Riverhead ferry cruise in Auckland, NZ

Sun-Herald, Australia – January 10, 2016 The MV Kawau Isle looks conspicuous as she pootles into Auckland’s busy Downtown Ferry Terminal. All the other boats buzzing in and out are high-speed catamarans and ferries. We file onboard the elegant green and white wooden cruiser and she putters slowly away from the wharf into Auckland Harbour.Continue reading “Riverhead ferry cruise in Auckland, NZ”

An albatross named Grandma

Sydney Morning Herald & The Age, Australia – January 9, 2016 If Hollywood ever makes a biopic about an albatross (don’t rule it out), Grandma would be the obvious choice. Most albatrosses have one mate and live for around 40 years. Grandma, however, had five husbands (three of whom she outlived and one she marriedContinue reading “An albatross named Grandma”

England – Europe’s unlikely wine capital

Sydney Morning Herald & The Age, Australia – May 30, 2015 “English wine”, much like “English summer”, is an expression normally followed by a punchline. I spent my formative years in England and can’t ever recall seeing English wine on a restaurant menu. So it was with genuine astonishment that I discovered during a recentContinue reading “England – Europe’s unlikely wine capital”

See the Taj Mahal without the crowds

Sydney Morning Herald & The Age, Australia – May 16, 2015 “What’s that?” I ask, pointing at the smoke curling up from the opposite riverbank. “Burning bodies,” replies my guide nonchalantly. “They’ll gather the ashes and scatter them in the Ganges.” Through the smoky haze I can see the world’s most famous monument, a buildingContinue reading “See the Taj Mahal without the crowds”

Sunset kayak to Rangitoto Island, Auckland

Sydney Morning Herald & The Age, Australia – May 9, 2015 “Do you like wearing a skirt?” asks Sarah. “Only at weekends,” I reply, nervously. I pull on the waterproof spray skirt while apprehensively eyeing up the not inconsiderable distance between us and our destination. As the crow flies it’s five kilometres from St HeliersContinue reading “Sunset kayak to Rangitoto Island, Auckland”

Guide to New York sporting events

Escape travel section, Australia – May 3, 2015 New Yorkers love to compete. And they love to watch sports. So it’s not surprising New York is the only American city with more than one team in all five of the country’s most prestigious sports leagues. Whether you’re into American football, baseball, basketball, hockey or soccer,Continue reading “Guide to New York sporting events”

Learn to dance the Bollywood way

Sun-Herald, Australia – March 22, 2015 Hip sway…pelvic thrust…shoulder dip…finger wag. No, that’s not right. I’m thrusting the wrong way. Vibhor smiles patiently and we try again. I’m attempting to learn the steps to Dhinka Chika, a song from the 2011 Bollywood hit Ready, in which leading man Salman Khan (me) tries to woo leadingContinue reading “Learn to dance the Bollywood way”

Air NZ 75th anniversary exhibition at Te Papa museum, Wellington

Sydney Morning Herald & The Age, Australia – March 14, 2015 It’s easy to get all misty-eyed about the early days of commercial aviation. Passengers flying from Auckland to Sydney in the 1950s sat in spacious lounge-style seats, enjoyed a seven-course meal and had the option of playing deck quoits. It all sounds terribly glamorousContinue reading “Air NZ 75th anniversary exhibition at Te Papa museum, Wellington”

Adventures in Sydney’s Wild, Wild West

Sun-Herald, Australia – March 8, 2015 “Keep your arms folded and your legs crossed,” says the attendant. “Just imagine you need to go to the loo.” This last piece of advice is unnecessary because I need to go to the loo with impending urgency. My heart is also thumping like a base drum and myContinue reading “Adventures in Sydney’s Wild, Wild West”

9/11 Museum, New York

The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – June 7, 2014 Of the thousands of artefacts in the new 9/11 Museum, it is the small, everyday items that are the most potent: the charred contents of a visiting English businessman’s wallet, a pair of ballet slippers belonging to Boston Investor Services employee Maile Hale. They personalise theContinue reading “9/11 Museum, New York”

Sleep No More, New York

The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – March 8, 2014 There are two ways to approach Sleep No More, Punchdrunk’s immersive interpretation of Macbeth in New York. You can do what I did and read a dozen reviews, search online for tips and even download a Macbeth study guide to revise on the way there, orContinue reading “Sleep No More, New York”

Rockin’ Running Tour, Memphis

The Sun-Herald, Australia – February 2, 2014 It’s a common holiday conundrum: how do you find time to exercise while you’re away? No one wants to spend hours cooped up in a gym when you could be sightseeing. It’s particularly challenging in a city such as Memphis, with its tempting trifecta of blues, booze andContinue reading “Rockin’ Running Tour, Memphis”

Powder skiing in Niseko, Japan

GQ Australia – Dec 2013 “Perisher with chopsticks” is how a colleague described Hirafu, one of four ski resorts that comprise Niseko on Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido. It’s a region famed for its annual deluge of snow – a dumping equalled by the number of goggle-wearing Aussies who now land there each season in searchContinue reading “Powder skiing in Niseko, Japan”

Gibson Guitar Factory tour, Memphis, Tennessee

  The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – October 27, 2013 As a guitar-mad teenager, there was only one thing I wanted for my 18th birthday: a Gibson Les Paul. Immortalised by the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Slash, it was the wannabe rock guitarist’s dream instrument. There was only one problem: a newContinue reading “Gibson Guitar Factory tour, Memphis, Tennessee”

Twenty reasons to visit Boston

  The Sun-Herald, Australia – August 4, 2013 From a walk along the historic Freedom Trail to a day at the baseball at Fenway Park, there is always a lot to do in Boston. 1. FREEDOM TRAIL Boston played a pivotal role in the American Revolution, in which 13 North American colonies broke free fromContinue reading “Twenty reasons to visit Boston”

Servant Life Tour at The Elms, Newport

  The Sun-Herald, Australia – July 28, 2013 Life as the wife of a US coal baron in the early 1900s was a gruelling affair. Every year, Sarah Berwind would leave her New York home to spend the “season” (July and August) at their summer cottage in Newport, Rhode Island. She would partake in aContinue reading “Servant Life Tour at The Elms, Newport”

Review of Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel

The Sun-Herald, Australia – June 2, 2013 Finalist, 2013 ASTW Best Australian Story under 1000 words Travel descriptions can evoke a wide range of emotions. At one end of the spectrum sit terms such as “overwater bungalow”, “champagne breakfast” and “free upgrade”. At the other end lurk “overnight bus journey”, “flight delay” and “cavity search”.Continue reading “Review of Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel”