Daredevilish fun in desert of Abu Dhabi
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).