Dare­dev­il­ish fun in desert of Abu Dhabi

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

SHE lives in Mel­bourne and works in Lon­don, so it’s fair to say Dan­nii Minogue spends more time on planes than the av­er­age per­son.

To break up the jour­ney, which she un­der­takes about four times a year, the singer and tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter tries to stop over in Abu Dhabi for a few days when­ever she can. Minogue has been fly­ing with Eti­had since the in­cep­tion of its Lon­don to Mel­bourne route and is now an am­bas­sador for the United Arab Emi­rates’ national air­line.

‘‘ I think a lot of peo­ple know Dubai but Abu Dhabi has some re­ally fun things to do also,’’ Minogue says.

‘‘ I went to the Grand Prix there re­cently and that was awe­some. I love Mel­bourne and that race is amaz­ing but they have re­ally taken it a step fur­ther with this new, pur­pose-built track. You can re­ally get in among it – it’s amaz­ing.’’ Minogue sug­gests vis­i­tors to Abu Dhabi take a desert sa­fari and go sand­board­ing.

‘‘ They col­lect you from your ho­tel and you go in a cool jeep for a 45-minute drive into the desert,’’ she says. ‘‘ You four-wheel drive up the peaks of sand dunes and then slide side­ways off sand dunes – it’s lit­er­ally the scari­est thing I’ve ever done. I was scream­ing with my friend so loudly. As soon as we slid to the bot­tom, we were like ‘ do it again, do it again’.’’

Minogue says the land­mark Emi­rates Palace Ho­tel has to be seen to be be­lieved. The lux­u­ri­ous prop­erty is on a 1.3km stretch of pri­vate, white, sandy beach, sur­rounded by 85ha of land­scaped gar­dens.

‘‘ Emi­rates Palace is the most in­cred­i­ble thing you have ever seen – every­thing’s mar­ble and beau­ti­ful.’’

She also rec­om­mends a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque near the Shangri-la ho­tel, where she stays.

‘‘ It’s beau­ti­ful to visit – it’s one of the few mosques tourists can go into,’’ she says.

‘‘ The last trip we did, we had an out­door bar­be­cue in the evening fac­ing this beau­ti­ful mosque that’s lit up.’’

Minogue is keen to visit the Abu Dhabi Fal­con Hos­pi­tal. ‘‘ You see peo­ple walk­ing around with fal­cons on their arms. The fal­con is the most prized pos­ses­sion in a fam­ily and the most looked-af­ter mem­ber.’’

IN­CRED­I­BLE BEAUTY: The lux­u­ri­ous Emi­rates Palace Ho­tel in Abu Dhabi is a must-see for TV star Dan­nii Minogue (left).

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