George Bass coastal Walk

George Bass Coastal Walk

Want a mildly challenging hike with spectacular coastal scenery, varied terrain, Australian native wildlife and plants?

Well, get those shoes on and let’s go walking on this amazing hike, just under 2 hours from Melbourne. Make it a day trip or take it easy and complete the walk over a weekend in regional Victoria.

George Bass coastal Walk vegetation and ocean views
Hmm can’t think why they call it a coastal walk?

What is there to see and Do on the George Bass Coastal Walk

George Bass coastal Walk vegetation and ocean views
This is National Geographic worthy scenery isn’t it? The George Bass coastal walk is full of native vegetation.

There are spectacular views of the ocean and countryside on the George Bass coastal walk. There’s beach, hills, gravel paths, swathes of grassland and classic Australian “bush” foliage. Spring (September to November in Australia , Melbourne region) is a fabulous time to go and see the coast beard heath in flower. The blue tongue lizard and over 300 bird species are just some of the creatures you’ll see on your walk. 

George Bass coastal Walk Australian native wildlife blue tongue lizard
Look out for tiliqua scincoides, otherwise known as the Eastern blue tongue lizard. They’re not venomous, but, can deliver a nasty bite, if frightened.

All of the walk is open and exposed to the elements. You’ll get sand in your shoes, stumble over rocks and walk on compacted gravel. In some parts you’ll feel like you’re walking through a scene of the film Gladiator. You know the part where Russell Crowe drags his hand along the grass!

George Bass coastal Walk
Look, all we’re trying to say is that the George Bass coastal walk is like being on a film set of Gladiator. The waist tall grass is well, like waist tall grass!

Where is the George Bass coastal walk?

The George Bass coastal walk is a mere 1.5 hours drive (in good traffic) from the city of Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, Australia. It is about 120 kilometres from Flinders Street Station in the city centre. So you can do this walk on a day trip! 

George Bass coastal Walk location from Melbourne Victoria Australia
The George Bass coastal walk is about an hour and a half from the Melbourne CBD. The one way walk starting in San Remo can be completed in 2 hours if you’re super fit. Do the return trip and it’s an easy day trip!

How long will the George Bass coastal walk take?

This depends on your fitness levels and how much you like taking photographs. Average times say about 2 hours. We’re good walkers and we took 2 hours 50 minutes because we were faffing with cameras and someone called J along the route! If you’re doing this as part of your fitness routine, you’ll definitely do this in about 2 hours. If you’re not fit, then allow up to 4 hours each way. Let us know in the comments section, how long it takes you!

Top Tips for the George Bass coastal walk

When to go: As long as it’s dry, any season is good to go. Being a coastal walk it is almost always windy. Don’t bring your favourite floppy hat unless it’s really tight fitting. If you’re prepared to hold onto it constantly, by all means bring it. They do look good on all those photos we have to admit!

Difficulty of hiking trail: Mostly easy to moderate. It’s 7 – 8kms one way. The hiking trails offer something for everyone. Even young children can do most of the walk. There is meadow land, compacted gravel and sand on this walk. There are some short steep hills and it is close to cliff edges. Make sure you keep your children or dog away from the edges, especially on a very windy day. 

mostly grassy paths on the George Bass coastal walk
A lot of the George Bass coastal walk is well trodden grassy path, gently undulating across the coast line. This makes the walk good for most people and even children.

Car Parks: You walk from one car park in Punchbowl Road, San Remo to the other one in Kilcunda. Or vice versa. There’s no charge to park in either car park. To access the one in Punchbowl Road you just turn on to the compacted gravel road. Be careful it is a two way road and narrow. The car park at Kilcunda is just off the fore shore.

George Bass coastal walk map showing car parks, road and paths
You can leave your car either in the car park in San Remo or in Kilcunda.

Dog friendly: Keep your canine on a lead. The park allows dogs but to protect the sensitive native fauna and flora, they ask you to make sure your dog is kept under control.

Provisions: We recommend that you take half a litre of water per person, per hour, that you intend to walk, on a hot day.You might want some fruit and muesli bars for a walking lunch. There’s no cafe along the way for a half way break! There are also no bins so take your rubbish with you. Don’t bother with an umbrella, it will get broken. If there’s a chance of inclement weather, you’re better of wearing a waterproof jacket with a hood.

Sun protection: There’s hardly any shade on this walk. Don’t get caught out with the harsh Australian sun. Wear sunscreen and a hat. You might not feel like you’re getting burned, but sun burn is never a good look!

George Bass coastal walk sun protection
Oops, we are not practising what we’re preaching! Forgot the hats for sun protection. Surely there’s an app for blurring out skin damage? In our defence we are wearing sunscreen and sunglasses.

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 patchy on the George Bass coastal walk. Sometimes you get a signal, sometimes you don’t!

Flooding: There are some areas close to the beach walk section which can become waterlogged and ‘pools’ may be deeper than they seem.

water pools after flooding on the George Bass walk Victoria Australia
These pretty looking water pools can be deep after flooding or heavy rain. Proceed with caution. Sandy Water hole beach.

Let’s get started along the stunning George Bass coastal walk! We started from the Punchbowl Road car park, in San Remo.

George Bass coastal Walk
C can’t resist trying to imitate that scene from the film Gladiator. You know the part where Russell Crowe runs his hand through the tall grass!

So, we leave the car in the Punchbowl Road car park. If we walk quickly enough we can be back in 5 hours! Doesn’t sound too hard!

We’re in high spirits as we trek along, with the beautiful blue ocean to our right and lush greenery on the left. The sweeping views are starting already and the blood is flowing.

George Bass coastal Walk
Wait for us! The stunning start to the George Bass coastal walk from the Punchbowl Road car park in San Remo. Keep going it’s 7 kilometres to the next car park on foot!
George Bass coastal Walk vegetation and ocean views
Start from the Punchbowl Road car park and you have sweeping ocean views on your right.

You’re 45 minutes into the walk and you see signs for Half Moon Bay. So far the walking has been pretty easy on gently sloping grass paths.

George Bass coastal walk sign for Half Moon Bay
45 minutes into the walk you get notification that the terrain is about to change.

In order to get down to the bay, there’s going to be a moderately steep descent. At the 1 hour 15 minutes point, the terrain changes to sand.

Half Moon Bay as seen from the cliff top headings towards Kilcunda only1invillage
It’s going to get sandy as you head down to Half Moon Bay. You’ll reach this point about 45 minutes into your walk. This is view looking in the direction towards Kilcunda.

You have to back track the same way you came to leave Half Moon Bay. You cannot continue to skirt along the coast line. Keep walking and your next sandy beach awaits.

sandy parts on the George Bass coastal walk
Time for sand in your shoes as you head down to beaches and bays on the George Bass coastal walk. This section is after Half Moon Bay heading into Sandy Waterhole Beach.

At times, after Half Moon Bay the route can get confusing. But continue to read and “she’ll be right”, see our Australian slang guide to understand what we mean! Our best advice is to keep the shore line in sight.

Along this part of the George Bass coastal walk there are some really cool ‘water holes’ or mini swimming pools. So as not to confuse things, Australians have named this part of the walk, you guessed it, Sandy Waterhole.

Sandy Waterhole section of the George Bass coastal walk
It’s sandy and that looks like a water hole. I know, let’s name this place Sandy Waterhole. Genius.

Remember, it’s not safe to swim in the ocean here. The rip tides are very dangerous and there are no life savers patrolling any part of this area.

Keep calm and carry on! The aptly named beach walk section is coming up next. After all the greenery of the rolling hills and dramatic cliff faces, comes the light yellow sand.

George Bass coastal Walk sand vegetation and ocean views
Beach Walk section of the walk. To get here is about 1 hour and 40 minutes if you’re starting from San Remo.
From green to yellow. The changing scenery colours along the George Bass coastal walk. Now you're at the beach walk section, nearer to Kilcunda and the end of this amazing hike.
Leave nothing but footprints as the old saying goes! On the aptly named Beach Walk section of the George Bass coastal walk.

 

George Bass coastal walk beach walk section.
Time to take the shoes off and get the sand between your toes. On the sand dunes of Beach Walk section near Kilcunda.

After the Beach Walk section, there’s more grassy path which leads you to a sign of colonial human impact on the landscape.

Steam driven winch from a coal mine in Kilcunda
A sign of the past. The remains of a steam driven winch. Coal mining stopped in Kilcunda in 1953.

If you’re interested in reading more about the mine sites of Victoria, click here.

Just when you think the walk hasn’t been varied enough you see this on the approach to the Kilcunda foreshore and the end of the George Bass coastal walk. There’s this sight to behold. Crashing waves!

crashing waves near Kilcunda section of the George Bass coastal walk
What a way to end the walk. Or start the walk, depending on which end you start the George Bass coastal walk.

At Kilcunda, we congratulate ourselves and wonder do we have the energy to walk the return journey?

Looking back over the view, we give it some serious consideration.

View towards Kilcunda George Bass coastal walk
Do we want to see this stunning scenery all over again on the way back to San Remo from Kilcunda?

But we decide against it. That’s for the next time!

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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George Bass Coastal Walk 1

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funky seats Al Mourjan business lounge DOha

Qatar Al Mourjan  Business Lounge

Do not confuse this lounge with the boringly named Qatar Airways Business Class Lounge in Doha. You seriously don’t want to go to that one, when you hold a business class ticket. Make sure you head to the Qatar Al Mourjan business lounge. After reading other reviews we are seriously excited to see the ultra modern lounge with a la carte dining options. We visit at breakfast time and have a 2 hour gap before our next flight to Singapore on the Qsuite configured plane. 

After experiencing the awful and we mean, truly bad London Gatwick North Club Aspire Lounge, that Qatar uses for its business class passengers, we are mega eager to review Qatar’s flagship lounge in Doha.

Put your sunglasses on and prepare for some major bling! This is one shiny lounge with great lighting!

