Oceania

hotel review: loloma’s at white rock

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Life has been hectic the past few months . And it had been TOO long since our last getaway so we had to plan another one. After discussions about whether to travel up or down the coast, we settled on travelling inland to Bathurst (about 200 km north-west of Sydney). ROAD TRIP!

Then came the joy of finding a place to stay over the long weekend… Availability was hard to come by. And after shooting off piles of emails, we finally found somewhere that we were happy with: Loloma’s at White Rock. Relaxing, peaceful, luxurious… yep – that’s what we needed. It’s not a hotel but a bed & breakfast, our first B&B in Australia.

Opened late last year, it is a new kid on the block. There were not many reviews around when we looked online but the pictures did speak for themselves.

Out of all the places we looked at, it easily ticked the boxes of what we wanted. It looked modern, clean and had character – none of this generic decor that you get in hotels. The lovely communication from the owner also added to our decision to book Loloma’s at White Rock.

It is “outside” of town, however, only about a 5-10 minute drive from Bathurst in the quiet residential suburb of White Rock.

Reception & Check In/Out

There really is no official check-in process. The owner requested the day before if we could advise her of our estimated arrival time. And sure enough, we were promptly greeted on arrival.  It was quick and easy.

Rooms

We opted for the slightly cheaper room (to suit our budget) and so we assumed it was smaller. But it was certainly spacious enough for our liking. It felt like we were in a studio apartment. The room is climately-comfortable (if there is such a word): options to use air-conditioner, ceiling fan, bathroom heater and electric blanket. All bases are covered.  IMG_0126The bed was very comfortable with a pillow-top mattress. The bed is fitted with an electric blanket (for those colder nights) and soft, fluffy pillows which we couldn’t wait to lay our heads down. IMG_0125The kitchenette is equipped with a “coffee-pod” machine (we don’t drink coffee so have no idea what those are called), a microwave, a kettle, a toaster, a bar fridge, cutlery and plates/bowls. Anything one would need for a short stay anywhere.

The room has a little sunroom where we could sit and enjoy breakfast with views of the pool deck. IMG_0123IMG_0124The bathroom is modern and spacious with all the necessary toiletries. Having a shower here was incredible, the shower head had perfect water pressure and was huge. It was like standing under a waterfall. But the important thing is cleanliness and it was clean. IMG_0122 IMG_0129The Other Bits

Our stay also offered plenty of inclusions with no hidden costs:

  • free wifi
  • access to Netflix
  • free parking
  • breakfast hamper (meeting dietary requirements without extra) – on booking, the owner sent a little questionnaire about our breakfast habits and dietary requirements and was able to prepare the breakfast hamper to our needs. We felt utterly spoilt for choice. What you see in the photo was only half of what was offered, there was more in the fridge.

IMG_0127The Verdict

Loloma’s at White Rock is a wonderful B&B. The room is comfortable, private and luxurious. The warmth and welcoming owner made us feel so comfortable. She was so helpful and hospitable. This was our first ever B&B stay in Australia and we will be sure to try it again if all places and hosts are as friendly and kind.

We have no complaints about our stay. Maybe our only feedback is that the room needs some facial tissues. 🙂 But that’s really about all we could come up with.

So would we recommend it? Most definitely.

Disclaimer: Loloma’s at White Rock offered us a special room rate. There was no expectation for a review or an endorsement. This review and opinions expressed are entirely our own. 

 

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a budget day in the ‘gong

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Sydney is meant to be heading into autumn but certainly has not felt like it. We have been getting a steady 30 degrees Celsius every day with the lovely humidity to go with it (except maybe for today – with the welcome cool change)

When we woke up on Saturday, the day was too gorgeous to waste on anything other than a day trip somewhere. So we chose a drive south to Wollongong; an easy 85 km drive from home.

Our one-day itinerary, mixed a bit of culture and a bit of nature, was not only glorious but “budget” too 🙂  … winning!

