Grahams Dam walk Lerderberg State Park

Grahams Dam Walk Lerderberg State Park

An easy walk that everyone will love! There’s lots to see and explore along the river. Lerderberg Grahams Dam Walk is just 3kms long and can be completed in under an hour. A quickie, but a goodie! Remote enough to escape the city with a lovely river and rock escarpment. This walk is uplifting and good for the soul.

native forest and Lerderberg River
Native forest and the Lerderberg River. Even within close proximity to Victoria’s capital, Mlebourne, Lerderberg State Park still has that remote feel to it.

Set near Melbourne’s’ orchard growing area of Bacchus Marsh, Lerderberg State Park has something for every hiker. There’s easy strolls, challenging and 3 day walks. All this variety just 1 hour and 10 minutes away from Melbourne. If you’re coming from the satellite city of Geelong, Lerderberg State Park is just 5 minutes longer, at 1 hour and 15 minutes driving time.

Lerderberg State Park map location
Lerderberg Gorge is centrally located between Geelong and Melbourne in the Moorabool Shire, in Bacchus Marsh.

Check back later when we have completed the East Walk and Cowans Track Loop Walk, complete with European wasps and snakes! For now, we’ll stick to a child friendly walk.

walks information sign at Mackenzie Flat Picninc area
At Mackenzies Flat picninc area, this handy information board details your walk options. There are a surprising number of walks you can do in the Lerderberg State Park.

 

What is there to see and Do on the Grahams Dam Lerderberg Park walk?

Lerderberg State Park is an area of Permian era origins
Surround yourself with fresh air from the native forest on the Grahams Dam Walk in the Lerderberg State Park.

There is a river, which you will cross twice via some giant stepping stones. Hill top scenery overlooks the shimmering river and beautiful native forest, while traversing a sometimes rocky path.

shallow river bed Lerderberg River Lerderberg State Park
On a warm day, head down to the shallow river bed. It’s almost like a mini beach.
beautiful native forest Lerderberg state park
Lose yourself and inhale the fresh air in the beautiful native forest on the Grahams Dam Walk. Hug the paperbark and grey gum trees to your heart’s content. Go on, it’s good for you!

The rocks in the area for keen geologists are composed of tillite, unformed glacial sediments from the Permian era. That’s really old! In addition to the tillite is glacial outwash sandstone and conglomerate. In essence you’re walking on millions of years old land!

Permian era sandstone rock escarpment Lerderberg State park
Massive stone boulders. A reminder of the Permian era. Yep that rock is about 300 million years old!

The “bush” contains many plants native to Victoria. The yellow wattle is particularly beautiful. For a flora of Victoria guide, click here.

Where is the Grahams Dam walk?

Mackenzies Flat Picninc Area sign Lerderberg State Park
Start the easy Grahams Dam Walk from the Mackenzie Flat Picninc area.

The Grahams Dam walk is within the Lerderberg State Park. It is accessed by the flat picnic area called Mackenzie Flat Picnic area. You can’t miss the signs!

Grahams Dam Walk sign Lerderberg State Park
Start the easy walk to Grahams Dam here!

How long will the Grahams Dam walk take?

Under an hour’s return journey. Obviously, if you stop off for a swim and exploration at the shallow river bed, then longer. 

Top Tips for the Grahams Dam walk

When to go: To see the river flowing and cross over the man made stepping stones, Winter and Spring are the best times to go. Otherwise it will be dry in Summer and Autumn.

dry river bed in Summer and Autumn Lerderberg River Lerderberg State Park
If you go in Summer and Autumn, the river bed will be dry.

Car Parks: You park at Mackenzies Flat Picnic Area car park.

There are picnic benches here and a big lawn area too.

Mackenzies Flat picninc area Lerderberg State Park Victoria one hour from Melbourne
It’s flat. It’s a picnic area. It’s named after someone called Mackenzies. A nice spot for a picnic or barbecue. There is a free barbecue like in many Victorian state parks.

Dog friendly: The park is dog friendly, but, unfortunately, this particular walk prohibits your canine friend. Sorry.

Provisions: If you’re planning on a swim in warm weather then a towel will be handy. You don’t really need water as the walk is under an hour, so, you can leave liquids in the car.

Sun protection: Take the usual precautions for the season and your skin type. Check the UV index on your phone.

Shoes: Hiking shoes are not necessary. You will get sand in your shoes, so if you choose to wear sandals, plan in advance. There are parts that you need to go steeply downhill, so shoes with grip are recommended. However, you can get by with running shoes like we did. We don’t recommend flip flops or thongs.

Mobile phone reception is very good to excellent.

rocks, river forest at Lerderberg State Park Grahams Dam walk
What a great quick walk! Forest, river and ancient rocks equals awesome.

Remember to check back soon, when we have completed other walks in the Lerderberg State Park.

Don’t forget if you have done this walk, we would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment in the section below.

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Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airport tuk tuk

Getting to and from Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok

Flying into or out of the Thai capital, Bangkok? Getting to Suvarnabhumi Airport from downtown or Don mueang needn’t be a nightmare. Don’t make rookie mistakes and get ripped off as soon as you land. Avoid being the farang (caucasians) who falls into every tourist trap. Whether you remain smiling in the Land of Smiles, depends on your airport experience.

Want to know how to get to Suvarnabhumi Aiport cheaply, or better still, for free?

Landed at the old airport, Don Mueang and thought you could walk to Suvarnabhumi Airport? Think aga01in. The two airports are no where near each other. You definitely cannot walk. Fear not, however, there is a free, very comfortable bus that transfers you between the two airports.

How to transfer between Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi  Airport

Allow at least four hours between flights when you need to transfer between Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok. Don Mueang is mostly used by the low cost carrier Air Asia. Also Nok Air and Thai Lion Air, use Don Mueang, the old international airport for Bangkok.

After immigration you find yourself contemplating one of two options. You can get a taxi and pay 350 baht to 500 baht or you can get a free bus! If you do get a taxi, make sure you get a Grab Taxi, South East Asia’s answer to Uber.

We will now cover the free transfer service between Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok. The two airports are no where near each other. Don’t even think about walking so you can get a taste of the ‘real Bangkok’!

Get your passport stamped by immigration officials and head to Gate 6 on the same floor. 

transfer between Don Mueang and Suvarnabumhi airport
Getting the transfer bus is very easy. You go to Gate 6 on the same floor you just got your passport stamp from.

You cannot just get on the bus however, even if it is there. You must show your next flight either on a phone or paper to the person behind the counter. Sometimes they will need to see your passport too. Your hand gets stamped and then you may board the bus.

Frequency of the buses between Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi Airport

The bus runs every 12 to 30 minutes. 

transfer between Don Mueang and Suvarnabumhi airport
The transfer timetable between Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi is clearly displayed outside, at the bus stop.

Everything is well signed and the buses run on time. There is even a live screen showing you where the current bus is and an estimated time of arrival. This screen is located just under and to the right of the Gate 6 sign.

Journey time between Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi Airport

We have heard of the journey taking up to 2 hours, but our journey was only 40 minutes. 

The route is along an elevated tollway. Of course, you don’t need to pay anything. The whole service between Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airport is free of charge.

transfer between Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airport
The bus travels along an elevated road. We don’t encounter much traffic and sit back to enjoy the city views!

Inside the free bus between Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi Airport

Inside the bus it is very clean. Bring a jumper or jacket, the air conditioning is ferocious.

transfer between Don Mueang and Suvarnabumhi airport
The air conditioning on the bus is very strong.

Inside the bus, there is plenty of space for luggage. The suitcases can be securely stored in robust metal cages. Bringing a surfboard or a golf bag isn’t a problem either. Our bus was quite empty. If there is a sudden rush we don’t know if standing room is allowed. 

transfer between Don Mueang and Suvarnabumhi airport
At the front of the bus, there is plenty of space for luggage. You don’t need to try and grip the suitcase between your legs!

There are only 23 seats. Each seat has a seat belt! The seats are made of faux leather and are padded which make them quite comfortable.

transfer between Don Mueang and Suvarnabumhi airport
The seats are made of faux leather. You even get a seat belt.
transfer between Don Mueang and Suvarnabumhi airport
The seats on the free transfer bus between Don Mueang Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport has 23 comfortable seats.

Sitting up high you get a good view of the skyscrapers and concrete of Bangkok. If you have visions of temples and padi fields, you won’t see them on this journey between the two airports! Bangkok is a modern metropolis with continual construction projects.

transfer between Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airport
Not a bad way to see the city of angels. Yup that’s what the Thai people call Krungthep. Bangkok to travellers!

All in all, a very impressive free service offered to passengers who need to transfer between Don Mueang and Suvarnabumhi Airport Bangkok. Naturally, the bus runs the reverse route!

Like many South East Asian airports, the shouting and hassle as soon as you exit can be down right frightening. If you’re travelling with children, beware! South East Asian taxi drivers may be small in stature, but, they are very, very persistent!

Hardened backpackers always head to the bus stops or the train station. Some travellers will have booked a transfer with their hotel. Others may book a more formal car, marketed as a limousine. In reality the Mercedes is just an expensive taxi ride. Might as well take a taxi. Forget Uber. Uber doesn’t exist in Bangkok. We always use Grab in South East Asia. Grab is the local alternative to Uber started by two Malaysians who were sick of the overcharging and drivers taking the ‘scenic’ route to make more money.

getting to and from Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airport Bangkok
Grab cars are South East Asia’s answer to Uber. They are privately owned and you never know what you’ll get!

Our top tip for not getting ripped off is to download the app Grab, before you land. You can pay by cash or add a credit card. Grab, like Uber, has now expanded into food deliveries. The ride to downtown Bangkok is about 400 to 600 baht. 

If you have time on your hands, by all means get a bus. Buses are cheap and some will have have fierce air conditioning. Others though will rely on windows for air conditioning! They are run by the company AOT. Fares are 35 baht to most downtown destinations. Getting a bus from downtown Bangkok is much more difficult. We don’t recommend it. Spend the money on a Grab ride share car instead. You don’t want to miss your flight.

getting to and from Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airport Bangkok
Buses are a cheap option getting to downtown Bangkok.

Getting the train to and from Suvarnabhumi Airport

Your next option is to get the train. This can get very crowded, but, of course, you won’t run into any traffic. There are three trains to get you to downtown Bangkok. The airport link train has seats arranged in groups of 4, 2 facing each other. Train times and details can be found here

There is one express train to Phaya Thai station which connects with the BTS (elevated train system) with no stops – Phaya Thai Express Line

Getting to and from Suvarnabumhi Airport Bangkok skytrain only1invillage
The skytrain in Bangkok is an air con heaven! From the airport, you need to transfer at Phaya Thai on the BTS train.

The Makkasan Express Line, you’ve guessed it, stops at Makkasan station.

The SA City Line to Phaya Thai station has 7 stops, Paya Thai, being the last.

getting to and from Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airport Bangkok
Downtown Bangkok is a congested, traffic ridden city. Try to avoid using ground transportation if possible. Stick to the sky train or walk!

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Cradle mountain lake Tasmania

Top 5 things to do do in Tasmania

If you only do 5 things in Tasmania, it has to be on our list. Cradle Mountain, Mona, Salamanca Market, Port Arthur and Freycinet National Park.

Quick Index Tasmania things to do

          

What’s Tasmania famous for?

Tasmania is famous for the Tasmanian devil, jaw dropping scenery and fantastic food.

The Tasmanian devil is a rather ugly looking marsupial. Unfortunately, it is now becoming rarer and rarer to see a Tasmanian Devil in the wild. Your best bet is to visit a conservation project.

Tasmanian devil try and spot one only1invillage
You’ll be really lucky if you spot a Tasmanian Devil in the wild.

Apart from the Tasmanian Devil, Tasmania is famous for food. The culinary delights of Tasmania stem from the fresh produce grown in pristine surroundings. It’s easy to find restaurants and cafes in stunning locations too. Tasmania is a foodie paradise.

Tasmania an eating destination only1invillage 5 must do things
Eating fabulous food in Tasmania often goes hand in hand with great scenery.

Main land Australians and Tasmanians rate the cheese, salmon and beef in particular. There is a particular island that is even further than Tasmania, called King Island, where our favourite blue cheese is from. Fortunately, we don’t have to travel to Tasmania to get Roaring Forties cheese, it is widely available in all supermarkets and markets.

5 things you must do in Tasmania
Walking through unspoiled forests is one thing Tasmania is famous for.

Tasmania is also famous for its rugged beauty. It has marvelous mountains and hills with lush green valleys and lakes. Think of trekking through pristine bushlands and ancient forests.

5 things you must do in Tasmania
Magical carpeted forest floors await discovery in Tasmania.

Crystal clear, freezing water and curved bays also fight for your attention. Spectacular views are waiting for you!

      

Where is Tasmania? Is it part of Australia?

Tasmania map where is Tasmania
Tasmania is sort of south of Melbourne. You can see by the north coast that it used to be part of Australia. New Zealand is red. Indonesia is blue and Papua New Guinea is orange.

Tasmania is part of Australia. There is a running joke that Tasmanians have two heads. We can confirm that they have one head. Tasmania is a separate state, not a separate country!

      

Best time to go to Tasmania

Tasmanian climate and weather

Tasmania has a temperate climate. It experiences 4 seasons. Tasmania’s weather is the opposite of northern Europe and northern America and Canada. When it’s Summer in Tasmania, it’s Winter in the northern hemisphere. When it’s Autumn in Tasmania, it’s Spring in the northern hemisphere. Tasmania is after all, ‘down under’ too.

Australians who live on the mainland, often joke that Tasmania is a separate country. The winters are milder than on the main land and the summers cooler. It rains a lot in Tasmania, which makes for lush green vegetation. The air is also much cleaner!

Right let’s get onto our unmissable 5 things to do in Tasmania list.

      

1 Trek the amazing Cradle Mountain Area

The walking tracks of Cradle Mountain are unmissable in our opinion. There’s something so peaceful and calming when you are surrounded by nature’s beauty. The shores of the lake are perfectly framed by the rugged hills. If you only trek one place in Tasmania, Cradle Mountain has to be on your list of 5 things you must do!

Things to do in Tasmania Cradle Mountain only1invillage
Unmissable thing to do in Tasmania is to walk around Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain. We think we have captured the twin peaks reflection so well!

The walking paths are a mixture of boardwalks and off road trails.

5 things you must do in Tasmania Cradle Mountain walk
Around Dove Lake and the Cradle Mountain area. Elevated and ground board walks allow for a pleasant walk. You don’t need hiking boots.

Along some of the boardwalks you will see the cutest of marsupials, the wombat!

Things to do in Tasmania wildlife native wombat only1invillage
Wombats are surprisingly fast! These cute looking marsupials excrete cubed shape poo. We shit you not! Every single poo a wombat does has six faces. So, if you see cube poo, you know you’re in wombat territory.

There are other walks to do in the Cradle Mountain area such as climbing the peak! But if you only do one, we recommend the Dove Lake Circuit.

      

2 Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay

5 things you must do in Tasmania
White sandy beach at Wineglass Bay in the Freycinet National Park.

Coming in at number 2, is trekking Freycinet National Park. You can cheat and go on a cruise from Coles Bay especially if you have come from Cradle Mountain! Or, you will have to do the hike to get that view. It’s a mere 5kms from Coles Bay!

5 things you must do in Tasmania
A walking map to Wineglass Bay is essential.

For more information in general about the Freycinet area and a clearer map, click here.

      

3 Learn about life as a convict

Modern  ‘white’ Australians are the descendants of convicts, soldiers  and their families sent to Australia from England. There aren’t actually many people who can trace their ancestry back to the ‘First Fleet’ of convicts. It might be seen as a badge of honour nowadays if you could!

5 things you must do in Tasmania
Learn all about gaol life on this remote island. Sarah Island – there was no escape!

We went to two penal areas to see first hand the consequences of stealing food 200 years ago. Due to prison overpopulation in England it landed you on the other side of the world. The first ‘penal colony’ we went to is Sarah Island.

5 things you must do in Tasmania
Get a fascinating insight on life two hundred years ago in a penal colony. Sarah Island was a working island where Huon pine was the main industry. Conditions were cruel and harsh.

Sarah Island is all overgrown now with only ruins remaining.

5 things you must do in Tasmania
There are no intact buildings left at Sarah Island penal colony, Tasmania. The contrast between the surrounding beauty of the wilderness and the harsh life of the convicts is chilling.

We used Gordon River Cruises.

5 things you must do in Tasmania
We arrive on a very different ship to the convict settlement on Sarah Island, Tasmania.

Their package includes a rainforest walk and a boat cruise with lunch. Can’t say no to a bit of history, scenic views, a nature walk and food!

5 things you must do in Tasmania
The view from one of the harshest penal colonies in Tasmania. For prisoners, there was no escape. If you survived this freezing cold swim, there was impenetrable forest to get through next. The view from Sarah Island.

Another great place to soak up the atmosphere of life as a prisoner or soldier is Port Arthur. Port Arthur has a somewhat sobering more modern tragedy too. In 1996 a lone gun man went on a rampage and killed 35 people. An additional 23 people were wounded. After this terrible incident, gun laws were changed and now thankfully, it is extremely difficult for civilians to get any sort of fire arm. The National firearms Agreement has made Australia a safer place.

5 things you must do in Tasmania
Port Arthur penal settlement, Tasmania. From a distance it looks like a majestic historic house.

Port Arthur is now an open air museum. It has many fascinating and well preserved buildings. You can get a real taste of how harsh convict life was here.

5 things you must do in Tasmania
Port Arthur is now an open air museum. The best preserved convict site in Australia!

People often forget that prisoners and guards lived side by side. In addition to this, food had to be grown and animals farmed for food. Today the grounds where apple orchards grow, the produce is used in the 1830 Restaurant and Bar.

Inside the buildings, you can see recreated cells, the governor’s house and many artefacts which have been preserved. Many people love trying on the chains and manacles (the keys are provided!). Port Arthur is a top tourist destination and a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.

5 things you must do in Tasmania
Catch a glimpse of the prisoners’ cells in the Port Arthur museum. Bet it wasn’t that clean in real life!
5 things you must do in Tasmania
The kitchen in the governor’s house, Port Arthur, Tasmania.
5 things you must do in Tasmania
Keep that man chained up! Feel the weight of the leg irons used on the prisoners in the Port Arthur penal settlement.

      

Mona 

Don't miss this quick 1hr refreshing Lerderberg Grahams Dam walk 9
The Mona is a privately owned museum. It is only 9 years old. Mona is very unique and ‘out there’.

Mona stands for the Museum of Old and New Art. Even if you don’t like art galleries you’ll like this one! It is so unique. We’ve never been anywhere like it.  There are some confronting exhibitions, so, best to check beforehand, especially if you have children! Most people who have been to Mona have positive reviews. The exhibitions constantly change and are fascinating. It’s a really weird mix of aesthetic art. You’ll be using immersive technologies in some of the exhibitions and there’s never a dull moment. Often in the warmer months, there is free music on the extensive grounds.

5 things you must do in Tasmania Mona
The Mona (Museum of New and Old Art) has an enviable water setting. It even has a mini vineyard!
5 things you must do in Tasmania
Some things are just plain weird at the Mona museum! We have no idea what the significance of these ‘hands’ are. If you do, please let us know! Everything at Mona is open to interpretation.

Mona is definitely a conversation starter. You’ll either love it or hate it. Be warned that a lot of the museum is underground. Also many of the exhibitions are in confined spaces, with low lighting or strobe lighting! There’s no middle ground. The owner, David Walsh, wants his museum to stand out and it will certainly stay in your mind.

Don’t listen to us, go and see for yourself!

      

5 Salamanca Markets Hobart

You must time your visit to include a trip to the famous Salamanca Market in Hobart. The market opens on a Saturday at 8.30 am and closes at 3pm. Don’t miss it. It is a foodies’ and craft paradise. Many stalls sell leather goods and you can even buy shoes. The market starts outside Parliament Square and ends outside the art gallery.

5 things you must do in Tasmania Cradle Mountain walk
The Salamanca markets, Hobart are a Saturday sensation. You can find unique food and handicrafts. The perfect place to find that sought after Huon pine chopping board.

A whole street is cordoned off and it’s pedestrians only. You can slowly wander from stall to stall, tasting and touching various goods. If you’re after new clothes or shoes that don’t come from a chain, head on down. There’s also jewellery and souvenirs to browse through. Hand made natural health and beauty products which are vegan friendly can also be bought at the Salamanca market.

Getting to Tasmania

Good news, there’s only 2 options! You will be flying or coming by sea. There’s no bridge you can drive from the Australian mainland from! For us, even though our Melbourne base is only a 2 minute drive to the ferry port, it is sometimes cheaper to fly and then hire a car.

Don't miss this quick 1hr refreshing Lerderberg Grahams Dam walk 10
Inside the ‘Spirit of Tasmania’ ferry which leaves from Port Melbourne to Devonport daily. The journey time is about 10 hours. You can bring your car along.

Getting around Tasmania

Your best option is to hire a car, or bring your car on the ‘Spirit of Tasmania’ ferry from Melbourne. Public transport is not great outside the cities of Hobart, Launceston and Devonport. There are some limitations on narrow paths for camper vans and larger vehicles, such as mobile homes.

How long do I need?

You’ll probably want at least 10 days to cover the Only1invillage essential top 5 list. If you’re a hiker, you can easily spend 3-5 days in Cradle Mountain alone.

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Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge

Here is our review of this shiny and modern lounge. Bangkok Miracle first class lounge is one you can pay for. Contrary to its name, it is not for first class passengers. Will water get turned into wine? How miraculous is the lounge? Read on to find out!

This lounge is part of the Collinson Group. The Collinson Group introduced the Priority Pass Program which basically allows anyone on any airline, regardless of travelling class, to use their network of lounges. The maximum time you can spend in here is 2 hours. Compare what you get in a fee paying lounge to other business class lounges directly affiliated with airlines such as Emirates, British Airways and Qantas.

Before entering, we expect it to be a bit like the American Express lounges in size and facilities offered. It is way fancier than an American Express lounge. Keep reading to find out why!

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge entrance only1invillage
As you enter the Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge, you see this on the right hand side. It gives the lounge a light and spacious feeling.

Quick Index Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge

                                                                                                                                                                      

 the Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge Location

After passport control you go up to Level 3. The Bangkok Miracle first class lounge is located opposite gate D6. It is well signed, so you will be able to find it easily.

Our next flight is to Dubai via Emirates in economy class. Yes, we fly economy too! We don’t get to go to the Emirates  business class lounge in Bangkok, unfortunately. 

                                                                                                                                                                            

Bangkok Miracle First Class lounge dress code

There doesn’t seem to be any particular dress code enforced. However, be careful to cultural sensitivities in many countries.  

                                                                                                                                                                            

Who can Get In

Anyone who has joined the Priority Pass Program and their guests! You can book a slot online or just go from lounge to lounge to see which one has space during busy periods.

 

                                                                                                                                                                            

Seating

The lounge is a good size. There is a variety of comfortable padded armchairs for lounging in and harder chairs at dining tables. They come in a variety of colours, textures and comfort levels.

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge quieter seating area only1invillage
This is the quieter seating area because it’s further away from the food!
Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge seating
Light and well padded armchairs are arranged neatly on the right hand side of the lounge, as you enter.

The armchair style chairs have a small coffee table in front of them. You can bring your finger food and drinks to these areas.  As usual, the tables are way too small to fit much onto them. However, most people aren’t travelling in large groups and you can always put two tables together, if the need arises.

When you walk past the seating area, in the picture above, you come to the dining area. There is a long dining bench to eat. If you prefer looking at your dining companion, there are smaller square tables with 4 chairs around each table.

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge dining area only1invillage
The shiny and clean dining area has more formal tables and a long dining bench.
Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge dining bench only1invillage
You can sit at the dining bench on the comfortable bar stool chairs with a back. There’s also a view of the gates and sometimes a plane.

If you turn left, when you come in there is another area of various seating available arranged in mini zones.

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge single seating
If you’re travelling alone, take a seat here!
Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge high back armchairs
There are some high backed armchairs near the ‘library’ area immediately to your right, as you enter the lounge.

There’s a business area with a long communal desk with charging points. It’s at the back of the lounge.

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge internet zone only1invillage
There’s a dedicated internet zone in the Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge.

                                                                                                                                                                            

Bathrooms and Showers

It’s shower time! There are two showers in the Bangkok Miracle lounge.

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge toilet signs
Follow the signs!
Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge shower time only1invillage
There is one shower for ladies and one shower for men.

They are quite new, so still shiny and clean. The soap is of an unidentified brand. If you’re fussy or have sensitive skin, we recommend you bring your own.

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge shower room bathroom only1invillage
The shower room also has a toilet and sink, so is more like a mini bathroom. It gets cleaned and towels replaced after each use.
Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge shower and soap
There’s no brand name for the shampoo and body wash, but it does the job!
Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge toiletries only1invillage
A close up shot of the toiletries. The Miracle is a hotel chain in Bangkok. Extra amenities are a toothbrush kit, conditioner, body lotion and a shower cap.

                                                                                                                                                                            

Food and Beverages

Most business class lounges change their food according to the time of the day. We visit at 4pm so in between lunch and dinner time. There’s a reasonable variety of hot and cold choices, including some unique Thai food. However, there are breakfast items available. This is probably because the lounge wants to provide a 24 hour menu.

The food is rather reminiscent of an American Express Lounge. It is not quite up to the standard of an airline lounge like Emirates, Singapore Air or Cathay Pacific. The food selections however, are better than an American Express lounge. Plus, there is the added benefit of made to order dishes.

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge fresh made to order
Looking like a restaurant kitchen, personnel are ready to make you one of four dishes on demand. The kitchen is shared withe the Bangkok Miracle Business Class Lounge, which, is on the other side of the glass. We think this feature makes the lounge look quite glamorous.

There’s no made barista made coffee, instead it’s a machine which whips up your latte or capuccino. Tea consists of a heated water jug and various caffeinated and herbal tea bags for you to choose from. If you need milk, there is milk in the fridge.

You do however get to order a selection of dishes, made freshly upon request. They are quite small, but, if you’re hungry, you can order more than one!

                                                                                                                                                                          

The Food

The best part of the Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge is the made to order little dishes. We say little, because they really are small! You can order two at a time and they come out of the kitchen with lightning rapidity!

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge fresh made to order
Order 2 at a time of these small dishes. There is soup in the prawn won ton bowl when served. The food in the display bowls is real, not plastic like in Japan.

We really want to try everything but feel bloated so we only get the won ton soup to share.

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge fresh made to order
You get 2 shrimp won tons with soup. It’s not much, but very tasty and you can order 2 meals at a time.

There is a selection of hot food in the silver serving dishes with lids.

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge only1invillage
The hot meals are displayed alongside the cold salad selection.

There are 5 hot dishes on offer. The most colourful dish is below. The range and taste of food is good. There are  western and eastern options.

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge stir fried vegetables only1invillage
The stir fried vegetables dish on offer in the Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge is tasty and not too greasy.

Throughout the lounge there are sweet and savoury treats. There are some wrapped foods, presumably so you can take them away.

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge wrapped sandwiches for take away only1invillage
There are some wrapped sandwiches, presumably for take away. Maybe they’re just wrapped to keep them fresh? Anyway, they are available on both sides of the lounge, not just the dining area side.
Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge pancakes and toast
If you’re on breakfast time you can get some pancakes and toast. Or, if you just fancy pancakes and toast, you can have them anytime of the day.

There are two sides to the lounge and the food on both sides is the same. You can only get the freshly made dishes however, on the dining room side.

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge snacks only1invillage
The snacks on both sides of the lounge are the same. There are some chips/crisps, biscuits, danish pastries and small cakes on offer.

                                                                                                                                                                            

The beverages

The fridges contain the usual soft drinks, like, Coca Cola and Sprite, water and beer.

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge fridge
The tall fridges contain soft drinks, beer and one red wine and one white wine. Next to the fridge is one area of spirits, where you can mix your own alcoholic drinks.

There is one red and one white wine offering. The hard liquor consists of familiar worldwide brands you can buy in the supermarket. It’s make your own and help yourself time!

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge alcohol bar only1invillage
There are 2 help yourself bars in the Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge. The alcohol selection of spirits is the same in each section.

The hot drinks selection is tea and coffee.

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge coffee machine only1invillage
There’s no human to make your coffee. Press the buttons to get your caffeine fix from the coffee machine.
Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge tea only1invillage
Make yourself a refreshing cup of tea from the Dilmah or Lipton selection. There is milk in the fridge and in the silver jug.

There is no bubble tea, which is a current craze in soft drinks. Basically it’s milky sweet tea with tapioca pearls in it. Know any lounge that serves this kind of tea? If you do, let us know. Maybe in Taiwan, where it originates from?

Wi-fi and Charging Points

If you get a wall seat, there are sockets in the wall by the armchairs. If you don’t, don’t panic! Look down at your feet and you will find charging points in the floor. The wi-fi did not seem to work in the lounge and we were too busy eating and taking photos to ask someone!

Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge sockets in the floor only1invillage
There are sockets in the floor to charge your devices. However, as you can see, you’ll need to bring an adapter, as there are no USB outlets.

About the Collinson Group and Priority Pass

The Collinson Group is behind the huge network of airport lounges across the globe, that you can pay for. They have approximately 1300 lounges worldwide. They claim that their lounges ‘transform the airport experience from an endurance test to a moment of indulgence’. We can certainly agree with the sentiment of endurance when you fly economy class. 

The idea of getting away from the noise and crowds of airport terminals for the masses is great. Whichever airline you fly with, you can gain access into one of these lounges by paying for each visit or if your membership allows, gratis.

Priority Pass membership rates

Here’s how much it will cost you to get into a Priority Pass Lounge.

There are three membership tiers: standard, standard plus and prestige.

Each tier gets more expensive as you would expect. Everything is priced in US dollars and converted back to your local currency when you join. 

Standard yearly membership is $99 USD. Each time you want to use a Priority Pass Lounge you pay USD $32 and so does your guest.

Standard Plus yearly membership is $299 USD. You get ten free visits per year and thereafter $32 USD and so does your guest. Note, your guest doesn’t get 10 free visits!

Prestige annual membership is $429 USD. Every time you visit a Priority Pass Lounge, it’s free for you! Your guest pays, you’ve guessed it $32 USD to join you.

About Suvarnabhumi International  Airport

Suvarnbumphi is a huge airport in Bangkok, the Thai capital. The airport itself is quite new. It was completed in 2006. Suvarnabhumi airport is all glass and metal, a shiny modern mega building. Previous to this, Don Meuang Airport was the international hub for flights into and out of the City of Angels. Yes, to Thai people ‘Krungthep’ is the city of angels. Only foreigners call Bangkok, by the name, well, Bangkok.

Flights still land and take off from Don Meuang. Notably the low cost carrier Air Asia still uses Don Meunag International. The ‘new’ Suvarnabhumi Airport has a direct sky train link to Phaya Thai station which is on the co- constructed German – Thai built sky rail (BTS – Bangkok Transit System). You can also get a free transit bus between Don Meuang and Suvarnbumphi.

                                                                                                                                                                            

Final Thoughts

Here’s a summary of what you get and what you don’t in the Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge.

You are on limited time. You can stay for a maximum of 2 hours only. However, we stayed longer and no one asked us to leave!

It’s quite a large and spacious lounge with some seats overlooking the main terminal. This means you can hear all the noise of the people at the gates nearby. But, that also means, there is an occasional plane to look at.

You get some natural light and free wi-fi.

There’s a shower if you need to freshen up.

What you don’t get is gourmet food. Don’t expect the food to be up to the standard of a ‘real’ business class lounge.  However, the food is quite decent. 

You also don’t get premium alcohol and barista made coffee. All in all, it’s a decent offering and a space to get away from the crowds in the main terminal building (even though you can see people through the glass!)

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Magnificent Magnetic Island and all its attractions

You’ll be blown away by the many attractions of Magnetic Island. No pun intended! This is possibly Australia’s best kept secret for a tropical island. Easy to get to and offering a vast amount of natural beauty, we tell you what to see, when and where to go, on this stunning gem, Down Under.

Quick Index Magnetic Island

                                                                                                                                              

Where is Magnetic Island?

Discover Magnetic Island only1invillage
Magnetic Island is in the far NE of Australia. It is in the state of Queensland.

Magnetic Island is located in North Eastern Australia. The closest big city is Townsville. It is a jumping off point for the Great Barrier Reef. A clear favourite destination for Australians who live in the city of Townsville. Magnetic Island lures in international and local Aussies by the hundreds of thousands. Known as ‘Maggie’ to the locals in Australian Slang – once you go, you’ll want to go back for more!

Magnetic Island belongs traditionally to the Wulgurukaba people. In is called Yunbenun.

                                                                                                                                      

Is it really magnetic?

Well, the story goes that Captain Cook observed some ‘magnetic effect’ on his compass as he was sailing by. Scientists can’t agree if it has any more magnetic pull than any other island in Australia. What is clear, though, is that Magnetic Island has many attractions! You won’t be repelled or repulsed!

