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Australia

Tips for Visiting SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

Meet over 10,000 animals at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium. The aquarium is located in central Melbourne, Australia, on the banks of the Yarra River.

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is home to some of the the world’s most incredible animals. Visitors can get up close to penguins, sharks, sawfish, stingrays, seahorses, tropical fish and more!

Tips for visiting SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

Book your tickets online

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
Save between 5% and 15% when you book your ticket online in advance, and even more if you bundle your ticket with another Merlin Entertainment attraction such as the LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Melbourne. You have 90 days to visit the second attraction once you redeem your aquarium ticket, so it’s a great deal.

Follow the map

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

It might sound obvious, but pick up the map at the entrance and follow the trail. It’s the most comprehensive way to see everything. The aquarium is over several floors, so it’s easiest to go around the exhibits in an orderly fashion. 

Make the most of the photo ops

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

Aquariums are generally a bit tricky to take pics of your kids inside as the lighting can be quite dark. the aquarium has several really cure photo ops with decent lighting around the aquarium so you can come home with a few decent family shots.

Take a food break early

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

We pretty much arrived and needed a snack break to fuel us for our visit. The cafe is centrally located and has a huge fish tank in the centre, with plenty of tables around the edges and restrooms.

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

You can buy reasonably priced meals such as pizzas or nuggets and chips, or bring your own feed and eat it at the tables. We also used this time to make sure everyone had used the bathroom before heading deeper into the aquarium.

Mix it up

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium does a great job at mixing sea life exhibits with interactive zones, which are a great way to entertain kids. If you’re not short on time, I suggest letting kids enjoy the interactive areas and taking a break.

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

The brand new Interactive Wonder Wall is a fantastic spot for playing. It’s an all-new immersive, digital installation inspired by underwater movement. 

Learn lots

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

My mini explorer is wild about sea life, so a trip to the aquarium for us is a learning experience. The best way to do this is by speaking with the staff around the aquarium. They are so happy to share their knowledge. 

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

There are plenty of feedings and talks on throughout the day to attend, too. Check out the timetable to see what’s on when you visit.

Meet the jellies

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

The brand new Ocean Invaders section of the aquarium is excellent. There are three interactive zones to explore, filled with creatures such as upside down jellies, blue blubbers and sea nettles. 

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

We loved seeing teeny tiny jellyfish babies in the lab.

Meet the animals up close

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

For a special occasion, check out these thrilling experiences – such as getting face-to-face with sharks or penguins!

Head back to the Ice Age

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

Enjoy a 4D cinema experience with Ice Age: No Time For Nuts, included in the general admission fee.

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SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
Kit Haselden Photography – http://www.kithaselden.com[/caption%5D

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

[caption id="attachment_37057" align="aligncenter" width="467"]SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium Creator Aaron Walker Photography

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
King St, Melbourne VIC
1800 026 576
https://www.melbourneaquarium.com.au/

Find more things to do in Melbourne with kids.

Enjoy a Langham High Tea Melbourne.

We were hosted by SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium. All opinions are my own.

Rain Room Melbourne: Tips For Visiting

Rain Room

 

Rain Room Melbourne at the Jackalope Pavillion

Information about the Rain Room

The immersive artwork Rain Room has found a permanent home in Australia at the Jackalope Pavillion in Melbourne. Making its Southern Hemisphere debut in August 2019, the Rain Room Melbourne has captivated over half a million visitors worldwide – with no signs of slowing down.

Rain Room Melbourne

The Rain Room is a 100-square metre field of continuous rainfall housed inside a purpose-built pavilion in St Kilda. The Rain Room Melbourne is a responsive environment, meaning as you walk through the room, the rain response to your movement, and ceases to fall. 

The clever technology behind the Rain Room has created a completely immersive experience whereby the visitor is able to walk though the rain – and not get wet. 

Rain Room Melbourne

The pavilion is located on the rooftop of a building – follow the signs to the elevator and take it to the top. The building and elevator are both well signed.

