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Pushkar camel fair is the perfect place to be for anyone who has read “Still life with woodpecker” and, let’s be honest, who hasn’t – and has an appreciation for camels (the cigarettes and the animal), red heads and aliens. In other words, if you like the bizarre and abnormal then this is the place for you.

The story of Pushkar goes like this: Brahma had a fight with a petal wielding demon and one of the petals fell to earth making this amazing lake.
Now, a whole bunch of other epic Hindu stuff happened and, to cut a long story short, Brahma made some mistakes. One of these mistakes was accidentally marrying another woman so he was cursed by his first wife in a way that this lake was the only place where he would be worshipped by humans.

Thus Pushkar is one of the five holiest sites in India and the only place where there is a temple to Lord Brahma.

This means that once a year, a million pilgrims and 2 tours of dusty Spirit House clients visit the sacred lake. The place packs out with pilgrims and Sadhus or holy men:
Most of the Sadhus sit around looking totally in touch with the universe and/or stoned and in various sates of undress. Pushkar is a holy city so alcohol is banned but not marijuana apparently.

Camel and horse traders also descend on the desert just outside the town for one of the largest camel fairs in the land. Tens of thousands of camels and horses are bought and sold here, thus killing two birds with one stone for the desert people: pilgrimage and commerce.

This tour certainly was an amazing experience. Our hotel was right on the lake which meant we were woken at 4.30am with chanting loud enough to wake the whole town and Brahma up. The reward was watching – not in a perverted way, but I can only speak for myself in this regard – the pilgrims bathing in the ghats.

But it wasn’t all pilgrims and camels. We had plenty of fun exploring Delhi- not something you would usually hear about Delhi – the Taj Mahal was still there in its magnificent serenity and a host of amazing places in between.

Impromptu workshops on photography on the bus with iPhones and the terrific Snapseed app had the group making great images:

And I have fallen in love with the Etchings App for making images like these:

So, if you’re interested in quirky travel experiences in India, Thailand, Indonesia etc. then visit our tours page and grab an itinerary. With just 8 people on each tour, it’s like a group of friends travelling together than a bus full of strangers.

February 2016 sees the launch of our exciting new India Food Tour. Acland and cooking school chef, Kelly Lord, ducked off to India for 5 days to finalise details with our Indian ‘fixers’ and test elements of the tour.

In short, if you’ve never been to India before then you absolutely MUST go. It is simply amazing and a delight for all the senses.

The idea of this short field trip was to sample the food, check on hotels and investigate cool shopping experiences as well as taking in the major sites.


I guess everyone worries about the dreaded ‘Dehli Belly’, but we didn’t come to India to eat in our hotel, so armed with our local food guides we sampled a dazzling array of street food. The food was fresh, tasty, mainly vegetarian and delicious – and neither of us became ill.

Sadly we were too busy eating to take pictures of all the food but I have to say India really does give Thailand a run for its money when it comes to the sheer variety of food on offer. We have both never had so much vegetarian food and I’ve never been so full.


India really is unique and is a photographer’s delight. From historic buildings and ruins to colourful characters, you will need plenty of batteries and lots of SD cards or storage.

This guy was ‘charming his pet cobra’ in the car park:


Our local rickshaw guys catching up on the latest news:


Peaceful ruins in the local park:

And of course, I left my charger in Bangkok so my trusty camera died but you as the saying goes; ‘the best camera is the one you have on you’ and the iPhone proved the point and shoots cool video as well:

slo mo from the iPhone.

Things To Do:

Delhi is home to some groovy neighbourhoods that are packed with trendy cafes, cool bars, great fashion and homewares. These neighbourhoods are a delight to explore and make a change from the upmarket massive shopping centres that the rich middle class people flock to.

There are ruins, monuments, tombs, museums and a history that extends back thousands of years that make Delhi (and the rest of India) a destination truly worth visiting.


Make no mistake, India is a confronting place but at no time did we feel threatened in any way. People were very helpful and English is widely spoken. There are still some concerns, the subway has women only cars, don’t look at or talk to beggars. Street food is tasty, cheap and with a good guide, quite safe to eat.