 

Qatar Airways AL Mourjan business lounge Doha seating area ground floor
Up these shiny stairs is a central main seating area in the Al Mourjan business lounge in Doha.

Quick Index Qatar Al Mourjan business lounge

                                                                                            

 the Qatar Al Mourjan business Lounge Location

Spacious Al Mourjan lounge Doha entrance sign
Come on in to the business class lounge in Doha.

After passport control in Terminal 2 you go through the duty free shops. Keep following the signs.

The lounge is located up an escalator or you can gain access from a lift/ elevator. 

 

escalator to Al Mourjan business lounge Doha
Go up the escalator after the Duty Free shops to get to the Al Mourjan business lounge, Doha.
Al MOurjan business lounge Doha access by lift
You can get to the Doha Al Mourjan business lounge via a lift/ elevator.

 

 

                                                                                                              

Qatar business class dress code

There is no dress code. Ladies, please respect  the fact that this is a Muslim state and dress appropriately.

Doha Al Mourjan business lounge
Follow us up the stairs for pictures of the buffet area!

                                                                                    

Who can Get In

Anyone holding a Qatar Airways business class ticket or higher. Clearly, if you are travelling first class, you won’t lower yourself to mix with the plebs in business class. You will be using the Al Safwa first class lounge!

Al Mourjan lounge Doha
If you’re holding a business class ticket, make sure you head to the Al Mourjan business lounge.

If you hold a Oneworld business class ticket, you can also come in. You cannot bring a guest, unfortunately, so leave the mother in law in the main terminal!

Economy class passengers of Qatar Airways can purchase entry for 450 Qatari Riyals which is about US$120. You probably only want to consider this option, if you have at least three hours to kill.

                                                                                    

Seating in the qatar al mourjan business lounge

The Al Mourjan Lounge is enormous!

Spacious Al Mourjan lounge Doha
It’s a big lounge in Doha. The Qatar Airways AL Mourjan business lounge is set over two floors.

We had our work cut out navigating all the different areas and taking photos. It is a short stop over between London and Singapore, so try to book a flight with a longer layover than 2 hours to take advantage of all the Qatar Al Mourjan business class lounge has to offer.

 

Seating zones Al Mourjan Lounge Doha
Comfortable and padded armchair style seats, separated by a partition for privacy.
Spacious Al Mourjan lounge Doha seating options
Bright and funky chairs in the centre ‘aisle’ seating area on the ground floor of the lounge.
Spacious Al Mourjan lounge Doha family area seating
There are quiet ‘family areas’ that you can go to for relaxation. Recreate the feel of your living room, minus the TV!
Al Mourjan business lounge dining tables
Eat to your heart’s content in the buffet area. These restaurant cafe style tables are located in the buffet area on the upper floor of the lounge, near the food.
Spacious Al Mourjan lounge Doha luxurious seating to eat at
These luxurious seats can be found on the upper floor, near the buffet area.

The a la carte area has bench style and table and chair style seating. There is also booth style seating. The a la carte area is on the lower floor, furthest away from the entrance of the lounge.

a la carte dining area Al Mourjan Lounge Doha
The a la carte dining area at breakfast time. You can seat yourself on high chairs, more intimate tables or booth seats.
Al Mourjan lounge Doha seating
Tables for two in the a la carte dining area on the lower floor.

Now if you don’t want to sit, there are also lots of snooze areas. Some of the snooze areas are more communal and some of them are for single snoozers.

Spacious Al Mourjan lounge Doha snoozing beds
Don’t fancy sitting? Lie down instead on these long reclining beds. Blankets are not provided. These beds are in the communal area. There are more private areas with the same beds.
Spacious Al Mourjan business lounge Doha
There are sleeping booths which offer more privacy if you need to lie down in the AL Mourjan business lounge between flights.

                                                                                    

Wifi and business facilities

There is a full on office area with separate cubicles and huge glass tables to work on in the business centre. It even had its own concierge. This is pretty impressive if you’re actually using a business class lounge, to do business in! Some overworked person was clearly loving the facilities, because he had lots of business paraphernalia spread out all over the place.

Spacious Al Mourjan business lounge Doha business centre
A few poor people are actually working in the business centre!

On the wired computers the internet is very fast and you don’t need a password. 

Spacious Al Mourjan business lounge Doha
Individual booths for working at in the business centre have very fast wired internet connection. The same cannot be said for the wi-fi internet connection.

The wi-fi internet is however another story. Despite not needing a password and your phone showing you’re connected, we could not surf. We didn’t have time to complain or get the staff to help us out for the wi-fi connectivity.

In the business area, there are also seats and a small breakfast bar selection. You can find pastries, fruit, bread and soft drinks. It’s more cafe style in an enclosed room.

business centre cafe style buffet bench AL Mourjan business Lounge Doha
There are smaller cafe style breakfast options dotted around the Al Mourjan business lounge in Doha. Here you will find continental breakfast style options.

                                                                                      

Bathrooms and Showers at the Qatar Al Mourjan business lounge

Time to get wet! Unfortunately the showers areas were very busy. There is a wait list. There are however two shower areas and the one further from the entrance is less busy and there was no wait time.

mini bathrooms Al Mourjan lounge Doha
The shower rooms are more like mini bathrooms. They have a toilet and vanity unit.

Similar to the lounges that Emirates, Qantas and British Airways operate, the showers are more like mini bathrooms in the Qatar Airways AL Mourjan business lounge in Doha.

Review of Qatar Al Mourjan business lounge 2
Each shower room has a toilet, shower and vanity unit with sink. If you can get into the shower rooms, they’re more like mini bathrooms.
mini bathrooms Al Mourjan lounge Doha
The toiletries provided in the shower rooms are by Rituals. Qatar Airways use the same brand throughout their aircraft fleet too.

Food and Beverages in the Qatar Al Mourjan business lounge

Feeling hungry? You better be. The Al Mourjan lounge has a global deli and patisserie. In addition, there is a continental and oriental brasserie. Naturally, a full bar is also present. All food served is halal, with many vegetarian options too.

The presentation of the food is stunning. Well in the promotional pictures. We find it to be pretty standard. There are any negative reviews of this lounge, for the space, but not the food. Unfortunately, we didn’t think the breakfast selection was fantastic. Also the a la carte options were only sandwiches and salads. Ok, this may be different later in the day. We visited at breakfast time, so there were no exotic dishes to try for a la carte. Next time, we’ll have to schedule our lounge visit for a lunch or dinner time stop over!

Al Mourjan lounge Doha a la carte options at breakfast time
The breakfast al la carte options were disappointing. There are salad and sandwiches made to order.

There is a lot of food available, but the selections were similar in all the buffet areas. 

But how does it all taste? Is it all beautiful on the outside but tasteless on the inside? 

                                                                                    

The breakfast

 

The cold options are a Western style selection. On offer for breakfast is fruit salad, yoghurts, cereals and muesli. For the Middle Eastern selection there is hoummous, olives, labna and flat breads. 

middle eastern breakfast AL Mourjan business lounge
You have to try the signature mint and lemon drink with your breakfast. It goes so well with the cold, middle eastern selection of pickles, labna and hommous.
hot food selections Al MOurjan business lounge Doha
Indulge in some hot breakfast before your next flight in the Qatar Al Mourjan business lounge Doha.
cold meats buffet selection AL MOurjan business lounge Doha
There is a wide selection of cold meats on offer for breakfast in the buffet area.
Al Mourjan cold middle eastern selections buffet area
The middle eastern cold selections in the buffet area. Labna and hommous mini portions.

Now onto the hot food. There’s what we call a full English. There are baked beans! We thought that was a little un-classy. Baked beans do not present themselves well in any container.

hot English breakfast AL Mourjan business lounge
No way baked beans in Doha! They don’t look good in any container.

There’s also international food for the hot buffet, like pasta and spiced meat options.

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The beverages

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

A drinks bar Al Mourjan business lounge
The finishing on the bars certainly look impressive, but are the drinks as impressive?

You must order the Qatar airways signature drink. It is a refreshing lemon and mint mocktail, made fresh to order. It even ran out on the Qsuite flight from Doha to Singapore, it is so popular! Make sure you order one in the lounge, if like us, you’re a new fan!

Qatar Al Mourjan business lounge bars
Settle in for a pre flight drink at one of the Qatar Al Mourjan business lounge bars. The familiar brands of liquor are present. Pommeray champagne is available.The quality of the wines isn’t as good as in the Emirates lounges. The wines are about half the price of those you find in the Emirates lounges worldwide.

 

The soft drinks selection is pretty standard. Individual teas in sachets and coffee from a coffee machine. Disappointingly, even if you order a coffee from the bar, it’s not barista made, it comes from a pre-set menu machine.

Spacious Al Mourjan lounge Doha beverages
There are a few of these ‘bars’ to help yourself to soft drinks, randomly placed around the lounge.

                                       

Entertainment rooms 

If you have a long stop over, take advantage of the playrooms. Indulge your inner child with a game of table football/ soccer. Why not hop inside the racing car and test your driving skills? If that doesn’t take your fancy, how about some good old-fashioned Nintendo?

Spacious Al Mourjan lounge Doha only1invillage review playroom
Need to stretch and play after your flight? Get active in the playroom in the Al Mourjan lounge, Doha.
Spacious Al Mourjan lounge Doha only1invillage review playroom
There’s more than one entertainment room in the Al Mourjan lounge. See if you can find someone to play with!
Spacious Al Mourjan lounge Doha only1invillage review playroom 3
There are 3 play rooms in the Al Mourjan lounge, Doha in Qatar.

Final Thoughts on the Qatar Al Mourjan business lounge

Some people have slated the Qatar Al Mourjan lounge as super sterile and devoid of character. We think it is a solid 7 out of 10. It is gigantic. It is spread over two floors. It is very shiny and clean. In keeping with being modern, we guess that goes hand in hand with the word sterile. Yes, the chairs are replicated all over the place and the eating booths and spaces lack character. It’s one thousand times better than the Qatar lounge at  London Gatwick North (Club Aspire). Never, ever fly out of Gatwick, fly from London Heathrow. It’s a mistake we will never make again!

