A gorgeous part of the world that I plan on visiting one day with my family. Until then, I have written about it and some of the many things that visitors can do while there.
Just a short two-hour drive north of Vancouver, British Columbia is the absolutely spectacular Blackcomb Mountain near Whistler. This region boasts amazing alpine skiing, snowboarding, hiking trails and some of the world’s best bike tracks, with Whistler mountain being sort out by vacationers from all around the world for their holiday destination.
When you look into what is available for visitors to do and enjoy at Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain, then it comes as no surprise that this is such a popular place with families, couples and individuals, all year round. Enjoying the great outdoors in both summer and winter can invigorate and refresh visitors, allowing them to live life to the full.
Summer Season Activities
Summer provides the opportunity to participate in outdoor activities such as hiking, enjoying the many trails in the bike park, the peak 2 peak gondola that runs between Whistler mountain and Blackcomb mountain, the zipline, summer glacier skiing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, jetboating, bungee jumping, ATV tours, horse riding, fishing and bear viewing trips. Let’s not forget about relaxing at the Scandinave spa and hydrotherapy baths, swimming in the pool or soaking in the hot tubs.
Winter Season Activities
With the onset of the snows, the winter season provides a whole different range of activities to enjoy. Of course, the alpine skiing and snowboarding are spectacular and are some of the best the world has to offer, but there are also other activities that guests can take advantage of. How about booking a snowmobile trek? Snowmobiling is one of Canada’s most-loved winter pastimes and visitors can also get to enjoy this wonderful winter activity and to view secluded spots around Whistler mountain. The winter zipline at Whistler is a must-do experience for all visitors! Imagine zipping past spectacular snow-covered trees and frozen creeks below while you hang safely in your harness!
There is so much to do at Blackcomb Mountain that this list could continue on and on, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that there is something for everyone in this glorious part of the world. Crisp snow covered mountain sides will call you to ski down the alpine slopes and then you can kick back, relax and warm yourself by the fire.
Whale watching is something that I absolutely love doing, so when my family was able to book a morning cruise on one of the Tallship Whale Watching Gold Coast boats we were all really excited. My husband, son, mum and myself all arrived just before 8am and joined the queue of people waiting to book in and confirm our bookings.
Prices (as at October 2012)
Whale Cruise Only
Whales & Island
Additional Cost for Lunch
Child (4-14 Years Inclusive)
Child (Under 4 Years)
Times of Operation:
During Whale Watching Season (June to November each year)
Daily: 8.30-11.30am Half Day (Whales Only)
8.30am-4.30pm Full Day (Whales & Island)
Tall Ship Cruise Terminal
Shop 5, Mariners Cove Marina,
60 Seaworld Drive Main Beach
Queensland, 4217 Australia
Free parking available at Mariners Cove and Marina Mirage – some undercover parking available
We boarded the ship around 8.15am and then settled in and waited for departure.
Note: Morning tea is provided, as everyone is boarding. Due to safety regulations the tea, coffee and hot water are all packed up just before departure. So if you want to get a cuppa make sure you grab it as soon as you board or you may miss out. Muffins arrived just before we left the wharf and these were then distributed among the passengers.
Refreshments are available at a cost during the cruise; for instance, you can buy a bottle of water for around $3, soft-drink or a glass of wine. There are also some chips and other snacks available for purchase on board.
Ensure that you bring a hat and wear sun protection. It is a good idea if each family member can rub on some sun lotion before arriving in for your cruise so that you are set for the cruise.
On our cruise there was a bottle of sunscreen available for use at the counter where snacks and drinks are purchased. If this is available on your cruise then you can use the boat’s sun-cream, but it may not be a good idea to rely on this in case it is not available on every sailing.
Departure From The Marina
Our cruise was scheduled to depart at 8.30am, but it was 9.05am when we pulled away from the marina. On speaking with the crew during the cruise, I was told that the departure time could vary slightly depending on how many people need to come on board. We had a full ship and so it took a little longer than planned.
We had a lovely little cruise up past SeaWorld and the Spit towards the Seaway. During our passage through the seaway all passengers had to remain seated, as the waters are a little rougher then the smooth waters of the Broadwater.
Once we were through the seaway and heading out into open waters, we began looking for whales. We had our first whale sighting at 9.43am, only 38 minutes after leaving Mariner’s Cove at Main Beach. This was quite an exciting moment, watching a pod of whales surfacing and heading south, not far from our boat. We stayed in this location for around until around 10.15am and then headed north, alongside South Stradbroke Island, as too many other boats were following us to the original spot.
Once we had travelled north a few minutes we stopped and were totally blown away with the show that another whale pod put on for us. There were six whales in this pod and each of them began to jump up out of the water, with majestic head lunges and full body breaches! You should have heard the Ooh’s and Aah’s from all of the passengers on board as we enjoyed this special whale performance.
This group of whales continued to perform for us, for almost 10 minutes, before a whole lot of vessels arrived on the scene. The whales then settled down and began to continue on their journey south. Over the next 40 minutes we enjoyed watching the whales as they came up to the surface, blew air up through their blow-hole and as they plunged into the waters and we saw their tail disappear as they dove deeply. There were two children at the end as we left who said outloud, “Thank you whales.” It was so cute, but also expressed my heart too.
At around 11.10am we left the whales and headed back towards the opening in the Seaway, past the Spit and down to the marina at Mariners Cove, Main Beach. My family stayed onboard the vessel, waiting for other passengers to disembark, so that the boat could then take us on the second part of our day up to McLarens Landing on South Stradbroke Island.
During our cruise back to Main Beach we were all given the opportunity to purchase the family or group photo that was taken just prior to boarding before the cruise. We grabbed our photo as it was a happy reminder of our fun, family day out and the whales that we saw.