The huge rise in the middle class is creating changes in attitudes, culture including fashion and food. Make no mistake, there are beggars on the street and people living in slums along the side of the road but there are also palatial shopping centres, people driving Audis. This is thanks to a huge surge in the middle class. Well educated and newly rich Indians are bringing back ideas, trends and influences from the West – making Delhi an interesting cosmopolitan city – but you don’t have to scratch too far below the surface to find the REAL India.


Our 2016 Indian Tours are going to be fantastic and the perfect way to ‘dip your toes’ into the proverbial Indian ‘water’. Limited to eight fun-loving adventurers, our February tours are fully booked, but we are planning more for November. Visit our Indian Tour Page for more details.

Well, it’s taken a while but my 13 year old niece has been rattling my cage about getting Spirit House on Instagram so you can share photos and that sort of thing.

So voila:


We’re instagramming – you can follow us and be sure to use #spirithouserestaurant if you’re tagging pics taken at the Spirit House and we’ll start rewarding the most photos we like the most etc.

The Sunshine Coast did very well in the Australian Good Food Guide Awards, with 16 restaurants picking up ‘hat’ awards. We are so proud of our restaurant team who have worked so hard over the years to keep the Spirit House on this prestigious list.
If you know the history of the owners of Spirit House, you’d know Peter and Helen Brierty started the first restaurant in Montville, Misty’s, back in 1972. Misty’s literally put Montville on the map way back then and it’s with this in mind that we feel a special fondness for Long Apron restaurant in Montville which won two hats in this year’s awards – we are already planning a lunch there soon.

Spirit House is embarking on one of their popular tag-along food tours in July 2012. If you’re into Thai food, love adventure and excitement and wanting to see a side of Thailand that most tourists never get to see, then this tour is for you.
You can find all the information, booking forms and itineraries on the Spirit House tours page.

This short video explains the tag-along concept and gives you a taste of what the tours are all about:

tag-along2 from Spirit House on Vimeo.

Concierge.com have a great listing of the world’s best street food. Food plays such a big part in a country’s culture and street food should be top of your list of things to see and do in any country.

I know a traveler’s main concern is getting sick, but sometimes it’s worth running the risk.While in India I saw people flocking around a Lassi vendor – I lined up (which doesn’t help in India) then shoved my way to the front and was handed a terracotta cup with chilled foamy liquid. My friends looked in shock as I took my first tentative sip – which tasted like heaven. Drinking the rest of the lassi I gave my ‘covermore insurance card’ to my companions (who wouldn’t even try it) and said if anything happens to me tomorrow they could call the number on the card and get me to a hospital.

What was more surprising to my cowardly traveling companions was the next day I was absolutely fine – sure, we all saw the Taj, explored the ruins of Fate Puhr Sikri but my lassi was the highlight of the trip.

Learn the quiet art of fly-fishing with Tie ‘N’ Fly. Did I say quiet? … the folks at Tie ‘N’ Fly became a bit of an internet sensation as they fly-fish for tuna. When the tuna schools come close to the shore you can join Tie ‘N’ Fly and fly fish for tuna just a few hundred meters from the beach.

Tie N fly arrange fly fishing excursions for fresh water species as well as salt water fish. They teach all aspects of fly fishing which can become quite addictive.

The coast offers some great adventures that don’t necessarily involve you jumping out of an airplane, though having said that, a tandem skydive with Ramblers does give you a unique view of the coast with the bonus experiences of terror and exhilaration.

We all have our share of travel stories but none are as funny as what happened to this Welsh comedian’s bag when he came to Australia. I never would have thought such a simple event could be so funny and not a swear word in sight.

On our tag-along tours we often pass semi-completed sky scrapers that have been abandoned after the money dried up during the Asian financial crisis. With no money to complete the buildings (most are structurally unsound due to exposure to the elements) and costs of demolition too high, these buildings dot the skyline. Here’s an interesting video taking you on a tour of these ghost structures:

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