On the rooftop, umbrellas are set up for small amounts of shade, and there is a ping pong table for entertaining those who need it while they wait for their session. 

Restrooms are temporary facilities on top of the roof, accessible by a ramp. There are no restrooms inside the Rain Room.

Bags and strollers are not permitted inside the Rain Room. Bags can be checked into free lockers just outside the entrance.

Expect to be mustered around five minutes before your booking time and to enter right on time.

Inside the Rain Room

We booked our tickets in the first session of the morning, at 10am. The session was fully booked, however some ticket holders didn’t show up, which meant our session wasn’t technically full. We had approximately 10-15 people in our session.

While the pavilion is large, with a group of people inside it, it feels quite small, as the rain responds to all the people in it – meaning if there are lots of people in the rain, more rain will be turned off, and less will be falling. 

The staff let us know that in fully booked sessions the group is often split into two smaller groups, to allow each group to fully enjoy the Rain Room. 

Rain Room Melbourne

Since our group was not full, we entered as one group, with the suggestion that we didn’t spend all of our time actually in the rain but divided our time between being in it and standing on the wall in the dry area so that there as more rain falling for those in the rain. 

Rain Room Melbourne

Each session runs for 30 minutes, which includes time that is spent waiting inside the entrance for any ticket holders who are late. We probably spent around 20 minutes actually in the Rain Room Melbourne.

Getting wet – or staying dry

Rain Room Melbourne

While the premise of the Rain Room is that visitors can walk through the rain without getting wet, the reality is that you can expect to get wet, no matter how hard you try to stay dry. We were instructed to walk slowly and not to walk near other people as moving quickly and groups of people confuse the technology and make it more likely that you will get wet. 

Rain Room Melbourne

We found that no matter how slowly we walked, we still got wet. If this is something that bothers you, take a change of clothes and shoes to change into afterwards.

Photography inside the Rain Room

Rain Room Melbourne

Photography in the Rain Room is tricky. The room is extremely dark except for the one bright light shining from the back wall, and there are a lot of people also in the rain. I took many, many bad photos that were out of focus or filled with other people to get just a few that I considered great. 

Rain Room Melbourne

My best photos were taken at the end of the session after everyone else had left and we were the last people to leave the room. 

Rain Room Melbourne

The Rain Room Melbourne offers school holiday kids sessions, designed for families with kids aged 12 and under to experience the Rain Room in an interactive and fun format. We did not do one of these sessions however, and our session was full of kids, so it’s fine to do either session. If you want to do a kid-friendly session during the school holidays, look for times marked ‘KIDS SESSION’ in the session times. Kids under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Rain Room Melbourne

The Rain Room is a flat, even surface, with good sized doors and no steps or bumps, for those interested in a accessibility. The grates on the floor are very small and would accommodate a wheelchair. 

I highly recommend booking tickets at least a week in advance.

Rain Room Melbourne at the Jackalope Pavillion
Corner Jackson and, Acland St, St Kilda VIC
https://www.jackalopehotels.com/art/rainroom
https://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=RAINROOM19

Find more things to do in Melbourne with kids.

Enjoy an elegant afternoon with the Langham High Tea Melbourne.

The Langham High Tea Melbourne

Langham High Tea Melbourne

Enjoy an elegant afternoon tea experience with The Langham High Tea Melbourne. The Langham and Wedgwood have collaborated to present a special experience, “The Langham Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood”.

The Langham, Melbourne

Wedgwood specialty teas are served up in tailor-made “Langham Rose” Wedgwood tea ware, alongside a with special menu created by the hotel’s pastry chefs.

The Langham, Melbourne, High Tea

The Langham, Melbourne, High Tea

Boutique Morsels

The Langham, Melbourne, High Tea

Gin & Kaffir lime cured Tasmanian salmon, crème fraiche, Rubicon River salmon pearls on blinis*
Queensland Yeppoon Spanner crab, Marie Rose sauce & cucumber, mini choux*
Yarra Valley Persian feta crostini with micro basil and confit tomato
Bendigo chicken and chive sandwich, Birch & Waite mayonnaise*

I received a mix of vegetarian sandwiches instead.