So here is a list of the free things to do in Wollongong in a day (and on the way too).

* Lookouts

A “road trip” wouldn’t be right without viewpoint stops. It does not matter how often we do these types of trips, we always make sure we stop to take in the shoreline that maps out this side of Australia.

Stop at Sublime Point Lookout, Bald Hill Lookout or both and soak in the excellent views. Both are great vantage points, delivering 180 degree views of the coastline.IMG_0072_2

* Drive the Sea Cliff Bridge

Either on the way down, on the way back or both directions, choose to take the 665 metre Sea Cliff Bridge route. You can walk, drive or cycle across this bridge – feel the South Pacific Ocean breeze in your hair. It is always certainly a highlight for us when we head South.IMG_0071_2

* Nan Tien Temple

Include a visit to the largest temple in the Southern Hemisphere. The grounds are beautifully manicured and provides a sense of serenity. Visiting here actually made us feel like we were overseas. It took us immediately back to the temples in Japan and China.IMG_0020_2

* Beaches

Any budget day anywhere probably could easily include a visit to a beach (if they are accessible) and it is no different when you head south from Sydney.

The soft warm sand between our toes was enough for us to forget that winter was coming. Sydney was not ready to say goodbye to summer. In and around Wollongong, there are numerous beaches to go to. But remember swim at patrolled beaches and between the flags for your safety.

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* Botanical Gardens

Another great little free spot to escape the hustle bustle of urban life, with plenty of paths to weave around and explore the many different garden collections on display. Ideal to leisurely stroll through and absorb the natural surroundings. See if you can spot the various birds and butterflies.  There is a big playground area for children and also picnic areas perfect for a BBQ or a picnic.IMG_0045_2

Although it’s a pretty jam-packed day, it was enjoyable and affordable.

It is so easy for us to forget that we don’t have to travel far and wide to experience a getaway. There is so much to explore so close to home.

Have you got a favourite day trip from home? 

Share with us in the comments.

 

overnight in arthur’s pass

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We were towards the end of our New Zealand South Island driving holiday. After several stops along the way, we finally made it to Arthur’s Pass National Park from Hokitika. It was late afternoon by this time and we still had to find where we were staying  but at the same time, we didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity for at least a walk in the National Park.

So we settled on seeing the Devil’s Punchbowl Falls. After parking the car, we could hear the water before we caught a glimpse. IMG_1026After weaving through some trees, we crossed a suspension bridge before climbing gradually to the viewing platform. The views around were so spectacular. IMG_1031 IMG_1034It was an easy-moderate 1-hour return walk to the platform and we were not disappointed. IMG_1059 IMG_1056 Gosh, we love waterfalls, no matter how big or small – though the teeny trickly ones are disappointing. (We should probably add that we are yet to see the likes of Niagara, Iguazu or Victoria, so if we are blown away by any waterfalls… imagine what will happen when we see the real BIG names in waterfalls).

So after returning to the car following the bush walk, we made our way through the winding road to our accommodation for the night. We chose to stay in the heart of the National Park in a little roadside motel. And surrounding us were mountains as far as the eye could see! It was isolated, peaceful and with no wi-fi. We made good use of their foosball table 😉 IMG_1063 Open up our curtains and the view was a wee bit surreal for us…We had to go for a walk in the evening to see that it was for real.IMG_1074And it was a full moon that night.
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Have you visited Arthur’s Pass National Park? 

Drop us a comment.

hotel review: little national hotel

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Ever wondered what it would be like to sleep on clouds?

Well, if you stay at the Little National Hotel in Canberra, you might get a little taste of what it could be like! The beds have pillowtops so huge, we have never been on anything quite like it. Sleeping on it was like sleepy in the arms of a marshmallow (at times a toasted marshmallow!). And not to forget the enormous and plump pillows for our heads. The bed, linen and pillows swallowed us up, it was like fighting a marshmallow to get out in the mornings.

