#Escapers15 – This is Queensland (Part 1)

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    Continuing from our Singapore leg, we flew Scoot Airlines to Gold Coast Airport on that night itself. We experienced ScootinStyle – a package of pre-flight premium privileges in Changi Airport. First we managed to save some time at the priority check-in desk at Scoot’s check-in row in Changi Airport Terminal 2. Secondly, we were granted exclusive SATS Premier Lounge at Singapore Changi Airport’s Terminal 2 where everyone enjoys a wide array of food and beverages, shower facilities, comfy massage chairs and business facilities.

    We also enjoyed some express service when we check in and be amongst the first to board the aircraft with ScootAboard!
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    As the only low-cost airline with an all-widebody aircraft fleet, Scoot’s Economy class seats out-size other low-cost carriers’ seats, and are comparable to full-service carriers!

    There are 3 classes of seats available – standard, super (30% more leg room) and stretch (50% more leg room). We were being seated at the ScootinSilence quiet zone located upfront, just behind the ScootBiz cabin! Besides the exclusivity that we enjoyed (the under 12’s will be someplace else), we also got extra legroom, as each seat is either Super or Stretch. What’s more, we were able to get off the aircraft ahead of others upon landing! Both me and Bobo had a really good night’s sleep with the Snooze Kit.

    For more information, visit www.flyscoot.com
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    Then, in a blink of eye, we touched down to Gold Coast Airport and received some really warm welcome from this little koala here. The airport is conveniently located to most Queensland destinations – approximately 100 km (62 mi) south of Brisbane and 25 km (16 mi) south of Surfers Paradise.

    For more information, visit www.goldcoastairport.com.au/
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    The Mercure Brisbane Hotel is my home away from home in Brisbane. I love my stylish and contemporary looking room with striking pops of colours here and there. All the rooms are appointed with high-speed Internet, spacious work desks and minibars too!
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    The hotel offers spectacular views of the Brisbane River and South Bank Parklands with the best of the city just moments away, including Queen Street Shopping Mall Wheel of Brisbane, South Bank Lifestyle Market, the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and the businesses and government offices of the CBD. Roma Street Train and Bus Station, City Cat Ferry Stop and the riverside bikeway are also close by.

    The bed was so comfortable that I manage to steal in some sleep before we head out for more challenges.

    Mercure Hotel Brisbane
    Address: 85–87 NORTH QUAY, Brisbane QLD 4003, Australia
    Website: http://www.mercurebrisbane.com.au
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    For the next four days, all 17 of us will eat, sleep, walk, think and dream about these #thisisqueensland badges. Our task is to complete the challenges being given to us and to collect the badges one by one. The team that ends up with the most number of badges shall win.
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    Throughout our four days trip in Queensland, Limoso Limousines provided our transfers in this super funky vehicle with karaoke, disco light and pole!
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    I was thrilled to join the city walkabout with Brisbane Greeters – a FREE public service open to everyone. Brisbane Greeters are locals who love living here so much that they are enthusiastic about introducing you to their city, and sharing their intimate knowledge. Our greeter Blair is such a passionate and energetic guy. I loved the stories and interesting facts about Brisbane.

    For more information, visit https://www.visitbrisbane.com.au/Brisbane-Greeters.
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    But first, let us take a selfie!
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    One of our challenges being visiting the Queens Street Mall, a vibrant shopping and lifestyle precinct that lies at the heart of Brisbane City and to look for a local fashion designer. We found a few, chose a favourite and get changed into some of her designs.
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    Lunch was at Jimmy’s On The Mall Restaurant that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Situated in the middle of one of Australia’s busiest pedestrian mall, Queen Street Mall, it is a good place to enjoy some good food while people watching. We had an amazing lunch with delicious food and excellent service here!
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    Jimmy’s On The Mall
    Address: Queen Street Mall, Brisbane QLD Australia, GPO Box 2866, Brisbane QLD 4001 Australia
    Tel: +61 7 3077 7126
    Website: www.jimmysonthemall.com.au
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    I was really excited to be in Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary, with over 130 koalas.
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    The sanctuary began with two koalas called Jack and Jill. Lone Pine became known internationally during the Second World War when Americans, including Douglas MacArthur’s wife, visited the park to view the native Australian animals.
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    Here, we got to uddle a koala, hand feed kangaroos and encounter a large variety of Aussie wildlife, all in beautiful, natural settings.
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    Visitors can also feed and pet the free-roaming kangaroos in the 5-acrekangaroo reserve, where more than 130 of the animals freely reside. Kangaroos are sometimes seen with a joey in their pouch.

    Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Address: 708 Jesmond Road, Fig Tree Pocket, QLD AUSTRALIA 4069
    Hours: Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is open from 9am-5pm every day, except Anzac Day (April 25) 1:30pm to 5:00pm and Christmas Day 9:00am to 4:00pm
    Admission: Adult AUD 35, Child AUD 22
    Getting Here: There are regular buses to and from Lone Pine operated by the Brisbane City Council (Bus number 430 and 445). Adult fares are $6.70 and children, pensioners and students are $3.40 (with valid I.D.).
    Website: http://www.koala.net/en/
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    We had some time to freshen up before we head out for an evening of fun with the Brisbane Explorer!
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    The Brisbane Explorer offers a 24 or 48 hour Hop On – Hop Off ticket which allows you to plan your own itinerary and visit the landmarks and attractions at your own pace. An entertaining and informative commentary is offered on all of our open-top double-decker sightseeing buses.
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    We ride through this beautiful cosmopolitan city on the winding Brisbane River.P3020382
    The view was spectacular!
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    Each tour is 90 minutes with 15 hop on- hop off stops. Tours start and finish at Stop 1 – Post Office Square Terminal and depart frequently. Visitors may hop on or hop off at any of their 15 designated stops. A 24 hour pass costs AUD 35 for adults and AUD 20 for children, while a 48 hour pass is AUD 60 for adults and AUD 30 for children. For more information, visit http://theaustralianexplorer.com.au/brisbane-explorer.html
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    We stopped at Eagle Street Pier and we will be having a really good dinner here, as we were told.
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    It is a striking venue that offers some uninterrupted river views – this is a spot for taking a date, celebrating a special occasion, or for some important events.
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    My gorgeous date, Bobostephanie.
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    The modern Australian menu centres around shared plates and food prepared on a rustic wood fire grill and open coal pit. Food was fantastic and our waiter was very friendly and helpful.
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    On of our challenges that night is blind tasting, and I won without a doubt. *flips hair*
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    Our desserts of white chocolate mousse and apple mille feuille were remarkable too!

