3 days in Northumberland based in Berwick upon Tweed. Explore Gossick, Lindisfarne, North Berwick, Seacliff Beach, Eyemouth, Cocklawburn, Embleton.
Browse for “Flora and Fauna” to find the best wildlife & flowers – I’m passionate about both. Lots of photos to inspire your own travels.
The day started early at 5am with a beautiful sunrise - doubled by its reflection in the Pacific Ocean. The first few minutes just before I wake up are usually like intermediate steps from light to shadow - my vision is dim and my mind not yet fully focussed. This morning, I was woken by the loud shrieks of howler monkies and the din of a million cicadas, then soothed by the sound of the ocean as the sun rose over it. It was the quickest move to sharp focus I can remember - the sunrise was absolutely spectacular - the outstanding highlight of this trip.
Dan Kieran’s book “The Idle Traveller” invites you to re-assess what you are searching for when you travel. He urges you to bin the travel brochure, glide rather than fly, embrace disaster, be epic in your travel pursuits and immerse yourself in the life-changing experience of true journeying. It is an entire philosophy of life rather than just a book about travelling. His philosophy is to slow d
We set off at 10.30 from Bajos del Toro on a cool, wet morning and arrived at San José Domestic Departures terminal a couple of hours later, all set for a short flight to Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula.
Leaving Nayara Springs for Bajos del Toro It was tough to leave Nayara Springs. Some of the best wildlife we saw was right in the hotel grounds and the hotel…
Cano Negro Rio Frio River We took another tour with Aventuras Arenal today to explore the Cano Negro River area. Learning the Lingo We were on La hora Tico (appointment times…
When you have had a shower outside in the rain and an open air bath on your balcony (safely concealed by the jungle!), it seems fairly pointless to wear an uncomfortable rain coat to go on a hike. Skin is waterproof after all? So today, I carried nothing except my camera and didn't let the rain bother me at all. I was feeling rather in harmony with Mother Nature (en Armenia con la Madre Naturaleza) and excited to explore Arenal Volcano National Park.
A warm welcome at Nayara Springs and the return of the sun enticed us into sampling a Caribbean fashion cocktail (7 year old Centenario rum, coconut water infused with rice, cinnamon and orang peel, orange syrup and angostura bitters) and spending the rest of the day doing little more than exploring everything this very beautiful resort has to offer - see the accommodation review for all the details.
Established as a National Park in 1995, Rio Celeste is in the cloud forest region. A massive 3.7 metres of rain falls here a year - around six times more than the UK - and that sometimes feels very wet! A legend tells that after God was done painting the sky, he washed his brushes in the river that now bears the name of Rio Celeste - Light Blue River. It was worth a 4 hour hike to see how beautiful this looks in real life.
This afternoon, I am visiting the Celeste River National Park aiming to walk with the eyes of a tour guide and see if that helps me to spot wildlife I would otherwise have missed. Come and walk with me and see what I discovered ...
Guess what - it rains in a rainforest! Last night, it rained pretty well all night. It hammered on the tin roof of the lodge for all it was worth, building up to a crescendo drum beat for a few deafening minutes before petering out to a bit of a tap dance and a finale of sprinkles and tinkles in the gutters. Then silence, filled only by the constant hum of the air con which intermittently halted as the electricity cut out.
Our base in the Tortugero National Park is the Manatus Lodge. Access is via boat transfer only - and let's hope they keep it that way!
Mount Lesueur National Park is one of the world bio diversity hotspots as a result of of its severely impoverished soil and the unforgivingly low rates of phosphorous. 900 flora species grow here - 10% of WA's flora. These are the species that are known too - it is highly likely that others exist in the dense bush that no-one has yet found. It has seven species of Declared Rare Flora. In late Winter to Spring, it erupts into a rainbow of colour and you can see rare orchids and several varieties of kangaroo paw as well as many other beautiful plants.
The road from Kalbarri to Cervantes is 378 kms (4 hrs 7 mins), but offers plenty to see on the way including two "Must Do" attractions: Pink Lake (Hutt Lagoon) and The Pinnacles.
It is 443 kms from Carnarvon to Kalbarri - 4 and a half hours. We get off early and broke the journey at the Billabong Roadhouse - familiar ground from earlier in the trip, but this time, I stopped to take a quick photo of the funny flier for kangaroo burgers and a joke you can get hard copies of for free on request - you just have to love the great Aussie sense of humour. The temperature had dropped a bit today and the wind had picked up, but they told us it often reaches 49 degrees on Christmas Day here and tops out at around 53 degrees in January - definitely a place to avoid in our winter then.