                                                                                        

Things to do on Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
Magnificent vistas of this granite boulder strewn island await! Definitely one of the best things to do on Magnetic Island is the fabulous walking trails.

                                                                                        

Walking and Hiking on Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island is just full of beautiful walks and hiking trails. If you love hiking and getting rewarded with great views, you’re in luck. There are over many secluded bays and hills to discover. The natural scenery is just breathtaking. This is one of the best ways to explore this beautiful island. So, lace up those shoes and let’s get going!

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
Running shoes are fine to wear on all the walks. You’ll have to take them off though when you go for a cooling dip in one of the bays. It’s sweaty work all that hiking!

The walks and trails on Magnetic Island range from seriously easy to fantastically difficult. There is no drinking water available, except at The Forts Walk, so you must carry all your supplies. Don’t get caught out! Remember to always tell someone where you’re going if you set out on a long hike.

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
There is only 1 walk where you can refill your drinking bottle. The Forts Walk where you will see the wild koalas. For all the other walks there is no water along the way. We know this because we did every single walk!

Below we give you the official grading and time and the time it takes us to do the walking! You can use this online version to plan your walks. This walking map has less detail than the paper version. See below.

Magnetic Island walking trails
There are so many walks to keep you fit and occupied on Magnetic Island. We did every walk on this map! Pay attention to the grading of the walks, some are harder than you think.

Most walks you can do in hiking sandals or running shoes. You don’t really need hiking boots. Thongs or flip flops are not recommended as there is lots of uneven ground and rocks to stub your toes on. Also lots of the paths turn sandy, and it’s annoying getting sand and small stones under your feet. However, you can manage most walks wearing thongs or flip flops, if you don’t have any other shoes.

The walking tracks and hikes on Magnetic Island, offer splendid views. In addition, you’ll see native wildlife and the Australian Bush. Below we sort the walks into easy and moderate. Depending on your level of fitness you may find the moderate walks difficult. 

There is also a paper version of this map, which has more up to date walks and a bit more information on what you’ll see, along the way. We refer to use the paper map and we did every single walk on it! You can pick up a copy of this map at the ferry terminal.

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
This paper map shows 9 walks on Magnetic Island. We are proud to say we covered every walk on the island, including the snorkelling!

Easy Walks on Magnetic Island

                                                                                        

Picnic Bay to WestPoint- 16kms return (5hrs)

This really is an easy walk on flat sealed road. This is labelled as walk number W3 on the paper map.

Attractions of Magnetic Island walks West Point Beach
The walk to West Point is easy but long. 16kms long to be precise. But that’s return!

The road is not really picture worthy. It’s a black road with some trees and grass on either side. There’s no path, so when you hear the occasional car coming, move aside!

Magnetic Island West POint walk start bitumen road only1invillage
Told you, it’s just a boring bitumen road. The start of the West Point walk isn’t that interesting.

But, the beach is very beautiful, if isolated. We had a bit of an accident and dropped the phone on the way. We were not able to fix the phone to get our own shot of the beach.

West Point Beach Magnetic Island
West Point Beach (picture courtesy of Magneticislandproperty.com.au)

                                                                                        

Horseshoe Bay Lagoon- 200ms return (15mins) – official time according to somebody.

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
Horseshoe Bay Lagoon Walk is along some boardwalk. We are happy to report it is easy and is 15 minutes long.

Labelled as W9 on the paper map above. We are glad to report it is easy and it only takes 15 minutes.

This is an easy one to miss! It is not very well signed at all. We went down the wrong road and it took us 40 minutes to realise we were going nowhere! Here is the correct way to go. As you walk along the road to Horseshoe Bay, go past the Koala Bay Village. Before you see this road sign,

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
If you’re coming from Horseshoe Bay, the rocks to start the Lagoon Walk are just opposite this sign. Don’t miss it, we did!

Then you need to look out for two large rocks!

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
Look out for these stones to get to the Lagoon Walk off Horseshoe Bay Road. They’re well camouflaged!
Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
You’ll know you’re on the right path to the Lagoon Walk when you see this sign. Finding this sign, though, is the hard part!

We turn left at Henry Lawson Street and walk until it becomes a sand path. Don’t do this, it’s the wrong way to the Lagoon Walk, off Horseshoe Bay Road!

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
Erm, if you see this while looking for the Lagoon Walk (W8 or W9 on the paper version), you’re going the wrong way! Turn around.

On the boarwalk get your camera out for blue butterflies, blue kookaburras and a crocodile.

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
Along the Horseshoe Bay Lagoon Walk classified as easy, we see this beautiful blue butterfly.
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An iconic Australian bird, the kookaburra. You don’t often see them with a blue belly. Spot him (or her) among the trees at the Horseshoe Bay Lagoon walk.

Depending on the season, the lagoon can look a bit dry. 

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
In the dry season, it can be a bit dry! The lagoon is a bit low on water. You can see the exposed roots of the trees along the boardwalk.

                                                                                        

Hawkings Point Track – 1.2kms return (1hr)

Labelled as walk number W2 on the paper map. This isn’t that easy if you’re not that mobile or agile as it starts with steep steps. Yes, it’s a short walk, but, it’s all up hill. When you get to the top of a huge granite boulder, you’re finished. The views are spectacular. You’ll be looking over Picnic Bay, Rocky Bay, Nelly Bay, Geoffrey Bay and even back towards Townsville!

Start the walk at the end of a residential street called Picnic Street in Picnic Bay. 

Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do
Walk number W2 on the paper map. Hawkings Point Track starts at the end of Picnic Street in Picnic Bay. It’s one of the shorter walks, but, it’s quite steep.

We always seem to be walking when it’s hot and sunny! Magnetic Island has over 320 days of sunshine, so a cloudy day would be strange!

Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do
You’re almost at the top of Hawkings Point Track, when you see these steps. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place!
Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do
Victory is ours! It’s really windy at the top. Here you are looking out over Picnic Bay and the pier.
Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do
At the top of Hawkings Point Track, you can see Townsville from a different view point.

When you get back down, take a walk along the Picnic Bay Jetty you can see from the top of Hawkings Point Track.

Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do
The jetty at Picnic Bay was used as the drop off point for passengers until 2001. Now all passengers alight at Nelly Bay.

                                                                                        

Gabul Way – Nelly Bay to Arcadia 1.5kms return (0.5hour)

We are glad to report that this is an easy walk as advertised. It is a little misleading however as the walk starts after Geoffrey Bay, not Arcadia. This is the easier way to do it. There is an elevated walkway which runs alongside the busy road. It is flat if you start at Geoffrey Bay and gently rises as you progress. After you see a spectacular house on the corner on your left, it’s road only. Time to turn back.

Moderate Walks

                                                                                        

Horseshoe Bay to Balding Bay and Radical Bay- 3.2kms return (1.5hrs)

This walk is labelled W8 on the paper map and W7 on the electronic version. It is definitely labelled incorrectly.  If you don’t carry water, don’t stop to take photos and don’t trip on rocks, then, sure, you can do this walk in 1.5 hours! We walked first to Balding and  then Radical as suggested. It isn’t going to take you 1.5 hours, unless you’re a top mountain runner! Also you’ll want to cool off at the nudist beach at Balding Bay!

Walking and hiking trails on Maggie Island
Start the walk to Balding Bay from Horseshoe Bay. After those people in the distance, you need to turn right, into the bushes!
Walking and hiking trails on Maggie Island
The Horseshoe Bay to Balding Bay walk starts on sand and finishes on sand. This is walk W8 on the paper map.
walk to Balding Bay from Horseshoe Bay
Follow the path to Balding Bay. This is just after the previous sign. It’s going to get steeper!
Horseshoe Bay to Balding Bay walk
Continue along the well worn path until you see these signs. Make your choice.
Nude Beach warning to Balding Bay one of the things to do on magnetic island
By the time you see this rock, you will have walked 30 minutes. Prepare to get naked!
Granite rock path to Balding Bay
These are the last granite rocks you need to climb down before you see Balding Bay.
Here comes Balding Bay
Finally after 45 minutes we reach Balding Bay from Horseshoe Bay. You’ll be dying to get naked!
Don't miss this quick 1hr refreshing Lerderberg Grahams Dam walk 20
We finally get to Balding Bay, the nude beach. Why does J have his clothes on? It’s not a 1.5 hour return to Horseshoe Bay, if you’re going to Radical Bay, the next one along.

After a quick swim in the cold water, we feel refreshed to continue on to Radical Bay. You go back up the same steep steps and go past the ‘nude beach’ rock again. 

Signs to Balding Bay
You’ll be hot and sweating again when you see these signs from Balding Bay.
Radical Bay is the next bay along from Balding Bay
From Balding Bay, Radical Bay is another 30 minutes walk. It’s the next bay along. You can reach Radical Bay by boat or from the Forts car park. If you come from the Forts car park, it’s a very steep downwards road full of gigantic pot holes. Best to walk on foot.

The sand isn’t quite as yellow at Radical Bay, more a yellow/brown. There are also larger stones. Like most natural Australian beaches, there is little shade. If you’re going to make a day of Radical or Balding Bay, we recommend you bring a beach tent or umbrella. The water is cold and refreshing. As you can see in the picture, Radical Bay is quiet.

                                                                                        

Unnamed walk – 1km – 30 mins

This walk doesn’t have a name. It starts at Picnic Bay. It is above the walk named W2 on the paper map. It’s a quick, steep walk with you guessed it, superb views over Rocky Bay.

unnamed walk Magnetic island view of magnetic island beaches
This walk doesn’t have a name. It is above W2 on the paper map. It’s a quickie and a goodie! On the left is Rocky Bay and Nelly Bay Harbour. It’s very windy too, so secure your hat! It’s hard to get a good posing shot, hence, we’re not in it!

                                                                                        

Forts Walk- 4kms return (1.5hrs)

The Fort is in the distance
Yep, you’re going to get to the top of that fort to see some amazing views.

If you don’t stop to read the interesting placards and you never take a photo, you can do this walk in the advertised time. This is THE place to spot the koalas! We saw 9 on our walk and are happy to report, as far as reincarnation goes, we’re coming back as koalas. The cute fur balls sleep for over 20 hours a day! Now that’s a goal to aspire to! Just kidding, we would never travel far, if we slept that long.

There are many interesting placards describing daily life in this WWII outpost
There are many interesting placards describing daily life in this WWII outpost.

Start the walk at the Forts car park. The one bus stops here. It’s quite a difficult walk not in distance, but in gradient. There are lots of steps too.

Forts walk info board
Orientate yourself at the Forts Walk car park. Read the interesting information board covered in giant ants!

It is labelled as ‘moderate’ on the paper map and number W6. In our opinion, if you’re not fit, you’ll find this walk difficult. You can do this walk in 1.5 hours if you are fit and don’t stop. Otherwise, it’s more like 2 or 2.5 hours.

The walk starts on a flat path.

Forts walk flat path start
The start of the Forts Walk from the car park is along a flat path. Go off to the sides and this is where you will see the many cute koalas.
View over Arthur and Florence Bay Forts Walk
Just 10 minutes walk from the Forts car park, you will see this amazing view over Arthur and Florence Bays.

Keep going and keep your eyes peeled for the koalas. 

2 koalas Forts Walk
What’s better than seeing one koala on Magnetic Island? Seeing two koalas on the same tree! The Forts Walk, is the best place to spot these iconic Australian fur balls in the wild. It’s so crowded with koalas, koalas have to share real estate!

When you can tear yourself away from the koala spotting, continue on your history lesson about Magnetic Island’s involvement in WWII.

Discover amazing facts on Magnetic Island Forts Walk info
Learn all about how soldiers went about their daily lives on this remote part of Australia during WWII. If you don’t stop to read these information placards, you can do the Forts Walk in 1.5 hours return.

When you get to the top of the ruins of the Forts complex, this is where the fabulous views start. Persevere to the top. The stunning views at the top are worth it.

Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do
The trek to the top of the Forts ruins is totally worth it! Breathtaking views from all angles!

Of course there’s also the ruins of buildings and the giant gun emplacement to see. There are no gun remains and there is an interesting story about where all the ammunition went after WWII.

Attractions of Magnetic Island walks West Point Beach
The gun here could rotate on a 360 degree angle. It had a range of 18.3 kms. What happened to the guns remains a mystery. A soldier wrote an entry a week after Armistice Day in August 1945. He says that he and some friends went on a walk from Horsehoe Bay to the Forts and all the guns were gone!
Attractions of Magnetic Island walks Forts Walk
From inside one of the forts you can see the top of another fort in the distance. At 233 metres above sea level, the soldiers could see enemy ships coming! Yes of course we walked to the other fort.
Attractions of Magnetic Island walks Forts walk nerve centre
At the highest point of Magnetic Island. The nerve centre of the Forts complex offers outstanding views. Take time to take it all in.

Congratulations you have reached the top of the nerve centre of one of the forts! Stop to take in the fabulous views. Bring a few snacks and scramble up the rocks behind this picture to take a well deserved break. The way back to the car park will seem easier as it’s all downhill! Tick off walk number W6 on the paper map.

                                                                                        

Nelly Bay to Arcadia- 5kms one way (1.5hrs) Grade moderate

This is walk number W4 on the paper map. It’s pretty steep in places. It starts with a steep hill climb and it keeps going.

Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do walking trails
To start the Nelly Bay to Arcadia walk, walk down Mandalay Avenue in Nelly Bay. This is walk number W4 on the paper map.

This is the most deserted walk we did. We only saw 5 other people on this walk. You start this walk by going down Mandalay Avenue, a street with houses on it. It’s on the corner of the Scallywags Cafe. When you get to the end of the road you see the sign for the walk to Arcadia. You cannot do it in the advertised time unless you run – non-stop – all the way.

Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do walking trails
There are some cool patches of ancient rain forest on the walk to Arcadia from Nelly Bay. It doesn’t get easier though. We don’t agree it’s a moderate walk for most people.
Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do walking trails
It’s steep and tough going on the Nelly Bay to Arcadia walk. We’re about an hour in at this point and we’re nowhere near completing the walk in another half hour!

After an hour and half, we reach the half way point. We stop to catch our breath and admire the view. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water. There’s no where to fill up your water bottle on this walk.

Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do walking trails
Looking over Horseshoe Bay at a very high point on the Nelly Bay to Arcadia walk. At this point we are 1.5 hours into the walk. The official time to complete this walk is 1.5 hours.
Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do walking trails
Time to take a well deserved break! Looking over Horseshoe Bay thinking about….. dinner! There’s another 1.5 hours of walking to get to Arcadia.

There’s a few hopeful signs along the way as you sweat through. Thankfully now the path to Arcadia is down hill!

Discover the many attractions of Magnetic Island things to do walking trails
Helpful signs to orientate you on the Nelly Bay to Arcadia walk. If you’re coming from Arcadia, it’s up hill. If you are coming from Nelly Bay, the descent down begins from here!

It takes a total of 3 hours for Only1invillage to complete this walk. Pfft to the 1.5 hours, who wrote that?

Tracks to Florence, Arthur and Radical Bays from the Forts car park

Arthur Bay-2km return (30mins) This is doable in 30 mins. Very steep non gravel road. Can get slippery if wet.

Florence Bay-3.6km return (1hr) This walk continue on from the walk above on the same unpaved road with massive pot holes.

Radical Bay-6km return (2hrs) This is accurate time. It starts downhill. Be prepared for the return up the steep road.

Searchlight Tower-3.7km return (1hr) You can do this walk in 1 hour.

Horseshoe Bay via Radical Bay-7.5km one way (2hrs) This is a realistic time for most people to walk one way.

                                                                                        

Swimming, snorkelling and diving

The water is cold around Magnetic Island. It is definitely refreshing! It can be quite wavy at some of the beaches. The calmest beaches for swimming and ones with Surf Life Savers on patrol are Horseshoe Bay and Arcadia.

The clearest snorkelling spots are Arthur Bay, Florence Bay and the marked trail in front of the Base Backpackers. Geoffrey Bay is unbelievably murky and bordering on dangerous. You can barely see your own hand. At low tide, it is extremely difficult to get out past the sharp coral at Geoffrey Bay. We can’t comment on the snorkelling clarity in the Northern bays as these are only accessible by boat. If you’ve been to Maud, Norris or Joyce Bay, get in touch!

                                                                                        

Native Australian wildlife and Flora

Magnetic Island is famous for its koalas! See the biggest group of koalas in the wild here! Boasting over 800 koalas in the wild, Magnetic Island is the place to see these cuddly fur balls. You can get really close to them and they don’t wake up! We saw 9 in one walk!