Opening only last September, this boutique hotel, located in easy walking distance to the museums of Canberra, is still looking very fresh and modern.

The first thing you might notice upon arriving at the hotel is how minimalistic it is and that is looks like a big parking station from the outside. But, if you look up, there are two floors of accommodation at the top.IMG_0142

Reception & Check In/Out

Then it’s a long walk down the driveway (unless you drive down) arriving at typical revolving doors before entering quite a quaint reception area.IMG_0241One long tall desk with the staff perched on bar stools behind big Apple Mac computers, it’s not often you get to see the staff and their legs when checking in.

Check-in was prompt, smooth and easy. The staff were very friendly and helpful. We were given $25 credit per day to use for food at their sister hotel (Hotel Realm) restaurants which we put towards the buffet breakfast at Buvette Bistro & Wine (more about that later).

Check-out was a wee bit more clumsy and slow. Considering that it was about 9-9.30 am, there was only one staff member on with a line about 4-5 people to check out. This is probably where there could be improvement.

Rooms

So we’ve mentioned the beds and that is very much what dominates the room.IMG_0127The rooms are small and the name of the hotel is very fitting. But that doesn’t mean that we had to go without because we stayed there.

It probably is more ideal for single or couple travellers who are there only for a few nights, it will be a bit claustrophobic for longer stays.

Working our way from the door, there is the bathroom. The bathroom is equipped with the basics; a toilet, a shower and a basin with an enormous mirror. Although, we say “basics”, it is far from basic. The mirror has a button to turn the lights on and off, the shower head and pressure could shower a family of four at the one time. Then there are the little extras as well such as; hairdryer, toiletries, towels, shower cap, tissues etc.IMG_0119 IMG_0118Next in the bedroom is a wardrobe. Then a table with two seats.

And then the feature of the room, the BED. It is a king bed placed up alongside the window, from wall to wall: that is the width of the room.

We did scratch our heads how people could comfortably climb in and out of bed to go to the bathroom when they slept closer to the window. Hmmmm……

Anyway, at the foot of the bed is a TV with access to Foxtel (i.e. pay TV) and a huge range of new and old movies.IMG_0130And of course, there is air-conditioning which worked very well and which we had control over.

One of the best things about the room were the motorised blinds. Flick a switch and there is the option of two blinds coming down. The heavier one blocked out all light and we seriously had no idea what time it was when we woke in the mornings.

Breakfast

As mentioned earlier, it is across the road from the hotel at Buvette Bistro & Wine. With the large windows encompassing the seating area, the natural lighting made this place a great place to start the day. There was a variety of hot breakfast choices and cold breakfast choices, drinks, fruits, teas, danishes, breads…. We were very content with having our breakfast here two days in a row.IMG_0147 IMG_0144

Parking

Being above a parking station, there was no shortage of parking, at least not to our knowledge. But it does come at a cost of about $12 per day. We were fortunate enough to always find parking not far away for free as long as it was for 2 hours or less between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm. Outside those times were free for as long as we needed. It was convenient and saved us at least $24. Just make sure you read the parking road signs carefully.

The Other Bits

  • Free wifi
  • There is a bright lounge area where guests are welcome to sit, relax and enjoy.
  • Guests of Little National Hotel can use the facilities of that in Hotel Realm (such as the gym).
  • Hotel reception is 24 hours.
  • Tea/Coffee making facilities
  • MiniBar
  • Fluffy robe

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The Verdict

Little National Hotel was perfect for a short stay. It was comfortable and conveniently located for us to visit a lot of the touristy places of Canberra. For a little hotel, it made a big impressions.We really enjoyed our stay and were made to feel so welcome.

It really is the little things that often count.IMG_0120

So would we come back again? Most probably.

Disclaimer: Little National Hotel offered us a special room rate. There was no expectation for a review or endorsement. This review is a Wise Monkeys Abroad initiative and opinions are entirely our own.