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Bistro Dalby at the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel

Bistro Dalby at the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel

Bistro Dalby is a chic restaurant serving up Modern Australian cuisine. Located inside the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel, the restaurant is the perfect place to dine after a day of sightseeing.

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby

The restaurant offers indoor and alfresco dining options and a fully equipped bar. The menu has a great variety of dishes, including fresh and healthy options, with dietary requirements such as vegetarian and gluten free accommodated for.

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby

Bistro Dalby has a bright, modern interior. We loved the orange chairs that were as comfortable as they were stylish. With plenty of space between the tables and its location on the ground floor of the hotel. Bistro Dalby is also wheelchair and stroller accessible.

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby

Kids get their own special menu with the biggest variety of dishes I’ve ever seen, plus a page of activities on the back. It’s the first place we have dined where there have been so many kid options that it took a while for Cheese to decide what she wanted!

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby

Adults will love the extensive wine list and menu that features a good choice of dishes that suits all appetites and diets. 

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby

We ordered the kids’ Spaghetti Bolognaise without meat and deconstructed for our fussy eater ($9.50). There are carefully hidden grated veggies in the sauce but shhhhh don’t tell our picky eater. She also chose the Ice Cream ($4.50) for dessert and the Kids’ Milkshake ($4.50).

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby

I chose the Pumpkin Ravioli (w/ crisp sage & a burnt butter sauce topped w/ tea soaked raisins (V) $16) and Vegetarian Delight Pizza (w/ fresh napoli sauce, roasted sweet potato, goats cheese, rocket, spanish onion & pinenuts $22).

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby

I loved my dishes. The ravioli was perfectly cooked with creamy pumpkin inside and the serving size was very generous for an appetizer (the dish is available in a larger side for a main). 

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby

My pizza was delicious. The base was crispy and the toppings fresh. I can’t stand a soggy pizza and this was spot on. The pinenuts were a particularly nice touch with the zesty goats cheese.

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby

Hubby ordered the fish of the day. His only comment was “delicious” and not a single morsel was left. He also enjoyed the fresh mixed leaf salad. 

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby

It was hubby’s birthday when we dined and the staff brought his selected desert, the deconstructed mango cheesecake, with a candle on top and sang happy birthday to him. He isn’t a big dessert person so it speaks volumes that he loved it. 

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby

The staff at Bistro Dalby couldn’t have been more welcoming, friendlier or helpful throughout our stay. Our wonderful waitstaff could not do enough to make our dining experience memorable.

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby

We love staying at the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel when we are in town. You can read my review of the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel here

Check out fun things to do in Newcastle here

Bistro Dalby at the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel
5 King St, Newcastle
Phone: 4032 3700
Lunch Opening Hours: 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Dinner Opening Hours: 6:00pm to 9:00pm
novotelnewcastlebeach.com.au

Our visit to Bistro Dalby was hosted for reviewing purposes. The staff were unaware of this and the excellent service and food is indicative of the experience everyone receives.

Sydney Escapes: Southern Highlands: Berrima, Bowral & Robertson

Things to do in the Southern Highlands NSW

Things to do in the Southern Highlands: Berrima, Bowral & Robertson

The Southern Highlands are a 90 minute drive south west of Sydney or just under 2 hours from Canberra.

Comprised of the towns of Bowral, Mittagong, Moss Vale, Berrima, Bundanoon and many other smaller villages, the Southern Highlands is a great spot for a day trip or weekend break to enjoy the colourful gardens, stunning waterfalls, nature walks, history, heritage and delicious food on offer. There are plenty of things to do in the Southern Highlands!

Berrima

Berrima Courthouse

The historic village of Berrima makes for a charming and character-filled day trip. Stroll through the streets with their colonial sandstone buildings, visit the Berrima Courthouse or while the day away at a cafe.

Find things to do in Berrima here.

Bowral

Corbett Gardens, Berrima NSW

Bowral is the largest town in the Southern Highlands. It’s a great spot for shopping, dining, bush walking and visiting local attractions including the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame.

Find things to do in Bowral here.

