Copthorne Hotel Commodore Christchurch Airport – Hotel Review

Copthorne Hotel Commodore Christchurch Airport – Hotel Review

Copthorne Hotel Commodore Christchurch Airport, New Zealand – Hotel Review

We had originally planned on staying at the Copthorne Central in Christchurch, but following the Christchurch earthquake in February, we had to move our accommodation but still wanted to stay with the Copthorne group hotels – as we had great experiences when staying with Copthorne and Millennium Hotels in the North Island last year.

On arrival at the hotel, the Duty manager, Jaimie, sorted out our reservation and walked us to our room, as well as showing us the facilities in the room. I have stayed in many hotels and even in 5 star hotels I have rarely seen such a level of service and friendliness on check-in. We were well impressed with everything and were blown away by the welcome and the level of comfort at this hotel. Airport hotels are normally just a place to rest your head after a long flight but this hotel is actually comfortable and a delight to stay in.

The room was excellent, very comfortable bed, the room was large, bright, clean and airy. Air conditioning was very good with tea coffee facilities and a great bathroom. There was even a little welcome note on your bed welcoming you to the hotel – which was nicely done.

The breakfasts are served in Pattersons restaurant in the hotel and are very well presented with a lot to choose from. There is also a hot tub and covered pool (which we did not try on this occasion … but it looked nice). There is also a nice garden area with a fire where you can enjoy a drink in the open air if you so wish.

The complex is very secure and safe with key cards required after a certain time to access the main accommodation building and then again at your floor.

We actually stayed twice at this hotel, once on arriving into Christchurch from Singapore and again the night before leaving en-route to Cork via Bangkok/London.

Christchurch Copthorne Airport Hotel

The Copthorne Hotel Commodore Christchurch Airport, New Zealand is a great hotel within 5 minutes of Christchurch International Airport, ideally situated for you to start or end any trip to New Zealand. I would certainly stay here again and hope to visit Christchurch and the South Island of New Zealand again very soon.

Official Hotel Website : http://www.commodore.net.nz/

Imperial Gardens, Chinese Restaurant, Waterford – Review

Imperial Gardens, Chinese Restaurant, Waterford – Review

The Imperial Gardens Chinese Restaurant is located on the Cork Road about 5 minutes walk from the College Street WIT Campus at Manor Village.

I had been here twice before and decided to put a small review of the restaurant on the site, as its a very nice restaurant. The Imperial Garden offers an unrivaled selection of Chinese food prepared in what is claimed is “the biggest Chinese food kitchen in Waterford”.

Imperial Gardens, Cork Road, Waterford - Restaurant Review

My most recent visit I had the Early bird special which was four courses for only €18.50 which was very good value. I had the Crispy Wan Tan for the starter and the Roast Duck with Ginger and Spring Onion, perfectly cooked and tasted great. Portions are very decent but perfect enough that if you do finish everything you are not overly full. The staff are very friendly and give you plenty of time between courses to relax. Its also good to see that they stock some more unusual drinks including Aloe Vera drink which is very refreshing and if you haven’t tried it, give it a go.

The real traditional Chinese decor is very nice and they were playing Chinese Pop Music which is always a plus … I hate going to a Chinese or Indian and hearing James Blunt or Westlife. The traditional music really adds to the atmosphere.

Contact Details:

Imperial Gardens Chinese Restaurant,
Unit 1, Manor Village, Cork Road, Waterford.
Phone : 051-583690
Facebook
Web : http://www.imperialgarden.ie/

Wellington to Lake Taupo. Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Go, Where to Eat

Wellington to Lake Taupo. Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Go, Where to Eat

Going to New Zealand? This rough and brief travel guide will show you What to Do, Where to Go, Where to Eat and What to See traveling between Wellington and Lake Taupo in New Zealand.  Continuing on from Wellington on our way to Lake Taupo we were traveling along the N1 on the North Island of New Zealand visiting small towns such as Foxton, Bulls, Taihape on the way to Lake Taupo where we had already booked accommodation.

Driving in New Zealand - Amazing Scenery on the N1 New Zealand Roads

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The first town we reached was Foxton. This is off the main road, but the guide book said it was a lovely town so we decided to take a look. Foxton is like a step back in time, not in a bad way or behind the times, rather Foxton has manged to keep the old town look and feel in a nice way.

Foxton New Zealand

Windmill and Tram in Foxton, New Zealand

The main feature is the Windmill which was brought over from Holland, bit by bit and build by people who had never built a windmill before – by reviewing the plans for the structure. There are horse drawn tram rides, an electric trolleybus, old style streets – I was told there are plans to make Foxton a hub of activity with kayaking, walks and other things to do. We enjoyed about 2 hours here before getting back on the road, taking a nice coffee and snack in the cafe near the Windmill.

From here we traveled back on the N1 again and on passing through a town called Bulls we just had to stop and take some photos. The shops are all BULL Oriented, e.g. the local realtor / estate agent has “live-a-bull” as his tag line, the town hall centre has “soci-a-bull”, and so on to Taihape where we had decided to take lunch.

