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Undercover American

Undercover American

Australie

Originally from The United States but now I live in Australia. Recently visited Vietnam and just finished a trip to the US as a TOURIST. Next trip: back to the US! Latest trip was Hawaii Check out my blogs here: travelblog.viator dot com and search for Melinda

Aug142012

Tour/Activity

Sydney BridgeClimb

Sydney, Australia

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
Absolutely awesome. We had a great time. This was such a highlight for us. Our guide was very helpful. He pointed out landmarks in Sydney and made sure we knew exactly what was going on. Definitely recommend this one for anybody visiting Sydney.

Feb082012

Tour/Activity

Honolulu History and Culture Segway Tour

Oahu, Hawaii

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
I just read a great book on Hawaiian history and this was a novel way to see where it all happened. The non-history buffs in the family enjoyed it too because the Segway made it fun.

My Photos

  • Seeing the sights
  • Segways on the Beach!
  • Honolulu on Segway

Feb082012

Tour/Activity

Sunset on the Beach Segway Tour

Oahu, Hawaii

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
What a buzz. Felt like a mini - celebrity zooming by all the people on Waikiki Beach. People asking where we got the Segways and how they can do it too. What fun!

My Photos

  • Sunset sights
  • Sunset on the Beach
  • Honolulu Sunset

Jan052012

Tour/Activity

Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise

Maui, Hawaii

My Photos

  • Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise
  • Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise
  • Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise
  • Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise
  • Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise
  • Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise
  • Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise
  • Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise
  • Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise
  • Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise
  • Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise
  • Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise
  • Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise
  • Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise

Oct132011

Tour/Activity

Madame Tussauds Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada

My Photos

  • Madame Tussauds
  • Madame Tussauds
  • Madame Tussauds
  • Madame Tussauds
  • Madame Tussauds
  • Madame Tussauds

Sep232011

Tour/Activity

Blue Mountains Nature and Wildlife Day Tour from Sydney

Sydney, Australia

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
This day tour packs a lot in and our bus driver/guide steered us through everything. He was a real pro who patiently explained everything to everybody as many times as they needed to hear it. The Blue Mountains are a piece of the Australian wilderness that is definitely worth experiencing first hand.

Note from Viator
This review was written by Melinda, who wrote a complete summary of the Blue Mountains Wildlife tour on the Viator Travel Blog.

My Photos

  • Blue Mountains & Featherdale Wildlife Park
  • Blue Mountains & Featherdale Wildlife Park
  • Blue Mountains & Featherdale Wildlife Park
  • Blue Mountains & Featherdale Wildlife Park
  • Blue Mountains & Featherdale Wildlife Park
  • Blue Mountains & Featherdale Wildlife Park
  • Blue Mountains & Featherdale Wildlife Park
  • Blue Mountains & Featherdale Wildlife Park
  • Blue Mountains & Featherdale Wildlife Park
  • Blue Mountains & Featherdale Wildlife Park
  • Blue Mountains & Featherdale Wildlife Park
  • Blue Mountains
  • Blue Mountains
  • Blue Mountains
  • Blue Mountains
  • Blue Mountains

May042011

Tour/Activity

Art and High Tea at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Sydney, Australia

My Photos

  • Art_Gallery_sydney.JPG

Dec062010

Travel Recommendation

Take a trip to Balmain

Sydney

My Recommendation Tip

You can take one of the Sydney Ferries to Balmain to check out an area of Sydney with lots of interesting old terrace houses. Check out the restaurants and cafes and do a bit of shopping

Dec062010

Travel Recommendation

Best place for fresh produce!

Seattle

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

Great for tourists & locals alike

My Photos

  • More veggies
  • chiles
  • chiles

Dec062010

Attraction

Taronga Zoo

Sydney

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review
Not only does this zoo's proximity to the city make it easy to get to, it also provides the giraffes with a great view. We took the ferry to get there which was easy and enjoyable. The zoo of course was a great hit with the kids. Everyone loved the elephants, penguins, meerkats and giraffes. Zoos are classic entertainment - an oldie but goodie. And this one is in a great location.

My Photos

  • with Giraffes
  • Tasmanian Devil
  • spot the monkey
  • rhino
  • baby elephants
  • Taronga
  • Taronga_meercats
  • giraffeswithaview
  • Elephants_from_skyway
  • Taronga Zoo
  • The kids had a great time
  • Love the elephants

Oct242010

Tour/Activity

Tillicum Village Cultural Experience

Seattle, Washington

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review
Well organized and enjoyable tour. The food was excellent and the whole experience was professional. Nice combination of a short cruise, an optional walk around the island, an entertaining show and a very good meal.