Savoury

The Langham, Melbourne, High Tea

Summer truffle and King Brown mushroom, gruyere bechamel crepe roulade
Quiche Florentine, pencil leek fondue

Sweet

The Langham, Melbourne, High Tea

Saffron panacotta with spiced figs, apricots and long pepper
Victorian summer berries tart
Lemon and kalamansi meringue tart
Blackcurrant cremoux chocolate tulip
Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or whisky chocolate torte with wild morello cherries
Jasmine tea and blueberry dome

Scones

The Langham, Melbourne, High Tea
Raisin scone and plain scone

The Langham, Melbourne, High Tea

Served with rose preserve, Yarra Valley pure cream and lemon curd

The Langham, Melbourne, High Tea

Espresso coffee, tea and hot chocolate

The Langham, Melbourne, High Tea

A delicious and generous high tea. The scones were serves fluffy and fresh, and I enjoyed the wide variety of savoury items. My vegetarian substitutes were delicious!

As always, The Langham staff prove themselves to be efficient and elegant, providing a five-star experience that I always expect from The Langham hotels across Australia. 

Prices
Served with a glass of sparkling wine, Wedgwood tea, Langham Blend tea or espresso coffee
$75 per person

Twilight tea bookings may enjoy either a glass of sparkling wine or a Wedgwood tea infused cocktail served with free flowing sparkling wine
$88 per person*

Served with a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne
$95 per person

Available Monday to Friday

Valid from 28th December 2019 and onwards
10:30am until 8:00pm

*Served for a period of 2 hours. Free flowing sparkling wine is only available if all guests are partaking.

+$5 public holidays. Excludes special events. Prices, times and menus subject to change without notice.

The Langham, Melbourne
1 Southgate Ave, Melbourne
1800 641 107
Online
Book your high tea online

Get directions.

Find more things to do in Melbourne with kids.

We were hosted for this high tea. All opinions are my own.

Peppa Pig High Tea at the Langham, Melbourne

Peppa Pig High Tea at The Langham, Melbourne

Swap muddy puddles for finger sandwiches at this delicious  Peppa Pig-themed high tea at The Langham, Melbourne these school holidays.

The Langham, Melbourne

Weekdays from Friday December 27, 2019, until Friday January 24, 2020, The Langham, Melbourne is offering the most delectable Peppa Pig-themed high tea for little piggies and grownups. 

The Langham, Melbourne, Peppa Pig High Tea

My little piggy was a huge Peppa Pig fan when she was a wee thing, so was absolutely delighted for the opportunity to enjoy this darling pink high tea, filled with all tasty things that I’m sure Peppa herself would have approved of. 

The Langham, Melbourne, Peppa Pig High Tea

Peppa Pig High Tea Menu

The Langham, Melbourne, Peppa Pig High Tea

Savoury buffet with hot chips, chicken nuggets, carrot and cucumber slices and dips.

The Langham, Melbourne, Peppa Pig High Tea
Sweet buffet table with cupcakes, mini MnMs, strawberries, chocolate fountain and scones.

Three-tier cake stand that includes:

The Langham, Melbourne, Peppa Pig High Tea
Peppa’s shortbread cookie
Muddy puddle dip cup
Strawberry and marshmallow fruit skewer

The Langham, Melbourne, Peppa Pig High Tea
Fairy bread
Cheese and vegemite brioche

The Langham, Melbourne, Peppa Pig High Tea

Chive and Parmesan Quiche
Honey and soy chicken skewer*

The Langham, Melbourne, Peppa Pig High Tea

Cordial

The Langham, Melbourne, High Tea

Hot chocolate

Our vegetarian stand included a mushroom crepe instead.