Robertson

Robertson Cheese Factory, Southern Highlands Australia

Robertson is known for their fertile land and potato growing, and is also where the 1995 movie Babe was filmed. The area is also home to the Budaroo National Park, stunning waterfalls and the Illawarra Fly ziplining and treetop walk experience.

Find things to do in Robertson here.

Things to do in the Southern Highlands NSW

Robertson NSW: Sydney Day Trips

Things to do in Robertson NSW

Things to do in Robertson NSW

Robertson is known for their fertile land and potato growing, and is also where the 1995 movie Babe was filmed. The area is also home to the Budderoo National Park, stunning waterfalls and the Illawarra Fly ziplining and treetop walk experience. Robertson is an appox 90 minutes drive south of Sydney.

The Big Potato

Robertson Big Potato

The Big Potato was modelled on the Sebgo potato. At approx 10 metres long and four metres high, it’s a rather large spud that sits in the middle of a park on the side of the Illawarra Highway. 

Illawarra Highway, Robertson

Robertson Pie Shop

Robertson Pie Shop, Southern Highlands Australia

The popular pie shop is the spot to drop by for a hot savoury or sweet fruit pie. The Robertson pie Shop has been a family-run business for 37 years. It’s a very casual shop, with plenty of seating. Pies are served to go. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available. We loved the ricotta and spinach rolls and took home a large peach pie.

4400 Illawarra Highway, Robertson
robertsonpieshop.com.au

Robertson Cheese Factory

Robertson Cheese Factory, Southern Highlands Australia

The Robertson Cheese Store has Australian and imported cheese, local produce and a range of gourmet products. It also houses a variety of specialty stores including clothing and homewares, plus a cafe onsite.

Robertson Cheese Factory, Southern Highlands Australia

Visit the pottery shop outside next to the car park. The amazing mugs, vases, candle holders and curios are beautifully made by local artists.

107 Hoddle St, Robertson

Carrington Falls

Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia

The magnificent Carrington Falls, a 50m waterfall plunging into a natural swimming gully, is located in the Budderoo National Park in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

The Kangaroo River flows over a sandstone escarpment into the gully below. There is a loop walk that takes approximately 25 minutes to complete and takes visitors to three lookouts with stunning views as well past cascades, waterholes and rockpools. 

Read more about visiting Carrington Falls here

Fitzroy Falls

Fitzroy Falls, Morton national Park, NSW, Australia

The spectacular Fitzroy Falls is located inside the Morton National Park, in the Southern Highlands of NSW, a two hour drive from Sydney or Canberra and 60mins from Wollongong. The 81-metre waterfall is easy to access and makes for a stunning day trip.

Fitzroy Falls are viewable from several lookout points, the first of which is only a short walk from the Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre and is full accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.

Read more about visiting Fitzroy Falls here

Illawarra Fly

Illawarra Fly, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Fly through the tree tops at Illawarra Fly, the highest zipline tour in Australia. Illawarra Fly is located 2 hours south of Sydney, and also includes a 1.5km Treetop walk.  

Read more about Illawarra Fly here.

Things to do in nearby Bowral

Corbett Gardens, Berrima NSW

Bowral is the largest town in the Southern Highlands. It’s a great spot for shopping, dining, bush walking and visiting local attractions including the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame.

Find things do to in Bowral here.

Things to do in nearby Berrima

Berrima Courthouse

The historic village of Berrima makes for a charming and character-filled day trip. Stroll through the streets with their colonial sandstone buildings, visit the Berrima Courthouse or while the day away at a cafe.

Find things to do in Berrima here.

Things to do in Robertson NSW

Things to do in Bowral NSW

Things to do in Bowral NSW

Things to do in Bowral NSW

Bowral NSW

Bowral is the largest town in the Southern Highlands, around 90 minutes drive south of Sydney. It’s a great spot for shopping, dining, bush walking and visiting local attractions. There are plenty of things to do in Bowral!

Corbett Gardens

Corbett Gardens, Berrima NSW

This beautiful park is the main attraction every spring for the Tulip Time Festival. The garden itself dates back to 1911 when the local tourist association bought Deadmans Paddock at the suggestion of Mrs Ada Corbett, and transformed it into a public park . Each spring the park blooms with 75,000 tulips and 15,000 annuals.

