Sent by Gary Busby
Guildford 9/9/2021 4:24:00 PM
Based in Surrey
Hi! My name is Claire and I want to introduce myself as your personal Travel Counsellor. I will explain a bit about why I love to travel and what booking a holiday through me could do for you.
I know the importance of customer service and I pride myself on client relationships and attention to detail. My real passion for travel began 13 years ago when my husband and I got married on the beautiful island of Antigua. Never having been to that Caribbean Island before we were not 100% sure as to what to expect but it certainly did not disappoint and proved to be memorable for both us and all our guests. Definitely, one to add to your list if you have not yet been!
Since then, our travels have taken us from West to East around the world. A road trip in a Winnebago from San Francisco to Las Vegas. Cruising around the Caribbean on a catamaran. A luxury train trip and safari in South Africa. Snorkeling and swimming with Manta rays in The Maldives and finally exploring all the wonders Australia has to offer. My husband and I live by the mantra …Never go on holiday without having another holiday booked before you get back! (So, we don’t).
I believe that every holiday should hold a special memory, which is why I cannot wait to help you tailor-make your perfect holiday from the minute you enquire with me to the moment you return home. In addition to helping you make some new memories, you also have the reassurance of a high level of service, expert advice, and my own personal experience.
Whether it is a UK Mini-break, Mediterranean Escape, or a far-flung adventure I would be happy to organise your trip and make the journey smooth from start to finish.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step……
A beautiful Island and one I recommend. Ask me about Caribbean Travel today
I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.
18 October 2021
First stop Singapore December 2019 the start of our 5-week adventure in Australia with our best friends. Little did we know when we were to return in January 2020 it would be the start of a pandemic! But we are grateful we got our amazing adventure in and what an adventure it was! Our trip was to take us via Singapore for a 3-day stopover, highly recommended if you want to break up the travelling and see a truly wonderful city. Singapore has so much to offer and very easy to get around by foot or taxi. It is expensive in terms of drinking as alcohol is considered a luxury item and eating out can also be expensive but if you look around you can find places that offer more local food and therefore more affordable. We stayed at the Holiday Inn at Clarke Quay, great location, great facilities and features a rooftop pool. A fantastic breakfast buffet, including spicey noodles if that’s your thing at 8am! No trip to Singapore is complete without a visit to the iconic Raffles Hotel and a Singapore sling in the Long Bar whilst cracking Monkey Nuts! Depending on where you stay you can walk there or for the more adventurous take a tuk tuk. I also highly recommend a visit to the Gardens by the Bay. A truly magical light and music show. It made me quite emotional but something you need to see for yourself to know what I mean. Onto Melbourne Melbourne was really the reason for our trip initially. We have family there, so we were going to be spending Christmas with them, 9 days in total. A great time to visit Oz as it is there summer, but Melbourne really can have 4 seasons in one day! We stayed in an Airbnb in St. Kilda. It was a lovely rooftop apartment which had its own hot tub and was welcome on the cooler evenings. St. Kilda has so much to offer as a busy and vibrant little seaside suburb. There is a constant stream of people, easy to get to and from the city and the beach on your doorstop. There is an abundance of restaurants and bars not just in the centre but lined along the foreshore. After having a lovely family Christmas and the news of my husband and I becoming grandparents on the hottest day Melbourne had experienced in many years,45 degrees!! We were to start our journey by car towards Sydney which is where we would spend New Year. Lakes Entrance After half a day’s travelling, it takes about 4 hours from St. Kilda we arrived in Lakes Entrance. This was just a night stop over so found a very comfortable motel to stay in for the night. Australia is great for accommodation; you won’t struggle to find a motel or hotel and all more than adequate for a night to get your head down. Lakes Entrance is a seaside and fishing port and known for its Gippsland Lakes, a vast system of inland waterways. Early evening before dinner, we walked the pedestrian bridge to Ninety Mile Beach which stretches all the way along the town’s Tasman Sea shoreline. There isn’t an abundance of places to eat in Lake’s entrance but for a stopover you will certainly find something. Jervis Bay Our next stop over was Jervis Bay, this is a good day driving around 6.5 hours from Lakes Entrance. We stayed in Huskisson which is a beautiful little town and worth a visit. Again, this was only an overnight stay, but we had time to wander around the bay, and go for a walk along Hyams beach before dinner. There are lots of bars and restaurants in Jervis Bay and I think we ended up in a good old Australian pizzeria! Sydney 29th