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Review of Qatar Al Mourjan business lounge 5

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No. 1 Lounge Gatwick North Review 6

 No.1 Lounge Gatwick North review

Gatwick North terminal in London is not the best airport for top business class lounges. Apart from the Emirates and Virgin Atlantic lounge there isn’t much to choose from. Qatar Airways uses the terrible Club Aspire Lounge for its business class customers at Gatwick. Avoid at all costs. The No.1 lounge Gatwick North is quite a decent offering. The No.1 lounge is also in the Priority Pass program. This means that entry to the lounge can be paid for and therefore is not that exclusive.

Quick Index no. 1 lounge Gatwick

                                  

 the number 1 lounge Gatwick Location

After passport control you go down into the ‘Lounge Pavillion’ area. Gatwick North is not a large terminal building. You cannot get lost. Just follow the signs for airport lounges.

No.1 Lounge Gatwick North review signs to lounges
After immigration, turn left, look up and follow the signs.
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review lounge signs
Look up and follow the signs for lounges.
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review lounge signs
Gatwick North terminal in London is not big. Keep following the signs for your business class lounge experience.
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review lounge signs
Premium lounges await at Gatwick North terminal. Keep walking!
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review lounge signs
When you get to the lifts, or elevators, for our American friends, choose your lounge                           

                                

number 1 lounge class dress code

They say it’s  a smart casual dress code for this lounge. However people are wearing jeans, shorts, track suit pants/bottoms and T shirts. There are a few people wearing shirts, but, the majority of people are wearing casual clothes. Not many people wear ‘business’ clothes in business class anymore.                                                                                                                                

                                

Who can Get in 

Anyone can get in since the No.1 Lounge is a paid lounge too. It is part of the Priority Pass Program. So if you have a few hours to kill you can pay $30 US to get in. There is a time restriction of 3 hours for the lounge when it’s busy. Pre-booking is possible. Opening times are daily 04:00 to 22:00.

                                

Seating in the no.1 lounge Gatwick

The lounge is spacious. There’s a big bar area and a separate dining area. In addition there is a library area with comfortable sofas and bench style seating. Don’t miss your flight by sitting near the big TV, adjacent to the bar area.

No.1 lounge Gatwick North review dining table area only1invillage
Feel like you’re in a restaurant at the dining tables in the No1. Lounge, Gatwick North.
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review seating only1invillage
Padded comfortable bar stools to help you prop up the bar!
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review seating bench seating only1invillage
If it is daytime you can eat and watch the planes from the bench type seating.

No.1 lounge Gatwick North review sofas only1invillage

There’s a quiet area outside the library area with a comfortable long sofa.

No.1 lounge Gatwick North review sofas outside main area only1invillage
If you don’t want to sit with people inside the lounge, head outside, near the entrance door.
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review seating the quiet library area only1invillage
Studded sofas in the library area of the No.1 Lounge, Gatwick North, London.
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review quiet corner in the library only1invillage
Relax in the quiet corner of the library on an armchair, in the No.1 Lounge.
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review TV area
Don’t miss your flight! Sit in the TV area to remind yourself of your boarding time.                                                                                             

                                

Bathrooms and Showers number 1 lounge Gatwick

This is an easy part of the review. There are not any showers!!! The toilets are however reasonably glamourous. They contain L’occitane hand soap which is a leading French cosmetics brand. The toilets have shiny black tiles and are modern.

No.1 lounge Gatwick North review
There are toilets , but, no showers in the No1. Lounge at Gatwick North terminal, London.
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review toilets
Each toilet cubicle is shiny and modern.
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review hand wash
High end hand wash and lotion by L’occitane in the No.1 Lounge wash rooms.

                              

Food and Beverages at the number 1 lounge Gatwick

The food and beverages consist of hot and cold dishes. There are also some pretzel like snack foods. All the food is arranged in one central area, with options to take your food all over the lounge. There are small round bar tables to eat at, long communal benches or formal dining tables.

No.1 lounge Gatwick North revie food central areaw
The food is in the centre of the lounge.
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review food central only1invillage
The food options are laid out in the central area, after the bar in the No.1 Lounge.                           

                              

The Dinner

We visit at dinner time. The hot food doesn’t look great, it is all a bit brown. There are some salads and vegetables to brighten up the spread.

No.1 lounge Gatwick North review dinner time only1invillage
Buffet style food is pretty standard at most business class lounges. There’s no a la carte service at the No.1 Lounge, Gatwick North terminal London.
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review hot food buffet options for dinner only1invillage
Chicken chasseur, macaroni cheese, lentil and root vegetable ragu and garlic and rosemary roast potatoes. Help yourself. Whilst not the most appetising to look at, it is a lot better than what’s on offer in the Club Aspire Lounge.
No.1 lounge Gatwick North re view salad selection cold food only1invillage
Lighten and brighten up your meal with some salad selections.
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review dessert at dinner time only1invillage
Finish off your meal with a selection of desserts.
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review help yourself nibble snacks only1invillage
If you’re not too hungry and only want a nibble, snack on these tasty offerings.
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review dinner plated up only1invillage
Here is the dinner plated up. We try to make it look elegant! There’s a bit of mac n’ cheese, a roast potato, some lentil ragu and a blob of chicken chasseur.

                              

The beverages

The bar area is comfortable and has three beers on tap.

No.1 lounge Gatwick North review beverages available beer on tap
Amstel, Indie and Stowford Press are your beer selections on tap at the No.1 Lounge Gatwick North, London.

There is a bar person to fix you a cocktail.The selection of alcohol is pretty much like the selection in other Priority Pass lounges, like the one in Bangkok we have also reviewed.

No.1 lounge Gatwick North review beverages available beer on tap
Prop yourself up at the bar before your flight. Your friendly bar tender is there to assist.

The tea selection is pretty standard. Black tea and herbal teas by Twinings. You can get hot water from the coffee machines which are next to the tea bags.

No.1 lounge Gatwick North review beverages available Twinings tea selection only1invillage
Twinings is an English beverages company specialising in tea. Good tea at a British airport!
No.1 lounge Gatwick North review beverages available tea hot water and coffee machines only1invillage
You can get hot water only from the coffee machines. The coffee machines deliver ok lattes and cappucinos.

The coffee machines make ok cappucino and lattes.

Soft drinks are available too. Some mystery juice is on offer.

No.1 lounge Gatwick North review fizzy drinks and mystery juice only1invillage
There are some self serve soft drinks, including mystery juice in the No.1 Lounge Gatwick North.

Wifi and charging stations

The wifi wasn’t working and no one knew the password!  The computer stations outside the lounge were not working either.

No.1 lounge Gatwick North review computer stations only1invillage
They look nice, but, they were not working and no one even knew the password! Tut tut.

The grumpy staff member on the door telephoned someone and they had no idea. That’s a real strike against a lounge. Wi-fi that works is a minimum expectation for travellers.

No.1 lounge Gatwick North review charging stations only1invillage
You can charge your devices in the library area, but, don’t count on the wi-fi working!                                                        

                              

Final Thoughts on the no. 1 lounge Gatwick

No.1 lounge Gatwick North review only1invillage
The No.1 Lounge just might be the top choice for paid lounges at London’s Gatwick North airport.

Here’s a summary of what you get and what you don’t in the No.1 lounge at Gatwick North terminal in London.

There’s natural light, which always makes you feel less claustrophobic when on lower levels of an airport terminal. However, since we visit at night we don’t feel the benefit of sunlight.

The lounge is a reasonable size, unlike the Club Aspire Lounge we visit on the same day. There’s enough space to feel like you’re getting away from the crowded terminal.

Adding some showers would be a great idea, in our humble opinion.

Although the food isn’t anywhere near gourmet standard, at least it is edible! That isn’t to say that it is tasty, it is palatable if you’re hungry. The drinks selection is what we expect from a Priority Pass Lounge, this being our third worldwide lounge in the program. The Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge has far better food, even offering 5 made to order dishes which were good. Click here to read about the Bangkok Miracle First Class Lounge.

Most importantly, in the 21st century, everyone wants wi-fi that works. 

Related Articles 

No. 1 Lounge Gatwick North Review 9

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Gatwick Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage

Qatar Business Class Lounge Gatwick also known as the Club Aspire lounge Gatwick 

Qatar does not have a business class lounge at Gatwick Airport in London. Instead Qatar business class customers must use the Club Aspire lounge Gatwick. This is probably the worst business class lounge we have ever been to! Yes, even the one in Denpasar, Bali is better! At least the one in Bali had a shower. Albeit a shower you wouldn’t want to use, but, still, it has a shower!

Before entering, we must say that Qatar make it very difficult to find out which lounge is used at Gatwick for business class passengers. After many internet searches, we find out that Qatar business class passengers use the Club Aspire Lounge at Gatwick Airport. After even more reading of reviews of the Club Aspire Lounge Gatwick, we are not anticipating a great experience.

Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
There is no dedicated lounge for Qatar Airways business class customers. Inside the Club Aspire Lounge at Gatwick North Terminal, you will see a section reserved for Qatar customers. However, you are free to sit in the other areas of the Club Aspire Lounge.

The Club Aspire Lounge is also in the Priority Pass program. This means that entry to the lounge can be paid for and therefore is not that exclusive. Avoid this lounge if possible. We checked out the No.1 lounge before this one and should have stayed in it. Little did we know. Oh well, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger as the saying goes!

Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
Qatar Airways uses the Club Aspire Lounge at Gatwick. North Terminal. There is no dedicated Qatar Airways lounge.

Here is our review of the lounge that Qatar business class passengers use in London Gatwick.