The town of Bulls, New Zealand

Fun signs in the town of Bulls, New Zealand

Taihape is another very nice town, almost like small town America, worth taking an hour or so to enjoy, plenty of nice cafes to take a snack in.

The town of Taihape, New Zealand

The town of Taihape, New Zealand

On the last leg to Lake Taupo, back onto the N1 we go via the desert road, part of which is a military area, with an amazing landscape.

As soon as you see Lake Taupo for the first time you will have a few opportunities to stop into the left and enjoy many of the viewing areas, with incredible vistas of the lake. I’m sure there have been an accident or two with drivers looking at the nice view and not the road. Its still another good hours drive to Lake Taupo – so far its been about 6 hours since leaving Wellington.

Lake Taupo Viewing Point, New-Zealand

Lake Taupo, Viewing Point with Snow-Storm moving in

After about 45 minutes we enter into Taupo and arrive at the Millennium Hotel which sits on the waterfront with amazing views of the lake. The Millennium Hotel also has a really nice outdoor heated pool, no problems using it in winter as it is quite warm. The restaurant there is very nice and we enjoyed a buffet there on arrival – only $39NZ per person which was very reasonable.

New-Zealand Lake Taupo with Mountain Snow

Lake Taupo with the Mountains covered in Snow.

We later found out that the desert road was blocked by snow and we made it to Lake Taupo with 4 or 5  hours to spare before the snow trapped people on the desert road.

Lake Taupo – To Be Continued … ( Lake Trip to Maori Carvings & Craters of the Moon… )

Sydney, Australia. What to Do, Where to Go, Where to Eat, What to See

Sydney, Australia. What to Do, Where to Go, Where to Eat, What to See

Going to Sydney, Australia? This rough and brief Sydney travel guide will show you What to Do in Sydney, Where to Go in Sydney, Where to Eat in Sydney and What to See in Sydney Australia. Sydney is a place to be savoured – enjoy Sydney when you are there as you will miss it when you leave!

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Sydney is a place which is like a second home to me. I spent a year working here in 2003, working in both Sydney and Melbourne … but Sydney is by far a nicer city (no offense to Melbourne but there is much more to do in Sydney and winter in Melbourne is fffreezzzing). In Sydney, there is plenty to do, weather is always decent enough that you can get out and about.

Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport at Sunrise

Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport at Sunrise

Arriving in Sydney, you will be about 30 minutes drive from Sydney at Kingsford Smith Airport. Cabs and Airport transfers are easily accessible. A Taxi will cost between $30-$50 depending on where in the city you are going and what time of day it is. Transfers would be a bit less at between $13 and $20 depending on the company. We stayed in Sydney for 2 whole days, arriving late on a Monday evening in the middle of a monsoon and leaving on the first flight Thursday morning as sun was just coming up.

Sydney Harbour as seen from the AMP / Sydney Tower

Sydney Harbour as seen from the AMP / Sydney Tower

One of the key things about Sydney is the sheer number of areas you can enjoy a walk, from Circular Quays, the Rocks and Botanical Gardens to Darling Harbour and Hyde Park. The Rocks is a really quaint area full of olde world charm and some olde worlde cafes. You can continue through to Circular Quays, perhaps catch one of the many ferries which service Balmain, Darling Harbour, North Shore, and as far a field as Manly. If you are looking for food, check out City Extra – their fish and chips is really good as is the chicken pie which is served with a hot baked roll. From Circular Quays, you can walk into the Botanical Gardens which hugs the waterline looking out over the bay, with excellent views of Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The walkway extends around to Woolloomooloo Wharf … if you still haven’t eaten go straight to Harrys Pies (Harrys Cafe de Wheels), a small cart based pie shop with the best pies and best mashed potato in Sydney. If you haven’t taken the route to Woolloomooloo you can continue through the Botanical Gardens to the Domain and on to Hyde Park. This walk is easily followed but worth taking 3-4 hours over as the views are spectacular.

People Walking over Sydney Harbour Bridge

People Walking over Sydney Harbour Bridge

In the city you can enjoy the views from the Sydney Tower, formerly called the AMP Tower. The AMP logo is still displayed on the tower but it seems to have been rebranded. When we were there we almost missed the entrance as the whole area is being renovated. From the tower you can get views as far as the airport and beyond … some days you can see as far as the Blue Mountains. If you are really adventurous you can climb Sydney Harbour Bridge (not on your own please, don’t start scaling the bridge and telling them it was my idea – it is a paid guided excursion with safety equipment). The only disadvantages are that you can’t bring a camera, you can’t decide to take a bathroom break and once you start out its about a 2 hour round trip – also not great for those with vertigo. We didn’t do this, instead took a helicopter trip with Cloud9 Helicopters from Bankstown Airport (phone 02 9771-3654) – well worth the money.

The main shopping areas extend from Pitt Street down around Town Hall also don’t miss Paddys Market in Chinatown which has excellent deals and is great for getting some fresh fruit, great deals on t-shirts and holiday clothes. While you are in Chinatown, you could get a really nice Chinese meal. If you are looking for a nice restaurant, go all the way as far as the Chinese arch in Chinatown and look for the Golden Harbour – Maria and the staff at the Golden Harbour will look after you and the food is always really nice. Yum Cha is also served early in the day.

