Beach Cottage on Tour with Tourism Australia

Tue 26th, Mar, 2013

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Sponsored Post Tourism Australia TQUAL


Hello lovely beach cottage ladies!

Well I am logging in away from my old cottage this fine day in the world they call Down Under and continuing my journey with Australia Love…if you have been blogging with me from the early days, you’ll know I have my own hashtag on Australia over on Instagram #abeachcottageAustralialove and that our sea-change to Australia is the best thing we ever did…


You know I thought I loved the Lucky Country a whole lot?  Well, that just grew by a million and one.

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You see I have been the last couple of days, thanks to the people at Tourism Australia and TQUAL shipped around to see some more of what this special country has to offer…oh the Lucky Country, she sure did not disappoint.

TQUAL is Australia’s sign of quality, love that…bottom line is you can trust that tourist operators have had to meet certain criteria to get accreditation – it’s super easy to find tourist operators too, all you have to do is go to the TQUAL Trip Advisor portal and search on things you’d like to do, safe in the knowledge that whatever you find will have been put through its paces…

So I started my journey travelling by one of the most spectacular modes of transport Sydney has to offer – riding the Manly ferry over to the city past the Opera House and taking in the Harbour Bridge, with Sydney putting on a showstopper of a day of it just for me.


…this trip has been organised by T-Qual and basically we are popping here and there seeing lovely Australian things…

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So ready to get into it I checked into a lovely hotel, with the exceptional view you see above – the first stop was The Grand Pullman, sitting right beside the Opera House and facing the Harbour Bridge… with the ferries pulling in and out from the quay out the front cannot really be in much of a better position – it ticked the location box pretty well I believe.

…this hotel offers Sydney Harbour playing at its best and sitting right in the heart of Sydney’s lovely old buildings which I adore.


Monday morning led us to one of Sydney’s fine dining restaurants…by way of celebrity chef Matt Moran, if you don’t know who he is, he’s the one from Masterchef…


Apart from enjoying a gorgeous spot in Sydney, the Aria restaurant, we had to style and present a dish – ‘plating up’ as they say in the business…ladies, I foofed to my heart’s content….guess who does just a little bit of food styling in her spare time and came last in the competition????

….that would be me.

I present you with the losing dish.

Yes there were flowers.

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In my dish the lovely Matt Moran who was judging couldn’t see why sea salt was sprinkled on the plate and not just the food…yes I did debate going through with him the intricacies of foofing and how sea salt foofed onto a plate makes life good, but decided that really, I would save my breath…

Up next we headed on over to Mickey’s, another lovely Sydney place and famous in Sydney parts as a bit of a diner, easy food a million miles away from that of the previous establishment and right up my alley.


This is a super place boasting a list of milkshakes to die for and the food wasn’t bad either…good ambiance with hipsters hanging and trendies smoking…


Off next to Sydney Harbour to do some kayaking with the sharks

I love a bit of dabbling with the sharks.

A stunner of a day thank you very much.


We went out on the water with a lovely fellow from Life’s an Adventure, a T-QUAL accredited company who know the know on kayaking.  We were in the hands of the owner a lovely guy passionate about Sydney and being out on the water…if you ever make it to Sydney I highly recommend this tour.

I am not fabulous at small boats on water and sharks, but one did have a fabulous time paddling out to Clark Island watching the ferries go by, looking into the beautiful water and seeing the Harbour Bridge from a very different angle – if you fancy doing something like this and have never done it, I’d say bit the bullet and have a go…such a great way to spend some time.

Here is one looking ummm a tad on the apprehensive side

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And we finished off here on the rooftop terrace of the Sydney Harbour YHA, yep Sydney does Youth Hostels extremely well, this is a youth hostel with a multi-million dollar view, as is only to be expected of the Lucky Country…we do most things surrounded by Mother Nature’s fine gifts.  Winking smile


Best of all was twilight…

Oh Sydney, girl as the lights go down you rock it my sweet friend.


See you soon Beach Cottage friends, I hope you enjoyed this part of my trip, ummm you won’t guess what I did next, well you might do if you follow me on social media, but there is one thing I did that you won’t know…



A Beach Cottage explored Sydney courtesy of Tourism Australia and T-QUAL

The T-QUAL Tick is Australia’s symbol of tourism quality. 

When looking for places to stay, something to eat, and things to do, the T-QUAL Tick helps you make more informed choices by identifying Australia’s quality tourism businesses.

What T-QUAL means for you and me :  Confidence that your expectations will be met, you can trust high standards & quality experiences, you will gain value for money at your price range and you can  relax!


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27 Responses to “Beach Cottage on Tour with Tourism Australia”

  1. Jojo3b says:

    I haven’t been to Sydney for a very long time. I would go just try the milk shakes.OH Good Grief I wouldn’t know which one to choose. Did you try one. As for kayaking in the Sydney Harbour, you are brave!!! Devine photos. Postcards really. :)

  2. Rowen says:

    Thanks so much for your lovely photographic tour, such wonderful pictures. I wouldn’t know which milkshake to choose either. They all sound delicious. Hmmmmm kayaks and sharks, I think I would give that a miss! Those kayaks don’t look stable at the best of times! Rowen@Coastal Colours x

  3. Julie Johnson says:

    I’d love to go anywhere in Australia if for no other reason than because it’s warm there right now, but I’m with the other ladies. There’s no way you could convince me to go kayaking in the ocean. You’re a very brave soul to do that. Photos are breathtaking as always and the milk shakes look scrumptious. I wouldn’t know which one to try either.