Native Australian Wildlife
Hands up if you want to come back as a koala in another life? Sleeping over 20 hours a day sound good? Maggie Island, boasts the largest wild koala population in the world!

Magnetic Island Rock Wallabies – Feed the tame wallabies! These cute little relatives of kangaroos are best fed in Geoffrey Bay. You should not actually feed them, but, if you must, they like carrots and paw paw. 

Rock wallabies at Geoffrey Bay
These wallabies rock! Rock wallabies are common in Geoffrey Bay. Look at the cute little joey! Best time to see them is around 5pm. They’re very tame. Try to resist feeding them if you can.

If you must feed them, please consult this list.

Rock wallabies at Geoffrey Bay
If you must feed the rock wallabies at Geoffrey Bay, look at this list of food they can eat.
Attractions of Magnetic Island walks
The multi-coloured rainbow lorikeet perches on native kapok branches. The bright green, blue, yellow, red and orange bird is common across Australia, including Magnetic Island.

Endangered Curlews – These rather plain birds have the most interesting call. They sound like they’re screaming and whining, it can be quite off putting. Some people call it haunting. We call it downright weird!

Attractions of Magnetic Island walks
The unremarkable looking curlew bird of Magnetic Island. Thanks to Katankart from Pixabay for this image. We only heard their eerie call. They are difficult to see and are endangered.
kapok tree has beautiful yellow flowers discover attractions of Magnetic Island
Magnetic Island is dotted with these magnificent yellow flowers. They come from a kapok tree. Kapok are native to Australia and are found mostly in Townsville and Magnetic Island. You can even eat the bright flowers. Apparently they taste like marshmallows!

                                                                                        

Marine Life around Magnetic Island

The marine life, if you can see it, is not bad! It’s the murkiness of the water that you have to contend with. We don’t rate Magnetic Island as a top snorkel or dive destination. You are better off going to the Great Barrier Reef. However, for some free snorkelling, Florence Bay and Nelly Bay (the trail near Base Backpackers) are reasonable. The coral is a bit grey in colour and there are a few colourful fish to spot. 

Snorkelling around Magnetic Island marine life
We spot lots of lettuce coral at Florence Bay and Arthur Bay. The water can be a bit murky.

Some parts of Arthur Bay have some coloured staghorn coral. On the day we visit, there are a few bright fish around.

Different coral at Arthur Bay
Staghorn, brain and lettuce coral at Arthur Bay. A few bright blue fish make an appearance.

                                    

Magnetic Island Beaches

There are over 23 Magnetic Island beaches and bays to visit. Some are very easy to access, just off the main road. Other beaches are an hour’s hike on rugged paths. All Magnetic Island beaches are picturesque and rugged. Many of them are curved. The sand is generally a little course, although some have fine sand. Below we have photos of nine of the most popular Magnetic Island beaches.

                                                                                        

Horseshoe Bay

Sand quality – rough yellow brown coarse sand. Water – not clear, but warm enough.

Attractions of Magnetic Island beaches of Magnetic Island Horseshoe Bay
Horseshoe Bay has some natural shade and lifeguards on duty. There are stinger nets to keep out the jellyfish.

                                                                                        

Balding Bay

Discover attractions of Magnetic Island. Balding Bay is definitely worth the walk. A wide sandy bay with aqua water. Water is cold.
Balding Bay is definitely worth the walk. A wide sandy bay with aqua water. Water temperature – cold.
Balding Bay
Huge granite boulders on a pristine beach at Balding Bay. Balding Bay is isolated. It is a nude beach. The sand is fine and yellow to white, depending on the angle of the sun.

                                                                                        

Radical Bay

Radical Bay beach things to do Magnetic Island
Radical Bay Beach is a lovely curved bay shouldered with giant granite boulders.

                                                                                       

Alma Bay Beach in Arcadia

Attractions of Magnetic Island beaches of Magnetic Island
Arcadia Beach is popular with families. It has a grassed area before the beach with toilets and a playground. Beautiful bay with large granite boulders on either side. Don’t forget to swim between the flags.
Attractions of Magnetic Island beaches of Magnetic Island
Before you get to Arcadia Beach there is a good picnic area. Also there’s a children’s playground and some toilet and change facilities. The beach is known as Alma Bay Beach or Arcadia Beach which can be confusing. The town is Arcadia. 

                                                                                        

Picnic Bay Beach

This is the end of the line for the one bus. Or it can be the beginning of the line. All ferries used to drop passengers off here. This is the beach you can see from Hawkings Point Lookout.

Attractions of Magnetic Island beaches of Magnetic Island
Picnic Bay Beach has fine golden sand. It has a long line of trees you can take shade under. Apparently there’s some good snorkelling off to the right of this picture.

                                                                                        

Arthur Bay Beach

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Arthur Bay beach has some decent snorkelling opportunities. Known as fringe reef, it’s like mini reef before the Great Barrier Reef. The water is cold so a rash vest is advisable.

                                                                                        

Florence Bay Beach

Located in between Gowrie Bay and Arthur Bay. Florence Bay is another beautiful curved beach on Magnetic Island for you to discover. This is a marine national park area. No fishing allowed. This is a good spot to go snorkelling, with some colourful reef. The water clarity is good.

Florence Bay Beach Magnetic Island pristine beaches to explore only1invillage
Florence Bay is another empty beach for you to explore. Easier to reach than Radical or Balding Bay. From the Forts car park, you can walk down hill in half an hour. Don’t attempt to go by car unless you have a ‘real’ 4×4′.

                                                                                        

Cockle Bay Beach

A very small beach that is often wet. There is a shipwreck to swim out to but is quite difficult to locate. 

Attractions of Magnetic Island beaches of Magnetic Island
Cockle Bay Beach is small. Thousands of years ago, you could walk across the water to Townsville. At low tide you have to wade quite far out before you can swim. There is coral reef here.

                                                                                        

Nelly Bay

Nelly Bay doesn’t have a beach since it is the ferry terminal bay. Nelly Bay is more of a harbour. But, to the right of Nelly Bay is a huge strip of beach where turtles have been spotted.

snorkelling to the right of Nelly Bay
Nelly Bay doesn’t have a beach since it’s the harbour and ferry terminal. But, to the right, there’s this huge strip of sand where there is well marked snorkelling. It’s where the backpackers called Base backpackers is located.
Nelly Bay Harbour doesn't have a beach
The harbour at Nelly Bay is picturesque for boat spotting. There’s no beach as such, since the ferry terminal is here.

                                                                                        

When is the best time to Visit Magnetic Island?

Magnetic Island Weather

Magnetic Island has a dry tropical climate! With 320 days of sunshine per year, it seems it is always a good time to go to Maggie. As with all tropical places, Magnetic Island has a wet and a dry season. The biggest factor to consider for the best time to go to Magnetic Island is the jellyfish season.

As Australia is blessed with at least 60 deadly and toxic animals, you don’t want to be the tourist making the headlines! Stingers, or jellyfish, like to take a nibble on humans between November and April. Magnetic Island is not a great Christmas destination! The best time time to visit Magnetic Island is April to October. It is cooler but not much wetter, since it doesn’t rain much. 

There are hardly any mosquitoes on Magnetic Island! C is always the first to get bitten by a mosquito, they just love her blood! On Maggie Island though, the biting is far less severe than other tropical places, we have visited.

                                                                                        

How to get to Magnetic Island?

The Magnetic island ferry is the only way to get to Magnetic Island!

Getting to Magnetic Island
Foot passengers get on the ferry at the Sealink Townsville Terminal. The terminal is well connected to the airport by bus or taxi. The terminal offers free wi-fi and drinking water.

Click here for the Magnetic Island ferry timetable. The prices are $34 AUD return per adult, if not booked online. If you book online, it’s only $30AUD for a return ticket. Children under 14 years old, only cost $17AUD. The same goes for concession card holders. Book your Magnetic Island ferry online here.

Magnetic Island and its many attractions walks by only1invillage
The Sealink Ferry whisks you to Magnetic Island in 20 minutes from the ferry terminal in Townsville.

If you’re driving, you need to take a different ferry.

Inside the ferry, it’s nice and spacious. There are comfortable and clean seats in an air conditioned space inside.

Magnetic Island getting there on the Sealink ferry
Inside the Sealink ferry there are comfortable seats. The interior is fully air conditioned.
comfortable-inside-seating-sealink-ferry-townsville-to-magnetic-island
The downstairs area of the ferry is air conditioned. There’s even a bar on board for the short crossing!

The Sea Link Magnetic Island Ferry even runs on Christmas Day! It’s a smooth easy 20 minute cruise on a very comfortable catamaran. You can even bring your mountain bike! There are at least 12 crossings a day from Townsville and vice versa. Book online for a $4 discount.

Magnetic Island getting there on the Sealink ferry
If you really can’t wait for a drink, there’s a bar on board the Magnetic Island ferry!
Groups can sit together and socialise in air conditioned comfort on the Magnetic Island ferry
Groups and families can sit and socialise together at the tables. You won’t miss out on the view if you get a window seat.
Magnetic Island getting there on the Sealink ferry
If you like to feel the wind in your hair, choose an outside bench seat on the ferry to Magnetic Island.

What we love about the ferry to Magnetic Island – It’s easy to find the terminal. There are frequent trips across the water. The journey only takes twenty minutes. It’s a clean, modern ferry service. You’ll have free wi-fi onboard  and at the ferry terminals, both in Townsville and Magnetic Island. A bus connects you at both terminals to all the major places of interest.

Top tip for tourists and Australians – buy the Entertainment book for Townsville. This gives you 25 per cent off the return ticket price for 4 adults. Also there are vouchers for 4 places to eat on Magnetic Island. In the Townsville section, there are over 100 discount vouchers for places like Reef HQ and the museum. Many dining establishments ranging from cafes to restaurants also honour the vouchers. You can even get an e copy of the Entertainment Book.

                                                                                        

Getting around Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island car hire 

You can hire a sedan, four by four or a special ‘topless’ car. Going topless is optional!

getting around Maggie
Getting around Maggie (Magnetic) Island like the locals do! Going topless is an option for males only!
cute pink hire cars are called mokes on the island
Ladies, just because the car says topless, keep your clothes on! You’ll get a ticket for public indecency otherwise!

Many of the roads are un-passable off the bus route, so you may not need to hire a car. If you do want to get to the bays, we recommend a 4 by 4 as some of the pot holes are quite deep!

Getting around the island
The unsealed roads have SERIOUS pot holes. The roads to the bays are also very narrow. Pray another vehicle isn’t coming towards you!
Getting around the island
You need a ‘real’ 4 x 4 vehicle, with high clearance, to handle the deep pot holes of the unsealed roads on Maggie Island. Don’t think your Range Rover can handle the terrain. You have been warned!

The bus – Route 250 by Sunbus 

There’s only 1 bus that goes to all the major bays on Magnetic Island. The bus is crowded at times and there’s no space for luggage. Actually, one bus had a luggage crate, but otherwise, the bus driver will tell you to put your cases on the back steps of the bus. It only has regular seats. All seats face forwards in pairs. Click here for the one and only bus timetable.

 

Getting around the island
Sunbus Route 250. There’s only one number and one route for ‘the bus’ so you can always get on it!
Getting around the island
Sometimes the hourly bus gets so crowded! We couldn’t resist this shot. The driver told us to sit on the floor, or he would lose his job! We were not going to wait another hour for the next bus! Bringing back memories of our travels in some Asian countries.

You’ll never get lost on the bus, because it only goes 2 ways – to and from Picnic Bay to Horseshoe Bay. The only thing that may confuse people is at Arcadia Beach there is only one bus stop for both directions. At Arcadia Beach you will see on the bus timetable that the bus is labelled HB or PBJ. HB stands for Horseshoe Bay as the destination and PBJ for Picnic Bay (Jetty). The bus does a U turn to pick u up if it is coming from Horseshoe Bay! 

there's only bus route on Magnetic Island the 250
There’s only one bus route number on Magnetic Island. It’s the 250 and it only goes 2 ways. The only confusing bus stop is pictured here at Arcadia. Usually bus stops are on opposite sides of the road. At Arcadia, there’s only one bus stop. Read the timetable carefully and always check the destination on the front of the bus when you get on.

You still stick you arm out at the bus stop to get the driver to stop. You can buy your single, one day or weekly ticket when you get on the bus. The bus runs every hour only, so make sure you get to the bus stop in advance. You don’t want to miss it.

Taxis and Uber

We spotted only 2 taxis! A shuttle bus type taxi that can seat 10 people and a Toyota Corolla.

Uber is operating apparently, but we could never get a car! There is a business opportunity in the making!

                                                                                        

Where to stay on Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island accommodation

There is a wide range of accommodation on Magnetic Island. Serviced apartments, houses and hotel rooms. There are some bed and breakfast places, a few backpackers and airbnb to choose from. A lot of hotel rooms are privately owned in the Grand Mercure Apartments in Nelly Bay. You will find many of these rooms advertised on Airbnb. 

Magnetic Island is not a cheap destination. You don’t get bargain prices except at hostels like the Bungalow Bay Koala Village, in Horseshoe Bay. This is a YHA hostel. Prices for a dorm bed start at around 30 AUD. They also have private A frame bungalows, some with their own bathroom. The best thing about staying here is that you will see koalas every day! Non guests can pay to have ‘breakfast with the koalas’.

Clusters of places to stay are Horseshoe Bay, Nelly Bay, Picnic Bay and Arcadia. There are a few Airbnb options in West Point, a ‘remote’ part on the western side of Magnetic Island. 

If you are travelling in a big group and need a whole house, at short notice, local estate agents will have a list of available properties. It’s still a good idea to book in advance though!!

                                                                                        

The food on Magnetic Island

Unfortunately it’s quantity over quality on Magnetic Island. Portions are generous, but taste is not like you would find in the big city restaurants. There is one exception, the pub in Horseshoe Bay, which serves up a really decent braised beef cheeks and mash. 

Noodies Mexican – Horseshoe Bay

Noodies on the Beach Mexican Horseshoe Bay
Give the paella a miss at Noodies Mexican restaurant. The taste was bland and they haven’t used the correct rice!
huge tortillas at Noodies Horsehoe Bay
The huge tortillas are nothing special. The food is bland and overpriced. Sorry Noodies we are not impressed.

Sandis on the Beach at Horseshoe Bay. Yes, we ate mostly at Horseshoe Bay, The seafood platter was OK, not great value at 80AUD. A restaurant serving Modern Australian fare. That means seafood dishes, pasta and steak.

seafood platter at Sandis Horseshoe Bay
The seafood platter at Sandis includes half a dozen oysters.

Barefoot Art Food Wine at Horseshoe Bay was recommended by locals. The starters are impressive. The mains, unfortunately lacked taste. Great garden and balcony though, for scenic dining. Friendly service too.

Don't miss this quick 1hr refreshing Lerderberg Grahams Dam walk 22
The scallops at Barefoot Art Food Wine are delicious. This place is attached to an art gallery in Horseshoe Bay.

Scallywags – Nelly Bay

Another recommendation that we do not recommend. Great friendly service but, sorry, the food was awful. The beefburgers were like frozen cheap patties that you might feed your dog. Maybe the breakfast is good, but, we went for dinner. It really is a case of quantity over quality. The burger is huge, but, the taste, yuk. They do have BYO (bring your own) and a bicycle you can use to go and get the booze from the supermarket, down the road.

Picnic Bay Hotel

This pub, hotel and bar is an all in one Australian classic. Recently refurbished with great views over Picnic Bay. They serve classic pub fare at good prices and an unbelievable special which we couldn’t bypass.

Naturally, being a pub, it’s open every day of the week! They also have a very large aquarium where you can find Nemo and Dory together! After a long day’s walking, it is a great pit stop and the bus stop is just outside too.

where to eat Picnic Bay hotel pub restaurant
Get an Aussie classic, chicken parmigiana with chips or garden salad AND a glass of white wine just $16 !

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Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed

Diving in Malaysia’s breathtaking coral reefs

Only1invillage dedicates this whole page to the breathtaking and colourful marine life you will see when diving in Malaysia. The Malaysian coral reef is teeming with life. You will see an amazing variety of colourful hard and soft corals. Swimming around them are plenty of turtles, sharks, sting rays, parrot fish and an abundance of other marine life.

Quick Index

breathtaking corals diving in Malaysia
Breathtaking hard and soft corals await in Malaysia. The wavy coral is part of a species called octocoral.
You can compare the Malaysian coral reefs to the Great Barrier Reef. Trust us, we go to both to dive and snorkel.
You can compare the Malaysian coral reefs to the Great Barrier Reef. Trust us, we go to both to dive and snorkel.
brightly coloured Malaysian coral reef diving in Malaysia
Malaysian coral reef is bright and colourful. Not known as a diving destination….until now!