The Langham, Melbourne, Peppa Pig High Tea

Little Piggies will also be given a plush toy, colouring activity and Peppa Pig ears.

The Langham, Melbourne, Peppa Pig High Tea

There is also a little play area with Peppa Pig toys that was a smashing hit with the kids, and also encouraged social interaction. How lovely to make new friends at a high tea!

The Langham, Melbourne, Peppa Pig High Tea

Parents and grandparents can enjoy the hotel’s signature Wedgwood high tea for $69.00 per person, including a glass of sparkling wine, coffee or tea.

The Langham, Melbourne, High Tea

Read more about the Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood here.

The Peppa Pig High Tea is available at 10am until 11.30am and at 12.30pm until 2pm and costs $69.00 per child.

The Langham, Melbourne, Peppa Pig High Tea The Langham, Melbourne, Peppa Pig High Tea The Langham, Melbourne, Peppa Pig High Tea The Langham, Melbourne, Peppa Pig High Tea The Langham, Melbourne, Peppa Pig High Tea

Bookings may be made via melbarestaurant.com.au (here) by contacting 1800 641 107 or by email to rest.res@langhamhotels.com.

The Langham, Melbourne
1 Southgate Ave, Melbourne
(03) 8696 8888
Get directions.

Find more things to do in Melbourne with kids.

We were hosted for this oink-tacular experience. All opinions are my own.

The Canopy Treehouses: Unique Hotels In Cairns

The Canopy Treehouses, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

The Canopy Treehouses, Cairns

Stay in a treehouse nestled in the rainforest and get up close to Australian wildlife at the Canopy Treehouses in the Cairns Highlands, Queensland, Australia. 

The Canopy Treehouses offers six extremely private treehouses set in 100 acres of rainforest, teeming with wildlife. 

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

In the rainforest, visitors can find wildlife such as cassowaries, rare Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroos, endangered green possums, platypus, turtles, red-legged pademelon, wallabies,  coppery brushtail possums, northern bandicoots and birds including Victoria’s riflebirds, king parrots, spotted catbirds, honeyeaters and finches.

The eco-friendly treehouses are perched high in the rainforest canopy on the banks of the Ithaca River. 

There are three different accommodation options.

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

We stayed in one of the five self-contained timber and glass treehouses. Each treehouse has two bedrooms (one on the lower level and one in the “attic”), fully self-contained kitchen, spa bath and balcony with a BBQ and hammock. Other amenities include washing machine and dryer, telephone, DVD and TV. Each treehouse sleeps two to six people. 

The bedrooms contain either a queen or two single beds, perfect for families. 

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

Each treehouse is built on stilts, with the washing machine and dryer located on the ground level, where you can park your car under the treehouse, Up the first flight of stairs is the first floor , which contains the bathroom, living area, kitchen and bedroom.

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

The second bedroom can be reached by walking up another flight of stairs into a kind of garret room. Note that the second bedroom doesn’t have a complete wall (the wall is balcony height so you can look into the living area) or door so might not be suitable for smaller kids or two couples. 

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

The treehouses are thoughtfully stocked with kitchen and laundry supplies, to make your stay that bit more comfortable. 

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

If you need a bigger treehouse, the Bower House is the three bedroom treehouse, located on top of a ridge on the backing onto the rainforest, with valley and rolling green countryside views. 

Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses

As well as the standard features of the other Treehouses, the Bower House has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, (one including a double spa).

The third accommodation option is the Rainforest Unit which is attached to the main building, looking across the lawn to the rainforest. It has two bedrooms with a queen and single beds and is located at ground level, providing assisted wheelchair access.

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

Guests can take a walk around the beautiful rainforest and enjoy the serenity of the bush. We particularly enjoyed the river with its abundant turtle population.

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

Cairns Canopy Treehouses

We were lucky enough the next morning to meet one of the resident cassowaries as well as the pademelons at dusk. 

Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses

The Canopy Treehouses is located 90 minutes drive from Cairns.

Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses Cairns Canopy Treehouses

Check out things to do in Cairns.

Find things to do in the Atherton Tablelands.

Read about things to do in Cairns.

Swim at Mossman Gorge.

Visit the Daintree Rainforest.

Catch a ride to Fitzroy Island Resort.

Swim on the Great Barrier Reef at the Frankland Islands

 

The Canopy Treehouses
Hogan Road, Tarzali, Queensland, Australia.
Phone : +61 7 4096 5364
Email : stay@canopytreehouses.com.au
Online :canopytreehouses.com.au

Step back in time at Paronella Park, Cairns, Tropical North Queensland

Paronella Park, Cairns

Step back in time at Paronella Park

Paronella Park is a heritage-listed tourist attraction. It is located 120km south of Cairns at Mena Creek, in Tropical North Queensland, Australia.

The park has a special story that has to be heard to be truly understood for the visinary project that it was, when its founder, José Paronella, embarked on his dream to build a castle in the 1930s. 

Cairns Paronella Park

When Paronella Park opened to the public in 1935 it was a true marvel for the day, with a hydro electric generator, castle, tennis courts, bridges, waterfalls and a tunnel, surrounded in a range of 7,500 tropical plants, that have since become a lush rainforest. 

Paronella Park Cairns

Paronella Park has been the winner of multiple Queensland tourism awards, is State and National Heritage listed and is a National Trust listed property. 

Paronella Park Cairns

The park is privately owned by Mark and Judy Evans, who bought the park in 1993 and have been slowly bringing it back to life with renovations and events. 

Paronella Park Cairns

To visit Paronella Park is to step back in time and marvel at the ingenuity and determination shown by one man, who had a dream.

Paronella Park Cairns

On arrival at Paronella Park, visitors are taken on a 45 minute storytelling tour of the highlights of the park. At the end of the tour, visitors are free to roam the grounds and feed the fish and turtles who live in the lake.

Cairns Paronella Park

At night, Paronella Park shines brightest when the String Family performs original compositions against the magically lit cafe building. Check the website for the String Family’s performance schedule. This inspiring performance is part of the night tour. 

Paronella Park Cairns

Getting to Paronella Park

Self drive

paronellapark.com.au/getting-here/self-drive

Coach tours from Cairns

paronellapark.com.au/getting-here/coach-tours-from-cairns

Where to stay

paronellapark.com.au/getting-here/where-to-stay

Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Cairns Paronella Park Paronella Park Cairns

Paronella Park
1671 Innisfail Japoon Rd, Mena Creek
Hours: Daily, 9:30am-7:30pm. Closed Christmas Day.
Online: paronellapark.com.au

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Tips for visiting Josephine Falls, Cairns, Tropical North Queensland

Josephine-Falls

Tips for visiting Josephine Falls, Cairns 

Josephine Falls Cairns

Josephine Falls is a tiered cascade waterfall located in Wooroonan, Cairns, in Tropical North Queensland. 

The falls are an hours drive south of Cairns, in the foothills of Queensland’s highest mountain range, Bartle Frere. 

Josephine Falls Cairns

There is a viewing platform overlooking the cascades and the top pool, where swimming is prohibited. The bottom swimming hole, however, is a large, crystal-clear, pool with a natural rockslide.

Josephine Falls Cairns

To get to Josephine Falls, take the 600m walk from the carpark. The walk is wheelchair and pram accessible up to the viewing platform, however there are steep stairs that lead down to the swimming hole. 

Josephine Falls Cairns

At the bottom of the stairs there is a very small area with built-in benches for sitting on, however most visitors choose to walk from here across the rocks to eat their picnic lunch or take a dip in the water. 

Josephine Falls Cairns

There are modern, clean toilets in the carpark and picnic tables, both of which are also wheelchair accessible. 