Quick Index Club Aspire Lounge Gatwick

                                                                                                                                                                                                         

 the Club Aspire Lounge Gatwick Location

After passport control you go down into the ‘Lounge Pavillion’ area. Gatwick North is not a large terminal building. You cannot get lost. Just follow the signs for airport lounges.

Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers the worst business class lounge we have been to review by only1invillage
The lounges are clearly signed. We wish we had access to an Emirates lounge! Instead we get access to the worst business class lounge ever!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Club Aspire Lounge class dress code

There isn’t a dress code for this lounge. People are wearing jeans, shorts, track suit pants/bottoms and T shirts. There are a few people wearing shirts, but, the majority of people are wearing casual clothes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Who can Get in 

Anyone can get in since the Aspire Lounge is a paid lounge too. It is part of the Priority Pass Program. Qatar business class passengers are given a voucher which gives them free access to the Gatwick Aspire Lounge. There is a special area cordoned off for Qatar business class passengers, but it’s not great! Our top tip, if you’re a Priority Pass member, go to the No.1 Lounge instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Seating in the Club Aspire lounge Gatwick

The good news is that the lounge is quite new. There are 2 seater sofas and armchairs in a purple colour with lots of soft padding. The seating throughout the lounge is actually good and has variety.

A new contender for worst business class lounge Club Aspire Lounge Gatwick used by Qatar business class 10
There are a couple of 2 seater sofas that you can relax on.

The single chairs with the small tables and the padded wall section are very comfortable.

Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
There are different types of chairs and stools in the Club Aspire lounge, Gatwick North terminal, London.

The lounge has different seating zones and near the TV there’s a place where groups can congregate on high backed leather booth like seats, you would find in a restaurant.

Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
A quieter area in the Club Aspire lounge used by Qatar Airways business class passengers at London Gatwick airport.
Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
We like to call these ‘Starbucks’ chairs. Cafe style lounge tables and chairs.
Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
Traditional restaurant style tables to eat your food at.
Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
Bright red chairs help soften the blow of how rubbish the Club Aspire lounge is for Qatar business class customers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Bathrooms and Showers Club Aspire Lounge Gatwick

This is an easy part of the review. There are not any showers!!! Remain smelly and un-refreshed. The toilets smell like they could do with a good clean. There are bits of toilet tissue on the floor, which isn’t a good look. 

Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
The toilets look like those found at a shopping centre. Nothing special. They also smell and could do with a good clean!

                                                                                                                                              

Food and Beverages at the Club Aspire lounge Gatwick

The food and beverages are laid out in the centre of the lounge on two stone benches.

Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
The food (which isn’t great) is laid out in the centre of the small Club Aspire lounge used by Qatar business class passengers.

We visit in the evening, since we have a 20:40 hrs departure time to Doha with Qatar Airways on the 787 -8 Dreamliner plane. Note it isn’t the Qsuite

The food choices are appalling. We can barely bring ourselves to eat anything. Everything looks dry and tasteless. The food looks like it has been sitting there for a long time. 

food at Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
Dry and unappetising food sitting under the hot lamps. Not very business class at all!
food at Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
It’s slim pickings at dinner time in the Club Aspire lounge , London Gatwick North. This is the lounge used by Qatar business class customers. Please use another lounge Qatar, this is a horrible pre- flight experience!

                                                                                                                                                                                                         

The Dinner

We’re going to loosely call this dinner, by default. It’s evening when we visit. There are breakfast items like a pancake machine. 

food at Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
Why is there a pancake machine at dinner time? Oh, we understand, some people eat pancakes for dessert.
A new contender for worst business class lounge Club Aspire Lounge Gatwick used by Qatar business class 11
No amount of photo editing is going to make this food look good! Dismal dinner at the Club Aspire lounge. SO different to the promotional pictures!
food at Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
Un-named cake for dessert at the Club Aspire lounge London Gatwick.
food at Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
Call us bread snobs, but there certaibly isn’t any artisan sourdough here. The bread is definitely from a supermarket .

                                                                                                                                                                                                       

The beverages

The first shock is that you have to pay for champagne or Prosecco!

food at Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
Seriously??? You have to pay for Prosecco in a business class lounge? Come on!

Any international business class lounge worthy of its class should have ALL beverages, alcoholic or non alcoholic, for free.

The selection of alcohol is pretty much like the selection in other Priority Pass lounges, like the one in Bangkok we have also reviewed.

The tea selection is pretty standard. Black tea and herbal teas by Twinings. At least it’s not Lipton black tea! Every true Brit tea drinker knows Lipton black tea sucks. We mean really sucks, you need about 3 tea bags per cup! Sorry to go on about it, but C is British and knows a good cuppa!

food at Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
There’s no barista service. A self serve coffee machine stands next to fizzy drinks.

There’s an uninspiring coffee machine with soft drinks on tap next to it.

If you look down when you are at the centre bench, you’ll see a fridge with juices in it.

food at Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
There’s a juice fridge in the centre aisle. Warning – 100% orange juice does not mean freshly squeezed.

Wifi and charging stations

Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
Free wifi is a minimum expectation in a business class lounge. The wifi worked adequately.
Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
It’s English sockets only at the Club Aspire London Gatwick North lounge. Bring your own adapters for your laptop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Final Thoughts on the Club Aspire lounge Gatwick

Here’s a summary of what you get and what you don’t in the Club Aspire lounge used by Qatar business class passengers.

It’s a horrible lounge and should not be used by an international carrier like Qatar for its business class lounges. The No.1 Lounge is better than this one. We will never, ever, fly out of London Gatwick again. What a disastrous way to begin your business class journey. We think, even if you don’t pay for this lounge, you’ll be highly disappointed! This is not the pre-flight experience we were expecting with an international carrier like Qatar Airways. We have thoroughly depressed ourselves looking at footage of the Qatar lounge at Heathrow on Youtube and other travel websites. Shame, we couldn’t sneak into the Emirates lounge!

food at Gatwick Club Aspire Lounge used by Qatar Airways for its business class passengers review by only1invillage
The Club Aspire lounge at London’s Gatwick airport gets the thumbs down. Qatar Airways business class passengers are given a raw deal here. It’s a terrible lounge. Only1invillage says fly out of Heathrow instead!

You don’t get a lot of space. The Club Aspire lounge at Gatwick North terminal is tiny! Plus, there is not a dedicated working area or mini business area. 

There is some natural light. But we are on a night flight, so it’s all artificial. Avoid this lounge if you can. Qatar Airways, if you are reading this, please stop using this lounge, it’s not fair on your business class passengers. It rates as a new low in business class lounges.

The food is inedible, unappealing and down right nasty looking. The drinks are ok, but paying for Prosecco, not even champagne, is just unacceptable.

It’s definitely memorable, for all the wrong reasons. Qatar say on their website for London’s Heathrow Qatar lounge that it is ‘warm, elegant and exclusive’. This lounge in comparison is exactly the opposite, anyone can use it and it looks cheap.

The lesson here is never fly out of London Gatwick with Qatar Airways, only fly from London Heathrow.

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A new contender for worst business class lounge Club Aspire Lounge Gatwick used by Qatar business class 14

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Qatar 787-8 dreamliner business class lgw to doha seat herringbone configuration

Qatar 787 – 8 Dreamliner business class review

 

An evening take off with a flight time of just under 7 hours.  Read our review about the Qatar 787-8 Dreamliner business class product Qatar from London to Doha. We are eager to compare the Middle Eastern airline to the likes of Emirates and Etihad. We have flown Qatar in economy and it isn’t great. Let’s hope the business class product is much better.

After a disappointing experience in the Aspire Lounge Gatwick North Terminal, we try to get on board the Qatar 787 – 8 business class as soon as possible. Also, we like to try and not get other passengers in our shots. We’ll blur you out for anonymity!

We are also looking forward to the stop in Doha because the Qatar Al Mourjan business lounge is supposed to be their best lounge in the world. 

Quick Index of Qatar 787 – 8 dreamliner Business Class 

                                        

Qatar 787 – 8 dreamliner business class cabin

The business class cabin is relatively small, compared to the likes of the non refurbished Qantas A380 business class cabin. There are only 22 seats. It is arranged in the reverse herringbone configuration. Thank goodness it isn’t like the British Airways ‘honeymoon’ configuration!

Qatar 787-8 dreamliner business class lgw to doha seat herringbone configuration
The herringbone configuration of the 787-8 Dreamliner is good for everyone’s privacy. The seats are in a 1-2-1 arrangement, which means everyone has aisle access.

The configuration is 1-2-1 which is great for solo travellers and couples. Everyone has aisle access, yay!

Qatar 787-8 dreamliner business class lgw to doha seats near the toilet avoid
You probably want to avoid these two seats because they’re close to the toilet. They do however, offer maximum privacy, since they are ‘separated’ from the main cabin by the “bar”.

There are two seats that you probably don’t want. These are located just behind this ‘bar’ ledge area, that seems to us, very strange. These two seats 6E and 6F  are also closest to the toilet, so avoid them. A curtain separates you from the economy class cabin.

The service galley is at the front of the 22 seats so if your’e noise sensitive, you may want to choose a seat towards the back. There are 2 toilets at the back of the cabin.

Qatar 787-8 dreamliner business class lgw to doha seat closest to the front is near the service galley
If you don’t want to hear the clinking of cutlery and clattering of plates, don’t choose a seat near the front! This will be your view.

Qatar uses mood lighting throughout the flight. The changing colours are said to aid relaxation. But they don’t help for taking good food shots!

                                    

The seat and its surrounds on the Qatar 787 – 8 dreamliner business class cabin

Qatar 787-8 dreamliner business class lgw to doha seat herringbone configuration
The seat on the 787-8 Dreamliner plane from London Gatwick to Doha.

The seats themselves look very comfortable. After take off you get to ‘make your bed’ with the mattress, but, you have to ask for it. On Emirates and Qantas flights we have experienced, the mattress is already on the seat when you board. The curved back however, doesn’t give maximum privacy, but adds a touch of elegance. The window seats ‘lean’ towards the windows so you’re facing away from the aisle and the centre seat passengers. Even if you’re travelling alone and you get a centre seat, you can raise the privacy shield.

