-new-thirty self over the edge of a cliff-face may not quite hold quite the same attraction.


(top Beach Cottage tip : avoid jeans when abseiling in 30C)

However overcoming fears, feeling that rush of adrenaline and knowing you can do it has much to be said for…


This is what we were to come down…

After a few umm minor glitches (like being paralysed with fear) I made it down…thanks to the abseiling team here for looking after us


In the evening, just for continuity with the Sydney leg of the trip (see that here) we went to one of Brisbane’s top restaurants and the sister to the one we had been to in Sydney – Aria Brisbane….and you thought the location of the one in Sydney was good…this was right on the river and the couture of dining…funnily enough the guy running the place happened to pop up again….hello celebrity chef Matt Moran, it seems I have bumped into you a lot over the last few days.

He really really wanted to get a picture with us bloggers, bless him…we didn’t like to say no


Very early the next morning we boarded a plane headed for the very top of Australia, I have wanted to come up here ever since we arrived fresh off the boat from London….I was not disappointed…


Of course no visit to the Northern Territory is complete without a crocodile and stopping to see some of them was our first visit… and I found myself courtesy of TQUAL catching one…that was interesting…

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We spent a lovely evening with Darwin Harbour Cruises, another experience I probably wouldn’t have chosen but really enjoyed…again service was top-notch (and no they didn’t know they would end up on blogs).  I loved the wharf and  I was interested to see some of the historical side to Darwin especially the part it played in WWII, it’s a shame I didn’t have more time to stop here because I love to learn about Australia’s role in WWII

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The last morning of our trip we were up and out before the sun had risen to head off to the airport, not to come home but to go on a tour out to Arnhem Land – Vince from Venture North Australia met us while it was still dark in the Top End…he was loaded with heaps of local knowledge, a flask of hot water, a pack-up of delicious carrot cake and coffee for our morning tea and a happy smiley face making us feel most welcome…but most of all, he was rocking the outback hat.


oh and the gators, gotta love a man in a gator, right ladies…when I first came to Australia I had never seen one of these and every time I see them now they still seem very Aussie to me…


Vince…top bloke, took us to the airport and on an adventure I will never forget

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We were off to Arnhem Land, an Aboriginal area east of Kakadu where the people live with the land – to visit here is an extremely special experience requiring a permit to visit and one of the most sacred places in the world, let alone Australia.

Waahhh I could get used to travelling by plane

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I was right alongside the pilot, looking out of the front window…it was tough up there Winking smile


The views were to die for, this is one super amazing experience…

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Hello pilot Aussie style…do I need to say more?


Roland is a walking advertisement for Australia and all that it has to offer, it was almost, when he popped his head around the door at the airport to say hello, as if he had just stepped right out of central casting – lovely, friendly, courteous, helpful but most of all very professional – couldn’t you just see him on a poster campaign for Australia back in the Old Country?


When we arrived it was magical…out in the middle of nowhere of the Top End…the air was still and sweet and though roasting hot from somewhere there seemed to be a whisper of a breeze….


This was so much more my scene than fancy dining…as you know I love getting out and in nature…this didn’t disappoint in any shape or form…the colours, the lush greenery, the bush and the flora were nothing short of out-standing…if you get a chance to go to Arnhem Land in your life, do not pass it up.  In fact try and get here, I will be coming back for sure and spending more time in this magical environment, where Mother Nature it seemed was so very much at play at about every turn of the head…


See what I mean?


So loved coming across this spider’s web, I always look out for them, this one was touched by raindrops…something oh so very magical about this place, even the spider’s webs seemed soft and delicate and touched by a little bit of something special

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And the flora…yes so beautiful…


This is only my third time experiencing the red roads of this lovely country …something that since being on this trip will be changing in the not too distant future – heading up this way to see more of this amazing land of Aus has just made it onto my list of places to go in my aim to ‘travel more’ this year…

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Our beautiful guide was Gary…he quietly shared his stories with us and took us to some wonderful spots including this watering hole which he had visited as a child…

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This is the place where Gary’s spirit rests and will always return to…

It was an almost unbelievable spot…the water was so pure you could drink from it and it glistened with an almost spiritual feel…

We were blessed by Gary and the water, he scooped up the water and said prayers in his own language and laid his hands and the water on our heads…it felt as if the world stopped for just a minute…

– this is one of the other girls on the trip Lauren (of Instgram fame – if you like fantastic shots of Australian beaches go follow her, you won’t be disappointed, her Insta feed is nothing short of amazing @laurenepbath) being blessed by Gary…it was a very spiritual experience for all of us here and one where I don’t think any of us were expecting to feel the way we did…

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The views were stunning…


And that was that!  I hope you enjoyed my whirlwind tour?  Do you like a man in gators Winking smile


A Beach Cottage explored Queensland & the Northern Territory courtesy of Tourism Australia  T-QUAL

  the T-QUAL Tick is Australia’s symbol of tourism quality, meaning you can be confident your expectations will be met, you can trust high standards & quality experiences and you will get value for your money – you can go here to find operators all over Australia who have the T-QUAL accreditation so you can be sure of a good experience on holiday x


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40 Responses to “Beach Cottage on Tour, Up Up and Away”

  1. You made me miss home, I grew up in that red dirt.

  2. jody says:

    Pretty amazing photos Sarah! enjoy! you are a brave brave woman, i applaud you! xo jody/florida

  3. Julie says:

    Was that at Kangaroo Point Cliffs where you went abseiling, Sara? I lived in Brisbane for a time and miss it so much. Thanks for sharing the lovely photos!

  4. Diana says:

    What a fantastic trip!
    Thank You for transporting us there in your beautiful photos.