My Photos

  • Salmon Cooking over the fire
  • The
  • Bar on the boat on the way over to Tilllicum
  • Arriving at Tillicum Village
  • View from Tillicum Village
  • Salmon Cooking over alder fire
  • Totem Pole at Tillicum Village
  • Salmon Cooking
  • Tillicum Commentary on Board

Oct222010

Travel Recommendation

How to cross the road in Vietnam

Vietnam

My Recommendation Tip

In most places, walking across the road is not an adventure. It is in Vietnam. I actually met some tourists who would only cross the road in a taxi. Not only is that limiting but it can get expensive. So, take a deep breath and try it. Here are some hints. 1) there will never be a break in the traffic, just get over that and move on. 2) Avoid the big things (eg cars and trucks) and don't worry about the motorcycles - as hard as it is when there seem to be hundreds moving straight for you, let them avoid you. 3) Move slowly - fight the instinct to run. If you are moving slowly the motorcycles can avoid you and they will 4) You don't always have to travel in a pack, it's easier for all the traffic to go around a small target. GOOD LUCK

My Photos

  • Vietnam Road Hotel Majestic
  • Vietnam Road Hanoi
  • Vietnam Road
  • Vietnam Road
  • Crossing the Road

Oct222010

Attraction

Great Barrier Reef

Cairns & the Tropical North

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
The Great Barrier Reef is one of my all time favourite places in the world. There's nothing better than floating around on the surface of the ocean watching the fish go about their daily routines. Spotting a sea turtle was a highlight of my trip. That and hanging around with a massive - and very friendly - fish.

My Photos

  • Great Barrier Turtle
  • Great Barrier Sail
  • Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling
  • Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling
  • Great Barrier Fish
  • Great Barrier Reef Platform
  • Great Barrier Submarine
  • Great Barrier Smile
  • Great Barrier Reef Island
  • Snorkeling
  • Spot the sea turtle
  • Me with fish
  • GreatBarrierReef
  • Safe

Oct222010

Attraction

Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
Faded French colonial buildings are the background for the buzz of modern Hanoi. Wander these streets and you will see the juxtaposition of old and new, communism and capitalism, rich and poor. Sidewalks are filled with action, people eating, children playing and everywhere there is something for sale. Buy pineapples sold from a bicycle, turtles in plastic bowls, cheap t-shirts and brightly colored toys in small shops. This one is best experienced through the soles of your feet.

My Photos

  • Old Hanoi Window
  • Old Hanoi Electricity
  • Typical Buildings in Old Hanoi
  • Old Hanoi - buy from a bicycle
  • Old Hanoi Terrace Houses
  • Drinking Coffee in Old Hanoi
  • Old Hanoi Street Scape

Oct222010

Attraction

Rottnest Island

Perth

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review
Rottnest is an easy going island not far from Perth. We just went for the day, went for a bus trip around the island, rented a bike and hung out on the beach. It's a casual place, very relaxed and friendly. Definitely recommend it for families.

My Photos

  • Rottnest quokka

Oct222010

Attraction

Kuranda

Cairns & the Tropical North

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review
My mother and I took the sky rail to Kuranda and the train back. We enjoyed both modes of transportation. Great views from above and in the rain forest. While we were in Kuranda we had a nice lunch and browsed the shops. All in all an easy going, interesting day.

My Photos

  • Returning via train
  • Kuranda from Skyway
  • Kuranda from above
  • P1010066
  • All Aboard
  • Alll Aboard

Oct222010

Attraction

Getty Center Museum

Los Angeles

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
The rest of the family resisted this one, because it is an ART museum but I dragged them along. They loved it. Yes, it is an art museum, but there are also beautiful gardens, a great cafeteria and a museum store with an interesting selection of books and gifts. And, in spite of themselves they even enjoyed the art. And I didn't say "I told you so."

Oct212010

Attraction

Disneyland

Anaheim & Buena Park

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
When I first visited Europe as an exchange student I found myself constantly saying "this is like Disneyland" to which my friend eventually replied "no, actually, DISNEYLAND is like THIS". In my defense, I think that part of the magic of Walt Disney's creation is that it gives you a taste of the world. And, if you are lucky, a desire to explore it. It doesn't matter where I travel, there is usually something that harkens back to something at Disneyland. There are the obvious castles and Jungle Cruises in the real world. But even on my trip to Vietnam, trying to navigate the airport, I had a flashback to Star Tours waiting to board a transport to Endor and not understanding a word of Ewok. Needless to say, I am a big fan of the Magic Kingdom.