Walking Tracks

Josephine Falls Cairns
There are three walking tracks at Josephine Falls. The main one is the Josephine Falls walking track (Grade: easy), distance: 1.2 km return. Allow around 30 minutes if you aren’t planning to stop at the falls.

There are two other walks that start at Josephine Falls: Bartle Frere trail to Broken Nose (Grade: difficult), distance: 10 km return (allow about 8 hours return time) and Bartle Frere trail – Josephine Falls to Atherton Tablelands (Grade: difficult), distance: 15 km one way (allow about 2 days walking time). 

Picnic and other facilities

Josephine Falls Cairns

Take your own food and water to Josephine Falls. There are picnic tables, a shelter shed, a coin-operated electric barbecue and toilets available in the area adjacent to the carpark.

Things to know before you go

*Heavy rainfall can cause rapid rises in creek levels and currents. 
*There is no mobile reception at the falls. 
*Be extremely careful as there have been numerous injuries and even deaths at the falls. It will take at least an hour for emergency services to arrive if something goes wrong. 
*For your safety, swimming in the top section of the falls is prohibited.

Josephine Falls Cairns

Essentials to bring

• a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and insect repellent
• sturdy, reliable footwear
• drinking water

Safety tips for visiting Josephine Falls

 

Josephine Falls Cairns

*Never jump or dive into water—there may be submerged objects.
*Leave the water immediately if it changes colour or the water levels rise—these are signs of flash flooding.
*Take care around steep slopes and rock faces along the track, and at lookouts.
*Supervise children closely.
*Stay on the track and take care on uneven surfaces, especially in wet conditions.
*Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, a hat and a long sleeved shirt, even on cloudy days.
*Treat all water before drinking.

Josephine Falls Cairns

Looking after the park

*Stay on walking tracks / boardwalks to prevent injuries and also protect native plants. 
*Take all litter with you when you leave. 
*Do not disturb any native plants or animals – do not feed the animals or leave food scraps behind.
*Domestic animals are not permitted.

How to get to Josephine Falls 
Josephine Falls Cairns

Josephine Falls is about an hour and 15 minutes south of Cairns. Take the Bruce Highway/Highway 1 south  for around 75km until you reach the town of Miriwinni. Take the Mount Bartle Frere turnoff. Josephine Falls is signposted from here.

More information about Josephine Falls

Josephine Falls Cairns

Josephine Falls is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It is free to enter the park and visit the waterfall.

Read more about visiting Josephine Falls.

Read more about things to do in Cairns

Josephine Falls
LOT 1 Josephine Falls Walk, Bartle Frere QLD
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Cairns Hotel Review: Riley by Crystalbrook

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Cairns Hotel Review: Riley by Crystalbrook

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Enjoy the tropics in style at Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection hotel located on the Cairns Esplanade.

Pool and lobby

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

The hotel is a stylish $170-million redo of the old RydgesTradewinds motel – not that you’d be able to guess it by looking at the slick lobby, breathtaking pool and elegant rooms. The Riley looks like a brand new hotel, one that is bright, light and full of fun.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

At the heart of Riley is its 1,000-square-metre lagoon-style pool. With its sand fringes, the pool is reminiscent of swimming at the beach – a nice feature given that Cairns doesn’t have any beaches.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

There is easy access from the pool to restaurants, spa and the hotel rooms, so it’s always a quick trip down for a dip in the sparkling water.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Sunscreen and water are available for use.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

The lobby is a soaring, welcoming space, with lounges, water available for drinking, and a pool table in a little nook. It’s a spot designed to entice visitors to stay a while and relax.  

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Sustainability 

I really loved the approach to sustainability that the Riley has taken to minimise its hospitality footprint. In the bathrooms are amenities infused with native botanicals, supplied in refillable containers affixed to shower walls, room keycards are little discs made from 100% recycled wood; water is given in cardboard cartons rather than plastic bottles; and menus and area guides are stored on a digital device. In the restaurants around the hotel, stainless steel straws are supplied. 