Malaysia is an unknown diving and snorkelling paradise. If you love clown fish, you will find it particularly rewarding. We’re talking many different types of clown fish, not just the orange and white one called Nemo! If you love these fish check out our related post  here.

clown fish everywhere Malaysia
If you love Finding Nemo, you’ll love Malaysia. These orange and white cuties, are everywhere! How many can you count here?
orange fin clown fish diving in Malaysia
The orange fin clown fish is not the famous fish in Finding Nemo. Clown fish are everywhere in Malaysian waters.
Diving in Malaysia amazing coral reef and spectacular marine life
Not all clown fish are like in the movie Finding Nemo. This is a stripey clown fish.

                                              

Diving in Malaysia

Parts of Malaysia that Only1invillage visits, rivals the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.

Giant clams are squashed in against giant brain corals. A common sight when diving in Malaysia.
Giant clams are squashed in against giant brain corals. A common sight when diving in Malaysia.

Giant clams, clown fish, turtles, black tip reef sharks, giant wrasse and angel fish are common sightings in Malaysian waters.

Diving in Malaysia amazing coral reef and spectacular marine life
Titan trigger fish often swim on their side. They grow up to 75 cms. You’ll always see two or three when you snorkel or dive.

Not only that, but Malaysia has white sand beaches to rival those of the Maldives! Don’t believe us? Click here to see some beach pics of our Malaysian travels to islands of paradise. Our top 2 diving and snorkelling destinations don’t even need a boat to get out to the reef from the shore.

Diving in Malaysia amazing coral reef and spectacular marine life
The marine life is just off amazing beaches like this in Malaysia.

We are not kidding. The following pictures of the marine life have all been taken within a 100 metres from the shore.

titan triggerfish
This titan triggerfish is in knee deep water off the island of Redang, Malaysia. Look at the clarity of that water. It’s warm too!
Diving in Malaysia amazing coral reef and spectacular marine life
This Malaysian bad boy puffer fish (it’s probably female!) is swimming just 100 metres from white sand in the Perhentian Islands.
Diving in Malaysia amazing coral reef and spectacular marine life
5 feet (1.5 metres) black tip reef sharks can be spotted under 100 metres from the shore on Redang Island, one of our favourite diving and snorkelling destinations in Malaysia.

We reveal why you must make Malaysia your next underwater adventure. We will tell you where the easiest spots for beginners are. How to get there and the best time to go.

                                              

How expensive is diving in Malaysia?

Snorkelling and diving in Malaysia are a quarter of the price compared to Australia and most other western countries.

1 dive with full tank and all equipment is around 140 to 150 Malaysian Ringitt.  (Around 55 AUD, 28GBP, 35USD and 32EUR)

2 dives with full tank and all equipment is 260 to 270 Malaysian Ringitt.

A recent trip to the Great Barrier Reef for 2 dives cost us 350 AUD! (185GBP, 240USD and  215EUR). You can go diving in Malaysia  4 times for the price of 1 dive in Australia.

If you decide to do your PADI certification, some places offer free accommodation. It is still about a third of the price of getting certified in the West.

                                              

Is diving in Malaysia safe?

Diving in Malaysia is very safe. Tanks, wet suits, flippers and masks are well maintained.

diving gear in Malaysia
Going diving in Malaysia is very safe. Equipment is well maintained. Qualified divers are on hand for all diving levels.
diving costs in Malaysia
Diving is fun! Your oxygen tank is filled with beer! Just joking!

The boats you travel on vary from 8 people boats to dozens (for snorkelling).

diving boats
Boats that take you diving and snorkelling in Malaysia. Some boats are quite small, carrying up to 8 people. Most resorts have their own boats or hire local boats in the busy, dry season.
jellyfish
Jelly fish are not common in Malaysian waters. This jelly fish is just too pretty not to include!

                                              

What marine life will I see when diving in Malaysia?

Turtles are very common in Malaysian waters, especially on the Eastern coast. You often don’t need to dive to see turtles off Redang and the Perhentian Islands. The turtle below hangs out just 50 metres off the beach in Redang. He, or she, often takes a lunch break between midday and 2 pm!

If this is a female turtle, she will return to this beach and lay her eggs. Turtles are known as the navigators of the sea. They are cute and need space. Please don’t stress them by chasing after them, or, swim too closely. Admire them from a distance and use your zoom, please!

turtles are common in Malaysian waters
The green sea turtle is not really green! More brown than green, don’t you think? There are plenty of turtles to see when you go snorkelling or diving in Malaysia.
Diving in Malaysia amazing coral reef and spectacular marine life
The giant clams and sea urchins are just spectacular. This photo is a snorkelling picture, taken in shallow waters. You don’t have to be able to dive to see amazing marine life and corals in Malaysia.
black and blue clown fish
We’re clown fish too! Black and blue clown fish swim out to defend their anemone off Rawa Island, Malaysia.
lizardfish
Look at me, look at me, I’m a lizard fish. I will wait on rocks to catch my prey. See you in Malaysia!
bumphead parr
You will have to be lucky to spot these giant fish in such a big group. Bumphead parrot fish are shy. They are responsible for making the powder soft white sand. They do this by bumping against coral, eating and then spitting it out!
stingray fish
The blue and yellow stingray resembles a metal detector. It likes both shallow and deep water. It camouflages well and can be difficult to see.
two barred rabbit fish and damsel fish
The stripey fish are damsel fish. The yellow fish on the right are two barred rabbit fish. The damsel fish is one of the most common ‘plain’ fish you will see in Malaysia. This also shows how clear the waters of the NW coast of Malaysia are.
pennant bannerfish
Pennant bannerfish are notoriously difficult to get a good side shot.
squirrelfish large eyes
We love ticking off fish when we go diving. These large eyed squirrel fish love to hang out in big schools. They are usually nocturnal, so we are lucky to spot them during the day.
The colourful blue barred parrot fish
The colourful blue barred parrot fish must be the inspiration for the famous children’s book The Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister.
honeycomb grouper
The honeycomb grouper likes to roam on the sea bed. This shot is from the Perhentian Islands.
Mars Fusiliers
Check off another fish when snorkelling or diving in Malaysia. Mars Fusiliers have a distinctive yellow stripe. They are swimming happily with a rabbitfish and a blue parrotfish.
golden rabbit fish
Get up close and personal to golden rabbit fish when diving or snorkelling in Malaysia. They’re not shy! They swim right up to your face.
diving in malaysia
There are lots of needle fish that swim just below the surface of the water.
red banded wrasse diving in malaysia
Look to the bottom left for the red banded wrasse. The titan triggerfish wants to take centre stage!
unknown fish diving in malaysia
We don’t know what this fish is called. Any ideas? Get in touch, we would love to know! (Perhentian Islands)

We like this guide that helps us identify the many fish we see. For photo identification, we found this site useful. It’s also one of our favourite Malaysian island destinations, Redang.

jackfish
Another fish we’re not sure of. Maybe jackfish? We can’t decide using our two guides above.
giant barracuda
Often seen swimming alone the giant barracuda. Tick that one off the list.
sea cucumber
It’s not a giant white poo! Sea cucumbers are usually brown or black, in Malaysian waters. This is rare to see a white one.

                                              

How does diving in Malaysia compare to nearby Thailand and Indonesia?

The reefs, corals and marine life are far superior to those of Thailand and Indonesia. Also, on a recent trip to the Great Barrier Reef we found that the health of the corals and the marine life are very similar. 

Malaysian coral reef
The Malayasian coral reefs compare well with the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. This is a diving shot off Redang, Malaysia.
coral in Malaysia better than Thailand and Indonesia
The coral in Malaysia is in our opinion healthier and more diverse than in Thailand and Indonesia.
giant brain coral
It’s easy to spot giant brain coral off Lang Tengah, Malaysia.
giant clam brain coral
Is this not breathtaking? The colours of the reefs in Malaysia will astound you.

                        

Best time to go diving in Malaysia

The dry season will offer the clearest visibility. After it rains, visibility is always reduced for divers and snorkellers. The dry season on the NE side of Malaysia is April to July. The dry season on the NW side of Malaysia is November to March. This is very similar to popular Phuket and Krabi in Thailand. 

blue queen angel fish
The best time to spot the blue queen angel fish is from June to August, the dry season on the west coast of Malaysia. Their electric blue ring and stripes are unmissable.

                              

Best diving spots in Malaysia

Sipidan – Difficult to get to though and has had some safety concerns recently. 

Borneo – Half of Borneo is shared with Indonesia. You can also visit orangutans after you have had enough of beautiful marine life.

Perhentian, Lang Tengah and Rawa Islands – Easy to get to and day trips possible from Perhentians to Lang Tengah and Rawa Island.

Redang – Our personal favourite island to go diving from. 

Tioman – An East coast contender. Best time to go diving is March to May.

Langkawi IS NOT a good diving spot. There is no diving around Langkawi itself. You have to go to a marine park called Pulau Payar. The west coast of Malaysia is not as good as the East coast for diving.

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Clown Fish Special Edition 28

There’s more than one type of clown fish. Discover the amazing variety in our clown fish special!

Clown fish species and their anemone a special report!

There are over 50 different types of clown fish. They can be tiny and grow to quite a large size! They’re not all orange and white like in the film, Finding Nemo. Some are black, some are yellow and some are even red! On our various travels, we have been lucky enough to snorkel and dive in some clownfish hot spots.

Quick Index

Clown fish heaven awaits in Malaysian waters. Look at the colour of the corals too!
 Malaysian reefs are teeming with various species of clown fish. This is the famous orange and white one, but, there are plenty of others!

                            

Where to find clown fish

Unfortunately to see them, you’re going to have to travel. We see the most clownfish in Malaysian waters. The clear, calm, warm waters, make it a pleasure to float over these cute and colourful underwater dwellers.Hot spots closest to Europe are the Red Sea in Egypt. Some travellers we met recently said Turkey was good. J dived in Mexico off the Yucatan Peninsula. In Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is of course the place to go. Asian hot spots are Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. For the Americas, it’s Carribean waters and Mexico. The Indian Ocean also provides opportunities near the Seychelles, Madagascar and Maldives.

Clown Fish special Edition only1invillage
We can’t get enough of these colourful hard corals which contain the anemone and their clownfish! So many different corals to spot!

Clown fish have a symbiotic relationship with anemone, the floaty looking algae that clings to corals and rocks on the ocean and sea floor.

Diving in Malaysia amazing coral reef and spectacular marine life
Orange fin anemone fish coming out to say hello. If you love finding Nemo, you’re going to adore diving in Malaysia and the Great Barrier Reef. Not all anemone is green. There is a huge variety of anemone colours, just like clown fish colours. This clownfish has one vertical stripe. Scientific name – frenatus.
Diving in Malaysia amazing coral reef and spectacular marine life
Bet you have never seen neon pink anemone? We have! For the first time ever, we spot this black, white and orange clown fish family fiercely defending their bright pink home. Amazing.

Lots of the anemone can be spotted, with their clownfish in these hard corals. Shaped like round ‘fish bowls’ they are a spectacular sight of bright purple, red, blue or green.

Clown Fish special Edition only1invillage
Often clownfish can be seen swimming out of these colourful hard round corals.
Clown Fish special Edition only1invillage
This amazing green and blue ‘fish bowl’ coral is a home for the anemone and the clown fish. We see this one off Redang Island, Malaysia.

                            

Clownfish Classification

Adult clownfish are classified depending on their colour patterns.

Group one – No vertical stripe.

Group two – one vertical stripe on the head.

Group three – two vertical stripes (one on the head, the other on the body).

Group four – three vertical stripes (one on the head, one on the body trunk, and the last one on the peduncle).

Group five – fishes having stripes polymorphism

Click here to learn more about clown fish classification and their scientific names.

Clown Fish special Edition only1invillage
This is a clown fish too! This clown fish doesn’t have vertical stripes. It is called sandaracinos. Look at the beautiful purple anemone and the stag horn coral around the ‘fish bowl’.

                            

Amazing clown fish facts

  • The scientific name is Amphiprioninae – that’s quite a mouthful. We’ll stick with clown fish!
  • The anemone that clownfish live in have poisonous tentacles but, they don’t affect the clownfish. The poisonous tentacles are to ward off other predators and protect the clown fish. Clownfish are not just cute, they’re smart too! They lure other fish towards the anemone with their beautiful, bright colours. The anemone then eats the other fish with its poisonous tentacles. Great teamwork!
  • If a clown fish is born male, he has the potential to become a female as an adult! The biggest male in a large group will become female. 
  • Male clownfish cannot change back to female after the change has happened.
  • Male clown fish look after the fertilised eggs.
  • All clown fish are hermaphrodites. That means they are all born male and have the ability to develop into females, as an adult.
  • Girl power – all clownfish groups are led by a dominant female.
  • Clown fish live in groups in outer reefs and sheltered lagoons.  
  • Like all animal species, there is a hierachy of dominant male and female clown fish. The older the clown fish pair, the more dominant they are! 
  • Size matters! The bigger you are, the more dominant you are in your social group.
  • Male clownfish can get aggressive at spawning time. They will bite the female!
  • Female clownfish can lay thousands of eggs at a time. Yes, more clownfish in the seas and oceans!
  • Eggs that are not fertilised or are damaged, get eaten by the male!
Clown Fish special Edition only1invillage
Clown fish are classified according to their stripes. Some clownfish have one stripe, some have two stripes. THis blue and black clownfish is called polmnus and is in group 5.
Clown Fish special Edition only1invillage
Although this fish doesn’t look pink, it is the pink skunk clown fish. We see this fish off the warm clear waters of the Perhentian Islands, Malaysia. Look at the bright blue anemone that the pink skunk clownfish has a symbiotic relationship with.
Clown Fish special Edition only1invillage
This black and blue clownfish has three stripes and belongs in group 4. These black and blue clownfish tend to be larger than the orange and white famous Finding Nemo clownfish. This one is a bit shy and was very aggressive, so we couldn’t get a side shot!

Clownfish like warm waters, but they can thrive in cooler waters too. By cool, we mean for the humans. On a lot of the Great Barrier Reef, you will need to wear a wet suit. The water is quite cool, about 20 to 21 degrees celcius.

diving on the Great Barrier Reef
You’ll need a wet suit when you’re Finding Nemo on the Great Barrier Reef.

On a recent trip to the Great Barrier Reef, we saw the orange and sky blue clownfish. You don’t need to dive to see this fish on the Great Barrier Reef. Most people on the day trip were snorkellers. Sometimes you get lucky snorkelling, as the snorkellers saw, a rare sighting of a single bumphead parrot fish. The divers on this trip to the Lodstone Reef, two hours from Townsville, did not. As with everything in Australia, it is huge!

Clown Fish special Edition only1invillage
We love this bright orange and blue clown fish. These are commonly found on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.
clown fish special report only1invillage black and white clown fish
You little beauties! Black and white clown fish spotted. Tick! Lodstone Reef, Great Barrier Reef, two hours from Townsville, Queensalnd, Australia.

What are you waiting for? Strap on that snorkel mask or wiggle your way into your wet suit and let’s make find some more Nemos!

If you have any photos you would like to share, we would love to see them. Get in touch via our contact us page and we will upload your pic onto this blog!

Clown Fish special Edition only1invillage
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Qantas A380 Business Class

Qantas A380 business class desperately needs an upgrade

 

Read the highs and lows of the Qantas A380 business class cabin on its journey from Melbourne to Singapore. It’s a non stop flight of just over 7 hours.

Australia’s national carrier gets the Only1invillage review. Flying high  and flat with the white kangaroo because Qantas has an impeccable safety record. Like the character in Rain Man says, “Qantas has never crashed”.

We get to turn left when we board a plane! One of us is already a little light headed after 2 hours in the Qantas international business lounge Melbourne. Is it going to be a g’day or not? Continue reading as we give you all the details of this business class flight.

Quick Index of Qantas A380 Business Class 

                                        

Find out why the Qantas A380 business class desperately needs an upgrade.

The flight from Melbourne to Singapore is scheduled to leave at mid day. An announcement is made that the plane is going to be delayed. When you’re sitting in economy class, expletives start to form. Your eyes meet your fellow passengers and you roll your eyes upwards.

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
On the flight leaving Melbourne, there isn’t any pre flight champagne. We settle for the wine and pretzels.

But, if you’re in business class, you don’t care, because the champagne just keeps on coming! Well actually, there’s no pre flight champagne on the Qantas A380. We settle for wine and pretzels instead. We have sympathy for our fellow economy class passengers. After all, we fly economy too!

Maybe Qantas read our blog, because on a second flight on the A380 from Melbourne to Singapore, champagne was available. Plus other exciting news, the nuts now come in a ceramic bowl!

