Mediterraneo

Albert Park is a bit away from our usual eating haunts, but friends thought we should try Mediterraneo.  We weren’t disappointed:    the menu had a lot of variety and it was hard to choose between the offerings.

There seemed to be a lot of staff, some more professional than others, and just occasionally there seemed a little confusion about who was doing what!    However, overall, the service was good.  Certainly, the kitchen seemed to have its act together, both in the standard of the meals we received and the timing.  Some of our group started with the cevapcici, but I had the pumpkin soup.   For mains, I had Hungarian goulash, others had the venison, seafood kebab and kangaroo dishes, and without fail, all were good.   Of course, the restaurant promotes its steaks, but our group appears to have moved beyond these, so didn’t sample the offerings — especially not the 550g T-bone (there are others of course).

Prices were quite reasonable for what we received, although we couldn’t “BYO” wine.  And on the weeknight we were there, parking was plentiful.

Noosa?

Well, we’re only recently back from Port Douglas/Palm Cove, and so it’s premature to give thought to what we might do next year.   But, as is the way with these things, inevitably we’ve been turning that question over in our minds.   Coming back to Melbourne’s wintry conditions has been one factor contributing to this!   One option that we’ve tossed up about is returning to Noosa.

And so what happens?  We receive in our letterbox a booklet promoting the joys of Noosa!    It’s got a lot of information that could be quite useful.

Of course, no decisions have yet been made, but we’re filing the booklet away for potential future reference!

 

Windows 10 Creators (sic) update

My computer had been prompting me to start the “update” process, but although it kept promising to do the update when I logged off, it seems that not much happened until I actually clicked the “Update Now” button.   Then computer then mumbled away to itself for well over an hour, but eventually informed me that “Windows 10 Creators Update” had been installed.  I suppose the flip side of this is that Windows didn’t take it on itself automatically to install the update at a time that it arbitrarily selected (I recall this having happened in the past), so I can’t complain about that.

Apparently this update has a number  of supposedly interesting features, but these seem largely gimmicks to me.  I can safely say, that there seems little in it that is likely to be of interest to me.  Perhaps I’ll look at the privacy settings, but apart from that,  all I want is for my computer to continue to operate with as few hassles as possible (and I accept that updates are necessary in this regard).   Annoyingly, the update appears to have interfered with some of my “default” settings (mainly in relation to programs by which particular files are opened) and also some of the Outlook settings, but hopefully I’ll be able to sort through these.

And – ought there not be an apostrophe in “Creators” ?   I would have thought that it should be Creators’…..?    The issue was mentioned in this article, but clearly Microsoft regards itself as being above the niceties of English grammar!

Tiger Airlines

At the risk of being boring, I thought I might set out a few observations about Tiger.

Our trip with them to and from Cairns was the first time we’d flown with them.   I know that Tiger had reputational issues in the past, and this had affected my decisions in days gone by, but it does seem to me that the worst is behind them.

At the outset, they’re a “low cost carrier”, and frankly I couldn’t discern any real difference between Tiger and Jetstar.   No doubt both have good days and not-so-good days, so it’s a little harsh on an airline to judge it on the basis of a single bad experience (not that we’ve had any really bad experiences), when the statistics suggest that there isn’t a lot of difference between Jetstar and Tiger.  I base this on the fact that in June, Tiger’s punctuality was not as good as Jetstar’s (73.2% arrivals on time for Tiger vs 87.1% for Jetstar), but Jetstar had significantly more cancellations (122 for Jetstar, 49 for Tiger).   I suppose it depends on what you value more, but given that I’d prefer to arrive late rather than not at all, at least one way of looking at these figures is to call it a “line ball”.

I do wonder why LCCs aim for 45 minute turn-arounds.   Are the benefits of a little extra utilisation of an aircraft on good days really so significant as to off-set the issues that come about when the inevitable delays occur?

Check in for us in Melbourne was a breeze, as it was all self-service with no queues.  However, as I’ve mentioned, because we weren’t able to pre-print our boarding passes, check-in at Cairns was a bit of a pain.

I had also been a bit annoyed, when there was an itinerary change, to lose our pre-allocated seats (for which we’d paid) without notification.  I’m not sure if this is an issue limited to Tiger, however.

Food isn’t a big deal for us on domestic flights, and my perception is that there isn’t much of a difference between Tiger and Jetstar in this regard (although of course, Qantas and Virgin don’t charge, but that’s not to say that you get very much).

I did notice that in both Melbourne and Cairns, Tiger were weighing most cabin baggage.  Given this, how it is that the passenger sitting in front of us on one sector was able to bring an enormous carry-on bag on to the plane isn’t clear to me.   On a related note,  in the check-in queue at Cairns, a passenger ahead of us was handing over a number of $50 notes, presumably as a consequence of not being aware of the consequences of not pre-purchasing the right to check-in baggage (no sympathy, surely everyone knows that’s how low-cost carriers work?).

One Melbourne-specific issue is that at Terminal 4, the Jetstar gates really are a great distance away from the check-in area, and there are no moving walkways.

Who will we fly with next time?    The short answer is, I have no loyalty, I’ll fly with whoever offers the best combination of price, convenient timings and service (yes, that’s a reference to Qantas and Virgin as well as Jetstar’s location in Terminal 4).  I usually use Webjet to compare).  And if the outcome is that Qantas or Virgin are competitive – as they sometimes are – then naturally I’ll fly with them.

Port Douglas or Palm Cove?

Although we’re back now, it might be worth commenting on the Port Douglas vs Palm Cove issue.  We were asked by someone while we were staying at Palm Cove, whether we preferred PD or PC, and they were a little miffed that we didn’t enthusiastically favour Palm Cove.  The reality is, however, that they’re different!    Palm Cove is more intimate, perhaps even “cute”, but is more exposed to the afternoon south-easterlies that occur at this time of year. Most of Port Douglas is sheltered from these, although Four Mile Beach is exposed to them

Sunrise, Palm Cove

Port Douglas has better access to the Reef (not a big thing for us) and is closer to Cape Tribulation and Mossman Gorge.   Palm Cove has good access to Cairns, if you have any desire to go there (there’s a commuter bus), and is closer to Kuranda.

Both have a range of restaurants of various styles as well as numerous boutique shops (but no supermarket at Palm Cove).

As will have been apparent, this year we split out time between the two.    If we head to Far North Queensland next year, perhaps we’ll do something different, but we really haven’t decided!