I only took my first official dive last year. The next time I slip on a tank, it could be to dive with the Master himself – Jean Michel Cousteau. The first son of the late Jacques Cousteau, Jean Michel’s commitment to oceanography and the environment is unparalleled. If it comes off, it’ll be wonderful to share his passion for the underwater world. I have a sneaking suspicion there’ll be no turning back for me then when it comes to diving. Regular travellers can’t obviously dive with JMC, but they can experience the same waters of Fiji that Cousteau loves. I’m hoping to do a few dives with him and convey what makes this part of the world so special. The place where I am hoping to dive with him is the waters surrounding the resort that bears Jean Michel’s name in Savusavu. I learned to dive here late last year and it’s an incredible experience, with patient and experienced diving instructors and a full-time marine biologist to help impart their knowledge of the ocean to guests. Children as young as 10 can learn to dive in Fiji. The resort is very special as any parent knows who has been lucky enough to stay here. Even if you’re child isn’t of diving age, they still learn a lot about the ocean through the resort’s excellent Bula Club program – possibly the best kid’s club in the South Pacific. I, in fact, think Jean Michel Cousteau Fiji Island Resort is one of the world’s best family resorts. But hey I am a bit biased. I married here and have now visited twice with the frequent small flyer (FSF). She loves it. You can see a pic of the FSF here dressed in a Fijian dancing girls’ outfit hand-sewn by her nanny Joana for her second birthday party held at the Bula Club. By day parents can explore the underwater world while the little ones are in the best possible hands. Stay tuned here where I’ll hopefully report back on what it was like to dive with Cousteau himself.
Today me and the frequent small flyer (FSF) scored some bargain tickets to Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia who are launching their first Sydney flights in April. It’s got me excited about taking the FSF to both Langkawi and Georgetown, Penang, which I wrote about last year for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
It was one of my favorite trips, staying at the boutique Bon Ton Resort’s Temple Tree property on Langkawi and seeing the exciting things Australian ex pats are doing in the UNESCO world heritage listed Georgetown – a rare glimpse of Old Asia which is fast disappearing. I cannot wait to get back to the verandah at Temple Tree and dine on Narelle’s fabulous fried rice, see what Christopher Ong has done with seven shophouses at the eastern end of Stewart Lane, which will open shortly as a luxury Peranakan guesthouse in Georgetown, and explore indepth the narrow laneways and interesting shops of Penang’s old town. Oh and it’ll be SO fun taking the FSF on her first trishaw ride. Why don’t you grab a flight over. At $99 one way, you can’t beat it!
Me and the frequent small flyer (FSF) have just returned from a magical week in Bellingen. We felt like we were in a fairy tale, as we crossed the Never Never Creek and entered the Promised Land. Here we found crystal clear watering holes in NSW’s cleanest river. Families picnicked under the shady trees, kids rode the gentle rapids and we dreamed of a little cottage on the banks of this magical waterway. Highlights of our stay included coffee at the Vintage Nest/Espresso, breakfast at the Hearth Fire Bakery, shopping for home made finds and walking the 1.2 km boardwalk at Urungu where we spotted dolphins. A great place for families to stay is Bellingen’s Vintage Look Farmhouse where the FSF fed the chickens, patted the friendly cows and held a tiny, green tree frog. I hope your start to 2012 was just as magical.