Qantas A380 Melbourne to SIngapore business class
Thanks Qantas for upgrading the almonds into a bowl! Previously nuts came in a plastic bag, not very business class like. Pre flight champagne is now available too.

                                        

The Qantas A380 business class cabin

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
The Qantas A380 business class cabin is a 2-2-2 configuration.

First up, it’s really big. The business class section on the upper deck is split into two parts. The front end is smaller and feels more cosy. There are 18 seats here. We get seats 13 A and 13B. One is a window seat and one is an aisle seat.

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
Seats 13A and 13B are a window and aisle seat. The window passenger has no direct aisle access.

The configuration is 2-2-2. If you’re not travelling in a couple or with friends, it can get a bit awkward for the window seat passenger. The window seat passenger has no direct aisle access. Your fellow passenger will have to step over you when you decide to go fully flat!

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
Even with the privacy screen on maximum, it’s not that private! On board the Qantas A380 business class cabin.

The service galley separates the mini cabin from a further 24 business class seats. Behind that there are 8 rows of premium economy seats. Finally at the very back of the plane are 2 rows of economy seats.

The front end contains the ‘bar’. We’ll get onto that a bit later!

                                      

The seat and its surrounds on the Qantas A380 business class cabin

The seats themselves are comfortable enough, but, showing their age. The positives are the 180 degree flat bed position and the comfort mattress. Notice that business class seats are not much wider than economy class seats. It’s all about the legroom.

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
Qantas A380 business class seats. Not as wide as you might think. But, you’re in it for the legroom! The mattress makes the seat extra comfortable, especially in lie down mode.

There is a huge amount of legroom.

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
Flying business class is all about the amount of legroom space. The seat width isn’t that much wider than an economy class seat.
Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
On board the Qantas A380 business class cabin, there’s plenty of leg room.

The window seat passenger gets an extra piece of stowage space in a side compartment.

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
The window seat passenger enjoys handy stowage space. This is in addition to the overhead storage on the Qantas A380.

An additional advantage for the window seat passenger is the extra ‘arm lean’ space. It might make up for the fact that you have to step over your fellow passenger to get to the aisle.

Qantas A380 not upgraded plane Dec 2019
If you’re stuck in the window seat, you get some extra arm lean room! Plus, you get the view of the clouds. There are some good things about a window seat.

                                      

In flight entertainment

 There is plenty to entertain yourself with. The Qantas in flight entertainment system has all the usual options. The latest films and classic films in various languages. You can watch the flight cameras or listen to music. The TV screen is a bit grainy and small for business class.

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
There are plenty of entertainment options on board the Qantas A380 business class cabin.

The noise cancelling headphones are a nice touch. They are superior to the ones you get in economy class. You almost want to take them with you!

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
The noise cancelling headphones really do make a difference.

But what’s going on with this controller? Is it a telephone?

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
Hello Qantas! Your TV controller needs an upgrade! Is this controller a telephone too?

                                      

The electronics around the seat

The TV controller can hide in a compartment to the left of your seat. The seat can go into many positions. You can have just your feet up, a slight recline or, the fully flat bed. The buttons to change the seat positions are self explanatory. What we love most, is the in seat massage function of the seats. Getting a massage at 39,000 feet, that’s luxury.

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
Adjust your seat to 4 different positions at the touch of a button. The Qantas A380 has a lovely massage function built in to the business class seat.

The most disappointing and surprising aspect of the seat electronics is the lack of charging outlets. There are no USB or sockets to charge your devices! What is going on Qantas? That’s a big reason why this fleet of planes needs upgrading. Many airlines in economy have USB charging options under the TV. We are baffled by the lack of electricity available in business class.

On this point, we have to apologise to Qantas. There is a socket and USB charging points on the A380, but they are very difficult to find. On the most recent flight, we only found out the power points after over hearing the flight attendant tell another passenger! They are not in the most obvious location.

Qantas A380 Melbourne to Singapore business class only1invillage
Oops there are power sockets and USB charging slots! Sorry Qantas! However, in our defence, their location is very difficult to find. They are located in front of the middle console that contains the TV.

                                      

The amenity kits on the Qantas A380 business class

We have to say, they’re a bit under whelming. No pyjamas, that’s only for first class passengers. The quality of the toiletries bag isn’t great. It looks a bit cheap and will make a great ‘re-gift’ present for a 5 year old. The Aspar products do smell very good, though.

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
The his and hers amenity kits are certainly eye catching. They don’t contain much, however, which is a little disappointing.
Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
Apart from the eye mask, ear plugs, socks and toothpaste, this is what you get. Mini Aspar toiletries products – hand cream, a face moisturiser and a lip balm.

                                    

The food and beverages

Now if you really want to know what you’re eating, you can pre- select your food online. You go to ‘manage your booking’ on the Qantas website and look for ‘Menu Select’. Personally, we like the surprise, there’s always something you’ll want to eat, when flying business class.

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
We are happy to report that the lunch service looks and tastes good on the Qantas A380 business class flight from Melbourne to Singapore.

When you fly business class you expect the food to be restaurant quality. The food should look and taste different to economy class. From the ‘real’ cutlery and crockery, you expect a big difference. The food is definitely better than economy class! One small gripe is the wine and premium alcohol quality.There’s also no cocktail service, unlike on  Emirates business class.

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
The Asian inspired appetisers of pork and shiitake mushroom dumplings look and taste good. There is a choice of fresh bread. J opts for sourdough bread.

The menu selection always reflects the place you’re flying from and the destination. So, on the flight from Australia there is a choice of Asian inspired and Modern Australian food. We opt for one of each and share!

The menu selection always reflects the place you're flying from and the destination. So, on the flight from Australia there is a choice of Asian inspired and Modern Australian food. We opt for one of each and share!
The prawn salad is delicious and fresh. The modern Australian menu also includes a third option, of pumpkin soup, but, we can’t fit it in! The chilli and lime salsa on top of the prawns is sublime.

The lunch service begins an hour into the flight. The headphones are on and the latest film is rolling. It’s main course time. There are four options to choose from! There’s a vegetarian polenta with braised greens, mushroom ragout and a salsa verde. The other choice is a Moroccan style beef tagine with chickpeas, roasted sweet potato and coriander yoghurt. As you can see, it’s a difficult choice!

The menu selection always reflects the place you're flying from and the destination. So, on the flight from Australia there is a choice of Asian inspired and Modern Australian food. We opt for one of each and share!
J opts for the seared Humpty Doo (A small town in Northern Australia) barramundi. It comes with a tamarind sauce, gai lan and Jasmine rice. It’s very good and doesn’t have the mud taste that barramundi can sometimes have.
The menu selection always reflects the place you're flying from and the destination. So, on the flight from Australia there is a choice of Asian inspired and Modern Australian food. We opt for one of each and share!
C opts for the roast chicken breast on a potato gratin. It is served on minted peas, with honey roasted carrots and a tarragon eschalot butter. Now, try saying that again, without reading it!
Qantas A380 Melbourne to Singapore only1invillage business class
On another flight there is a Moroccan spiced carrot soup with coriander yoghurt. All starters come with a salad and a choice of bread.
Qantas A380 Melbourne to Singapore only1invillage business class
Qantas ran out of a chicken salad, so C got a seared tuna and eggplant salad from first class, instead! No complaints here!

Ok, Ok, so we eat a lot. Yes, we had a little breakfast in the lounge before the flight, but, you can always make room for dessert! In the interests of a thorough review, it would be unfair not to order something sweet!

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
The final act is here. Sweet and savoury delights on board the Qantas A380. The cheeseboard is served with quince paste and a cranberry jelly. The chocolate mousse is topped with sour cherries and toasted almonds. The almonds are missing on our pudding.
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The bread and butter pudding with mascarpone is only just OK to finish the lunch service. We want to speak to the chef please!

Now, just when you think you can’t eat any more. Three hours into the flight, there’s the mid flight snacks. These are also available at the ‘bar’ section at the very front of business class. They are pieces of whole fruit, chocolate bars and bags of crisps/chips. They don’t need a photograph.

Prior to landing, so about 6 hours into the flight comes the last food offerings. There’s a choice of two things, so naturally, we order one of each!

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
The prior to landing meals are much better than in economy class. The Cornish pastie and the egg noodles are both very tasty. They get the thumbs up from Only1invillage!
Qantas A380 Melbourne to Singapore only1invillage business class
Beef koftas with chickpea and a cucumber yoghurt dressing. Pre landing snack on the Qantas A380 business class ex Australia.

                                    

The service of the Qantas staff

The staff are friendly, but not over friendly. They don’t seem to have as much time to chat to you about your destination. For example, landing cards are handed out regardless of whether Singapore is your final destination. A more personal touch would have been to ask passengers if they are connecting or not. Outside of meal times, the Qantas staff keep to themselves. 

                                      

The Qantas A380 business class toilets

This is what you have all been waiting for! Here it is, the toilet photo!

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
It’s an economy class toilet. The Qantas A380 business class cabin desperately needs a toilet upgrade! There are no toothbrushes or face towels on offer in the toilet.

                                      

The Qantas A380 business class bar

This is the part of the Qantas A380 that needs the urgent upgrade the most. When you see the pictures of the bar, you will understand why. Unlike its competitors Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic and Korean Air, you probably won’t be leaving your business class seat for this bar.

It’s not really a bar and the shape of it, isn’t really enticing. Despite that, you will always get some people using the room behind the curtains!

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
This is the Qantas A380 bar! Judge for yourself.
Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
You collect your own drinks from a separate section of the ‘bar’ and then walk to the seating area of the ‘bar’. We do like the safety belts, in the bright red seats. Safety first Qantas!

                                      

Summary of why the Qantas A380 business class cabin desperately needs an upgrade

Firstly, that bar isn’t enticing. There should be better quality wines on boarding and cocktail options to match competitors. If you compare the area to its competitors, you can see why it doesn’t come close to Emirates or Qatar’s on board bar. See pictures of the Emirates A380 bar here.

Secondly, the seats are starting to sag and could be a little wider. Seating configuration of 2-2-2 vs competitors such as Emirates 1-2-1 means a lot less space. Also it means window passengers need to climb over the person next to them. The privacy screens are too short. The television screens are too small and low quality. The toilets have no amenities.

Good news the overhaul of the A380 started in September 2019. The first upgraded plane flew from London to Singapore in October 2019. We have yet to fly this route. When we do, we’ll let you know! Qantas promises to make the bar area more inviting. 

Qantas A380 business class cabin flight review Melbourne to Singapore Only1invillage
This is what Qantas envisions the new bar area to be. Definitely an upgrade from the existing bar on the A380. The refurbishment begins in September 2019.

Qantas has also announced that all seats will have aisle access in business class. They are making their business seats more like Qatar’s ‘business suites’ which are like mini first class areas.

The upgrades are scheduled to finish at the end of 2020. Roll on 2020, we say!

To read about the improvements, Qantas is planning for the A380 fleet, click here.

 

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Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage

Qantas International Business Lounge Melbourne 

Here is our review of this shiny and modern lounge. It is spacious and comfortable with fast Wi-fi. A calm oasis to relax in, before your long haul flight. We visit at both breakfast and lunch time. The menu changes at mid day. Only1invillage tells you what you get and what you don’t, in the coffee Capital of Australia!

Australia’s national carrier Qantas has recently spent a lot of money refurbishing its domestic lounges. Are the lounges of the same standard for international passengers in Melbourne, Australia? When Down Under, find out if you’re getting a dud or a gem, when you fly through or from Melbourne International.

Quick Index Qantas International Business Lounge Melbourne

                                            

 the Qantas International Business Lounge Location

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
The Qantas business class lounge for international passengers is after security in Terminal 2. Look up for the signs!                               

After passport control in Terminal 2 you go through the duty free shops. Keep following the signs. The lounge is located down an escalator and is opposite the Singapore Airlines and American Express Lounge.

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Keep following the signs to get to the Qantas business class lounge at Melbourne International Airport.
Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
The Qantas business lounge for international passengers is on Level 1, airside, opposite the AMEX and Singapore Airlines lounges.

                                                

Qantas International business class dress code

Quite a lot of people can use this lounge. Before you get dressed though, please read our guide of what to wear and what not to wear! How embarrassing if you get refused entry because you’re not properly dressed!

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Would you let this man in? Make sure you’re properly dressed for the business class lounge. Qantas are quite fussy. You don’t have to wear a shirt and sunglasses. They are optional.

                                                

Who can Get In

Emirates code share customers who are flying business class can use this lounge, but will probably opt for the Emirates lounge. Also business class passengers of the following airlines. Get ready for the long list! Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Sri Lankan Airways, LATAM (Chilean), China Airlines, China Southern, China Eastern, Garuda Indonesia, Fiji Airways, Jetstar, Vietnam Airlines and Sichuan Airlines.

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Who let him in?!! A lot of people can get into the Qantas lounge.

You can also gain entry if you have racked up enough points with your airline. Usually if you’re in the top two tiers and have jewel status of at least a sapphire, you can use the Qantas international business lounge in Melbourne. For Qantas you have to hold gold status. For Emirates, gold and platinum status gets you in. If you’re a Oneworld alliance flyer and have sapphire or emerald status, come on in!

Lastly, if you’re a Qantas Club member or you have a single entry pass, then come on in and relax.

                                              

Seating

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Various seating options in the Qantas international business lounge at Melbourne. The one negative is the natural light, There isn’t much of it!

The good news is that the lounge is very big. It can hold up to 350 people apparently. Still you don’t want it to be full and at capacity! You come to a lounge to get away from the terminal crowd.

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Size matters! The Qantas lounge at Melbourne International is spacious.

The best thing for families with small children, is the play area. It would be better however, if it was enclosed, so you can’t hear the screeching of the little darlings. Take a leaf out of Emirates’ children’s area in Dubai. For a review of the Emirates business class lounges in Dubai, click here.

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
A dedicated area for little travellers to play in (Melbourne international Qantas business lounge)

There’s a business area with a sleek long desk and photocopier machine/printer at one end, just after the reception desk. Set up here if you need to get some work done.

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Get your business done here! A large office area is available in the Qantas Melbourne international business lounge. Naturally there are plenty of charging points.
Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
One of the office benches with USB charging points for your devices. If you forget your laptop, you can use this machine!

The seats range from armchairs in small groups to bar stools. They come in a variety of colours, textures and comfort levels. As usual, the tables are way too small to fit much onto them. However, most people aren’t travelling in large groups and you can always put two tables together, if the need arises.

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Sit and have a meal, like you’re at home in your kitchen!
Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Take a seat in a padded armchair in the business class lounge at Melbourne international airport.
Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Have a chat or watch some sport on these modern round chairs.
Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Like the leather look instead? Place your hide on these arm less leather sofas.
Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
If you like the breakfast bar look, pull up a stool. They are surprisingly comfortable!
Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Hidden behind one of the breakfast counters. These weird cylinder stools look funky. But, are they comfortable? Probably not as no one is sitting on them.

                                                

Bathrooms and Showers

Close your eyes it’s time for the shower shots!

You ask for a towel and an amenity kit at reception. It isn’t help your self service and there is no attendant like at the Qantas Sydney international lounge.

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Your towel and toiletries kit includes a bath mat.
Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Your towel kit contains a bath mat. You are given a toothbrush and a shaving kit.

The shower area is located in the middle of the lounge. 

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
The shower cubicles are located in the middle area of the business class lounge at Melbourne international.

There are also separate toilet areas.

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Separate from the showers are toilet areas.

The showers have a toilet inside them too, so they’re more like a mini bathroom.

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Each shower cubicle is really a mini bathroom. Every shower room also has a toilet and sink inside.

The toiletries have been exclusively designed for Qantas by Aspar. The 500ml body lotion retails at $50AUD per bottle. When you get on the A380 Qantas plane, inside your amenity kit, you will find an exclusive offer for Aspar products. You enter a code on the Aspar website and you get $50AUD discount. Conditions apply.

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Aspar cleansing and moisturising products. They smell good and are mostly organic. Feel nourished, protected and loved! That’s their strap line, not ours.
Qantas Melbourne business class lounge shower amenities
Different scents for men? Aspar products add a touch of class to the cleansing experience.
Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Almost forgot to show the shower. A powerful shower with adjustable head, in the spacious cubicle.

                                                

Food and Beverages

Feeling hungry? Like all business class lounges, the food changes according to the time of the day. We visit at breakfast time on one occasion and another time for lunch. There’s a very good, not quite excellent, variety of hot and cold choices, including Qantas’ signature ‘made to order’ dish of the day.