Exmouth to Carnarvon Coral Reef, Wallabies and The Dish Our last day at Sal Salis started early as we had a 4 hour 38 minute drive from Exmouth to Carnarvon…
It is a long road from Coral Bay to Exmouth and we didn’t really have much time to explore Coral Bay as we were only staying one night and had a drive the next day. I would have liked to take a snorkelling trip, but there were no tours running as it was close to the end of the season here and a Sunday. I am beginning to appreciate just how quiet Sundays can be in WA. Many shops and tourist facilities close up - just like England 20 years ago. It can be difficult to find places to eat on a Sunday too.
We made an early start today on our journey from Monkey Mia to Ningaloo Reef so we could take a pre-booked early morning scenic flight with Shark Bay Aviation. Their “bargain” flight is 40 minutes long and is a really great way to get a different perspective on this vast and largely inaccessible wilderness area. You get superb views of the huge salt works, lagoons, Dirk Hartog Island, Steep Point (the most Westerly point of mainland Australia), sea clliffs and the wondrous crystal clear blue spectrum of the Indian Ocean.
A great coffee is always a good way to start the day and Australia is truly expert at it. The flat white at the Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort is particularly good and the ocean side restaurant is a lovely spot for breakfast. A pod of dolphins pops in reliably
The road from Geraldton to Monkey Mia (pronounced Mya) is a long 443 kms - 4 hours 40 minutes if driven straight. We took a brief 44kms (return) detour at Northampton to visit Horrocks Beach because it was billed as a world class beach and won the best mainland beach in Australia award in 2018. The route from Geraldton to Monkey Mia also allows you to visit two more National Parks: The Stromalites at Hamelin Pool and Shell Beach.
Where to see koala bears in WA. The road from Perth to Geraldton is 414 kms - 4 and a half hours. En route though, there is an opportunity to see koala bears, which is a "Must Do". We took all day over the journey, allowing for two stops on the way.
Polished Perth - capital of a state ten time the size of Great Britain - is as close to the nearest big city (Adelaide) as London is to Leningrad. Perth is a large, clean, modern city much like many others, but its balmy climate, position by the wide, blue Swan River and radiant sunlight bouncing off the skyscrapers gives it a unique charm all of its own. It is, in every sense, very polished with a smart, high-sheen finish.
It is a long way from Esperance to Kalgoorlie - and an even longer road from Kalgoorlie to Perth (7 hours with one brief stop). This Place is Rough and Tough. With hindsight, we should have spent 2 days in Kalgoorlie which would have given us a chance to visit the Super Pit and also the Flying Doctor Service which is based here, which would have been really fascinating.
We spent the whole of today driving the 40kms scenic loop that is the Great Ocean Drive, stopping all the way along the route for long walks and lookouts. We have driven along beautiful stretches of coast before in South Africa (The Garden Route) and California (Big Sur Drive), but this was way better than either of those. Maybe because of the intensity of the light here - the sun made the deep blue water sparkle all the way along and the wind gave us really BIG waves - awesome.
The road from Bremer Bay to Esperance (home of Australia's best beaches) was long - very long - and straight. There were hardly any vehicles on it except the odd road train (shortish) which gave you a start as it rushed past. The road took us through interesting sounding places like Jerramingup, Munillinup and Nindilibillup. Up means "place of" around here - I wonder what these places we were passing through were places of ...? They didn't have enough interest to make us stop long enough to find out. We were keen to press on to Esperance and explore all those beautiful beaches. It took us around 4 hours in total to get here.
We woke early on the morning of our drive from Albany to Bremer Bay and enjoyed a hearty breaky (pronounced brekkie) at the Three Anchors in Alby. (Hey - this learning the lingo is a real breeze!). A group of other early risers were lifting weights with big grins on their faces outside the cafe. Middleton Beach has a net line set up for swimmers (large marine animals can’t pass through it, but small fish can) and there were half a dozen of them braving the cool morning to have a dip in the ocean.
It takes about 3 hours to drive straight from Pemberton to Albany, but we chose to break the journey at Walpole and visit the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk. Walpole Visitor Centre gave us a very helpful map which helped us navigate our way there via the scenic route which gave good views of Walpole and the coast.
A short(ish) drive to the coast brought us to Salmon Bay in the d’Enrecasteaux National Park. The view from the lookout is truly stunning. From the headland, crystal clear deep blue water, rolling surf and miles of deserted, golden sand stretches out before your eyes, beckoning you to discover it at close hand.
The Karri Valley Resort is good place to stopover for a couple of nights in Pemberton. There are self catering chalets and lakeside rooms. The lakeside rooms are not overlooked - well - unless you count a duck and four parrots perched on the roof and the odd canoe paddling gently past. You can see your neighbours a bit, but the angles are good.
Time for another great day in WA! Today, we travelled from Margaret River to Pemberton taking a short detour to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse en route. This is where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet (although they didn’t make much of a splash in the process today). It is the most southerly point in Australia - it is 5435 kms to the South Pole from here.