Constantia Wine Route, Cape Town

Dating back to 1685, Constantia is home to the oldest producing vineyard in South Africa. Often overshadowed by the neighbouring regions of Stellenbosh and Franschhoek, Constantia is actually also the closest region to Cape Town; Only 15km (20 mins) from the city centre, Nestled below in the green of Table Mountain.

Perfect for those looking to sample the local wine without having to sacrifice time travelling, there are 9 estates to discover each with their own samples and specialities. I wanted to give you the low down on my favourite properties in the region and more about the cellar tours and wine tasting on offer so you can plan your day out in Constantia.

 

 

 

Klein Constantia

Dating back to the original Constantia formed in 1685, The property was established by the first governor of the cape, Simon Van Der Stel. Although rumoured to have been chosen for its beautiful location in the valley of the Table Mountain National Park it also benefits from the soils from the slopes and the ocean breeze brought in from the Atlantic Ocean.

Know your in good taste when Klein favoured by many a royal and celebrity including authors and poets from the 18th & 19th century, Jane Austin and Charles Dickens.

Good value wine tasting is on offer at Klein with prices from 50 Rand per person which includes a try of all estate wines.

*No need to pre book here, Just arrive on the day and join onto a tasting tour. Although please check online for opening hours before planning your visit.

 

Constantia Glen

Relativity new to the game, Constantia Glen only planting it’s first grapes in 1999, and producing their first Sauvignon Blanc in 2005, still are an award winning producer in the area. Ranked as a boutique wine estate I would suggest visiting the Glen over lunch time and ordering a cheese platter to accompany your wine tasting, Trust me when I say it is one of the nicest I’ve enjoyed. Wine tastings can be pre booked online starting from 55 Rand per person and you can have a choice of 3 different seating areas all with their own setting and views.

Book your packages online here.

 

Groot Constantia

Officially the oldest wine producer in the region, Groot offer something different with their cape dutch architecture and desert wines. Located right on the City Sightseeing bus route this stop off within the Constantia means you wont need to worry about who is driving and arranging a taxi, the bus will take you from the city to the estate.

‘Groot’ in dutch translates to Great, Meaning then basically named themselves ‘Great Wine.’ Arrive with high expectations and you will not be disappointed, With cellar tours (60 Rand each) and wine tastings (45 Rand each, or combine them both for 70 Rand each) you can also expect an expert to talk you through the selection of wines and to tell you a little more history of the estate and owners.

*No pre-booking needed at Groot for the wine tasting or cellar tours, However the tours only run on the hour from 10:00 and the last tour departing at 16:00.

 

Eagles Nest

Located high in the slopes of Constantia, Eagles nest is another relativity newcomer to the game. This family owned boutique vineyard has a huge following thanks to its reasonably priced picnic baskets you are able to enjoy in the grounds of the property (£25 for 2 people, plus the purchase cost of a bottle of wine) Sat so high up in the route it gives a beautiful lookout over the valley and vineyards.

Wine tastings start from 50 Rand per person, and should you like to have a wine tasting before purchasing your bottle to accompany your picnic you will need to pre book before your arrival.

Book your visit online here.

 

* At the time of posting 50 South African Rand = £2.50 or $3.50 Us Dollars *

 

 

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The What’s What Of Gili Trawangan

Located only a few hours by fast boat from Bali this Indonesian isle is famous for its nightly parties and stunning beaches, Often referred to as the party island or simply Gili T.

Having recently returned from Bali and spending some time on the popular Indian ocean island of Gili Trawangan I wanted to share my top tips of how to spend your time while travelling.

 

Turtle Conservation

A humble offering of insight to the life of the local turtles surrounding the islands, This little spot plays a huge part to the local wildlife numbers. Nesting does not happen on the Gili islands, the guys who run the site actually rescue the eggs from the island of Lombok where it is considered a local delicacy. They allow the turtles to hatch as naturally as possible given the circumstances and allow them a safe home while they grow (to 10 months) before releasing them in to the wild. Often the public are invited to such an occasion, normally happening in September of each year and for a small fee can release them. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the conservation programme and the allowance of the public to be involved, however speaking to a few of the workers changed that by advising how little they would be able to raise if this was not an occurrence. Please give generously when visiting and take the time to read the information board they have provided to explain the necessity of the programme.