Qantas Melbourne business class lounge breakfast made to order only1invillage
The healthy ‘made to order’ breakfast bowl only takes 5 minutes to prepare. Go on, treat yourself, before your flight. Get a freshly pressed juice to go with it.

The drinks selection never changes, don’t worry. You can still mix yourself a cocktail at 8am!

Being in Melbourne you are guaranteed great coffee. Barista made is best. There are 2 self service machines, but who in their right mind uses them, when you’re in the coffee capital of Australia?

                                              

The breakfast

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You won’t go hungry before your flight. The hot breakfast menu at the Qantas international business lounge Melbourne.

 

The cold options are a Western style selection. On offer for breakfast is fruit salad, yoghurts, cereals and muesli.

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The healthy cold choices for breakfast. Fruit salad (not from a can), yoghurt, cereals and muesli.
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Bright and appealing colours at the breakfast bar in the Qantas international business class lounge. There’s even chia pudding! What do you mean you don’t know what that is?! It’s on the right hand side of the photo.

Now onto the hot food. It’s what we call a full English.

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Here’s a full English breakfast served with fresh barista made coffee.

For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s pretty tasty, but, not so healthy. Fried or grilled sausages, bacon, eggs, mushroom and hash browns are standard. For the health component grilled tomatoes are usually offered too. It’s not all bad!

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Components of a full English breakfast. Note that for our American friends, hash browns come in one piece, Down Under and in the UK.

If that’s too unhealthy for you, you can always try the special dish of the day. It is cooked to order, so it’s guaranteed to be fresh. The business lounge plate of the day is next to the barista coffee bar. You place your order and hang around for about 5 minutes. They call your name, when your food is ready.

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Place your order for the business lounge dish of the day at the barista bar.
Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
While you’re at the barista bar, might as well get a fresh pressed vegetable juice too, to go with that healthy breakfast option.
Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
The brown rice, kale, almond, feta and poached egg looks so good. The fetta cheese was missing, which was a bit disappointing.

                      

The Lunch 

At midday the breakfast is removed and replaced with lunch offerings. Cereals and yoghurts are replaced with salads. Grilled tomatoes and bacon change to various hot dishes. Presentation wise, Qantas comes second to an Emirates lounge, both in taste and presentation.

     

Qantas Melbourne business class lounge salad options
At lunch time the lounge menu changes. Cold salad or sandwich fillings replace cereals and fruit for breakfast.

If you don’t fancy making your own sandwich, you can make your own salad or choose from two ready made versions.

Qantas Melbourne business class lounge salad bar
The salad bar for lunch allows you to mix your own healthy recipe.

 If you’re after something hot, there are two dishes on offer. 

Qantas Melbourne business class lounge hot lunch food
The hot lunch offerings today are a beef Bourgingnon with red wine sauce and a Moroccan inspired tagine with chickpeas. There is also steamed rice in the pot on the left. The soup in the big vat, is red lentil.

If you still have room, there is a small cake selection.

Qantas Melbourne business class lounge dessert
Indulge your sweet tooth and your waist line at lunch time. Cheesecake or apple pie for dessert at the Qantas International Melbourne business class lounge.
Qantas Melbourne business class lounge wide shot of lunch
The cold lunch selection in the business class lounge in Melbourne. A salad bar and a make your own sandwich station.

The beverages

Any international business class lounge worthy of its class has to have a good selection of alcohol. Whilst Qantas doesn’t offer premium alcohol, like Emirates does, the variety is good.

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One of the red wine stations in the Qantas international business class lounge Melbourne.

 The selection of alcohol is vast. You can mix your own cocktails for breakfast at two stations in the business class lounge. No one is going to judge you!

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The range of spirits and beer available in the Qantas Melbourne lounge. Make your own cocktail!

The quality of the wines isn’t as good as in the Emirates lounges, but much better than the Qantas Club in the domestic terminal.

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
White wine in the Qantas international business class lounge Melbourne. Bottles range from $15 to $25 AUD in price. Not quite up to Emirates standards, which is why most people prefer to use the Emirates lounge, if possible, on a code share flight.

The soft drinks selection is pretty good too. Teas are available in single sachets. Freshly pressed vegetable juice is available too.

Qantas Melbourne business class lounge fresh juice
While you’re ordering your barista made coffee, don’t forget the freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juice.

What the Qantas lounge does have over the Emirates lounge, is the barista coffee.The fresh barista coffee is excellent.  Well, this is the coffee capital of Australia, after all! The latte art is pretty impressive too.

What the Qantas lounge has over the Emirates lounge in business class is the barista coffee.
Barista made latte and capuccino is excellent in the Qantas lounge. The Italian Faema coffee machine retails at $17000USD . We do our homework at Only1invillage!

The only drinks missing are the bubble teas and smoothies. We don’t know any lounges that offer these! If you do, let us know.

                                                

Final Thoughts

Here’s a round up of what you get and what you don’t in the Qantas international business class lounge.

You get plenty of space. A dedicated children’s play area. Comfortable spaces to sit or work. A big variety of beverages. A good selection of hot and cold food. Showers to freshen up in. Fabulous barista coffee. 

What you don’t get is natural light. Also, the cleaning up of dirty plates isn’t as good as it could be. Apart from that, there’s not too much to complain about. We enjoyed our time in the Qantas international business class lounge Melbourne. It beats having to cook breakfast  or lunch for yourself!

Qantas business class lounge Melbourne International review only1invillage
Want to read more about other lounges? See below for more fantastic reviews by Only1invillage.

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Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed

Redang Island the Malaysian Maldives 

So what’s your favourite place that you have visited? A common question that is hard to answer. For us when it comes to beach destinations around the world this is it! Redang Island Malaysia is a tropical paradise! Beautiful sand, crystal clear warm water, spectacular scenery, amazing marine life and largely unknown. Keep reading and discover why we call it the Malaysian Maldives. 

Quick Index Redang Island

                                                    

Why Go to Redang Island?

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
Oh No! Our secret is out! Redang Island is our Malaysian Maldives destination.
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Redang has spectacular, colourful reefs which rival the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Diving is also a quarter of the price.

We are not joking! You don’t even have to dive to see giant bumphead parrot fish, angel fish, giant clams and the clown fish are everywhere!!! Black tip reef sharks, turtles, puffer fish, red breasted wrasse and titan triggerfish are common sightings.

Redang Island secret paradise revealed only1invillage
This is “our” resident turtle. Please don’t go too close, admire them from afar. Never try and touch one, it really stresses them out and please don’t chase them! He usually takes a lunch break between mid day and 2pm!
Redang Island secret paradise
These amazing giant and colourful clams are plentiful on Redang. As you glide over them, they snap shut to protect themselves.

If your idea of paradise involves palm trees, frangipanis, sitting with your toes in soft, white sand, crystal clear warm water, amazing fish life and serious relaxation, you know what to do……..keep reading!

Redang Island secret paradise
Frangipanis, coconut palms and blue skies. Is this your idea of paradise? It’s definitely ours!
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Amazing water clarity in Redang! It’s warm too.
Redang Island Malyasian Maldives fantastic coral and marine life
Life is much better where it is wetter, under the sea! Snorkelling in the Malaysian Maldives of Redang! Just breathtaking.

We know, we know, you want to go to the Maldives, but, trust us, the Maldives is a huge rip off. Do you enjoy paying $US5 for a 330ml can of Coke? Do you like getting your feet cut on sharp coral? Do you enjoy going for a 1 hour snorkel and seeing one grey coloured fish?

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
You don’t need to spend $400USD a day to find Nemo in Redang! Malaysian reefs are teeming with various species of clown fish.

Is your idea of paradise worth $US400 a night for a 3 star resort? Unless you go to exclusive resorts which charge in excess of $US800 per night, the sand quality is not better in the Maldives. To us, Redang is the Malaysian Maldives!

Compare these photos. Can you tell which one is Malaysia and which one is the Maldives?

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Malaysia or the Maldives?
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed The Malayasian Maldivess
Maldives or Malaysia?

You can see where we’re heading can’t you? Malaysia has everything the Maldives has but on a budget! Train your brain to say Redang Island is my next dream destination. Forget about the Maldives. Malaysia or the Maldives? See, they are even beginning to sound similar!

                                                    

Where is Redang Island?

Redang Island is part of Malaysia. The island itself is located in the South China Sea. Redang Island is NE of the capital Kuala Lumpur. It used to be a plane ride away, but the runway closed in 2016. It is a bit of a transportation collective to get to Redang Island, which makes it less popular than Langkawi. Yes, Langkawi is beautiful too, but far more crowded. We like the fact that it’s difficult to get to Redang. A plane, a taxi and then a boat ride from KL, makes Redang Island quieter. Redang is close to our other dream destination in Malaysia, thePerhentian Islands.

                                                    

When is the best time to go to Redang Island?

Redang Island weather is tropical. Redang Island has three seasons. Bloody wet and hot, bloody hot and dry and monsoon season. Best time to go is non monsoon season. June, July and August offer the calmest seas and best water clarity. Many places close on Redang Island from November to February. Always check in advance. The crossing over can be very rough in the monsoon season. Some boats may not operate at all. So the best time to go depends of what type of weather you like!

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
July weather is hot and dry on Redang. It’s the perfect time to escape the southern hemisphere Winter. Not a bad view, if we do say so ourselves!

April is a good time to go to Redang too, but tidal waves bring in some rubbish from wherever all that plastic comes from. When we come in April, we spend a lot of time cleaning the beach.

Redang Island secret paradise
April weather is right at the beginning of the season for holidays. It’s really quiet and you’ll definitely be the Only 1 in the village!

It is however, nothing like the nightmare of rubbish you see on Indonesian beaches. September still has plenty of sunshine. Even in October, when you might get downpours of H2o, it doesn’t last long! Basically Redang is an escape for the southern hemisphere experiencing Winter.

Redang Island secret paradise the Malaysian Maldives
Want endless blue skies, white sand and warm water? Escape the southern hemisphere Winter. June, July and August is peak season on Redang. This is the best time to come and get that beach life!

If you’re bored of crowded European beaches in June, July and August, come on over to the Malaysian Maldives, of Redang! The sun shines all day long, the water is warm and clear and the sand is soft.

                                                    

How to get to Redang Island

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Air Asia the low cost carrier flies from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terrenganu 6 times a day. Malaysia Airlines, Malindo and Firefly also have direct flights.

Option 1  – Getting to Redang Island

The nearest airport is Kuala Terrenganu. Kuala Terranganu is a 50 minute flight, from the capital of KL. KLIA2 and Air Asia offers the most number of flights to KT daily. From KT airport (Malaysians love acronyms) a 50 minute taxi ride takes you to Shandabhar Jetty. From there, a public ferry takes 90 mins to cross the South China Sea to our no longer secret paradise island.

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
The public ferry takes 90 minutes to get to Redang from Marang. It is air conditioned. The boat leaves Syahbandar jetty at 9:00, 10:30 and 15:00.
Redang Island secret paradise
This transfer boat pulls up alongside the public ferry to disembark. The hull of the public ferry will ruin the coral, so this flatter bottomed boat takes over. This boat is upposed to only take 64 passengers. However, it can sometimes be overloaded with 200 people. Health and safety Malaysian style! The process of unloading the passengers and their luggage can take 45 minutes.

Option 2 – Getting to Redang Island

You can also go to Merang Jetty and wait for a boat to fill up to get to Redang Island. Don’t confuse Merang with Marang, which is totally different. The letter e makes all the difference. There is no jetty at Marang. You must go to Merang. Click here for the boat times from Merang Jetty to Redang. Note, we only use this for the return from Redang. We cannot vouch for the accuracy of the times going to Redang from Merang Jetty. Also, we have never booked online, we always pay cash.

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Merang Jetty boats are smaller and faster. Journey time to Redang is 50 minutes. Boats generally leave at 8:00, 9:30, 10:30, 13:00 and 15:00.

However, the boats can be more crowded and you may have to wait for one to fill up.

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Alamein Boat Services go from Merang Jetty to Redang Island. It’s a bit more crowded and slightly less comfortable than the ferry. But, it’s a lot faster to our secret paradise!

Buy your tickets here to go to Redang if you turn up at Merang Jetty. Your accommodation can also buy your ticket in advance along with your taxi transfer from Kuala Terrenganu. Don’t forget, you will also have to pay a small jetty access charge and the marine park fee. Have to preserve paradise! It won’t put a dent in your budget. It’s 30MYR for non Malaysians, 15MYR for children and senior citizens. That’s the same fee for the Perhentian Islands marine park fee. If, like us, you go to Redang, from the Perhentian Islands, you don’t have to pay twice!

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Buy your ticket at the Merang Jetty ticket counter. You also have to pay the Marine Park entrance fee.

Option 3 – Getting to Redang Island

If you love a bumpy, hold onto your bones boat ride for 50 minutes, you can also get to Redang Island from the Perhentian Islands! On arrival at the Perhentian Islands, we always go to Ayumni House, which is behind Tuna Bay resort and ask the lady there to arrange a boat transfer. The cost is MYR100 per person.

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
While you’re on the Perhentians, buy a ticket from the lady who runs Ayumni House homestay. The cost is 100MYR per person and it saves you going back to the mainland.
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Hold on to whatever you can! This fast boat will whisk you between Perhentian and Redang in 50 minutes! Warning – It’s a rough crossing! There are 4 rows of padded seats. Boat transfer Malaysian style.

At least 6 people have to go to make it worthwhile for the ‘taxi’. That’s why you need to enquire at least 3 days in advance. In our experience, it’s easier to island hop from Perhentian Besar to Redang Island and not the other way around.

If you’re staying at the Taraas Beach Resort or Laguna Redang Island Resort, they will arrange all transfers for you. This includes a meet and greet at the airport in Kuala Terrenganu. Enquire with your accommodation. 

                                                    

What’s there to do on Redang Island?

The things to do on Redang Island are all outdoors. This is not a tropical paradise where you want to stay in your hotel room. Some accommodation comes without TVs in the room, which we think is a great idea. How will you catch the moon rise? Yes, there is such a thing. Even massages, morning and evening yoga are an outside activity. 

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
The snorkelling and diving is world class in Redang. Look at those colours. We spend at least 3 hours every day under the sea!

It’s all about the ‘s’ words. Sun, sea, sand and snorkelling! There’s also some hiking, massage, reading and yoga. A few places will rent out kayaks and stand up paddle boards. Believe us, it’s exhausting from dawn until dusk fitting everything in.

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We’ve got eyes on you, Mr Stingray. These colourful fish are very common in the shallow corals off the beaches in Redang.

The snorkelling and diving is some of the best in Asia. The diving is also very cheap and the equipment you get is of a good standard. Diving instructors are knowledgable. If you’re thinking of getting your PADI license, why not do it in paradise? It really gives Thailand, where J got certified a run for its money. 

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Malaysian humour! You have to come and dive in Redang. Why not get your PADI certification?
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Of course we are going to show you the other half!

Redang is an underwater paradise. Every day, we are busy spotting resident turtles, clown fish, angel fish and rare sightings of bump head parrot fish.

Redang Island secret paradise Malaysian Maldives bumphead parrot fish make the amazing white sand
OMG OMG a school of bump head parrot fish. These huge fish are responsible for all that white sand. Google them.
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Blue Ring Angel fish are not rare in Malaysian waters.

Not to mention giant wrasse, titan triggerfish, black spotted cod, moray eels and sting rays!

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Well hello there, Mr Black Spotted Cod. Spotted you!

 

Almost forgot about the schools of black tip reef sharks which smile at you as they glide past!

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Want to swim with the sharks? Common just 2 metres from the soft, white sand of Redang Island. Some are up to 5 feet in length! Don’t panic, they’re quite friendly. Well, so far they have been!

There is also pristine jungle, like on the Perhentian Islands.

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise i
Feeling adventurous? You can hike on Redang. Bring plenty of mozzie repellent though! It’s a jungle out there!
Redang Island secret paradise
Don’t be alarmed when you see monitor lizards on your jungle walk!
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island
You get this white sandy beach all to yourself, after the jungle trek which starts at the back of Coral Redang Island Resort and finishes at this beach next to the 5 star Taaras Resort.
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise i
You will be like this too after your jungle trek. Trying to dry out on the granite rocks. Maybe next time, don’t wear a long sleeved top!

Redang Island is, for us, the perfect mix of not too isolated and not too busy.

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Cheers to having so much sand to yourself! It’s about midday and there’s hardly anyone on Long Beach.

Nightlife consists of live bands at the various resorts. Thankfully where we stay doesn’t have a band at all. Also, Sari Pacifica doesn’t do live music, which means it is possible to sleep at 10pm.

Redang Island secret paradise
It’s pretty quiet at night on Redang. You’re going to have to make your own entertainment!