Fruit Bats sleeping in the Botanical Gardens

Fruit Bats sleeping in the Botanical Gardens

Later in the evening there is plenty to do in the city. You can enjoy dinner in the AMP / Sydney Tower overlooking the city by night, the food is very nice, usually a buffet – however we found that The Summit Restaurant (http://www.summitrestaurant.com.au/) had nicer views (being that bit closer to the harbour) and also the menus were a bit nicer also. If you are looking for real class, try the Bennellong Restaurant at the Sydney Opera House. Not as expensive as you would think – and the service is 5 star (bordering on 6) with the food being similarly as good. The experience of dining at the Bennellong will live long in my mind – not only for the food and service but for the views and thrill of dining at one of the most iconic landmarks in the world.

Sydney Opera House - the Classic Shot from Sydney

The iconic Sydney Opera House – the Classic Shot from any trip to Sydney

Sydney is a place to be savoured, so if you are coming here for a holiday, spend as long as you can here – its one of the few cities in the world, where I can say I would be happy to live. Looking forward to going back already !

Recommended Links for Sydney

Bennellong Restaurant, Sydney Opera House : http://www.guillaumeatbennelong.com.au/

Sydney Tower : http://sydneytower.myfun.com.au/

Harrys Cafe de Wheels : http://www.harryscafedewheels.com.au/

City Extra, Circular Quays : http://www.cityextra.com.au/

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb : http://www.bridgeclimb.com/

There is much more than this – but I wanted to keep this blog post short … If you have any questions about tips on where to go, eat or stay in Sydney please drop me a comment.

Guns N’ Roses forced Off Stage At Dublins O2 Arena

I was at the Guns N’ Roses concert at the O2 in Dublin, and I was appauled at the behaviour of so called fans when Guns N’ Roses eventually took to the stage at around 10:30pm. The support act were late finishing and for 1h 30 minutes there was a gap. For the most part it was good humoureed with a few Mexican Waves, cheers and so forth. However once it came near 10:15pm booos started to ring out.
The band took to the stage at 10:30 to a tirade of boos and jeers. Then bottles and cups full of liquid started hitting the stage and for Axl all hell was breaking loose.

For a performer, being on stage, with the lights in your face, you may not see very much – so if a bottle or cup full of beer is thrown you have no way of avoiding it. I think that sort of behaviour from “Fans” was uncalled for. Axl asked for people to stop and said that he would walk if it happened again … only minutes later this is exactly what happened and I don’t blame him. No performer should be attacked in this way.

The start to the show was spectacular, fireworks, pyros, huge intro so it wasn’t a half-baked or poor performace. There was no need for the jeering or throwing. Many people left when the house lights came back up, thinking it was all over. I asked an O2 steward and was told ” There is no chance of him coming back on “. Apparently the promoter, MCD, restrained Axl and prevented him from leaving the venue after walking off stage. The promoters did come on stage twice to ask for calm and patience while technical difficulties were looked at.

I left the O2 once the house lights came back on, and 20 minutes later I got a phone call from my sister (Thanks Elaine) letting me know that the concert was back on. We went back and the atmosphere was less hostile but still not right. Axl was back mid-stage to avoid any missiles, almost at the drum kit. He just stood at the mic and sung, breaking once or twice to play the piano – November Rain was excellent. The band itself were excellent and it good humour despite what happened.

They played until just before 1am to a creshendo of tickertape and pyros.

I think the organisers should have had the stage better perpared, as they seemed to be doing sound checks, stage clearance, wiring and so on for about an hour. Also, having people drinking for 4 hours before Guns N’ Roses appeared on stage was not a good idea. Although Guns N’ Roses have a history of problems and late shows, you know this about the band and its not a reason to run riot and physically attack an artist.

Guns N’ Roses released a statement after the concert which read: “Despite every effort being made by promoters to ensure Guns N’ Roses would go on stage on time, they went on at 22:26hrs having been due to be on stage at 21:45hrs, support artist finished at 21:00hrs.

“During the second song Axl requested members of crowd who were throwing plastic glasses containing unknown substances to immediately stop or he would have no option but to leave the stage. He confirmed band’s wish to perform stating “we want to stay…one more bottle and we go home”. Despite his continued appeals, having tried to continue performing for 22 minutes, people continued throwing unknown substances leaving artist with no choice but to leave the stage.

“From the stage MCD Promoter Denis Desmond again appealed to audience to refrain from throwing items and stated that the band would be back on stage shortly.

“The artist was prevented from leaving the venue by the Promoter and following backstage discussions Guns N’ Roses went back on stage at 23:20 hrs and performed their full set until 00:53 hrs.

“While the artist has a long history for being late on stage (Slane 1992 – crowd waiting 2 hours and last weekend’s UK Reading festival), NO artist should be subjected to missiles and unknown substances being thrown at them. However, despite this the band went back on stage after people stopped throwing items performing their full set of songs in full.

“MCD and The 02 wish to apologise for any inconvenience caused due to late running of the show.”

Video – Guns n’ Roses at the O2

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