Corbett Gardens, Berrima NSW

The garden is free to enter except during the Tulip Time Festival. If you attend the festival, an absolute must is to try the Devonshire Tea in the tea rooms run by the Country Women’s Association.

Wingecarribee St, Bowral

Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

The Bradman Museum, Bowral

Take a trip back to the glory days of cricket with a visit to the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame in the country town of Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands.

The museum features state-of-the-art interactive exhibits and a large collection of cricket memorabilia. Adjacent to the park where the Bradman Museum is housed you’ll find a cricket-themed children’s playground.

St Jude Street, Bowral
bradman.com.au

Image courtesy of DNSW.

Mary Poppins statue

Mary Poppins author Pamela L. Travers lived in Bowral as a child in a house on Holly Street. Local legend says that the famous story was born in the town, where Travers would tell the story of a nanny who floated in on the north wind to her younger sisters. The statue was unveiled in 2013 to commemorate the famous resident.

Bowral Street, Glebe Park, Bowral

Dirty Jane’s Emporium and Antique Market

A family business, Dirty Jane’s is a unique shopping experience located inside a large warehouse. Over 75 independent dealers have shops set up inside, selling a range of vintage and antique pieces including furniture, homewares, artwork, clothing, jewellery, kitchenware, glassware, china, collectibles and more.

You will want to spend a solid hour or more pouring over all the treasures inside!

13-15 Banyette St, Bowral
dirtyjanes.com

Dirty Jane’s Tea Salon

Stop by Dirty Jane’s Tea Salon for delectable scones and pastries. They serve delicious tea blends in fine bone china cups, plus a range of light meals including gourmet sandwiches, tarts, soups, cakes and what has been called Bowral’s finest High Tea.

We highly enjoyed our rose scones. The tea salon offers a different selection of scones daily and is open seven days, 10am to 4pm.

13-15 Banyette St, Bowral
dirtyjanes.com

Gumnut Patisserie

Gumnut Patisserie Bowral Berrima

This famous patisserie attracts day trippers like us from Sydney and a line out the door is not an uncommon sight. Gumnut Patisserie are famous for their savoury pies and exquisite pastries. Their individually-made single-serve cakes and tarts are masterpieces, but we also loved the nostalgic, old school pastries like their vanilla and caramel slices.

Gumnut Patisserie Bowral Berrima

Gumnut Patisserie is in three locations in the Southern Highlands: Berrima, Bowral and Mittagong. 

Shop 1, Post Office Corner, Hume Highway, Berrima
gumnutpatisserie.com.au

The Press Shop

Bowral Press Shop

This modern cafe is home to the locally owned Bespoke Letterpress, making for a unique place to dine and shop for fine stationary in the one place.

Bowral Press Shop

The Press Shop is known for their excellent coffee and seasonal menu (there is a kids’ menu available for children aged 12 an under).

Bowral Press Shop

A stunning blue curved door on the main street of Bowral marks the entry. 

5/391-397 Bong Bong St, Bowral
thepressshop.com.au

Green Lane

Green Lane

This leafy boulevard is home to the restaurant Harry’s on Green Lane, The Potting Shed garden centre and the elegant The Orangery.

Green Lane

Harry’s on Green Lane is open daily from 10am for brunch coffee and snacks, with lunch from 12pm. Green Lane Kitchen serves takeaway coffee and meals if you need food to go. The alfresco dining area is the big draw here for us. The tables are tucked away inside what looks like a citrus grove, giving it an airy, leafy feeling.

Green Lane

Stop by The Orangery to browse their palms, ferns and indoor plants plus a colourful selection of vintage tables, lamps, vases, jardinieres, candles and gift items.

15-17 Banyette St, Bowral
harryswinebarbowral.com

thepottingshedbowral.com

Things do to in nearby Berrima

Berrima Courthouse

The nearby historic village of Berrima makes for a charming and character-filled day trip. Stroll through the streets with their colonial sandstone buildings, visit the Berrima Courthouse or while the day away at a cafe. Berrima is a 10 min drive from Bowral.

Find things to do in Berrima here.

Things to do in nearby Robertson

Robertson Cheese Factory, Southern Highlands Australia

Robertson is known for their fertile land and potato growing, and is also where the 1995 movie Babe was filmed. The area is also home to the Budaroo National Park, stunning waterfalls and the Illawarra Fly ziplining and treetop walk experience.

Find things to do in Robertson here.

Things to do in Bowral NSW

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids here.

Find things to do in Sydney for free here.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney here.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney here.

Find the best high teas in Sydney here.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney here.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day here.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney here.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney here.

Cool down at one of these free water parks in Sydney.

Historic Berrima, NSW: Sydney Day Trips

Berrima, NSW: Sydney Day Trips

Things to do in historic Berrima

The historic village of Berrima makes for a charming and character-filled day trip. Stroll through the streets with their colonial sandstone buildings, visit the Berrima Courthouse or while the day away at a cafe.

Berrima Courthouse

Berrima Courthouse

The historic Berrima Courthouse was built in 1837. It is now home to a unique theatrical experience including the Son et Lumiere (sound and light show) titled “Treachery Treason and Murder”.  The dramatic audio visual experience depicts an infamous trial set in the 1840s. 

Argyle St, Berrima
berrimacourthouse.org.au
 

Bendooley Estate Book Barn

Berkelouw Books, Berrima, Southern Highlands

A must for bibliophiles, the Book Barn is located inside a transformed hay shed on the historic Bendooley Estate. The Book Barn is packed with thousands of new, second-hand, rare and antiquarian books, including an excellent children’s section.

Berkelouw Books, Berrima, Southern Highlands

After browsing the books, take a seat in front of the fireplace and enjoy lunch at the Bendooley Estate Restaurant and cellar door. The woodfire pizzas are excellent. You can also drop by for coffee and a snack.

3020 Old Hume Hwy, Berrima
bendooleyestate.com.au
 

Berrima Heritage Walk

Berrima

Berrima was established in the 1830s and is the best preserved example of a Georgian village on the Australian mainland. Take a heritage walk in Berrima and enjoy a glimpse at Australia’s past. A map can be downloaded here

Lolly Swagman

Lolly Swagman, Berrima NSW

The sweetest spot in Berrima, the Lolly Swagman stocks old favourite lollies and chocolates, Dutch, English and American imports and homemade fudge. Try the Coconut ice, which is made to made to Lolly Swagman’s grandmother’s original century-old recipe.

Lolly Swagman, Berrima NSW

Old Hume Highway, Berrima
lollyswagman.com.au

The General Store & Cafe

The Berrima General Store, Southern Highlands

This rustic cafe serves up hearty meals in a casual, friendly environment. The General Store & Cafe offers breakfast, lunch, coffee and pastries.

The Berrima General Store, Southern Highlands

The cafe is large and has plenty of space for families and big groups. The General Store & Cafe are particularly family-friendly, and have a focus on local produce and beautiful food.

1/13 Old Hume Highway, Berrima
facebook.com/berrimageneralstoreandcafe

Gumnut Patisserie

Gumnut Patisserie Bowral Berrima

This famous patisserie attracts day trippers like us from Sydney and a line out the door is not an uncommon sight. Gumnut Patisserie are famous for their savoury pies and exquisite pastries. Their individually-made single-serve cakes and tarts are masterpieces, but we also loved the nostalgic, old school pastries like their vanilla and caramel slices.

Gumnut Patisserie Bowral Berrima

Gumnut Patisserie is in three locations in the Southern Highlands: Berrima, Bowral and Mittagong. 

Shop 1, Post Office Corner, Hume Highway, Berrima
gumnutpatisserie.com.au

Berrima Marketplace Park

This gorgeous playground is beautifully themed to historic Berrima and is located in a family friendly park with easy access and great facilities. In the park you will also find toilets, picnic tables, electric BBQs and a large shelter shed.

Old Hume Highway, Berrima

Things to do in nearby Bowral

Corbett Gardens, Berrima NSW

Only 10 mins drive away is Bowral, the largest town in the Southern Highlands. It’s a great spot for shopping, dining, bush walking and visiting local attractions including the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame.