My Photos

  • Tea Cups
  • Toon Town
  • Toon Town
  • Toon Town
  • Disneyland

Oct182010

Attraction

Sydney Tower Restaurant

Sydney

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
Tourist activity combined with a lovely dinner. Great for locals as well as for out of towners. We enjoyed seeing Sydney from a new angle. Construction happening below while we were there but it wasn't a problem. We figured out where to go and it doesn't make a difference once you are up in the Tower.

My Photos

  • Sydney Tower View
  • Sydney Tower View
  • Sydney Tower View

Oct182010

Tour/Activity

San Francisco Waterfront Segway Tour

San Francisco, California

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
I'm telling everyone to try a Segway now. We had a great time. It was a fun way to see the city, you can cover more ground than you can on foot but it's not as remote as a car or bus. This is a really good option for people who don't have a lot of time in San Francisco. We wished we had more time to try the advanced one.

My Photos

  • Segway Instruction
  • What a Segway looks like before you pick it up
  • Students paying attention in Segway Class
  • Loving the 'oh so stylish' safety gear
  • Rolling by Alcatraz on a Segway
  • Segway Class

Oct182010

Attraction

Winchester Mystery House

San Francisco

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
Intriguing place. Worth checking out if you are in the San Francisco area. It's a one-of-a-kind place to visit. There's nothing else like it.

My Photos

  • Winchester Sign
  • Winchester Stables
  • Winchester
  • Winchester Mystery House
  • Winchester House
  • Winchester Mystery House
  • Winchester House
  • stained glass
  • Winchester Museum

Oct172010

Travel Recommendation

If you are visiting Monkey Mia, check out Shell Beach while you are there

Western Australia

My Recommendation Tip

Not far from Monkey Mia, Shell Beach is an intriguing place to visit. Instead of sand, the ground is covered with shells. It's not easy on your feet but it's fascinating. The shells are meters deep. From a distance it looks like a regular beach but once you get up close you can see how different it really is.

My Photos

  • Shell Beach
  • Shell Beach

Oct162010

Attraction

Monkey Mia

Perth

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
There's nothing better than hanging out with dolphins. At one stage they swam around me while I was swimming in the ocean. Wow! This is an extraordinary place to visit. In addition to the famous dolphins, I also enjoyed seeing a range of sea creatures including dugongs and rays, lots of fish and - yes - even some sharks. The water was unbelievably warm. Great spot for a water lover.

My Photos

  • Jetty
  • Denham
  • Dolphin
  • Dolphins Monkey Mia
  • Denham

Oct162010

Attraction

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
You can't go to Sydney without seeing the Harbour Bridge. Well, I suppose you could but it would be difficult. This icon is front and center in Sydney Harbour. It's a lovely way to get from North Sydney to Circular Quay. I think the best way to see the bridge is from one of the Sydney ferries. Of course another great option is to walk across the bridge.

My Photos

  • Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • sydney_Harbour_Bridge2
  • SydneyHarbourBridge3
  • SydneyHarbour_Elizabeth
  • Bridge
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge

Oct162010

Attraction

Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco

My Photos

  • Golden Gate Bridge

Oct142010

Travel Recommendation

Get some clothes made in Hoi An

Vietnam

My Recommendation Tip

Getting some clothes made by a tailor while you are in Vietnam can almost count as a 'cultural experience'. I've never had clothes made for me before (well except by my mother and I'm not necessarily recommending that). So it was a new experience for me. There are tailors all over Vietnam who can make clothes for you but the tailors of Hoi An have the best reputation. You have to make sure you are spending enough time in the area for your clothes to be made and altered to fit. I actually took a skirt with me to Vietnam and asked them to make one exactly like it. I'm very happy with the result.

Oct142010

Attraction

Cairns Skyrail

Cairns & the Tropical North

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected to. Going to Queensland, I was really just thinking about the Great Barrier Reef but the sky rail gave me a glimpse of a rainforest I really didn't know about. Had a great time.

My Photos

  • skyrail
  • skyrail view
  • View from the Skyrail
  • Skyrail viewing platform
  • Skyrail from the top
  • The Skyrail
  • View from above

Oct142010

Attraction

Ang Thong National Marine Park

Koh Samui

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
Absolutely stunning area of the world. Definitely recommend a visit.