of December, we were heading off to Sydney. This was one of our shorter journeys only about an hour and a half. Sydney really is one of my favourite cities in the world. There doesn’t seem to be anything it doesn’t offer. We stayed in Zara Tower Luxury Suits and apartments. We decided on self-catering as Sydney has so much choice for eating out. Located in the CBD so we could walk or use the train to go everywhere. Still now after having seen Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House a few times I always get a knot in my stomach when I see them again. They give me that true sense of being in Oz. Circular Quay is a great base for exploring Sydney Harbour. Ferries depart from Circular Quay throughout the day to different parts of the harbour, connecting the city with Sydney's waterside suburbs. We have still haven’t managed the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb – I think you must have a head for heights if that’s what you want to do as it takes you 440 feet above sea level. If you'd prefer to keep your feet on the ground, it’s free for visitors to cross the bridge along the pedestrian walkway. But the real reason we were in Sydney was for NYE!! I’ve been lucky enough to see two new years in Sydney and both times we have treated ourselves to being on a boat in the harbour. This is something you can book back in the UK before you travel, and I would recommend you do so as they get booked up. We booked 9 months prior to travel. There are lots of companies that operate the cruises, so it really depends on what you want in terms of size, facilities, embarkation point and where on the harbour you see the fireworks from. But I can promise you it is an incredible experience and one you will remember for a long time. Byron Bay Our next stop was Byron Bay for three days. To drive to Byron Bay from Sydney would be a good 8-hour journey so worth breaking it up with a break in Port Macquarie or slightly further on Coffs Harbour. Byron Bay is a must see. Especially if you love the beach life. We stayed at the Byron Bay beachfront Apartments. A self-catering apartment with great facilities including a communal BBQ on the green overlooking the sea. We had been to Byron Bay before so knew there was plenty of places to eat out but did make use the BBQ one night which was great whilst watching the hustle and bustle around the bay and surfers just chilling on the beach as the sun went down. Byron Bay just has a relaxed vibe about it. A quirky town but plenty of amenities, bars, and restaurants. On the Sunday before we left, there was a local market that stretched along the length of the beach. It had everything from handmade crafts to local cuisine and even some entertainment. It really is a place that lives up to what everyone imagines Australia being, beaches, surfers, campervans, and friendly people.
18 October 2021
Brisbane From Byron Bay to Brisbane is about a two-hour drive so relatively short to many on our trip. Brisbane was where we were to say goodbye to our car that had taken us on this epic journey so far. We stayed at the Oaks Hotel & Resorts which is essentially self-catering apartments with a concierge service. Very well equipped and large spacious apartment with fantastic views across the Brisbane River. Brisbane much like Sydney has so much to offer and everything is spread out along the river so easy to access the many bars and restaurants on offer. I highly recommend Felon’s which is an open brewery sat right on the riverbank, you can watch the beer being brewed whist sampling a pint yourself. Moo Moo wine bar and grill is a restaurant I can highly recommend. Especially if you like meat. We had fresh oysters to start which were out of this world, followed by what I think is the best steak I have ever had. I do recommend booking but get there ahead of time so you can sit and enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail in their swanky bar. We took the trip over to the Lone Pine Koala sanctuary with Brisbane River Cruise. This half-day tour departs from bustling Southbank and cruises along the Brisbane River with views of iconic landmarks on the way to Lone Pine. Tickets are around £40 per adult but worth it and a fantastic day out. The Whitsundays/Hamilton Island The Whitsundays is always somewhere I have wanted to visit so was very excited that we were going to be spending 5 days there. Hamilton Island is one of the bigger Islands in the Whitsundays but there is plenty to do. On arrival you get allocated with your own golf buggy so you can explore the island. The was a novelty especially for the husbands! Our accommodation was just stunning, with fantastic wrap around balconies across two floors. The apartments are self-catering but there is a supermarket on the island so everything you need for your stay. There are also various restaurants and bars, we ate in Romano’s Italian one night which I can highly recommend for waterside dinning. No trip to The Whitsundays is complete without snorkelling The Great Barrier Reef. This can all be organised through the water sports facility on site. We did The Explore snorkel trip. A full day out to the outer reefs where it is quieter. They take you to two different reefs and you get to snorkel across them at your own pace but always with a professional alongside so great for the younger ones or anyone