Browse for “Highlights” to read about the very best bits of my trips.  Sometimes, it is the little, unexpected things that turn a holiday into a great trip.

3 Days in Mullion Cove – South West Cornwall
Kynance Cove

3 Days in Mullion Cove – South West Cornwall

3 days in South West Cornwall based in Mullion Cove. Visit Lizard Point, Kynance Cove, Minack Theatre, St. Michael's Mount, Land's End, Polurrian, Poldhu and St. Ives.

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The Idle Traveller …
Hermit Crab

The Idle Traveller …

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

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Carnarvon Motel, Carnarvon.  An Unexpected Highlight!
Carnarvon Motel WA

Carnarvon Motel, Carnarvon.  An Unexpected Highlight!

All in all, the Carnarvon Motel was an unexpected mini highlight of the trip.  For a room 1/6th of the price of the luxurious Sal Salis Resort we had just come from, we had a comfortable bed, bathroom and all you would expect from a decent motel room.  The bonus though was great local company in the bar during happy hour (the beer is very cheap here at $6 a pint) - we cried laughing at some of the good humoured banter.  This was followed by a great steak in the "Hot Rocks" restaurant.  You cook your steak just to your liking on a hot lava rock at your table.

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Monkey Mia – Touch Another World One Bite at a Time!
Francois Peron National Park WA

Monkey Mia – Touch Another World One Bite at a Time!

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

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Geraldton to Monkey Mia – RUOK?
Wild Yak Beer - Shell Beach WA

Geraldton to Monkey Mia – RUOK?

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.

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Accommodation Review:  Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat, Bremer Bay
Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat Restaurant

Accommodation Review:  Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat, Bremer Bay

Qualuup Homestead Wilderness Retreat is the only accommodation in the Fitzgerald River National Park. situated on 40 acres of privately owned bushland in the western side of the National Park, near the town of Bremer Bay.  It is 189km from Albany via Devils Creek Rd. and a further

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Albany to Bremer Bay – “No Worries Mate!”
Kangaroos - Quaalup Homestead Fitzgerald River NP WA

Albany to Bremer Bay – “No Worries Mate!”

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.

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Margaret River – Kaya Wadandi Noongar Boodja
View from White Elephant Cafe

Margaret River – Kaya Wadandi Noongar Boodja

Exploring the Margaret River Region.  Kaya Wadandi Noongar Boodja  - Aborigini for “Hallo and Welcome to Wadandi Noongar country.  This morning, we took the short drive to Ambergate Reserve and Walk Trail and walked through the bush in search of wildflowers. 

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Accommodation Review – Pan Pacific Perth
Pan Pacific Perth WA

Accommodation Review – Pan Pacific Perth

The Pan Pacific comfortable hotel well located in the centre of downtown Perth a short walking distance from the lively Elizabeth Quay area, the (free) bus to King's Park and the Swan River.

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BettyHill to Durness
Rainbow

BettyHill to Durness

En route from Bettyhill to Durness, we stopped at the Strathnaver Museum in Bettyhill (opens at 10). The museum gives excellent coverage of the Highland Clearances.

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Wick to Bettyhill
Forsinard Flows

Wick to Bettyhill

Dunnet Head on the route from Wick to Bettyhill is actually the most northerly point of mainland Britain.  On a clear day, you can see the whole North Coast from Cape Wrath to Dunscansby Head.

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Friends Reunited – Sydney, Australia – Coogee Beach
Sydney - Friends Reunited

Friends Reunited – Sydney, Australia – Coogee Beach

Coogee Beach is what life by the ocean is all about.  Coogee is known affectionately as "Sydney's Seaside Village" and it was great to reunite with my old schoolfriend and see her family so happily settled there.

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Wairarapa … Learning the Lingo in Milford Sound
Milford Sound

Wairarapa … Learning the Lingo in Milford Sound

Today, we took a cruise into Milford Sound.  It was raining which added to the beauty of this remote region immensely.  When it rains, all the non permanent waterfalls really come to life.  Within fifteen minutes of a rain shower stopping, many of the temporary waterfalls stop running,  When it pours with rain, Milford Sound pumps and roars with appreciation. Fascinating Fact: There are so many Maori words for water.  Some of the town names really start to make sense once you understand this:

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Experience the Sounds of Silence of Shadowland
Sounds of Silence - Doubtful Sound

Experience the Sounds of Silence of Shadowland

Yesterday, we took a short cruise with Real Journeys across Lake Manapouri then a coach trip on the remote sub-alpine route over Wilmot Pass and into Doubtful Sound where we docked overnight on the Fiordland Navigator. This is a very peaceful and beautiful place where you can experience the Sounds of Silence of Shadowland.​   The boat turned off its engines and everyone kept a complete silence for five minutes - blissful.