Qatar AIrways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha seat and surrounds
The herringbone configuration means if you want to interact with your neighbour, you can! If not, the privacy screen will provide plenty of non- face time!

The seat controls move you into various positions. They are very well ‘drawn’ and easy to understand.

Underneath the seat control panel, there is an additional storage bin, which contains the noise cancelling headphones.

Qatar Airways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha additional storage bin
As you’re looking around your seat lift up the padded storage locker. In here, you’ll find your headphones and enough room for a small bag.

You get an extra bit of elbow room, whichever seat you’re in. Everyone gets a mini storage draw which contains a bottle of water and the noise cancelling headphones.

Qatar AIrways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha seat and surrounds
Every seat has this extra shelf space. We think Qatar could have used this space more effectively, perhaps a mini bar like Emirates do?

The foot well is somewhat narrow and very tall passengers, may find this a problem.

Qatar AIrways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha seat and surrounds
For very tall passengers you may find the narrow footwell slightly annoying.

When you pull the table out for eating, if you move your legs to cross or uncross them, you may hit the table with your knees.

Qatar Airways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha review table in business class LGW to Doha
The fold out table is spacious, around double the size of an economy class table.

There is an international charging socket underneath the shelf

                                

In flight entertainment

The Oryx entertaiment system is quite comprehensive. The Qatar 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 doesn’t move which is great or not?

Qatar 787-8 dreamliner business class review sreen size LGW to Doha
The business class screen is 17 inches and crystal clear. Qatar claim it is the first in the world to operate a dual screen interface which allows you to play a game, whilst watching a film.

You can either touch the screen itself or use a hand held device to select your entertainment.

Qatar AIrways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha hand held IFE controller
The hand held IFE controller is a little small in our opinion.

In our opinion it is a bit too small, the hand held device. We much prefer the tablet you get on the Emirates A380 – 800.

comparing the IFE touch screen tablet you get on an Emirates A380 business class to Qatar 787-8 dreamliner business class procuct only1invillage
Sorry Qatar, but we prefer Emirates’ tablet control system for the entertainment options. Emirates provides this in addition to the hand held controller.

The noise cancelling headphones are a nice touch. They are superior to the ones you get in economy class. If it weren’t for the three prong jack, the headphones wouldn’t be given back!

noise cancelling headphones Qatar Airways 787-8 dreamliner business class review LGW to Doha only1invillage
We like the noise cancelling headphones. They make a big difference when you compare them to economy class headphones!

            

The electronics around the seat

The TV controller hides in a compartment to the left  or right of your seat.

Qatar AIrways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha seat electronicsTHe
The IFE controller is neatly stored near your elbow.

The seat positions allow for a fully flat angled bed. Not all Qatar’s business class seats do. Similar to Emirates, some business class seats are still the old fashioned angled style. Shock, horror, gasp!

Qatar AIrways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha seat electronics
Easy to use seat controls. Even if you don’t understand them, it’s just fun pressing every button!

There is a massage facility which is really good, if you like massages.

The charging socket is located underneath the shelf area where the seat controls are. The USB slot is next to the headphones slot.

Qatar AIrways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha seat
Your universal charger point is located underneath the seat control buttons.

                        

The amenity kits on the Qatar 787- 8 dreamliner business class

We do love a good amenity kit with a toiletries bag you can reuse! The one provided for ladies is orange and filled with Monte Vibiano goodies, an eye mask, some rather fetching matching socks and ear plugs. The bag is from a family owned Italian luxury goods company, called Bric’s.

Qatar 787-8 dreamliner business class lgw to doha ladies amenity kit
Definitely a keeper! The bright orange bag is sturdy and will be a good reminder of the Qatar Airways 787-8 dreamliner business class flight from London to Doha.

The amenity kit for men is blue. It contains exactly the same toiletries as the amenity kit for ladies. The only difference is the socks and eye mask are a different colour.

As it’s an overnight flight, we are provided with pyjamas and slippers. The pyjamas are not 100 per cent cotton, unfortunately. The black slippers are also a nasty nylon, which will make your feet sweat. Still, the pyjamas and slippers are better than creasing and sleeping in your own clothes. You’re also more inclined to fall asleep after the dinner service.

Qatar Airways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha pyjamas only1invillage review
On overnight flights, Qatar add pyjamas to the amenities on board.

                      

The food and beverages on the Qatar 787-8 Dreamliner business class

Qatar 787-8 dreamliner business class lgw to doha pre flight cocktail and warm nuts
Before take off you are offered some warm nuts and a cocktail. After a disastrous experience in the London Gatwick lounge, we are eager to sit back and sip!

If you have special dietary requirements, like vegetarian or gluten free, this can be ordered on the app beforehand. You can even get a ‘bland’ meal. What would that taste like?!!!

Qatar AIrways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha seat table setting lantern salt and pepper
What we do love about the Qatar meal service in business class is the little extra touches. The electric lantern and the ever so cute mini salt and pepper grinders, make you feel at home in the skies!

Did we ‘relish sumptuous cuisine designed by the best chefs in the world and savour expertly served exclusive vintages?’ Those are the words from Qatar’s website. In terms of presentation, the food is very good. In terms of taste, we’re sorry to report that there is room for improvement.

Qatar 787-8 dreamliner business class lgw to doha appetiser beef bresaola and melon
The beef bresaola and melon appetiser is very well presented. However, the beef was turning brown at the bottom. It should be bright red.

The bevarages are not as expensive as Emirates offer either. Notably the wines are of a poorer quality. However, the signature mint and lemon drink is refreshingly delicious and you must order at least two throughout the flight!

Qatar 787-8 dreamliner business class lgw to doha signature mint and lemon seriously addictive drink
We don’t know what goes into the Qatar signature mint and lemon drink, but, it’s seriously addictive.

The menu selection always reflects the place you’re flying to and from. So, on the flight from England there are traditional English and Arabic options.

The dinner service begins an hour into the flight. After a disappointing selection of food in Qatar’s London Gatwick North Lounge, we are hungry!

It’s appetiser time! The amuse bouche is very well presented. Top marks! It tastes good too.

Qatar 787-8 dreamliner business class lgw to doha food amuse bouche
A very tasty salmon and grapefruit amuse bouche to start the dinner service on the evening flight from London Gatwick to Doha.

For main course the most exciting sounding dish is the beef fillet. Let’s see if Qatar can pull off a medium-rare steak in the air!

Qatar AIrways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha food main course dinner only1invillage
The beef fillet presents well. Unfortunately it was overcooked and dry. The peas, as you can see are also not green. Too much time in the oven.

Unfortunately the beef was really overcooked. It had a nice flavour, but, it was not gourmet standard. We were offered a chicken alternative, but, we didn’t want white meat. Thumbs down for Qatar’s main course. The flight attendants were eager to hear our feedback, but, will anything be done about it for future customers?

So far two strikes for the appetiser and main course. Can Qatar win back some points with the dessert?

Qatar AIrways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha dessert
The fresh berries served with almond syrup. The strawberries could have been sweeter. The almond syrup was good.

We choose the healthy option, because how wrong can you go with mixed berries? Even here, attention to detail is lacking. There are still some green parts of the top of the strawberries in the bowl. Overall, a disappointing dinner. It certainly didn’t meet our expectations of the “finest dining in the skies” with “extraordinary cuisine” as the Qatar website suggests.

Qatar AIrways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha breakfast
The pastries, juice and coffee at breakfast time served just before landing in Doha.

One hour and 20 minutes before landing in Doha, you are offered breakfast. We choose the cooked option, knowing that there will be middle eastern breakfast choices in the Al Mourjan Lounge, when we land. The next flight we take to Singapore on the Qatar Qsuite will also start with breakfast.

                    

The service of the Qatar staff

The staff greet you by name which is a good touch. On this flight the staff are very friendly, but not over friendly. They ask for feedback and are more than happy to take pictures for you.

                    

The Qatar 787 business class toilets

Why didn’t you go to the toilet before?!!! The bathroom, the restroom, the wash closet. Whatever you want to call it, it’s where you do your ‘business’ in the plane. We are sorry to report, the toilets are a bit disappointing as business class toilets go. It is the same size as an economy class toilet. 

Qatar AIrways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha toilet shot
Qatar Airways 787-8 business class toilet. It’s the same size as in economy class.
Qatar AIrways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha toilet amenities
There’s Colgate toothpaste and brushes in the toilets. There’s a bottle of something missing in the toiletries section. Poor show Qatar.

                  

The Qatar 787 -8 dreamliner business class bar

There isn’t one!

Qatar AIrways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha bar ledges
These two ‘ledges’ are essentially the ‘bar’ area on board the Qatar Airways 787-8 business class flight from London to Doha.

Ok there isn’t one as in bar service with a flight attendant mixing you cocktails. You can place some drinks here on this ‘bar ledge’ and congregate if you need to stretch your legs. But, how awkward for the passengers sitting in 6E and 6F! 

Qatar Airways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha champagne glasses
After take off the social area is set up. A few bottles of champagne and wine are placed on the bar ledges.
Qatar Airways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha snacks in the common area
Some packaged snacks are arranged in the common area at the back of the business class cabin, next to the exit doors.

Not that we crave alcohol, you understand, we just like comparing on board bars on different airlines! There is only a bar on the A380 Qatar business class product. After take off, some fresh fruit, nuts and a few bottles of alcohol are placed on the “bar” ledges.

Qatar Airways business class 787-8 dreamliner LGW to Doha fresh fruit
A fresh fruit bowl sits next to the champagne glasses to help yourself after take off on the Qatar Airways 787-8 business class flight from London to Doha.                  

                  

Summary of the Qatar 787 -8 dreamliner business class cabin 

Firstly, we like the layout of the cabin. It works really well for everyone, offering privacy to all passengers.