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Rooms and suites

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

The majority of rooms and suites are located in the restored building, with 55 in a striking new 12-story tower that is also home to two restaurants and a spa.

There are four categories of views on offer: urban, resort, sea and panoramic sea.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

I stayed in a resort view room overlooking for beautiful swimming lagoon. The room included a balcony with chairs, choice of king bed or two king singles, free wifi, Apple iPad Control Centre, 55” HD Smart TV, Staycast by Google Chromecast for video streaming, complimentary movies,  excellent air-con and blackout blinds, nespresso machine with complimentary pods, rainforest shower, freestanding bath, a minibar stocked with local goodies, yoga mat in the wardrobe, iron, hair dryer, safe.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

I absolutely loved the thoughtful little details at the hotel, such as the sleep mask and pillow spray that was left on my bed at night. What a lovely item to take home!

Cairns Riley Crystalbrook

When travelling with kids who are out of the cot, the best option are family rooms, which are adjoining bedrooms with a choice of two king beds or four king singles, or a room with a king bed and requesting a rollaway bed from reception. 

Restaurants

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

There are three restaurants located in the hotel: Rocco, which serves dishes from the Mediterranean region, Greenfields, which offers to nourish your body with wholesome fare and Paper Crane, which is the spot for breakfast in the morning, or Asian cuisine at night.

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

I only dined at Paper Crane in the morning, when the restaurant kickstarted my day with eggs made to order, pastries, yoghurt, fruit and plenty of tea and juice. 

Riley Crystalbrook Cairns

Riley
131-141 Esplanade
Cairns
crystalbrookcollection.com/riley

Find things to do in Cairns.

Muddy’s Playground on Cairns Esplanade

Muddy's Playground Cairns

Muddy’s Playground Cairns Esplanade

This fantastic playground has fenced areas, a splash playground, flying fox, sound chimes, track ride, rope bridge, slides, mouse wheels, play houses, story telling areas, see-saw, trick track and puzzle games. Muddy’s Playground is one of the top Cairns attractions for families and it’s easy to see why!

Muddy's Playground Cairns

Muddy’s Playground is the prefect example of what modern playgrounds should aim for. IIt incorporates active, passive, interactive and educational facilities alongside play equipment.

The theme of Muddy’s Playground “Life in Trinity Bay”, which is reflected in the water play and other elements. 

Cairns Muddys Playground

There are several water play elements spread throughout the park, which lets kids of all ages enjoy the water fun. There is a quiet stream, small jets and larger jets.

Cairns Muddys Playground Muddy's Playground Cairns Muddy's Playground Cairns Muddy's Playground Cairns Muddy's Playground Cairns

Muddy’s was exceptionally well designed to cater to kids of all ages, with equipment and activities that suit toddlers, preschool and junior school age, to tweens. 

Cairns Australia

Bigger kids will love the large climbing frame and slides, plus tunnels to run inside, and the large net climbing structure.

Cairns Australia

Cairns Muddys Playground

Cairns Australia

The toddler area is completely fenced in, which prevents little kids mingling with older kids as well as making it easier to keep track of where whearabouts.

Muddy's Playground Cairns

The toddler are features sand play and some great little houses to play in.

Cairns Australia

Muddy’s also features play equipment for preschool and lower-primary school-aged kids with smaller climbing structures, musical elements and balance elements, plus a giant fish that is endless fun to run in and out of, and reflects the Cairns aquatic theme.

Cairns Australia

There is a disabled-use Liberty Swing which uses the MLAK national keying system. Ask at Muddy’s Cafe for access.

Cairns Muddys Playground

There are two toilet facilities (one at the north end of Muddy’s near the cafe, and one at the southern end of Muddy’s) barbecues and picnic tables and a cafe. 

Cairns Muddys Playground

Muddy’s Cafe, located in the heart of the playground, is open daily, 6am-8pm. They offer a breakfast and lunch/dinner menu for kids.