Find things to do in Bowral here.

Things to do in nearby Robertson

Robertson Cheese Factory, Southern Highlands Australia

Robertson is known for their fertile land and potato growing, and is also where the 1995 movie Babe was filmed. The area is also home to the Budaroo National Park, stunning waterfalls and the Illawarra Fly ziplining and treetop walk experience.

Find things to do in Robertson here.

Berrima, NSW: Sydney Day Trips

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids here.

Find things to do in Sydney for free here.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney here.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney here.

Find the best high teas in Sydney here.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney here.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day here.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney here.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney here.

Cool down at one of these free water parks in Sydney.

Carrington Falls and Nellies Glen, Budderoo National Park, NSW

Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia

Carrington Falls and Nellies Glen, Budderoo National Park, NSW

The magnificent Carrington Falls, a 50m waterfall plunging into a natural swimming gully, is located in the Budderoo National Park in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

The Kangaroo River flows over a sandstone escarpment into the gully below. There is a loop walk that takes approximately 25 minutes to complete and takes visitors to three lookouts with stunning views as well past cascades, waterholes and rockpools. 

Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia

The loop walk starts from northern car park off Jamberoo Mountain Road. Start at Carrington Falls picnic area, also known as Thomas Place. Located in the park’s north west, there is a picnic area here and rest rooms and the start of a variety of walking trails. The start of the path is paved and there is disabled access to the first lookout.

Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia

Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia

Further along the path are more lookouts and a gorgeous rock shelf with large pools of water.

Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia

Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia

Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia

From the lower car park, at the Nellies Glen picnic area, visitors can choose from more scenic walks, including the Warris Chair lookout track or Missingham lookout track for views over Carrington Falls Gorge. 

Nellies Glen picnic area is another gorgeous spot. A 100m walk from the car park leads to a short cascading waterfall that flows into a natural swimming hole. Bring towels and take a swim if you don’t mind the water on the chilly side!

Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia

Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia

From the Nellies Glen picnic area we we also took the Warris Chair lookout trail, which is a 1km / 1 hour return walk to a gorgeous lookout.

Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia

Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia

Get more info on Carrington Falls here

Carrington Falls, Southern Highlands, Australia

The DVC Point Rental System Explained

The DVC Point Rental System Explained

Stay at Disney hotels around the world for less by booking a Disney Vacation Club Rental (aka DVC Rental). Save around 30-50% off Disney premium hotels by booking a room through the DVC point rental system. 

The DVC Point Rental System Explained

On our recent trip to Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa, we saved a lot of money by using the DVC point rental system. It was daunting to try a system that wasn’t through the official hotel channel, but worked out extremely well so I can now highly recommend it.

Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa, Oahu, Hawaii

The basics of DVC Point Rental

People buy points from the Disney Vacation Club, like a timeshare arrangement. They are then the owner of these points. If they aren’t using the points themselves, the owner may choose to “rent” the points to a rentee, in exchange for payment. The amount of the payment is determined by the number of points needed for the reservation. The cost per-point is agreed upon by both parties – or by a third party who mediates between the two. The owner of the points then makes a reservation for the rentee under the rentee’s name. 

The rentee also benefits from free parking, which is included for Disney Vacation Club members. At Aulani, parking costs $37USD per day so it’s quite a saving.

One other cost-saving benefit is paying no taxes or resort fees (except for in Hawaii where there is a very small tax on the room that is paid at check in. It was about $19 from memory). Free wifi is also included.

Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa, Oahu, Hawaii

Where to rent DVC points from

While you can rent points directly from members this can be a riskier exchange. I prefer to rent Disney Vacation Club points from either DVC Rental Store or David’s Vacation Club Rentals. I used the later on my last trip. Both are reputable businesses and are pretty similar, however DVC Rental Store has a few advantages do not require a deposit to search for availability and they offer point protection (insurance). I was extremely happy with David’s however and I would use them again.

You can use this tool to search for resort availability before even contacting DVC Rental Store or David’s.

Some of the sites require a refundable fee of $50 -$75 USD to perform the search for room availability. If they find you an available room then the amount is applied to the overall rental price. If there is no availability found then the money is refunded.

Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa, Oahu, Hawaii

DVC Point Rental = lack of booking control

This was the biggest concern for me (after the concern about the booking not going through at all). Since the owner of the points booked the room for us, we had no control over the reservation whatsoever. I put in a request for the type of room we wanted, which the broker (David’s) passed on to the renter, who passed it on to the resort. It gets quite convoluted, fast. Luckily we got exactly the type of room we were after, but we didn’t know what we would get until we arrived. Likewise if we had wanted to make any changes to the reservation, we would have had to go through the broker to ask the owner to submit any changes for us again. You cannot call the Disney Vacation Club directly as they will only speak with the member themselves. 

Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa, Oahu, Hawaii

Pay in advance, no refunds given

This is a biggie – you must pay the full amount of the booking upfront, and there are no refunds given. I highly suggest looking into travel insurance and dig into the details to make sure it covers timeshare rentals like this. 

Which resorts can you book?

Disney has three types of resorts – value, moderate and deluxe. The Disney Vacation Club villas are located at the deluxe resorts only. This includes Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, the Grand Californian at Disneyland, at WDW the Polynesian, Contemporary & Grand Floridian at the Magic Kingdom, Disney Beach Club, Boardwalk, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Old Key West  and Saratoga Springs. The other resorts (value and moderate) have cheaper rooms that might be on-par cost wise with renting DVC points at these deluxe resorts.

Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa, Oahu, Hawaii

Included amenities with DVC point rentals

Staying on points at a Disney hotel means you get all the benefits of a traditional booking, plus a few extras.

Free parking
In Florida, free transportation from the airport through Disney’s Magical Express
Magic Bands
Booking Fastpass + 60 days in advance
Booking dining reservations 180 days in advance,

The Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at Disneyland California

When to book to secure a room

Getting the room you want requires being extremely organised and booking ahead – 7-11 months is ideal. There’s a limited supply of rooms on offer. The reason for this is that a perk of ownership for a Disney Vacation Club Member is that they are able to book a room at their home resort (the resort they own the points at) 11 months in advance. At 7 months out, every DVC Member is able to book at any resort, so the remaining rooms get booked quickly at this point.

We booked 11 months out to secure our room at Aulani.

Staying in a DVC Villa: what to expect 

The rooms are a bit different to the traditional hotel rooms. Our studio was basically the same as it had a queen bed and a pullout couch, plus a mini-fridge and microwave, however the larger rooms have extra amenities like a full kitchen in a 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom or grand villa plus a washer/dryer.

Housekeeping is performed on days four and eight rather than daily. Stays seven nights or less days receive “Trash and Towel Service” on day four, where housekeeping empties the rubbish and puts in new bin liners, brings fresh towels, replaces shampoo, facial soap and bath soap, paper towels and toilet paper, coffee, sugar, cream, dishwashing liquid, dishwasher detergent, sponges, and laundry detergent as needed.

Stays eight nights or longer receive a full cleaning on day four that includes changing the bed linen, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen/kitchenette, and Trash and Towel Service on day eight.

If you need extra towels or amenities you can call housekeeping and they will be brought to the room. While there may be an additional charge listed for this service, it’s often given for free. If you would like daily housekeeping, you can request it at the front desk for an additional fee. 

The Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at Disneyland California

Staying on DVC points: our experience

We have stayed at Aulani as regular visitors and through using the DVC point rental system and definitely noticed a bit of a difference. Using the DVC points we were able to line up at the from desk in the DVC member queue which is shorter, and were greeted effusively “back home” by the cast members. At the pool we were given a sparkly band for DVC members only which was a lot prettier than the regular bands! While the cast members are always extremely friendly and courteous I did notice they were even friendlier than usual when they knew we were DVC.

Related posts

Read more about our most recent stay at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa here.

Read a full review of Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa here.

Read a full review of the Grand Californian Hotel here.

Get tips for Disneyland first-timers here.

Read about celebrating Halloween at Disneyland here.

Find out about celebrating the holidays at Disneyland here.