Secondly, the seats are very comfortable and the fully flat position is always welcome.

We love the amenity kits. Good quality and a great souvenir of the flight. 

However, the Qatar 787-8 Dreamliner business class does have some down sides. There’s no real bar on the Dreamliner. Oh well, next time we must fly the Qatar A380. It seems to be an A380 thing! 

The biggest let down is the food quality and taste. Qatar need to up their game on this aspect of the soft product on this particular flight.

Have you flown out of London Gatwick on the Qatar 787-8 dreamliner in business class? Do you agree with our review? Let us know, by submitting a comment.

 

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Qatar Qsuite A350 Business Class

 Qatar Qsuite A350- 1000 business class review

 

This is our most anticipated  flight review yet! The business class Qsuites have really been a game changer for Qatar Airways. The first of its kind to offer first class like suites with extreme privacy. The two middle seats can be joined to make a double bed! Is that encouraging the mile high club????!!!! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge!

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review the bed in the sky business class
Good night or as the pillow says, it’s a good day, whichever way you look at it. The Qsuite bed in the sky is Qatar’s biggest selling point for business class passengers. The blanket is one of the softest and most luxurious we have experienced yet.

Read our review of the 7 hour flight from Doha to Singapore. It’s an early morning start. Well, early for us, 8.30 am. We get on after a quick visit to the Al Mourjan Lounge in Doha

Quick Index of Qatar A350 Business Class Qsuite

                                                                                                                                          

Find out which planes in the Qatar Fleet have the Qsuite

Not all Qatar business class planes are made equally! You are not guaranteed a Qsuite unless you are on the A350-1000. Some of the Boeing 777-200LRs will have Qsuite. Similarly, select Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A350-900s might have Qsuite. We did our research very carefully!

                                                                                                                                          

The Qatar A350 business class cabin

After a sumptuous feast in the Qatar Al Mourjan business class lounge in Doha we reluctantly board the plane. Just joking, any time we board a business class flight, we are pretty excited!

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to SIngapore review cabin configuration
The Qsuite cabin in all its glory on the A350-1000 from Doha to Singapore. There’s a total of 46 seats. Some seats face forwards and some seats face backwards to the nose of the plane.

The configuration of the seats is a glorious 1-2-1. Off to a good start. This is one time where a window seat is great, when travelling alone. From the picture above, you can see that some seats face forwards and some face backwards.

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to SIngapore review cabin configuration window seat
The one time a window seat is a good choice is in business class! You get the view and the leg room! Note how C’s passport matches the Qatar colours!

The seats in the centre section that are closer together can make a double bed after take off! That’s what all the fuss is about. A first class experience at a business class price is the selling factor here.

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to SIngapore review cabin configuration the qsuite bed
Qatar’s Qsuite bed is made up for you after take off. A true bed in the sky!

Qatar were the first to introduce sliding doors, like in First Class on some airlines. However, these doors are purely visual. They don’t stop the sound of a crying infant from reaching your ears! Whether crying infants should even be allowed in business class is a whole other blog post!

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to SIngapore review cabin features sliding door for privacy
The Qsuite sliding door guarantees privacy from your fellow travellers. However, it doesn’t protect you from snoring passengers or crying infants!

Not only can some Qsuite seats convert to a double bed, but people travelling and actually ‘doing business’ can make a mini conference room of 2 opposite seats facing each other to form a group of 4. Qatar call this the quad set up. Movable panels can be opened up to form a social or business area. How cool is that?! On this particular flight, there were no people ‘doing business’. In fact, the flight was pretty empty, about 14 people in total. Therefore, we don’t have a picture of 4 people opening up the Qsuite dividers to make a conference room. Click here on the Qatar Airways website to see what the ‘conference room’ in the sky looks like.

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review conference room on board
The four seats to the right of C, convert to a mini conference room in the sky. Due to the emptiness of the flight, this cannot be shown. But, go to Qatar’s website if you’re really curious to see how it looks. The pink mood lighting isn’t great for taking pictures though!

                                                                                                                                          

The seat and its surrounds on the Qatar A350 business class cabin

Most seats are less than 2 years old. Qatar launched their first Qsuite in June 2017. If you’re on a plane that just got configured with Qsuite, then it could even be new! There’s a total of 46 seats.

When sitting up right for take off, there is a huge amount of legroom. Well that’s what business class is all about!

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review leg room on the foot stool business class
Ready for take off! There’s a huge amount of leg room in the up right position on board the Boeing A350-1000 configured with the Qsuite.

There is ample storage in the overhead lockers/bins and each one is labelled with your closest seat number. Additional storage can be found in the padded ‘armrest’ which contains the noise cancelling headphones and a bottle of water.

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review padded arm rest containing head phones and water business class
The padded arm rest can be lowered for extra room when the seat converts into a bed. Pretty clever piece of engineering!
Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review inside the arm rest extra storage business class
Inside the arm rest there is additional storage space. You can easily slip your lap top in for take off and landing. Your noise cancelling headphones are located in here with a bottle of water.
Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review mattress on bed business class
When you’re ready for your snooze, the crew will put the mattress down on your lie flat bed in the sky. Sweet dreams. We personally found the converted beds very comfortable.

                                                                                                                                          

In flight entertainment

Every passenger in business class gets 60 minutes of complimentary wi-fi internet on board. 

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review complimentary 60 mins wi-fi internet on boardbusiness class
Get your social media fix on board the Qsuite for a whole hour!

When you have finished ‘Whats apping’ and uploading Instagram stories to make your friends jealous, there’s plenty to watch and listen to. The screen is huge and has very good resolution. The latest Hollywood, Bollywood and world cinema films are available. In addition, you have TV series, documentaries and more music than you can ever get through. 

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review screen size business class
The screen is 21.5 inches wide. Touchscreen or handset operated. Choose from thousands of entertainment options.

                                                                                                                                          

The electronics around the seat

You can charge your laptop, connect to HDMI and USB ports from your seat. Everything is within easy reach and nothing is hidden or in a hard to reach corner.

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review international charger and usb business class
The international charger and USB port are within easy reach of the Qsuite seat. They are at eye level and easy to find.
Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review international charger and headphone jack business class
The headphone jack and your complimentary 60 minutes wi-fi internet are all easy to access from your Qsuite seat.

To control the seat itself there are a variety of self explanatory buttons.

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review seat control icons business class
The elegant seat controls will convert your seat into a variety of positions at the touch of a button.

The ‘DND’ button is an acronym for ‘do not disturb’. So much better than sticking a sticker onto your seat in economy class. The Qsuite seat also comes with a massage function which is very effective.

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review reading light business class
Need to catch up on some reading? Switch on the reading light for a warm glow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          

The amenity kits on the Qatar A350 business class

Like the amenity kits from London to Doha, the kits are filled with Castello Monte Vibiano toiletries inside a  Bric’s bag. Bric’s is an Italian luxury travel bags and fashion accessories company. It boasts that all merchandise is made in Italy. On top of that it remains a family company. 

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review ladies' toiletries bag and contents business class
The female toiletries bag is a bright yellow with matching flight socks, ear plugs and eye mask! Stop the lips drying out with a Monte VIbiano lip balm. Keep skin hydrated with a moisturising facial mist and an anti-aging moisturiser.

The bags are definitely classy and ones for keeping for future travels.

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review men's toiletries contents business class
For gentlemen, the toiletries are exactly the same as the ladies’ bags. The bag is blue and comes with blue flight socks and matching eye mask (not shown, they’re in the bag). Inside the plastic container are ear plugs.

The Monte Vibiano toiletries are hypoallergenic, paraben free, nickel tested and cruelty free.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        

The food and beverages

It’s breakfast time on the Doha to Singapore flight. The mains to choose from are Arabic, Western or Asian. Having had the Arabic meze in the Al Mourjan Lounge in Doha, we opt for the Asian prawn congee.

What we really like about the Qatar food service is the cute little touches like the mini salt and pepper grinders and the table light.

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review breakfast Asian prawn congee business class
The prawn congee with shitake mushrooms, spring onion, ginger and soya sauce. Tasty and authentic.

It’s a short flight from Doha to Singapore, about 7 hours. After catching a few hours of shut-eye it’s feeding time again. There is a choice of light bites ranging from a mixed garden salad, Thai red curry with seafood, spring onion panini with beef fillet or fresh finger sandwiches and scones. If none of that takes your fancy, there’s a snack platter, where you get snack size portions of world cuisines.

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review snack platter before landing business class
Sample the world on a platter. From top left: gooseberry crumble with redcurrant confit, sweet and sour chicken kebab, Vietnamese rice paper rolls. Bottom row: mushroom poppers, smoked salmon, seafood tikki. Served with a choice of harissa aioli, pesto mayonnaise and sweet chilli sauce. Yummy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        

The service of the Qatar staff

Throughout the flight, the crew introduced themselves and asked for feedback on their service. The Qatar staff react with lightning speed to the call button. They are eager to promote the Qsuite and explained the cabin features in detail. The crew offered to take numerous photographs and open up the quad set up. We found the Qatar crew to be very friendly without being over bearing. Top marks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          

The Qatar A350 business class toilets

Will they be as special as the cabin? Are they big enough to swing a cat in (like in the BA A380 business class)? Is the toilet tissue 3 ply? These burning and very important questions will now be answered!

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review toilet on board business class
It’s an economy class size toilet on board the A350-1000 Qsuite cabin. Amenities available are not as generous as an Emirates A380.

The tissue paper isn’t 3 ply, it’s the same old rough stuff you get in economy. There is a box of disposable razors, toothbrushes and combs in case you come on board unshaven and with bad breath.