During the day, you often have the powder white sand to yourself and 10 other western tourists. Asian tourists avoid the sun from 10 until 4. Your peace will be interrupted 3 times a day when the snorkelling boats come in and out.

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise Malaysian Maldives
Seriously empty white powder soft sand beach. Usually between 11 and 4pm, you will have the beach mostly to yourself. Asian tourists like to keep their skin fair, so are not out until dusk! You’ll only see mad dogs and English men, out in the mid day sun! Come to think of it, there’s no dogs on Redang, unlike Thailand. Another reason why Redang is our Malaysian Maldives paradise!

Apart from that you can only hear waves, gently lapping against the shore. Oh and course people’s conversations about the amazing fish!

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
Helping out with the fresh coconut delivery! If you’re missing the gym, get a work out with nature.

                                                    

What’s the food like on a tropical island?

One of the things to do on Redang Island is to eat and eat and then eat some more. The Malaysian food is better than the western food. Eating out doesn’t break the bank in Malaysia and Redang Island is no exception. 

Redang Island secret paradise revealed only1invillage
You can have your cake and eat it on Redang Island!

You’ll need great coffee to go with that cake. Forgot to add the latte pictures! Here you go. You can get great coffee on Redang Island. OK, not Milan or Melbourne standard, but what else are you going to drink with your cake?

Redang Only1invillage secret paradise Malaysian Maldives
Coffee time! Would you like a stunning view with that?
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealedMalaysian Maldives rival
If you can catch him, you can eat him! We’re only joking, there’s no exotic food on Redang. It’s great Malaysian and reasonable Western food.
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise island revealed
Food on Redang always come with a great view. Here we are having some stir fried vegetables with seafood and plain rice.
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise i
Malaysian roti and vegetable curry. Gimme gimmee. The stretchy roti is a Malaysian speciality on Redang. One is never enough!
Redang Only1invillage secret paradise i
Western food is widely available on Redang. However, it’s not the best for authenticity, but look at the view. Our advice, stick to Asian food on Redang.

                                      

Where we stay on Redang Island

Redang Island secret paradise
The open air reception greets you at Coral Redang Island Resort.

Our secret island paradise is out, so we might as well share where we stay. Our favourite place to stay on Redang Island is Coral Redang Island Resort. This is a 3 star resort.

Redang Island secret paradise
Coral Redang Island Resort is always our number one choice. A relaxed vibe which is popular with Europeans. A comfortable open air lobby, a great place to work on that all important travel blog!

Good value and modern with a prime position on the beach. What we like about Redang Island is that even though the hotels are built on the beach, they are well camouflaged. They are also about 20 metres back from the water. 

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
Coral Redang Island Resort is set back from the beach. Here is the decking area that you can bring your own drinks to, for a small charge.

The service is good and the restaurant is the best option for western food. We have tried every restaurant on the island. The organisation of transfers to and from the island is very good. Visa is accepted for paying the final bill. You cannot book via booking.com or expedia. You have to book direct with the resort.

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
Coral Redang Island Resort will come and pick you up in one of these tractors from the public ferry jetty. They are excellent at arranging the ferry transfer and drivers from the airport at Kuala Terrenganu. They will also handle your transfer back, when you leave paradise.

There are two types of room available. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Deluxe rooms are more expensive, better decor and you only have one neighbour. Deluxe rooms are two storey stand alone buildings at the front  and centreof the property. The first 6 from the reception area have beach and water views.

Redang Island secret paradise
Deluxe rooms are fresh and decorated with neutral colours. Our top tip ask for an upstairs room, so you don’t hear your neighbours’ footsteps.
Redang Island secret paradise
The bathroom in the deluxe rooms at Coral Redang are spacious and modern. You also get a fridge and a huge safe.
Redang Island secret paradise
If you want a beach view at Coral Redang Island Resort, you need a top floor room at the front of the property.
Redang Island secret paradise
Always keep the windows closed. There are some very cheeky monkeys around.

Standard rooms are set further back from the beach. They are cheaper but are newer. They have a more plain decoration. The standard rooms don’t have a fridge. The showers are more powerful, however than deluxe rooms. You have more neighbours, especially if you are in the middle floor. Beds are newer and slightly more comfortable than in the deluxe rooms. We like both rooms and have stayed in both. Both rooms have a massive safe. The safes are big enough to store laptops, something quite rare. There are also family rooms. There is a block facing the pool which is ideal for 2 kids and 2 adults in a sort of adjoining room.

Redang Island secret paradise
Breakfast at Coral Redang in the open air restaurant.

Breakfast is included at Coral Redang Island Resort.

Redang Island secret paradise
Western options include cereals. The milk is UHT.

There is fruit, yoghurt, cereal, croissants and toast. There is also an egg station. Don’t expect poached, egg white omelettes or soft boiled eggs. The egg station is strictly for fried eggs and omelettes.

Redang Island secret paradise
The egg station at Coral Redang Island resort. Get your fried eggs and omelettes made fresh to order.

There’s always hash browns (English and Australian style), baked beans and some kind of starch like noodles or rice. On Sundays it’s roti bread breakfast day! Our absolute favourite flaky bread with a yummy curry sauce.

Redang Island secret paradise
Hot Asian options vary daily on a rotational basis at Coral Redang Island Resort.
Redang Island secret paradise
Food is kept warm in these silver serving trays. Hot breakfast options at Coral Redang Island Resort.
Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
Croissants and DIY toast options available for breakfast at Coral Redang Island Resort.
Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
Juice and water options. Juice is concentrate. Coral Redang is the only restaurant that offers free drinking water for lunch and dinner. Also as a paying guest, you can get filtered cold and boiling water on demand from a fountain on site.

Coral Redang Island Resort also have a very professional dive centre. Snorkelling and diving trips go out every day and the staff speak English, Mandarin and Cantonese in addition to Bahasa Malay. The equipment is modern and clean. If you have your own diving equipment, there is a small discount. So bring your oxygen tank, just joking! Waterproof cameras, masks and snorkels are available to rent. Life jackets, masks and snorkels are part of the snorkel trip package.  Kayaks and stand up paddle boards complete your water sports adventures. Thankfully there are no banana boat rides or giant doughnuts on Redang Island. 

Sari Pacifica click here to book

Redang Island secret paradise
Sari Pacifica has a prime position on the beach of Long Beach. It’s a 4 star resort. No loud music or karaoke here.

The beach view frangipani villas are the only choice here. You have well padded veranda lounges and a king sized bed. The food isn’t the best here. There’s no live music at night which makes this and Coral Redang on the quiet end of the beach. 

Redang Island secret paradise
The beach front villas at Sari Pacifica. Imagine waking up here!
Redang Island secret paradise
Back view of the frangipani villas at Sari Pacifica. Hmm wonder why they’re named frangipani villas???
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Secure your place on the day bed. Outside the beach front villas at Sari Pacifica on Long Beach.
Redang Island secret paradise
If you can’t afford a beach front villa, the lagoon view rooms at Sari Pacifica.

Laguna Redang Island Resort Click here to Book

Laguna Redang Island Resort is a big development. Even though it is large it blends quite well into the scenery. This is rated as a four star resort and caters mainly for tourists on a package, which includes daily snorkelling. During peak season, the breakfast buffet can be chaotic! 

Redang Island secret paradise
The view from inside Laguna Redang Island Resort. It has its own dive centre and kampung style nightly restaurant for non guests.

If you want a pool for the kids and a jacuzzi for yourself you have to stay at Laguna Redang. Make sure you venture out between 11 and 4pm and you’ll be like J (see picture below!)

Redang Island secret paradise
Be the only 1 in the pool between 11 and 4 at the Laguna Redang Island Resort. Although very popular with mainland Chinese tourists on a package, they don’t come out until the sun goes down.

Popular with Chinese tourists on a package. However, most Chinese people stay in the shade between 10am and 3pm, so you’ll have the facilities pretty much to yourself during daylight hours. Beware as the temperature drops (by 2 degrees from 32 to 30) the vampires begin to come out and the peace will be shattered!

Redang Island secret paradise
Laguna Redang is a huge resort. It occupies the far corner of the beach next to Long Beach.
Redang Island secret paradise
Laguna Redang has their own private pier and boats. If you stay with them, they will handle your transfer from the mainland at Kuala Terrenganu. They also have a mini ‘train’ to get you from the pier to reception.

Redang Beach Resort Click here to book

Located just next door to the big complex that is Laguna Redang is Redang Beach Resort. Yes, the names all get a bit confusing! This is also quite a big resort. The sand in front is powder white and has a volley ball net set up for the 5pm games. Note: no one plays before then, it’s too hot! 

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
Redang Beach Resort has wide beach in front of its property. It doesn’t have any lounging chairs. Bring your own towel and take shade under the coconut trees.

This is a 3 to 4 star hotel, depending on your tastes. The rooms seem comfortable enough and you get the usual tea making facilities. 

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
Redang Beach Resort can be noisy because it has TVs.

The Taaras Beach resort Click here to book

Redang Island secret paradise
The Taaras Resort has a spectacular beach and the turtle spotting trips all stop here.

Expensive and posh for Malaysia. Read Tripadvisor reviews however, for the service. Commanding a whole white sandy bay all to themselves. The Taaras is a bit remote. Stunning location, definitely a mirror image of some Maldivian islands. Once there, you don’t have many choices for food or activities. It’s a place to stay if you want luxury and you don’t want to leave the one beach.

Redang Island secret paradise
Turtles just off the shore of the Taaras Beach Resort are huge. You can get really close to them, but, please, don’t touch them!

Turtle spotting happens just in front of this luxury resort. So you don’t have to pay for a boat trip, because this is where you end up. The turtles here are amazing! But, it is sad to see that the tour operators let people get too close. They also feed the turtles squid to encourage them to hang around. We don’t like this practice and prefer to see our resident turtles on Long Beach. 

Redang Island secret paradise
Big adult turtles hang out near the Taaras Resort on Redang Island. Please respect their space!

There is a beach right next door which has the same soft white sand. We trek across the island and it takes about 50 minutes of pure sweat through the jungle. Don’t bring anything valuable as there can sometimes be people ready to snatch your belongings. (see the jungle trekking pictures)

The beaches on Redang Island

Long Beach

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
The view of Long Beach. The beautiful curved and sheltered beach is 800 metres long. This is where we stay at Coral Redang. Sari Pacifica is next door.

Coral Beach

Redang Island secret paradise only1invill
We call this beach Coral Beach. But, we don’t really know its name! It is around the corner from Long Beach and about 400 metres long. Redang Beach Resort and Laguna Redang are on this side.

Used to be a resort Beach

This is where we want to buy and develop a resort! After that we want to set up house on this island, our beautiful Malaysian Maldives. There used to be a resort here and it is a bit eerie exploring here. But, go through Laguna Redang Resort, past their private jetty area and into the back area to get to Delima Resort and you will arrive here! We are always the only people here. We don’t know what this beach is called. There are no facilities here obviously.

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
We don’t what this beach is called! But there’s never anyone on it! Okay, if you look really carefully, you might see another person.

Well if we haven’t convinced you that Redang Island is the Maldives on a budget, you’ll have to go yourself and prove us wrong. We love it so much, we have been six times! Pop on over to the Perhentian Islands, our other fave Malaysian Maldives islands, while you’re in the area!

Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage Malaysian Maldives
Sunsets and sun rise on Redang Island are just stunning. Bye for now!
Redang Island secret paradise only1invillage
We hope you enjoy reading all about our no longer secret Maldives like destination! Any comments, feedback or improvements welcome. See you soon Redang! Love from Jason and Christina.

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Perhentian Island Beach

Only1invillage shares our dream destination the Perhentian Islands

Here, we reveal how the Perhentian Islands is just like the Maldives and why it should be your number 1 dream destination! We are regular visitors and this is our 5th trip to these amazing hidden gems. You’ll be kicking yourself in the nether regions, thinking “How come I’ve never heard of this place?!” Forget Thailand and Bali for beaches and sunshine, hello Malaysia! Malaysia is the new Maldives. Keep reading and start planning your first visit to the Perhentian Islands! You know you want to 🙂

Quick Index Perhentian Islands

                                    

Ask yourself these questions about a beach holiday destination.

Do you love to walking and lying on powder white soft sand?

Perhentian Islands your next dream destination only1invillage
You can be the only 1 in the village on Perhentian Besar, Malaysia. Looks just like the Maldives to us!

Do you love watching spectacular sunsets and sun rises?

Are turtles, clown fish and reef tip sharks your favourite ocean animals?

Perhentian Islands your next dream destination only1invillage
Is finding Nemo high on your list of dream destination activities? You’ll be bored stiff of seeing them after a day of snorkeling around Perhentian Besar!
Perhentian Islands your next dream destination only1invillage
Reef tip sharks are common on Perhentian Besar. Even in knee depth water they come really close to you. Don’t freak out, they’re harmless. Well…..so far so good!

Do you love days of clear blue skies and no rain?

Pehentian Islands dream destination only1invillage
Endless blue Summer skies! Sign me up! Here we come Perhentians!

Do you love swimming in crystal clear, warm water?

Pehentian Islands dream destination only1invillage
Swimming and snorkelling in crystal clear, warm water. Don’t you just love it?

Do you love gorging yourself on fresh seafood and local delights?

Do you enjoy island hopping?

Is snorkelling in pristine coral reefs high on your agenda?

pristine coral reef Perhentian
Perhentian waters contain some big areas of pristine coral reef.

Are friendly locals an important part of your holiday?

Perhentian Islands your next dream destination only1invillage
A friendly reminder. Stick to the rules and you’ll be fine!

Do you like to gain some cultural knowledge of the place you’re visiting as a tourist?

Do you love getting a bargain on holiday?

 

Have you answered yes to all the above questions? Well, who wouldn’t? Maybe some of us don’t care too much about the last question, but, overall you say yes to the questions. That’s why the Perhentian Islands is your next dream destination.

Pehentian Islands dream destination only1invillage
Welcome to Perhentian Besar (big Perhentian) Malaysia.

                                    

Where are the Perhentian Islands?

The Perhentian Islands are in Malaysia, south east Asia. They are on the Eastern side of the Malaysian peninsula. The Perhentian islands are south of the Thai border. Penang is on the western side, directly opposite the Perhentian islands, when looking at a map. From Kuala Lumpur in the south, the Perhentians are located in the North East.

Perhentian Islands map only1invillage
The Perhentian Islands are off the coast of NE Malaysia, in the South China Sea. An hour’s flight from Kuala Lumpur, a taxi and then a boat will land you in what we call paradise!

                                    

How many Perhentian Islands are There?

They are two islands which on a clear day, you can see across the South China Sea. In Bahasa Malay, they are known as ‘pulau Perhentian’. Pulau means islands. Furthermore, Pulau Perhentian Kecil means ‘small Perhentian island’ and Pulau Perhentian Besar, means, ‘big Perhentian Island. It’s important to not that there is an island off the coast of Melaka, called Pulau Besar, so don’t confuse the two! 

big and small island Perhentian only1invillage
Small island is ‘kecil’ in Bahasa Malay and big island is ‘besar’. Travel between the two by taxi boat. No cars on either island. Note ‘Quite Beach’ should be ‘Quiet Beach’ although it is quite a beach!

                                    

How do I get to the Perhentian Islands?

To get to the Perhentian Islands you have to get a boat from Kuala Besut. Before you get to Kuala Besut, you have to get to Kota Bharu. International visitors will fly into Kuala Lumpur. From Kuala Lumpur, an internal flight is necessary. Air Asia, Firefly, Malindo Air and Malaysia Airways fly to Kota Bahru, one hour away. Air Asia offers the best number of flights per day. From KL, you can choose from 10 flights per day on Air Asia. The cost is usually about $US20, $GBP15, $AUD30, EUR18 one way before luggage and taxes. Air Asia is a budget airline. But for an hour’s flight who cares?

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Air Asia is one of four carriers that fly to Kota Bharu, the nearest airport to the Perhentian Islands. Malaysia Airlines, Malindo AIr and Firefly also fly from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bharu.
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It’s a 50 minute flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bharu, the nearest airport to the Perhentian Islands.

From Kota Bharu, you get a taxi to the jetty point of a little town called Kuala Besut. You can either get your resort to arrange a taxi, use your GRAB app (UBER for SE Asia) or get a pre -paid ticket at the taxi counter at Kota Bharu airport.

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Get a fixed price taxi – no need to haggle, at Kota Bharu airport to Kuala Besut jetty.

There is a public ferry, but we never take it. Time is of the essence when you need to get to paradise!

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Get your boat to paradise from Kuala Besut, a small village on mainland Malaysia.