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Lookout View Point

Located in the southern part of the island this view point will take you to the highest point of the island, and give you an incredible view of the sunsets you will grow to expect while staying on the islands. A steep but short walk will take you to the top of the hill and opens into a clear grass area where you can enjoy a sun-downer or two before the sun settles behind the sea. Be sure to leave quickly afterwards as it will become dark very quickly.

There are two paths you can take to get to the top of the island. I recommend coming from the south path which is more of a scramble up and is located next to the stud horse farm and then come back down the path near happy house as this has more steps (although if it was like anything when we travelled some of the steps are inaccessible so you will need to detour from the path a couple of times.

 

Sunset At The Exile

If like me you don’t always want to have to work for the rewards I highly recommend getting yourself to The Exile. Located on the southern tip of the island this little beach bar was my favourite place we stopped. After cycling past and see the fun bean bags and colourful umbrellas I was sold. Approaching the beach I saw they had a sea swing and my day was complete! With a great Indonesian menu and cheap drinks I was happy in my pink bean bag and spent the whole day watching the world go by and waiting for the sunset.

After a day at the bar, with lunch, soft drinks, Bintangs and sunset snacks our bar bill was only 270,000 (£15 between the two of us)

Hiring Bikes

Cycling around the island is the best way to get around, and is the best way to avoid the horse and carriages on the island. Hiring a bike can start at 25,000 (£3) for 1 hour but you are able to barter your way down on a full day cost. We paid 100,000 (£6) for us both for about 30 hours of hire. We didn’t feel the need to barter further than that and were happy with the price we paid. Please remember they do need to make some form of a living!

Cycling around the island is super easy, pick whether you would like to start north or south… then go! There is one main road that takes you around the whole island and in an hour/ hour and a half you’ll be back to where you started. Don’t the scared about travelling down the side streets all roads will take you to the beach and you’ll be able to catch your bearings.

The best beaches for snorkelling are located in the north of the island avoiding the boat paths, And the more popular beaches along the west coast of the island are best for sunbathing and something a little more peaceful.

 

Spa Treatments 

Where else in the world would you expect to have high serviced beauty saloons and rock bottom prices than in south east asia, and Bali/Gili will not disappoint. You have your pick of the salons along the east side of the islands all offering similar prices and services you really are spoilt for choice. I treated myself one rainy afternoon to a pedicure, manicure and full body massage for only 250,000 (£15)

 

Sama Sama Bar

One of my favourites along the east coast, Sama Sama have a nightly reggae band for your easy listening. Perfection to me is nothing more than a cool beer and a beat to sway to. I loved the atmosphere in this bar and my favourite for a couple of evening drinks.

 

Movies On The Beach

You have a few choices for the evening movie entertainment schedule with Villa Ombak (located on the east coast) Jessica’s Homestay (located on the east coast) Think open air cinema screens with bean bags, fresh popcorn and free of charge wave sound effects. Each of the hotels advertise the offerings of the day and normally have 2 nightly showings.

 

Gili T Night Markets

Just opposite the harbour are the nightly night markets of Gili T. A foodies delight, these markets are set up daily from 7 until 10 pm and where you will find the cheapest food on the island. With fresh Indonesian dishes to choose from be sure to grab yourself a seat at the communal dinning benches and soak up the atmosphere.

 

Shisha 

Treat yourself to a real Boho evening of Sisha at a few bars along the east coast strip. Aptly named horizontal is bean bags and low tables ideal for those looking for a couple of drinks and some fun flavoured shisha. Another popular bar is Pesona further south along the east coast.