My Photos

  • Thailand
  • Thailand
  • Thailand
  • Stairs to Talay Nai
  • View_from_Speedboat
  • No_Swimming
  • ClimbingDown
  • Amazing_Water
  • The Beach

Oct132010

Attraction

Halong Bay

Hanoi

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
Halong Bay feels like a set for a movie on another planet. You can go just for the day but I recommend that you stay over at least one night. I was intrigued by the people who live on the water all the time. How odd to grow up in a community that has no land. Just think what it is like for babies to learn how to walk on a boat. If you go on a tour take the opportunity to get off the junk and explore the land as well as the water. Don't miss the tours of caves and karsts. This is an extraordinary place, definitely worth a visit.

My Photos

  • Looking up from a cave in Halong Bay
  • View of Halong Bay
  • Going through a cave
  • Boats on Halong Bay
  • Going into the cave
  • HalongBay

Oct132010

Travel Recommendation

If you like the QVB, try the Strand Arcade

Sydney

My Recommendation Tip

The Strand Arcade is sort of like the Queen Victoria Building's half sister. (No, not Feodora, it's a building). Like the better known QVB, the Strand Arcade is a beautifully restored shopping centre with lovely boutique stores to browse in and interesting places to eat.

My Photos

  • Modern Stores at the Strand
  • Strand stores
  • Strand Sign
  • Strand Inside
  • Strand since 1891
  • Strand Arcade Facade

Oct122010

Tour/Activity

Vietnamese Cooking Class at Hanoi's Cooking Centre

Hanoi, Vietnam

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
This isn’t one of those tours where you sit in an air-conditioned bus with a tour guide pointing out things on a loudspeaker. Get prepared to actually experience this one: walking, eating, drinking, talking, listening, smelling, preparing, cooking, chopping. The great thing about this tour is you get to eat what you produce. So all in all it’s a very satisfying way to get a taste of life in Hanoi. As I walked back to my hotel it was as if the flavors of Vietnam were still with me.

My Photos

  • Fresh food in the markets
  • The real chef at work
  • Ingredients
  • Shopping in Hanoi Markets
  • Pho
  • My chicken dish

Oct122010

Tour/Activity

Private Tour: Hanoi City Full-Day Tour including Cyclo Ride

Hanoi, Vietnam

My Photos

  • A wedding by the lake
  • Bridge over Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Hoan Kiem Lake

Oct122010

Travel Recommendation

Monterey and Carmel and the 17 miles between them

California

My Recommendation Tip

Drive between Monterey and Carmel on the scenic 17 mile drive and you will have to pay a toll but it's a spot worth paying a bit for. After all, the people who live there pay a lot more for these views. Not only does it cost to drive on the road but apparently they have even trademarked the image of one of the trees! Nevertheless, we loved looking at the houses and the beautiful ocean views and it only cost $9.50. You can stop at each of the marked vantage points or just drive straight through. In Pacific Grove we had lunch at a fabulous beachside diner and finished up with a cup of tea in the lovely Carmel.

My Photos

  • Monterey tree
  • Ocean near Monterey
  • Sailboat off the coast
  • Monterey house
  • Pacific Grove
  • Pacific Grove
  • Carmel Beach

Oct122010

Attraction

Puget Sound

Seattle

My Photos

  • Puget Sound
  • Puget boats
  • Tillicum Village
  • pugetsound
  • Seattlefromwater
  • sailboat

Oct122010

Tour/Activity

Seattle Duck Tour

Seattle, Washington

My Photos

  • Duck Hat
  • Getting into it on the duck
  • First Car Wash
  • Duck hanging out with boats
  • Seattle Duck boat tour
  • Duck on the water
  • De Ducking
  • Duck out of water
  • Duck on the road
  • View from the Seattle Duck Tour

Oct122010

Tour/Activity

Winchester Mystery House Tour

San Francisco, California

My Photos

  • Waiting for the tour
  • Love Tester next to guns
  • Display Case in Winchester Museum
  • Stained Glass windows in the bathroom
  • View of the WInchester Mystery House
  • Fruit Drying Shed in the garden
  • Cafe Sign
  • Guns in the museum

Oct092010

Attraction

Queen Victoria Building (QVB)

Sydney

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
The Queen Victoria Building is legendary in Sydney. Even if you are not a shopper, you should visit this building. The QVB is beautifully restored with a beautiful sandstone facade and gorgeous stained glass windows. If you are a shopper you will love it even more. You'll recognize some well known brands as well as some uniquely Australian options. For a special treat, visit the Tea Rooms on the top floor. You can have an elegant high tea. There are also lots of more casual eating options.