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Wonderful Wanaka – Mount Iron Loop Trail/Rob Roy Glacier Tramp
First view of Rob Roy Glacier

Wonderful Wanaka – Mount Iron Loop Trail/Rob Roy Glacier Tramp

Yesterday, we took the 4.5km  Mount Iron Loop Trail which gives great views of Wonderful Wanaka as a reward for the very steep uphill climb.  We were only walking for a couple of hours, but the elevation gain - up hill consistently for an hour - made it feel like harder work than that.

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Coromandel Coastal Walkway/Rapaura Water Gardens
Coromandel Walkway

Coromandel Coastal Walkway/Rapaura Water Gardens

Yesterday, we made our way down the coast from Orewa to Coromandel, visiting beautiful Rapaura Water Gardens at Tapu en route. Today we embark on a pre-booked tramp along the Coromandel Coastal Walkway with Coromandel Discovery. 

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Homeward Bound – Thank Goodness!
Finland can be really beautiful

Homeward Bound – Thank Goodness!

A 5.30 start was again scheduled – we didn’t go. Good move – bacon was back on the breakfast menu this morning and was still quite hot early on. Temperatures on the vans were -14 this morning and the only bird anyone saw was the red grouse, again. No Snowy Owls then (which was the one bird we had really both been hoping to see).

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Lions – King of the Bush
Shamwari - Lions King of the Bush

Lions – King of the Bush

We were up at 5 to start our morning game drive. What a way to spend your birthday! This morning, we saw black rhino (very rare - this was the first in the open sighting our guide had seen in three years); elephants, giraffes and cheetah - all in one morning! Awesome. This morning had been good, but it got much better on the evening game drive. We spent an hour - just the two of us with three guides - watching lions - King of the Bush. Such a privilege.

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Hike to the Fernery
Dolphin Trail picnic lunch - complete with table cloth!

Hike to the Fernery

We left the comfort of the Misty Mountains Resort and set off on the second day of our hike, through wild garlic, curry plant, pelargoniums, yellow daisies, arum lilies and trees I have never a seen before. We saw: iron wood (heavier than water so it doesn't float); stink wood (used for furniture, and smells when cut) and knot wood - which looked like something from prehistoric times. We passed through banks of pretty coral fern, which is (somewhat unbelievably given its delicacy and the distance) harvested for export to florists mainly in France, Germany and Holland.

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Tsitsikamma – Place of Beautiful Waters
Storms River Suspension Bridge

Tsitsikamma – Place of Beautiful Waters

We met up with our fellow hikers - three couples from Germany who fortunately all spoke very good English. We set off on the day's hike and saw a pod of dolphins almost as soon as we started (video to follow!). We walked across three suspension bridges (for once, I took my eyes off the beautiful ocean and concentrated on putting one wobbly foot in front of the other). Once we had made the crossing, a long, steep ascent followed. It was hot and this part of the hike was the most challenging. We were rewarded by "high tea` which was served in china cups! These had been drive up to the top - our two African guides had carried water etc. For the trip - but obviously not all the tea cups!

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Trip Highlight – Dining at the Chef’s Table on the Sapphire Princess
Chef Antonio with Lobster Margaritas

Trip Highlight – Dining at the Chef’s Table on the Sapphire Princess

Tonight, we were due to meet the chef and maître d' and 8 other passengers for hors d'oeuvres in the galley (kitchen) at 7 to begin an indulgent dining experience.  Dining at the Chef's Table on the Sapphire Princess was one of the big highlights of our trip and a definite "Must Do" if you can secure yourself a place.

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Basking Seals in Glacier Bay
Basking Seals

Basking Seals in Glacier Bay

What left a lasting impression of Glacier Bay for me was the sound of it. You could hear the glacier almost crunching as it creeped icily into the sea. Occasionally, you could hear a sound like a thunderstorm when it calved. You could hear the screams of gulls and seabirds too, which seemed to echo around in the otherwise still air of the icy bay.

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