slightly nervous. Seeing the many fish and beautiful colours of the coral really is a must and a trip you won’t be disappointed with. We also did a trip to Whitehaven Beach which really does have the softest white silica sand I have ever seen. You are provided with stinger suits if you wish to go in the water as at that time of year there are tiny box jellyfish present in the water. Stinger season runs across the warmer months so October – May. You need to put any self-consciousness aside when wearing a stinger suit and it caused much hilarity, the four of us ended up looking like overgrown Smurfs!! Hamilton Island really does have something for everyone, there are plenty of trips to do or you can choose to laze on the beach or around the pool with a swim up bar. On our last night we went out on the Hamilton Star Sunset Cruise. A fabulous way to see the sun setting. A very relaxing trip with drinks and food supplied and the perfect way to end what had been a perfect 5 days. Bangkok Our five-week trip was to end in Bangkok for 3 days. We flew back to Brisbane from Hamilton Island for a one night stop over then onto Bangkok. Bangkok has very vibrant street life and many colourful temples and shrines. We stayed at the Millennium Hilton which was right on the boat filled Chao Phraya River and a good location to explore everything the city has to offer. We took a water taxi along the river and got off to explore The Grand Palace. Beautiful architecture and worth a visit. It does get extremely busy so best to try and go first thing or towards the end of the day. China town is worth a visit. Bangkok's Chinatown is a colourful, exotic, and pleasingly chaotic area, packed with market stalls and probably the highest concentration of gold shops in the city. There is so much to see in Bangkok from the floating markets to watching a Thai Boxing match! As we only had three days, we couldn’t fit everything in so to really explore what it has to offer I would recommend a 4- 5 day stop over if the time allows. The one thing that Bangkok is known for is its fantastic food and at very reasonable prices. There are street food stalls on every corner and the local cuisine really is worth a try. Our last evening, we found a little restaurant just tucked back off the river by our hotel it wasn’t much to look at, but the food was exceptional. We tried several of the local dishes and drank Singha Beer all for no more that £30 for 4 of us!! I’ve recently qualified as an Aussie Specialist so if a road trip around Oz is something on your list, or you just want to know about the things to do, places to visit in any of the cities just let me know and I will be happy to help or indeed plan your next adventure, wherever that may be. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step……
12 August 2021
There are many places I have been fortunate enough to travel to in the world and experience some incredible things. South Africa is one of the places that has a real lasting memory for my husband and me. March 2016, we flew into Johannesburg from London Heathrow. We had booked BA World traveller seats as the budget couldn’t quite stretch too premium or above, so what a lovely surprise when boarding the plane and we got to turn left instead of right! My husbands’ brother was a BA pilot, so he managed to put in a request if there was availability for an upgrade. It really did start the trip off in an extra special way. I will let you into a small secret, I might be a Travel Counsellor and love travelling, but I do have a fear of flying!! The difference in the extra comfort and space, not to mention the free champagne, suddenly flying didn’t seem too bad after all. After a 12-hour overnight flight and no time difference we both woke up feeling refreshed and ready to see what South Africa had to offer. Landing in Johannesburg the weather wasn’t quite what we had expected especially when the average temperature for that time of year is around 27, it was lashing with rain and quite chilly! However, it was just day one and certainly many brighter days to come. We set off to our first stop which was Sun City. A luxury resort and casino situated about 140km northwest of Jo' burg and bordering the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Arriving at the incredible entrance to the resort was magical, it really is a World within a City. The resort offers four hotels on site each with its own individual style, we had treated ourselves to stay at The Palace. You must see it to really appreciate the grand proportions, tumbling waterfalls and views over The Lost City Golf Course. There really is so much to see and do at Sun City but this was our first stop of many, so our stay here was just 3 nights. During this short stay we certainly made the most of what was on offer, from the waterpark to a safari and my husband even managed a game of golf on one of their world class courses. Leaving Sun City our next stop was an overnight stay in Pretoria before an early start the following day boarding the World renown Blue Train. An incredible experience I would recommend anyone to do and a truly awesome way to see the different landscapes and culture the country has to offer. We were going from Pretoria to Cape Town, but it is also possible to do the journey in reverse. From the moment you board the train via a red carpet, to