Qatar Qsuite A350-1000 Doha to Singapore review soap and lotion business class
The hand wash and lotion are the same brand, Rituals, as in the Al Mourjan Lounge in Doha.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          

The Qatar A350 business class bar

Unfortunately only the Qatar A380 business class product has the bar. You have to ask yourself, what’s more important the bar or the seats? You can get the bar effect by ordering as many cocktails on demand and glasses of champagne as you can manage!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Summary of the Qatar A350 -1000 business class cabin 

Firstly, we love the layout of the Qsuite cabin. The flexibility of transforming spaces into work and leisure zones for people travelling together is fabulous. Solo travellers are not neglected either, with the best window seat view and privacy screen.

Secondly, the seat comfort in all modes is good. Some people may experience issues with the table when eating. If you’re very tall, your knees may bang against the underside of the table as you cross and uncross your legs.

Thirdly, the Qsuite is modern, clean  and has great electronic features. The mood lighting enhances rest, even though it isn’t ideal for taking photographs.

              

Qatar Qsuites A350 vs Emirates A380 Business Class

How does the Qsuite experience compare to our current favourite business class product, the Emirates A380?

Well, let’s do the scoring!

The first let down for Qatar is the lack of chauffeur service. Getting a complimentary ride to and from the airport is a big plus in our eyes.

Secondly, sorry Qatar, your flagship AL Mourjan lounge in Doha, misses a few points. In terms of food presentation and choice, shower facilities and of course, who can compete with the Moet and Chandon Lounge Emirates has in Dubai?

A plus for Qatar Airways is the larger screen. Size does matter! The Qatar screen (21.5 inches) is 3 inches wider than the Emirates screen (18.5 inches).

The second plus for Qatar Qsuite is the sliding door, which none of the Emirates fleet in business class have.Optimum privacy is guaranteed on the A350-1000 fitted with Qsuite seats.

Emirates win back a point with the food and beverages. The quality and taste of the Emirates dining experience is superior to Qatar’s, notably the choice of premium alcohol, served on board. 

Just for the flight experience, the A350-1000 Qsuite is the better product. However, overall, in our opinion, if you include the lounge and the limo service (pre and post flight experience) we will still pick Emirates A380.

If you’re looking for cheap business class flight deals direct to your inbox, we recommend luxuryflightclub.com

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Row Boat Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne

Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne

The Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne was established in 1846.

A haven of green foliage and exotic plants in the middle of a fast paced city. The Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne is free and a delight for young and old.

The central lake of the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Lawns plus lakes equals lazy days in the sunshine. The Melbourne botanical gardens also have rockeries, garden beds, rotundas, rustic bridges and avenues of trees.

Taking a stroll in nature and then spreading out a picnic blanket, overlooking a lake is our idea of a great way to relax. Doing this in the heart of a city with over 4 and a half million inhabitants is still possible in the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne. 

Spread over 89 acres the landscaped gardens are a must see attraction when visiting Melbourne. 1 million people visit the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne every year. Are you one of them?

Quick Index Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne

                

Location, getting there and Parking

The Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne are, you’ve guessed it, in Melbourne! They are a short walk from the CBD (central business district). 

You can get here by tram, on foot, by bicycle or by car and taxi. Since we have a base in Melbourne, we always cycle or walk if we’re feeling energetic. If we have a picnic planned and need to bring food and drinks, we take the car and park just outside the gardens.

Parking at the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Parking at the Gardens is free on Sunday and Public Holidays. On Australia day there is usually a classic car show just outside the gardens. Also, Government House is open on Australia day and is next to the gardens.

Parking is not free (except on Sundays), but the gardens themselves are. Melbourne has a parking system that must be read very carefully. Often there are time restrictions, such as a 2 hour maximum period. The closer you are to an attraction, the shorter time period you get to park. So, if you want to spend about 4 -5 hours in the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne, you will need to park further away from the entrance gates. There’s nothing worse than worrying about a parking fine!

gardens Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Amazing gardens full of colour abound! The botanical gardens contain over 8500 species of plants.

The botanic gardens are of historical, scientific, social and architectural significance to the state of Victoria and Melbourne, in particular. There is an elm tree that has been growing since 1846. See if you can find it.

Herbarium Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
The Herbarium of Victoria tracks the biodiversity of the gardens. It is of great scientific value.
map Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
A map of the gardens can come in handy if you get lost! There’s plenty to see.
Signs Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
There are signs throughout the royal botanical gardens, to help you orientate yourself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The Lake

It’s just like going to Venice when you see the lake in the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne. OK, we’re just joking, but you can go for a gondola ride! OK, OK, it’s a boat, not a gondola. The lake is a central point and you can admire the views from outside seating areas or from the restaurant. Often you’ll see ducks, swans and other birds swimming and sometimes chilling on the edges, doing some people watching! 

The central lake of the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
The central lake is a great spot for the picnic rug and relaxing. Many people bring their own food and drinks and relax in the picturesque surroundings!

In the warmer months, you will often see a wedding ceremony near the lake. 

A boat on the central lake of the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
A guided tour on a punting boat on the central lake is a popular option.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The Rain Forest walk

This is a really cool walk that makes you think you’ve gone back in time to the Jurassic era! The rain forest walk is completely enclosed like a true rain forest. The trees are really tall and it has a humid feel to it, all year round. Ancient ferns are the main plants at ground level. A walkway has been introduced for easy access and for those with mobility issues.

Rain Forest Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
A small picturesque rain forest near the centre of the gardens is a must see.

If it all gets too much, you can now relax in a swinging seat. You’ll have to fight for it however, children seem to like it a lot!!!

Swinging seat Rain Forests Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne.
There is a swinging seat in the middle of the rain forest. See if you can find it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The Herb Garden

You can easily miss this little pocket of delights if you don’t look for the signs. There are many types of herbs that you can rub gently and inhale. Our favourites are the pineapple and chocolate mint varieties. They really do smell of mint and pineapple and chocolate and mint. Don’t try and take a sample to grow yourself, there are huge fines for those caught stealing! Children will find the herb garden particularly fascinating. It is actually very educational for everyone as the little placards tell you the scientific names and uses of each herb. The herb garden is one of our favourite areas when we visit the botanical gardens.

Our top tip – If you love taking bee shots, like we do, the herb garden is the place where most of them hang out.

Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Thyme for a bee shot! Excuse the pun. The herb garden is the best place to shoot these little honey makers.

You will find rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, chives, lemon verbena and much more. A couple of benches have been strategically placed to take in all the aromas!

Herb Garden Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
An astrology statue sits in the centre of the Herb Garden. Scratch n sniff all the usual kitchen herbs!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Children’s Garden

A place for big kids as well as small kids. When you go through these gates after the sign, a wonderful, interactive world awaits. It’s a space for children to discover and explore the wonderful world of plants, including vegetables. There’s a water fountain that sprays upwards (perfect for hot days), various trails, possums hiding in the roof and a vegetable garden to explore. Many educational school trips spend part of an excursion in this area. Therefore, avoid going on a Monday or a Tuesday, during Victorian school term times. 

Children's Garden sign Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Children’s Garden sign. Bring the little ones into this amazing landscape. Hours of fun to keep their young hands and mind occupied.

Use this excellent checklist – 50 things for kids to do, if you run out of ideas!

Children's garden and observatory house Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Children’s vegetable garden and observatory house. School excursions use this space to teach children about where food comes from! There’s also a little sand pit in the centre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The Glasshouse

When you’re feeling cold in Winter, pop into the glasshouse for a reminder of warmer climates! The glasshouse is small and you can go through it in 5 minutes. We particularly like the pitcher plants and the orchids. Whilst nothing like the amazing orchid gardens in Singapore, you get to see native Australian orchids and some plants from all over the world.

the Glasshouse it's hot and humid in here. Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Get that hot and humid feeling inside the Glasshouse.
Chris in the Glasshouse Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Huge tropical plants live inside the glasshouse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The Volcano

Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
A burst of colour at the bottom of Guilfoyle’s volcano.

Guilfoyle’s volcano is the most recent addition to the Melbourne botanical gardens. Guilfoyle was a director of the botanic gardens in 1873. Originally created as a water reservoir it was dormant for 60 years before recent restoration.

Volcano Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Steps take you up to the volcano and past many types of colourful succulents.
Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
It’s amazing what you’ll find hiding in the tall cacti! There’s also an easy path up to the ‘top’ of Guilfoyle’s Volcano. You can get to the ‘summit’ using stairs too.
Volcano top Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
The top of the Volcano in the Botanical Gardens. That’s a water filtration system in action around the clusters of plants.

At the ‘top’ of the volcano there is one information board we love standing in front of.

Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Compare the painting with the current view of Melbourne. At the ‘top’ of Guilfoyle’s volcano.
Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Looking down from the volcano it’s quite a view.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  

cactus Garden

All things prickly and drought resistant live here. We’re not just talking about that man in the photo below!

Cactus Gardens Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Cactus Gardens Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne.

Melbourne had a terrible drought in the last decade. Keen gardeners are encouraged to grow water saving plants such as cacti and succulents. Unsurprisingly, the cacti gardens came out of the drought unscathed.

Cactus Gardens Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Cactus Gardens Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne. These hardy plants just love the dry Melbourne summers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Restaurants and Facilities

The gardens are used for concerts, plays, and movies under the stars! To find out what is going on at the gardens click here

There are plenty of toilets dotted around the gardens. They are well maintained. The biggest and best ones are just behind the building in the picture below.

There are two main places to grab a bite to eat. The more informal cafe Jardin Tan, focuses on the paddock (farm) to plate philosophy. You can get coffee here and ice cream as well as a full meal. The cuisine is from the Indo China area (modern Vietnam). Drool over crunchy  coleslaw with prawns or get that authentic bahn-mi you miss from Vietnam

Pho (pronounced ‘fur’) something more substantial, how does Flinders Island lamb shoulder, pickled vegetables, firecracker sauce and steamed buns sound? Er, hello, book us a spot online now!

Restaurant and visitor centre Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
A restaurant, facilities and the visitor centre are just outside the east entrance of the Royal Botanical Gardens. The ice cream is very good. We recommend it!