  5. l love this post. I worked for the Australian Tourism Board out of New Delhi many years ago. This makes me feel really nostalgic. Your blog is sheer gorgeousness :)

  6. Kat says:

    I have only just looked through your photo’s Sarah and am yet to read the article, but woweee….these are gorgeous and simply “pop” off the page.
    Lucky you!!

  7. Rowen says:

    Hi Sarah, thanks so much for sharing your lovely photos and story of your trip. I’ve never been to Australia but looking at your blog is the next best thing. I especially love the beach shots as I live on the coast in the UK but this trip to different parts of Australia has been wonderful. Thanks for your reply to my comment about the watering can, I am now on the lookout :-) Rowen@Coastal Colours x
    PS thanks for your blogging course, very useful :-) x

  8. What stunning photos Sarah!! I so love seeing how you captured this experience. Arnhem Land is something I will remember for many years. I can’t wait to continue the journey with you next week– I just hope we have Australia’s hottest pilot join us!! :)

    • sarah says:

      Yes I will remember it too, wasn’t it fantastic!

      I hope that pilot is on the agenda too haha x

  9. What a brilliant trip Sarah! And I agree with the others…the photos are stunning. Australia has so much to offer….and I’m desperate to viist again. …..especially after the biting winds, snow, ice and really low temperatures this March.When I think about last March when I was in Perth adn Freo…oh, I so want to be back there!

  10. Jenny Bowman says:

    Wow what an adventure and you are the perfect travel guide. Never been there, but it sure looks amazing. Stunning photos, though not sure I envy you the balloon ride or abseiling. My days of those sorts of things are long past, but love reading about them.

    • sarah says:

      haha Jenny, I like to try my hand at new things but the abseiling nearly got me but I did make it in the end x

      I wouldn’t mind being an online travel guide for Austraia ;-)

  11. Ella rich says:

    Sound like you had an interesting trip. Thanks for sharing these stunning photographs

  12. Paula says:

    This brought back memories of our visit to Australia in 2000. Especially the pictures of the red dirt:)

  13. Kristi E says:

    Hi Sarah great trip…so what are gators for?

    • sarah says:

      gators go over the boots to keep out dirt and any other horrid stuff I assume…I always thought they were for the insects etc but I have been told it’s more a tradie thing x

  14. Love those hot air ballon pictures especially, but they’re all beautiful. I’m ready to hop on a plane right now and head your way!

  15. Jen ( SE Qld) says:

    For Julie, Yes that is definitely the Kangaroo Point cliffs.

    You have made me cry Sarah, all my family is spread out in that beautiful red dirt, big sky Territory that gets into your veins on cattle stations and soforth, and Western Qld is my homeland.. Stuck here in suburbia, albeit on the beach, and seeing your beautiful photography has given me some homesickness this Easter but also a sense of pride that so many others find it as beautiful as I do. xx Thank you.

    • sarah says:

      thanks Jen

      oh gosh I love that dirt and I can see how this would get into your veins! I would LOVE to get to a cattle station at some point, I have been planning it in my head for way too long, just life seems to always get in the way x

      I would be very proud to be a part of this beautiful land xx

  16. Sarah says:

    Wow, thanks for sharing! What a fantastic trip and the pics are beautiful – not many people get to experience this part of the world and I’m happy we can all ‘go there’ through blogging! Happy Easter!! xo

    • sarah says:

      yes that’s why I love blogging too!

      I have a couple of readers email me from overseas about going up to the Northern Territory because of this post so it’s amazing how the internet and blogs work isn’t it?

  17. Deb says:

    Sarah, what a brave woman you are!
    Wow, so many great adventures were packed in your trip!
    Wow, the photos are superb!
    Wow, Australia is so beautiful!

    Debbie in TX

  18. Gen says:

    Hi Sarah, what an amazing trip – a number of those activities would have definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone! Your photos are beautiful. Are you allowed to give more information about the tourism operators that you mention in your post. I would love to visit NT and I am particularly interested in the trip you did with Gary in Arnhem Land. Thanks

    • sarah says:

      Hi Gen

      Yes, of course. The tour was with Venture North (I did link to them in the post) – they have various activities to do in the Northern Territory. Everything I experienced was brilliant (they have the T-QUAL tick – this means that any operator you see with this accreditation means they have been vetted and approved for quality, value for money etc, you can find more on that here and you can find other operators around Australia with the accreditation here

      On Arnhem Land I highly recommend it and I will definitely be going back with my family, unfortunately this trip was rather full and we didn’t get much time to spend seeing more.

      Cheers, good luck with your trip


  19. Hi Sarah, I’m so excited to have found your blog. Your photos are amazing and I love your style. I’m also in Australia and have my own DIY, home decor, furniture restyling blog. I’d love you to drop by at http://www.restylerelove.com. All the best, Julie

  20. Anonymous says:


    You are one lucky woman but what I love is that you make your luck happen.

    The colour in your photos is superb.

    I get what you’re talking about re Gary. I quite unexpectedly got to listen to an Aboriginal guest speaker at work last week. The spiritual side of his culture touched me deeply. I also realised that I already incorporate some of this spirituality in my life. It was a nice feeling.


    • sarah says:

      I hear you on the spirituality – it’s a very good lesson to learn from another culture x

  21. Laine says:

    Can’t you just feel the magic up there, something southerners don’t understand!
    I’m a misplaced Territorian, living in NSW since 2003 and miss it terribly.
    I haven’t worn gaiters since working on a mango farm in Humpty Doo, flashbacks now!

    • sarah says:

      Yes, it was strange to feel that magic when I wasn’t expecting it – to be honest I can’t WAIT to get back up them and explore more!