the Butler service, words don’t really do the experience justice – definitely one to try for yourself. After the extremely comfortable overnight journey with a stopover in Kimberley at the diamond Mine Museum, we arrived in Cape Town. We were hiring a car to continue our journey, a very easy thing to do and best way if you want to see things at your own leisure. We drove about an hour onto Stellenbosch and stayed at the beautiful boutique OudeWerf Hotel. The town is very quaint lined with cafes, boutiques, and art galleries. Stellenbosch offers so much as it is surrounded by vineyards and mountainous nature reserves so a great stop over and place to explore. From Stellenbosch we drove onto Oudtshoorn about a 4-hour drive but certainly very scenic. Oudtshoorn is known for its ostrich farms so expect to see many along the way! We were staying at the Riverside Guest Lodge which is privately run and very homely. From here we had organised trips to see the Meerkats, if you don’t mind getting up early, the best time to see them is sunrise, and have your cameras at the ready. Also, the Cango Caves, the biggest show cave system in Africa. There are two tour options available, the heritage tour lasts about an hour and the adventure tour about 90 minutes. We opted for the adventure tour, it really is an adventure, and my only advice would be don’t opt for this option if you are claustrophobic or have back problems!! https://www.oudtshoorn.com/project/cango-caves/ After our couple of days in Oudtshoorn it was then onto a private game reserve, this was one part of the trip I was most looking forward to, getting the chance to see the big 5. We decided on Botlierskop which is about an hour’s drive south from Oudtshoorn towards Mossel Bay. I was speechless on arrival through the very grand entrance, you could see views for miles. They have 4,200 hectares of reserve so plenty of things on offer from safari game drives, horseback safaris and spa therapies. There are different options for accommodation from lodges to villas. We decided on the tented lodge which I can only describe in today’s terms as “Glamping”. Shaded by a canopy of ancient African trees the tented lodges are colonial only in style. Every modern convenience and thoughtful touch made you feel welcome and pampered. During our stay here we did two half day safaris, Elephants, Rhinos, Giraffes, Buffalo, Zebra and of course an amazing pair of lions, all from a very close 4-wheel drive Jeep!!
12 August 2021
One of the highlights of our trip to South Africa and why part 2 is titled Walking with Lions is because we did exactly that! At Botlierskop you can arrange a once in a lifetime experience to walk with the lions. We were both a bit apprehensive naturally but thought it would be an experience we wouldn’t forget, and it isn’t. The walk takes approximately one hour, no leashes, no collars just a natural African Lion Adventure. Words don’t give the experience justice. If you have the chance and want a lasting memory, make sure this is something you put on your bucket list. https://www.sudafricasafaris.com/index.php/safaris-experiences/walk-with-lions/walking-with-lions Finally, after the excitement of what Botlierskop had to offer it was off on the final leg of our trip, onto Cape Town. The drive is about 4 and half hours but again very scenic and this time a bit more of a costal route. Cape Town really is a place I would recommend anyone to experience. It is such a vibrant place, and you get that from the moment you arrive. There is an abundance of places to stay but we opted for the Victoria and Alfred Hotel right on the waterfront. Again, a hotel that didn’t disappoint, located just 7 minutes’ walk away from the shopping mall and close to Table Mountain, in fact you could see it clearly from our hotel. A trip up to Table Mountain is a must, whether you choose to walk or catch one of the aerial cableways to the top where there are the most amazing panoramic views. We also made the most of the city tour buses which is a great way to get around and see things you probably wouldn’t on foot such as the Malay Quarter the oldest residential area in Cape Town. Many an hour we just sat on the waterfront itself drinking the local beer Jack Black or a chilled glass of wine, if people watching is your thing the V&A waterfront will not disappoint. There are restaurants and bars galore! If a beach club is more your thing, then just a short walk from the waterfront, we came across Shimmy Beach. If you want to just go for a meal in the ocean facing restaurant, laze on their private beach or take a swim in their glass infinity pool, it is a day to just chill! On our last evening of our South African adventure, we treated ourselves to a sunset cruise leaving from the front just outside our hotel. Taking you out onto the sea, glass of champagne in hand you can look back at the Cape and watch the sunset. It’s a great way to see the wonders Cape Town has to offer from Table Mountain, The Waterfront and Cape Town stadium. The memories just kept on coming as we were lucky enough to see humpback whales which is unusual for that time of year. A truly magical experience seeing something so large yet so peaceful swim along the side of the boat. It was almost like they were saying thank you for visiting this wonderful country, goodbye.
Guildford 9/9/2021 4:24:00 PM