If you happen to enter through Gate A of the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne, you will be closer to the Terrace. This is the place for clotted cream scones and high tea. You have to book well in advance for high tea. Also touted as Melbourne’s best kept secret for wedding and corporate events.

Breakfast is served from 9 to 11.30 am. We don’t have any breakfast pictures, sorry, we’re not up that early!!! Lunch is from 11.30 to 3 pm. 

At certain times of the year, there is an electric mini bus for people with mobility issues. You can catch it just after the Herbarium. We hope you visit these magnificent gardens and love them as much as we do!

tour bus royal botanical gardens
Take a tour bus around the royal botanical gardens. You can hop on or off and various stops around the gardens,

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Werribee Gorge State Park Hiking Clifftop

Werribee Gorge State Park 5 Epic Hikes

Werribee Gorge is only 75 kms outside of Melbourne along the Western Freeway. It takes about 45 minutes to drive there. It’s a great Melbourne day trip which we love doing. City dwellers love Werribee Gorge as it’s a chance to do some ‘bushwalking’ and get some fresh air. If you’re basing yourself in Geelong, the drive is just over an hour. The nearest town is Bacchus Marsh, which is 8 kms away. 

What is there to see at Werribee Gorge State Park?

There are spectacular views of the gorge and lookout points over the hills. There is good native vegetation featuring plants such as the white flowered Snowy Mint bush. Parts of the walk are open grassland and there’s even a mini beach! There are a variety of walks as well as some basic rock climbing available to everyone.  There is also an abundance of native animals such as the black wallaby, snakes and wedge tailed eagles. Keep your eyes peeled as you go on this fantastic bush walk. Werribee Gorge State Park Hiking Circuit River Melbourne Day Trips

cenery constantly changes in Werribee Gorge State Park. Get out of the city and experience Melbourne’s mini ‘outback’.

Top Tips

When to go: As long as it’s dry, any season is good to go.

Difficulty of hiking trails: Easy to hard. The hiking trails offer something for everyone. Even young children can do some of the river walk as it’s pretty flat.

Car Parks: There are 3 car parks off Myers road.

The first car park is directly off Myers road as you come off the Western Freeway. There is limited car parking in the first car park, so just keep heading down the unsealed road if it’s full.  

The second car park is the Quarry picnic parking area. This is the second parking lot and can be reached down the same road just further along from the first car park. It has picnic tables, toilets and water taps and quite a lot more parking than the first car park.

The third car park is at the Meikles point picnic area. To reach this car park you have to go down a narrow-unsealed road which can be quite challenging if a car is coming the other way. It also has picnic tables, toilets and water taps.

Provisions: We recommend that you take half a litre of water per person, per hour, that you intend to walk as well as some emergency rations.

Sun protection: Don’t get caught out with the harsh Australian sun. Wear sunscreen and a hat. You might not feel like you’re getting burned, but sun burn is never a good look!

Shoes: Hiking shoes are the best choice for most of these walks, as part of the walks are quite difficult and rocky and can be slippery as well. However, you can get by with running shoes if you have to.

Mobile phone reception is limited and unavailable through parts of the walks in Werribee Gorge.

Flooding: The gorge is subject to flooding during heavy rainfall, so it’s best visited outside of heavy rainfall. The path can also be quite slippery when wet so, it’s even more important to have hiking boots, if walking when wet.     

WerribeeGorgeSP[3783map]The map above has been republished with permission from parks Victoria. It’s the best map of the available walks.  It can be found with additional information at the Werribee gorge state park site  here

River Walk

3 km return 1-1.5 hours easy/medium grade .Start at Meikles point car park. Follow the river along an old aqueduct until you get to a rock face with a rope to climb around. At this point you turn around and go back if you only want to do the river walk. The path is narrow and mostly flat. Look to your left and you will see the amazing layers in the rocks. Note, there is no sign to tell you this is the point to turn around. If you continue it will be along the circuit walk and will add 2-3 hours to your return time. There are some swimming opportunities along the way. Werribee Gorge State Park Hiking river Melbourne Day Trips 

The River Walk in Werribee Gorge is mostly flat.

Falcons Lookout

3km return 1.5-2 hours medium grade. Start at Ironbark point car park off Inguston road. Some up hill trekking for a  magnificent view over the gorge. Keep an eye out for wedge tailed eagles and hawks. This is also the only area where rock climbing is allowed according to Parks Victoria.

Centenary Walk

4 km return 2-2.5 hours medium/hard grade. Start at Quarry picnic parking area and follow the circuit walk until you see the sign for Centenary Walk. The climb up to the top is steep and the path is rough in spots. You will be rewarded with wild flowers and amazing views of the gorge. There’s some open woodland and a creek to spot some frogs.

Short Circuit Walk

5 km return 2-2.5 hours medium grade. Start at any of the three car parks. This follows the eastern part of the walk heading down to Meikles car park via the river after the Eastern viewpoint. Some steep parts but doable for families. 

Long Circuit Walk

10 km return 3.5-4.5 hours medium/hard grade. Start at any of the three car parks. Lots of different terrain to cover on this circuit. Steep hills, rocky flat paths, sand and grassy banks. This long walk provides the best opportunities for spotting the native black wallaby. The scenery is constantly changing. There are many information boards detailing the rock, river and beach formations.Werribee Gorge State Park Hiking Geology Melbourne Day Trips

Want to know what types of rock you’re looking at in Werribee Gorge? There are many information boards along the walks giving great geological explanations.

Our Walk at Werribee Gorge

We did the river walk and the long circuit walk which includes half of the short circuit walk.  We got a bit lost, but, hopefully you won’t! 

We parked at the un-named car park, which is the first one you get to, if you follow the brown road signs. Get there early, especially on the weekends. It is very popular with city folk looking to escape the big smog. Werribee Gorge State Park is also popular with the fitness crowd. It’s a great place to spot the latest Lycra trends.Werribee Gorge State Park Hiking Road Melbourne Day Trips

 To start the River Walk from the top car park with no name, walk down this unpaved road.

Head down the unpaved road towards the named, Meikles Point picnic area. Watch out for cars as this is a shared pathway. When you arrive, make a U turn and walk directly along the river. This flat part goes for about 20 minutes. The gradient begins to change and you are now slowly going uphill. The path becomes quite narrow and the river is now on your left. Werribee Gorge State Park Hiking riverview Melbourne Day Trips

After the flat River Walk path ends, you’re quite high up. You are now looking down on the river below and get a great view of the colourful rocks.

There are information boards telling you which geological periods you’re looking at.Werribee Gorge State Park Hiking water channel Melbourne Day Trips

When you get to this point and the path narrows, it’s the end of the easy River Walk.

The narrow path should take about 25 minutes. When you reach the climbing ropes, you have two choices. You can turn around and go back to the picnic area or continue. If you only plan on doing the River Walk, then turn back. If you choose to carry on, some challenging hills, change of terrain and river ropes await.  

Werribee Gorge State Park Hiking Rope Challenge Melbourne Day Trips
Erm ,no one told us there was a Ninja Warrior challenge on the Long Circuit Walk!

The river rope section is quite a fun challenge. You can’t see round the corner and don’t know how long you’ll be rock scrambling. In reality it’s only 5 minutes, but if you weren’t expecting it, it can seem like an eternity. If you’re not confident near water, the rope section can also be quite scary. We scramble over, thankful we’ve been doing lunges at the gym and working on our biceps! We carry on, oblivious to the fact that we’re now on the Long Circuit Walk.Werribee Gorge State Park Hiking Lions head beach Melbourne Day Trips

Lionhead Beach is a welcome pit stop. Take off your shoes and wiggle your toes in the cool water.

Just after the ropes, you see Lionhead Beach. This is a good rest point and a chance to dip your toes in the refreshing water. The information board tells you reasons behind the name and some native trees to look out for. At this point, you are 2 hours away from the top, unnamed car park. You are now walking on sand and it’s relatively flat and open terrain. We see some other people and they tell us we’re in for some ‘goat trekking’. We laugh outwardly and inwardly groan because we only brought 600 mls of water each and it’s a hot day. So be prepared, unlike us!Werribee Gorge State Park Hiking circuit trail Melbourne Day Trips

Fellow hikers warn us of the ‘goat trekking’ part of the walk. Guess we found it!

The rugged beauty of the open landscape compensates for the sweat dripping into your eyes, as you trudge on. We pass ‘unstable cliff’ signs and trip over large rocks sticking out. Fellow hikers encourage you to keep going with words like, ‘almost there’ and ‘only another hour’. We keep going, telling ourselves this short walk that turned into a long walk is doing us good. We’re being spontaneous! In reality, it’s too late to turn back, so we might as well continue. We started at 10:00 am and intended to be eating lunch at 1pm!

Half an hour later, we are rewarded with a spectacular view. It takes our minds off the snacks we didn’t bring.Werribee Gorge State Park Melbourne Day Trips

The Eastern Viewpoint is a spectacular pit stop. This is typical Australian bush landscape.

We take our time posing and congratulating ourselves on the rock edge at the Eastern Viewpoint. The beautiful views taking in the gorge and the open forest below is a sight to behold. We snap a few shots for Instagram and move on. 

At the top of one of the hills, we see our car in the car park. Spurred on with visions of smashed avocado and sourdough, we pick up the pace. Three and a half hours later, we arrive back where we started. We promise ourselves we’ll do it all again next week!Werribee Gorge State Park Hiking scenery Melbourne Day Trips

Australian bush at its best! Native flora and fauna. Don’t miss out. Go and explore Werribee Gorge State Park, it’s an easy Melbourne day trip.

We hope we have inspired you to go to Werribee Gorge State Park and do some hiking. It’s an easy day trip from Melbourne or Geelong. For a taste of the Australian bush, you really can’t go wrong in Werribee Gorge. Have you been? What are your views on the various walks? Do you have any tips for fellow travellers? We would love to hear from you.

 

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