The DVC Point Rental System Explained

 

A Day At The National Museum of Australia, Canberra

National Museum of Canberra Australia

 

National Museum of Australia

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

The National Museum of Australia, in the nation’s capital Canberra, preserves and interprets Australia’s social history, exploring the key issues, people and events that have shaped the nation. 

The museum’s National Historical Collection is home to an impressive 210,000 objects representing Australia’s history and cultural heritage.

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

We particularly loved the 3x10m cast of the Aussie dinosaur Muttaburrasaurus in the main hall. The fossilised dinosaur was found on a sheep property near the town of Muttaburra in central-west Queensland in 1963. Palaeontologists named it Muttaburrasaurus langdoni. The Muttaburrasaurus was a herbivore who lived lived about 100–110 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period, when Australia was part of the Gondwana supercontinent. 

Highlights at the National Museum of Australia

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

Journeys Exhibition

 
Explores the journeys of people across Australia and into the Pacific including Indigenous trade, exchange and ceremony, early explorers and settlers, migrants, travellers and tourists, plus modern day sportsmen and women, artists and scientists.

First Australians

The stories and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can be found in the largest gallery in the museum. 

Landmarks

 
Australian history can be found in this exhibition, which tells the stories of first British colonies established on Aboriginal lands and how settlers spread across the country, discovered gold, developed our democratic government, grew agriculture, developed mining and manufacturing, and created our urban nation.
 

Old New Land

 
The land is the focus of this exhibition, including Australia’s diverse and unique plants and animals.

Kspace

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

An absolute must for kids! Kspace is an interactive adventure game for kids aged 5-12. Adults are welcome to participate too. Kspace lets visitors build their own time-travelling robot and then blast off into a mystery location in Australia’s past. Kspace takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Kspace is fun to play multiple times as each time you play the variables are different. You can create the robot differently and be sent to a different time period such as Victorian goldfields of 1854 or Sydney in the 1930s when the Harbour Bridge was being built. We were sent to the time of the dinosaurs. 

The Antarctica Experience

A virtual reality film, screened daily, the Antarctica Experience costs $20 for admission and takes 30 minutes to complete. Not recommended for children under the age of 13.

 

The Museum Cafe

The cafe has a stunning view of Lake Burley Griffin. The menu features locally-made cakes and pastries, seasonal light meals and daily specials.

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

National Museum of Australia
Lawson Crescent

Acton Peninsula, Canberra
Hours: Daily, 9am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Cafe: Daily 9am–4.45pm

Prices: Free
Parking: 8.30am to 5pm weekdays, $2.90 per hour or $14 per day. Short-stay machines accept Visa, MasterCard and coins.
Online

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Canberra, Australia

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is a 54.5 square kilometres protected area, on the fringe of Namadgi National Park in Canberra, Australia. Tidbinbilla is home to a wide range of wildlife including koalas, emus, kangaroos, platypus, wombats, potoroos, wallaroos, possums, water birds, echidnas, snakes and much more.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Located around 35km or 40 minutes drive from the Canberra CBD, Tidbinbilla is a fantastic spot to escape the city and enjoy wildlife and nature. 

Visitor Centre

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The first stop is the Visitor Centre, where you can pick up a map, shop for a unique gift or grab a coffee or light snack in the kiosk. There are many picnic and barbecue areas throughout Tidbinbilla however no proper cafes, so either grab a snack such as ice cream, hot pies and sausage rolls, cold drinks (vegetarian options available) or BYO food.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Pick up a map of the reserve and a kids nature trail. It has a list of animals to tick off and makes for a fun activity to encourage kids to keep their eyes peeled.

Tidbinbilla manages breeding programs for the critically endangered Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby, the Tasmanian Bettong and the Northern Corroboree Frog, the last of which you can see at the Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre. The Rock-wallaby is shy but may be glimpsed in the Rock-wallaby habitat. 

To enter the reserve requires passing through a gate and paying an entry fee. There are numerous walking trails throughout the reserve. The park rangers can advise on which is best for your individual needs and desires. 

We wanted to see wildlife and a not-too-long walk so were recommended parking at the Ribbon Gum car park to access two walks, the Koala Path and Sanctuary Loop.