  4. Mandy Parker says:

    Sarah, I remember it well …. Oh, how I long for my next trip to Oz…. January 2014 …. Can’t wait!
    Perth first, then the Coast in NSW, and a stop off in Sydney before returning to the Flower Farm in time for the new Sowing and Growing Season!

    Great photos as always.

  5. Tamara says:

    I really want the Salted Caramel Thickshake!! How lucky you are to live in Sydney Sarah, at this very moment in Suffolk UK when every time I go outdoors I get a headache from the searing cold I think of you and the beautiful, warm Autumnal Australian days…………………… X

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the lovely tour! Your photos, as is your norm, are wonderful and made me feel as tho I’m accompanying you! Must say that your foofed up plate at Aria was sorely underrated by the judge… Oh, and at Mickey’s, I’m Pavloving for one of those Thick Shakes, but must ask what two menu items are: The Malteser and Hot Rocks? (We may have them in the States, but call them by different names. Could the Malteser be what we call simply a Malt? Have no idea about what would equate here to the Hot Rocks… I’d have to go for the Salted Caramel.) OK OK Back to the real world, hi temps in the 30s (F – about 3 ish C), dusting of snow (even tho we’re almost a week into Spring…). We’re supposed to be in the low 60s (16 C) this Easter Sunday. We always have at least one bout of cold weather during the college basketball (March Madness) tourney. BTW Go Cards! Soon, we’ll have the dogwood festival…can’t wait! So, in the meantime…thank you for taking us on a visit to your world!

    • MDN says:

      It’s MDN above – for some reason, name didn’t show. PS – The closest I’ve gotten to your trek to Clark Is. was a multi-person canoe trip on the Ohio River. Whew! No sharks to worry about here, tho: just big catfish…and barges! Looks as tho your water trip was enjoyable for you, too! Much work with those waves? Glad you’re sticking to your New Year’s resolution and are taking in your surroundings! (Glad for us, too!)

    • lg says:

      Hi! Maltesers are a type of lolly (that would be candy to you) here in oz. They are little malt balls covered in chocolate. They are crunchy but also melt in your mouth! Infamous here in oz for rolling down the aisle at the movies (cinema) or – if you were that sort of person- throwing at the front rows!!!
      As for hot rocks, did you mean pop rocks? I couldn’t find hot rocks in the pictures. Anyway pop rocks are popping candy.
      If you need to know anything more about Australian lollies, just let me know! lol

      lg xxx

      • sarah says:

        thanks for the perfect description x

      • MDN says:

        TKS – Appreciate the info! We have “malt balls” – which sound like your Maletesers, but w/o the stick. (Candy w/ a stick – like a Tootsie Roll Pop – have the general name of lollypops… (Love learning what other countries call things!) Malt balls at the movies…too good!
        OK – still unsure re Pop Rocks = popping candy? Are they little rock like cubes, tiny little cylinders…or what? Do they sorta “explode” in one’s mouth – say, when it comes in contact w/ moisture in the mouth? Or does it have to be bitten into to explode? Fizzle? Bitter, sweet, some of both, or something else? Sounds interesting! Curious! TKS again for info!

  7. Selby says:

    Beautiful shots Sarah! Thanks for the photo holiday:)

    I’d go the salted caramel thick shake for sure & you can keep the sharks- right out of my depth there so maybe I’d just go a second thick shake instead hehe;)

  8. Our UK friends arriving tomorrow morning- I have just added kayaking on Sydney Harbour to their list of *must do* things!
    Also sent a link to the YHSydney website for my niece, who will be visiting from Cambridge in May- thanks again!
    Thanks for the link!
    Hope this divine weather keeps showing off our beautiful place in the world for them!
    Enjoy your day Sarah!
    M x

  9. merilyn says:

    good morning sarah!
    sounds like you had a great time!
    sydney certainly is a lovely city and youv’e captured it well in your photos
    as usual … your food foofing looked good to me … love the salt crystals!
    just keep foofing! lol m ;0

  10. Rekha says:

    WOW simply amazing shots Sarah – blown away!

  11. Deb says:

    Fabulous photos! I loved the ones of the Opera House, the hotel, and the one of you in the kayak. Thanks for the quick vacation : )
    Debbie in Texas

  12. ChrisEvanlen says:

    Nice shots.

    I am planning a trip to South Australia with my family and I think Tqal is just what I have been looking for, thanks for the links.

    It looks like a great time.

  13. Looks like an amazing city to visit and awesome pictures. I am visiting Australia at the end of the year and will have to have a look at some of the places and check out that site.

  14. Jim says:

    Kayaking? You’ll be pink capping next…great post!

  15. Oh my! Sarah these photos are divine. You have captured all the beauty of Sydney that I love! What an amazing opportunity for you. Although I think I’ll leave the bit about kayaking with sharks up to you – I’ve watched one too many JAWS movies!! Fi xxx

  16. Anonymous says:

    You look so at home in that kayak. LOL


  17. Tricia Rose says:

    They did tell you no-one has yet been taken by a shark from a capsize in the harbour, didn’t they? It was the sailing club’s mantra when we were kids!

    What a glorious day – I can almost taste the milkshake, malted.