We truly had a wonderful time on this Whale watching Gold Coast cruise and we want to do it again next year. It is certainly something that we recommend to others, both locals and visitors to the sunny Gold Coast.
In our next blog post we will continue with our day and our journey up to McLarens Landing and then back again in the Tallship sailing boat.
Until then, Remember to Enjoy Life, Smile at a Stranger and Make a Difference in the World!
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium is located right smack bang in the centre of Surfers Paradise in Cavill Mall in Cavill Avenue. It is opposite the Surfers Centro shopping centre and just a short walk from the Surfers beach.
I couldn’t resist checking it out while holidaying in Surfers with my husband. It is something that I have wondered about over the years and have just never got around to going to see it.
So during our week holiday I went to Ripleys Believe It or Not! Odditorium to see what it was all about.
While I was there I videoed a few of the things that stood out to me and made them into a short video clip. You can see this video below.
Prices (as at October 2012)
Child (5-12 Years Inclusive)
Child (Under 5 Years)
Note: Buy your tickets online to save $2 off an adult ticket and $1 off each child ticket. (Tip: There may be additional fees though online so work out which is the cheapest way for you to buy all of your tickets!)
Times of Operation:
Daily: 9am – 11pm
Christmas Day: Open 9am – 11pm
Anzac Day: 1:30pm to 11pm
New Years Eve: 9am to 6pm
Soul Shopping Centre
Queensland, 4217 Australia
When we planned our vacation in Surfers Paradise we were looking for some things that we could do or places that we could visit that were different from anything else we had done on other holidays. So when we heard about the Infinity Attraction on the Gold Coast, that is located right in the centre of Surfers, we were quite excited!
We created a special video clip for you, which highlights some of the different worlds that you can experience for yourself inside Infinity. Watch the video and then read below to find out what a fun time Greg and I had at this exciting and unique Gold Coast attraction!
Since we had never been inside the Infinity attraction we had totally open minds as to what we would see when we entered. We were not disappointed!
Infinity is made up of over 20 different worlds. Each world has its own unique special features and aspects, making each part of this journey an experience in itself.
Every one of your senses is stimulated and fully engaged from the moment you step through the entry to the time that you exit. Music, lights, lasers, motion, mirrors and physical textures and shapes are all used in totally awesome ways that fully engage all of your different senses.
Direction of Travel Inside Infinity
It is important to keep in mind that you travel through the worlds inside the Infinity attraction in one direction only. We found that in some of the worlds it was slightly challenging to find the way out of that particular world and into the next.
At one point, Greg even started back tracking, thinking that there was no way to proceed and that we were meant to go back the way we had come.
But as long as you are aware that there is always a way to travel between the various environments then you will be fine and will not make the mistake that we did. So just use a bit of persistence and you will find the way to go to travel onto the next world!
My Favourite Worlds
I totally enjoyed the journey through Infinity, but had a couple of favourite worlds. I loved the “Electron Maze”, which is one of the first environments that you encounter in the maze-like connection of infinite worlds. I found the sounds and the different coloured lights that went on and on infinitely to be stimulating and relaxing at the same time.
One of the things that I appreciated was that each person who goes through the Infinity attraction can take their time as they go. So if there is a particular world that you especially like then there is nothing stopping you from lingering and enjoying it a little longer.
My next favourite was the kaleidoscopes. This world was absolutely amazing! The varied colours and different shapes and patterns went on infinitely in every direction. So if you looked above or below or to the left or right it didn’t matter. The beautiful kaleidoscope patterns kept moving and changing. I spent quite a while just standing and looking all around me, taking it in.
I found this world truly relaxing and soothing.
Greg and I had fun in the world with the strobe lights and large balls. We could only see each other when the strobe came on every few seconds and then the next time the light came on we were each in a different position. It made us laugh out loud as we each moved our arms and heads and then waited to see what the other one had done.
I did find a couple of the worlds with less light in them to be slightly scary, but then my kids will tell you that I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to being scared! I walked closely behind Greg in these environments and allowed him to find the way through to the next world.
I know that Infinity has some conditions of entry and recommendations that they give on their website. You can read these below.
Conditions of Entry:
There are a few important points that you need to keep in mind when planning your trip to the Infinity attraction in Surfers Paradise. These points are summarized here:
Not recommended for children with an unusual fear of darkness
Young children must be able to walk through without assistance
Prams and children in backpacks cannot be admitted
Children under 8 years must be supervised by an adult
High-heeled shoes are NOT permitted
I think visitors need to know their children and decide if they are likely to enjoy travelling through the worlds of wonder or if they are likely to become scared while on the journey. I have a niece who is just turning 4 years old and I know, with her personality, that she would enjoy some sections with all of the pretty lights, but would be scared by the darker worlds where she had to squeeze past objects that she could only feel, but not see.
Some younger children may be best left with a baby sitter so that they are not frightened and the rest of family can come and enjoy all of the exciting and different environments. This way too, the child is free to come when they are a little older so that they will enjoy the full experience more.
Disabled or Special Needs Access
I specifically asked about whether people in wheelchairs or with wheelie walkers are able to come and enjoy this fun attraction, as I have someone in my family who needs a wheely walker to get around. I was pleased to hear that it is possible.
I was told that if you have someone with special needs that you should phone up and make a booking for a specific time for your visit and tell them about the special needs.
A staff member will then accompany the special needs person as they travel through the different worlds of Infinity. Instead of using the stairs at the start and end of the journey a lift is used and hence the wheelchair and its occupant is able to access and enjoy most of what other visitors get to see. There are a couple of environments that wheelchairs cannot get into, but this is limited.
So keep this in mind if you are holidaying and have someone with special needs in your family or group.