    Pony, Upper Lever Eagle Street Pier
    18/45 Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane QLD 4000
    Phone: (07) 3181 3400
    Email: [email protected]
    Website: www.ponydining.com.au
    Hours: Lunch noon to 3pm; Dinner from 6pm; Bar from noon to late

    DAY 2
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    Rise and shine! Another day, another challenge!
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    Every morning, we will be given a new set of challenge paper and they often look like this.
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    First stop of the day is Australia Zoo, home of the crocodile hunter Steve Irwin!
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    I was really happy to get up close and personal with some of my favourite animals – koala, wombat, snake and kangaroo!
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    I’m loving our sun-kissed skin with healthy glow!
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    Australia Zoo is run a team of passionate conservationists working around-the-clock to deliver an animal experience like no other.
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    We reallly enjoy watching the Wildlife Warriors show at 12 noon. Come on a journey of discovery and learn all about the incredible world of giant snakes, colourful, soaring birds and those prehistoric legends, the big Saltwater Crocodiles!
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    Australia Zoo
    Address: 1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah, QLD 4519, AUSTRALIA
    Tel: 07 5436 2000
    Hours: Open Daily 9.00am to 5.00pm, Closed Christmas Day
    Website: http://www.australiazoo.com.au/
    Admission: Adult AUD 59, Children AUD 35
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    Welcome to the Noosa region, a popular holiday destination in Queensland. Noosa is well known for its beautiful beaches, lush green hinterland, stunning coastal national park, pristine river, cosmopolitan lifestyle and lively calendar of events!

    Visit http://www.visitnoosa.com.au for more information.
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    Noosa is a world-famous surfing destination, known for its expansive beaches and colorful bays. Here we are at Noosa Main Beach, that is famous for its gentle waves and is patrolled by surf lifesavers! This is also the best place to take a surf lesson if you’re a beginner, as you don’t have to contend with big surf.
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    We need to complete a challenge here – doing the beach run ala Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club.
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    We got changed into our life guard uniform prior to the race. Ada gaya, ada mutu kan? It was definitely not easy to lay flat on your stomach, and run as fast as possible to reach the baton once we hear the beep sound.
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    It is time to cool down with a glass of ice cold flat white after the run!
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    At the heart of Noosa Heads is Hastings Street, a relaxed, pedestrian-friendly street with souvenir shops, cafes, good restaurants and cozy accommodations.
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    Next, we hopped aboard for a thrilling ocean jetboat ride with Noosa’s most experienced ocean water sports company, established since 1978. Throughout the one hour thrill ride, we experienced many sharp turns, wave jumping and even saw a school of dolphins who wanted to play with us!

    For more information, visit http://www.noosathriller.com
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    Our accommodation for the second night is Novotel Twin Waters Resort, a premium 4-star holiday resort nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Maroochy River.
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    Set amongst 36 hectares of natural bushland and situated around a private beach-lined lagoon, the resort is huge so shuttle service is available.
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    I love my huge and spacious Resort Room! How I wish that KampungBoy is here to enjoy the beautiful room with me!
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    I even spotted some wild kangaroos from outside my balcony!!
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    Apart from a romantic getaway, Novotel Twin Water Resorts is also a lovely family-style resort as they offer a wide array of activities suitable for both adults and kids. I love chilling out at the shores of this large lagoon where there are kayak, catamaran and a giant inflatable floating “playground”.
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    The resort also offers an extensive range of activities including complimentary water sports, an outdoor heated swimming pool and spa and a gym.
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    Tipiluxe and Novotel Twin Waters set up this beautiful cabana with fairy lights for our welcome dinner. I wish we have something like this in Malaysia then I would have done it for our garden wedding.
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    With Coco and Bobo!
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    That night, we were mesmerized by the performance brought to us by two local aboriginals. They were bringing together all aspects of their culture – song, dance, body decoration, sculpture and painting.
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    Just take a look at the wide array of fresh seafood, eaten raw or grilled. It was a very satisfying dinner.
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    Miss China, Miss Korea, Miss Malaysia and Mr Japan. This is also the night where we built a very strong bond, via drinking games.
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    Like this, together with Mr Thailand, Mr China, Miss Australia, Mr Singapore and etc. Ladies and gentlemen, let me present to you the APEC meeting.

    Novotel Twin Water Resorts
    Add: Ocean Drive, Twin Waters Sunshine Coast, QLD 4564. Australia
    Tel: +61 7 5448 8000
    Website: http://www.novoteltwinwatersresort.com.au

    For more information on the naturally refreshing Sunshine Coast, visit http://www.visitsunshinecoast.com.au.

    Part II coming soon. Meanwhile look out for #escapers15 in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

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