My Photos

  • More shops
  • Beautiful shop
  • Stained Glass Window
  • QVB Clock
  • QVB
  • Clock
  • Stained glass windows
  • QVB Stained Glass windows
  • Queen Victoria Building
  • Queen Victoria Top Floor
  • Queen Victoria Building
  • Queen Victoria Building
  • Great place to shop
  • Retail Therapy

Oct082010

Attraction

Sydney Harbour

Sydney

My Photos

  • SydneyHarbour Elizabeth Opera House
  • Ferry

Oct062010

Attraction

Pike Place Market

Seattle

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
Pike Place Market is a classic Seattle destination that should be on your list if you are visiting Seattle. At the Pike Place Market you can soak up the 'feel' of Seattle. The Market is a combination of funky stores and old fashioned fruit stalls. It's on the water so you can get a good perspective of Seattle. There are lots of eating options from fancy restaurants to fun food stalls for things like nuts and ice creams.

My Photos

  • Pike_WonderFreeze
  • View from Pike Place Market
  • Me in front of the Starbucks logo
  • This is the original Starbucks Logo
  • Get your fresh donuts here
  • More Chiles
  • The Magic Shop
  • Beautiful Chiles at Pike Place Market
  • Flying Fish
  • THE sign
  • Lovely fruit at Pike Place Market

Oct062010

Attraction

Mekong River Delta

Ho Chi Minh City

My Photos

  • Jungle Cruise
  • Mekong Delta Scene
  • Mekong Delta
  • Rice
  • Home in the Mekong Delta
  • Mekong Delta bridge
  • Mekong Delta Transportation

Oct032010

Attraction

Space Needle

Seattle

My Photos

  • spaceneedle_city
  • Space Needle in Seattle Skyline
  • Space Needle from the water
  • Space Needle

Oct022010

Attraction

Cradle Mountain

Launceston

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
Cradle Mountain was on my "must do in my lifetime" list and having visited I have to say it merits a spot on that list.

My Photos

  • Overland_track
  • Overland Track flower
  • Overland_Track_rocks
  • Boardwalk
  • Overland Track4
  • Overland Track1
  • One of the locals
  • Obliging Wombat

Sep302010

Attraction

Market Street

San Francisco

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
Walking down Market Street I saw a good cross section of San Francisco. Everything to the really touristy areas to the kind of gritty ones. You know you are in San Francisco if you're heading down this street.

My Photos

  • Buying a treat from a street vendor
  • Street scape at sunset

Jun092010

Tour/Activity

Mekong Delta Discovery Small Group Adventure Tour from Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

My Photos

  • Our Guide
  • Guide Showing
  • Girl With Kite
  • Run
  • Factory
  • Fruit
  • Boat
  • Bikes
  • House
  • Hold On!

May042010

Tour/Activity

Private Tour: Perfume Pagoda Day Trip from Hanoi

Hanoi, Vietnam

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
This was definitely not a typical 'air-conditioned bus' type tour, it was a full-on experience that I will never forget. I was surprised by how remote this tour felt when it was just a day trip from Hanoi. I definitely recommend it for anybody who wants a bit of an adventure and something that is off the beaten track. Just be aware that it's not easy to climb the mountain.

Note from Viator
This review is from Melinda Harrington, who wrote about her Perfume Pagoda tour experience over on the Viator blog.

My Photos

  • Perfume Pagoda Day Trip - From Hanoi
  • Perfume Pagoda Day Trip - From Hanoi
  • Perfume Pagoda Day Trip - From Hanoi
  • Perfume Pagoda Day Trip - From Hanoi
  • Perfume Pagoda Day Trip - From Hanoi
  • Perfume Pagoda Day Trip - From Hanoi
  • Lunch
  • Rower

Jan122010

Tour/Activity

Sydney Tower 360 Bar and Dining

Sydney, Australia

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
Sydney is definitely the star in this attraction. This is a stress-free way to get a new perspective on Sydney. We loved the unusual angle of the Sydney Opera House, funny little pods peeking out from between the buildings. The restaurant is classy, but not stuffy. Waits between courses are a bit longer than a typical restaurant but no doubt this is to give you ample time to enjoy the view until the last bite of creme brulee. The dress code is "Smart Casual" but you won't feel out of place if you take the opportunity (excuse) to wear (buy) a new dress. Nor will it be a problem if you (like I) can't convince your partner to wear a tie.

Note from Viator
This review is from Viator staffer Melinda H. You can read her full review of the Sydney Tower 360 Bar and Restaurant over on the Viator Travel Blog.

My Photos

  • Sydney Tower 360 Bar - Restaurant
  • Sydney Tower 360 Bar - Restaurant: dinner with views
  • Sydney Tower 360 Bar - Restaurant

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