Koala Path

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The Koala Path is a 700m return walk that takes around 20 minutes and is graded easy. There are plenty of koalas to be spotted here, as well as wombats, potoroos and wallabies.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Sanctuary Loop

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The Sanctuary Loop is a 2.1 km return circular track that takes around 90 minutes and is graded easy. It consists of a series of interconnected habitat zones which are linked by a wheelchair-friendly walking trail. The Sanctuary is surrounded by a predator-proof fence, providing a safe refuge for the wildlife within. 

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The trail takes winding turns through various habitats including wetlands and bush. Animals such as Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies, platypus, echidnas, birds, and other animals can be seen here. We were lucky enough to spot platypus swimming and other visitors we ran into saw a large snake. We also saw beautiful swans and pelicans. 

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Nature Discovery Playground

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

A last stop on the way out, the Nature Discovery Playground is perfect for kids. I would suggest this area for a picnic after seeing the animals on the other walks. 

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

The playground is sprawling and features various zones with a nature theme. There are play areas for different ages including slides, a flying fox and climbing equipment.

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Know before you go

There are no bins at Tidbinbilla so take your rubbish with you.

No pets allowed.

No camping in the reserve.

Fires only permitted in authorised places.

Drive carefully and observe the 35 km speed limit for the safety of the wildlife.

A vehicle is required to access Tidbinbilla with a 15km ring road taking you through the Reserve.

Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia Tidbinbilla Canberra Australia

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Paddy’s River Road,
Paddys River ACT

Access is off Paddy’s River Road, via Cotter Road (Weston Creek). An alternative route via Drakeford Drive, Woodcock Ave and Point Hut Crossing (Gordon) allows access via Tidbinbilla Road. Drive time is less than 20 minutes.

Hours: Visitors Centre daily 9am-5pm. reserve gates daily, winter 7:30am-6pm, summer 7:30am-8pm.
Parking: Entry fees are required to enter the park. A day pass is $13 for a vehicle with seats for up to 8 people.
Download the guide here.
tidbinbilla.act.gov.au

Find more things to to in Canberra here

Blasting Off Into Space At The Canberra Deep Space Centre

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

CSIRO – Tidbinbilla – Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex is a working Earth station located in Tidbinbilla in the ACT. Housed within the complex, the Canberra Space Centre features exhibits on the past, present and future of space exploration.

The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex opened in Tidbinbilla, about 35kms southwest of the city of Canberra, in 1965 to track the Apollo Lunar Module. 

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Canberra Space Centre

Canberra Space Centre offer visitors the opportunity to learn about Australia’s role in the exploration of space. The centre is not extremely large – its basically two large rooms joined together, but the rooms are packed with exhibits and information. 

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Of particular note are the piece of moon rock over 3.8 billion years old, Solar System images, spacecraft models, space hardware and special items of memorabilia from across the years. We all found it fascinating reading about what astronauts eat in space, seeing their authentic clothing and space suits and reading about disasters, challenges and victories made in space.

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Several of the exhibits are interactive, making it a fun spot to take kids, as well.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

Space enthusiasts will particularly enjoy seeing the largest steerable parabolic antenna in the Southern Hemisphere.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

The Moon Rock Cafe is an excellent spot to have lunch or afternoon tea. We really enjoyed our meal and would highly recommend dining in.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia

The cafe has an indoor and outdoor under-covered seating area. The outdoor area is next to the fenced playground, which has a shade cloth, and is next to the public toilets.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia Canberra Deep Space, Australia

I would suggest combining a visit to the Canberra Space Centre with seeing nearby Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Together they make an excellent day trip.

Canberra Deep Space, Australia

It takes about 45 minutes to drive from the Canberra CBD to Tidbinbilla. It’s a very remote area so please note that mobile coverage in the area is limited, the roads are rough and the nearest petrol station is 25km away. Please drive carefully as it’s an area with lots of wildlife.

CSIRO – Tidbinbilla – Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
421 Discovery Dr,
Paddys River ACT 

Visitor Centre
Hours: Daily 9am-5pm
Prices: Free
Moon Rock Café
Hours: Daily 9:30am-4pm. 
cdscc.nasa.gov

Find more things to do in Canberra here.