Cairns Australia

Muddy’s Playground is open every day of the year from 9.00am and 7.00pm (including public holidays and weekends). Sections of Muddy’s are closed for maintenance on Tuesday and/or Thursday mornings until noon. 

Read more about Muddy’s Playground.

A Guide To The Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains in Mount Tomah

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

A Guide To The Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains Mount Tomah

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is the only botanic garden in the world located in a World Heritage area. Home to 21,000 plants of 900 species, the 69-acre garden is located 100km west of Sydney at Mount Tomah, in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Established in 1972, the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is heritage-listed and focusses on the conservation of cool climate plants that do not grow in the warmer climate of Sydney. 

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is approximately a two-hour drive from Sydney’s CBD, on the boundary of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Greater Blue Mountains area. 

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

As well as the cool climate plants, the garden is home to a diverse range of local fauna, including over 150 species of birds, marsupials, lizards and colourful insects. Brush-tailed and ring-tailed possums, sugar gliders and greater gliders might be spotted in the garden, as well as fairy wrens, lyrebirds and cockatoos. During our visit we saw kookaburras and skinks.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

The garden is set out into distinct areas that highlight various plant species. Pick up a free map from the Visitor’s Centre and take a self guided tour around the gardens at your own pace.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Guided walking and shuttle tours are also available daily. Walking tours are free but the 20-minute shuttle tours attracts a fee of $8.50pp (disability Pension card holders, Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Garden members and children under 5 are free.). Check departure times and purchase tickets for tours at the Visitor Centre.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Different parts of the garden bloom throughout the year so no matter when you visit, the garden is beautiful. We visited in spring to see the daffodil display.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Kids can pick up a Children’s Adventure Quest from the Visitor’s Centre for $7.50. It includes everything in the photo below. 

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

There is a discovery centre underneath the Visitor’s Centre that has lots of information about the plants and some hands-on elements for kids.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Eating at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Visitors are more than welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the gardens. If you would like to purchase takeaway coffee, snacks or light meals, the Ugly Mug Kiosk, located near the car park, is open Monday and Tuesday from 9am to 4.30pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9.30am to 5.00pm.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

The Potager, Mount Tomah

The Potager Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

During our visit we dined at The Potager for Father’s Day, an upmarket restaurant with a botanic theme. While the balcony offers incredible views over the garden, it also offers little shade, so we chose to dine instead as we visited on a hot day.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

The Potager has a decent kids’ menu and various options for different diets. I had a vegan option, the Veggie Patch (with local kale, roasted cauliflower and sautéed mushrooms on a bed pumpkin hummus, avocado cream, sun flower seeds, fresh local herbs, $22.90).

The Potager Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Our group also ordered the kids’ Avo & Cheese Sandwich (with chips, $9.50), the Pan Fried Salmon, (with roasted fennel, pumpkin, tomato, spinach, hummus, topped with shaved shallot, $32) and the Botanic Burger (180g Beef patty, bacon, American cheese, pickled onions, house relish, served on toasted milk bun with chips, $26.90).

The Potager Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains The Potager Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains The Potager Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

The food and service were both excellent and I would highly recommend dining here for a bit of a special occasion.

The Potager Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Getting to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden can be accessed via the Bells Line of Road.

Driving from Sydney: From the CBD, cross the harbour heading north and follow the M2 motorway onto the M7 motorway. Take the Richmond Road exit towards Richmond. Follow the signs to Blue Mountains and follow Bells Line of Road from Richmond to the Garden.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Driving from Lithgow: Drive along Chifley Road from Lithgow to Bell. Continue on Bells Line of Road from Bell to the Garden. The Garden is about a 40-minute drive from Lithgow.

The Garden is not accessible by public transport.

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden
Bells Line of Road, Mount Tomah
Hours: Daily, weekdays 9am to 5.30pm, weekends and public holidays: 9.30am to 5.30pm
Prices: Entry to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is FREE.

Get more info on The Potager and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden.

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