Cadburys World, Birmingham, England

I have fond childhood memories of visiting Cadbury World on school trips and family day trips alike… My clearest memory was just how much free chocolate you received! I have to admit I was a little disappointed to see this is no longer the case!

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After spotting a tweet from @Cadburysworld for an afternoon tea and entry deal I had to take them up on the offer. For £19.95 per person you were given entry to the factory tour and an afternoon tea with a selection of sandwiches and cakes with tea and scones.

Read more about the offer here on their website

Rallying up a couple of friends to join me wasn’t difficult, especially after I showed them the sample menu online.

Part of the conditions on the offer is your tour must start after 12:30 and you must complete both the tour and start your afternoon tea before 3pm. It wasnt a problem for us as it meant we could have a slow start to the day and have time to pop into the Bullring for a spot of shopping.

Raring to go I had my carrier bag at the ready once we got into the queue for entry on the tour and was super excited when I counted three bars being added to the goodie bag and started drooling at those still to come.

If I’m completely honest, nothing has changed in the factory since my visits 20 odd years ago. Wandering about brought back great memories of visiting all those years ago and wanting to play on all of the interactive games set up to entertain you along your walk through.

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Telling the story of how the Cadbury family set up their business and built the town of Bournville really is interesting, however knowing know that cadburys has been taken over by Kraft Foods I found this to be a little sad knowing this no longer is the case and the Cadburys family no longer have any ties to the business. What was once a great British product has now been replaced by something that could never compare to the original standards.

Alas we completed the tour within an hour of entering and was disappointed to discover one of my favourite parts of the tour; watching the chocolatiers go about their day and watching the big robot arms moving the finally wrapped produce has now been removed. Rather than being able to watch the magic happen you now are separated by a non appealing metal wall where they have a few facts about Cadburys dotted about for you to read.

I was however glad to discover they hadn’t got rid of my favourite treat of the tour, a pot of melted chocolate! 😉

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Being able to rush through the tour due to the lack of it meant we were out in plenty of time to have our afternoon tea, which if I’m honest we’d been drooling over since reading the menu!

We were pleased to see they could cater for vegetarians with no fish (Only when pre booking and advising online) sitting down in an area dedicated to those booked with afternoon tea we were eagerly awaiting our lunch. Two large stands were delivered to the table and we were overwhelmed with how much there was. With 4 different sandwich fillings, scones jam and cream, and a choice of cakes and sweet treats they certainly offer you your monies worth!

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My Top Dinning Spots in Reykjavik 

Svarta Kaffi 

After a wander down the main shopping street we settled on here after craving a winter comfort dish! This restaurant only serves soup in a bread bowl, which is amazing and very picture worthy! They offer 2 different choices of soup a day, one being a meat and the other a vegetable soup. Both on the day I dinned were so tasty and had plenty of flavour, without being overwhelming. One con I have to mention is the restaurant is tiny and can involve a wait for a table. After a few issues with the queue and people being seated before us we finally were able to get a table, My advise is to avoid main dining times or to ensure you make your place in the queue prominent.

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The Nepalese Kitchen

We chose this restaurant for your last nights meal to spoil ourselves. Not that the menu was expensive, personally I always find Asian dishes are more expensive. The choices are unlike any curry house you may have visited before and focus on the Nepalese flavours and spices which are very different to that of an Indian curry. The service was fantastic and we even had a free history lesson from the owner who was keen to tell us about the dishes we had ordered. Honestly though the best service I have ever received from a restaurant as this gentleman watches the predictions of the northern lights and checks for them to inform his customers of. Thanks to him we spent our last night watching this fantastic light show for free from our hotel balcony.

 

Roadhouse

As this was only around the corner from our hotel we decided to have a walk over to have milkshakes and read through all of the travel guides and leaflets we picked up at the airport. We had a brownie and chocoholic which were both great.

There was a good food menu, as you may have picked up from the milkshakes is an American themed diner. The place is a little shabby but if the burgers are half as good as the shakes you’ll be happy.

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Reykjavik Fries

Playing restaurant monopoly we chose here for our starters one night. The menu is as basic as it sounds and all they serve is Fries. The difference is the sauces you can chose with them. With choices of about 8 they will cook your Fries fresh to order which means in the cold winter meant your chips were a hit relief from the cold! I tried the sweet mustard and the chive which were both great. Shame we didn’t get to go back more than once, would love to of tried all of them! Plus they certainly are cheap, with a small fires and a soft drink for only 990 ISK.

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Reykjavik Fish & Chips

Located down in the old harbour, This great little fish and chip shop wasn’t so easy to find straight away. After speaking to the locals they recommended this over the Icelandic Fish & Chips shop so we decided to check it out for ourselves! They are a self seating restaurant with a massive dining area, you order at the till and help yourself to cutlery and water and find a seat. The fish is some of the softest I’ve tried, We ordered the ‘standard’ fish and chips which is batter rather than the bread-crumbed option. Head here before a trip out on the waters, Certainly will warm you up!

 

Elds Midjan

Located on the main shopping street on a corner location this amazing pizza place offer something for everyone! They offer some really great toppings to make their restaurant a little different, as you will soon see on your arrival into Iceland there are plenty of Italian places to chose from. We chose this one after checking out their menu and the cutesy casual dinning on offer. They offer 3 sizes of pizza depending on how hungry you are, we had mediums and is more than enough for one person, but they do offer take-out so you have a box to take your leftovers home in! When dining in the restaurant they do serve beers and free refillable soft drinks. Cheap prices for a tasty pizza!

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Melbourne Dining On A Budget

Melbourne was my first stop on my working holiday visa in Australia, I was new to the country and never really had to budget while on holiday before so was I in for the shock of a life time when I saw dinner prices!

I was lucky enough to make friends with some locals who could point me in the cheaper direction for my meals out and drink offers, which I shall now pass on…

Om Vegetarian

All you can eat Indian curries for $6.50 everyday

Maybe not the fanciest of interiors, but OM in my opinion offer the cheapest and tastiest curries in town. Once you’ve paid you get a meal with naan bread, rice and two curries which can be topped up as many times as you like! They provide jugs of water on the table ready and can purchase soft drinks.

They have two locations in the CBD…

Level 1, 28 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
Shop 4, 227 Collins Street, Melbourne

Asian Beer Cafe

$4 Pizzas everyday from 11am to 3pm and again 7pm to 10pm

I loved ABC! It’s a quirky bar/club in the Melbourne Central shopping mall.
The atmosphere here was so great, it’s what brought me back time and time again! Every evening the $4 pizzas clash with the drink offers so you can save on the drinks too, including free *$1 champers* for the ladies on Thursday nights! All the interior pieces are worn Asian style and even features the iron wood from an old cargo ship that was sunk by pirates off the coast of Indonesia. The music was also pretty awesome for a great night out!

 *Free Champers only until stocks run out between 5-7pm then $1 from 7pm until stocks run out

Level 3 Melbourne Central, 211 La Trobe Street, Melbourne CBD

Bimbo Deluxe

$4 Pizzas

With $4 specials all days of the week this popular street bar in Fitzroy is a favourite with the locals and backpackers alike! With a rooftop bar to enjoy the summer nights the food goes down a treat with a new desert pizza added to the $4 specials and with a choice from 20 pizzas they’ll always be an excuse for another visit!

376 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 3065

Trippy Taco

$15 and under Mexican Street food

A funky restaurant in Fitzroy, serving vegetarian food with a twist. With live music on selected evenings it can get very busy here so be prepared to wait for a table although food comes out pretty quickly!

234 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Snag Stand

Gourmet Hotdogs from $8.90

Bringing back the Hot Dogs, these bad boys are served gourmet style. Fancy some garlic mash with that, or how about sun dried tomatoes!? A cheap snack for those with places to be and needing to eat in a rush.

Corner of La Trobe and Swanston Street, outside of Melbourne Central Mall. Melbourne CBD