Hong Kong

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The first decision when heading to Hong Kong is whether you are staying on the island or main land.  We opt for main land, because the hotel rooms are generally slightly bigger and slightly cheaper.  We decided on Butterfly on Pratt due to its easy location, it is on the main land.

First thing to know when  you arrive, is transport.  At the airport head to the information booth and get an Octopus card.  There are ordinary ones which you top up as normal and there are tourist Octopus cards, which include one or two airport line trips and two or three days of travel.  The card its self can be exchanged for 100 dollar deposit on leaving.  We opt for the three day tourist card and it is well worth the money.  The transport system is great, easy to use and very well organised.

We arrive late on our first day and head into Kowloon on the airport train, then make the terrible mistake of thinking that we would be able to walk the short distance from the station rather than try to navigate further trains. Don’t do this.  It is not a good idea!  Eventually we admit defeat and follow the signs to the transfer bus.  This is a free service that runs frequently all days of the week to the big hotels…much better idea.

imag3856-1.jpgWe spend our first morning an a free walking tour (our fav!) of Hong Kong Island.  This is a great tour with lots of interesting information about politics and the current situation in Hong Kong.  I definitely recommend this as a great starting point for your trip.

This same group offer a “jump the cue tour” for the Victoria Peak Tram.  We take advantage of this, and again I would recommend this, simply because it cut about an hour standing in the sun in a line.  The Tram is great, really is something to experience.  We then spend almost two hours walking around Victoria Peak enjoying the views, the countryside and the wildlife.  There are amazing birds of prey and wild pigs rootling around.  This is not what you would expect from Hong Kong…its cool and calm and blissful.

So ends our first foray into Hong Kong.  Bring on the rest of the trip!

More information on the Free Walking Tours

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Waterfalls

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“Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Ding-dong
Hark! now I hear them,—Ding-dong, bell.”

William Shakespeare – The Tempest

Third Stop: Townsville

Our third and final stop in Australia for this trip is Townsville.  It is actually the only Australian stop that we haven’t been to before.

Townsville is in north east Queensland and is humid and tropical.  We have the privilege of arriving after the rain so it is looking lovely and green and postcard worthy.  The old second of town and strand area is particularly pretty and worth a drive or walk around.

We visit the Palmetum is one of the three botanical gardens in Townsville and is lovely, we spend over an hour wandering around.

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Castle Hill is another great spot, head to the top for a great view.  If you are fit, try running or walking the trail path.

However, our most favourite spot (aside from the hammock) is Little Crystal Creek Waterfalls.  It is a located along Mount Spec Road between Mutarnee and Paluma and it is stunning.  Crystal clear water and wonderful landscape.  There are BBQ facilities and picnic tables, bathrooms and so on and next time we are definitely taking a picnic.  It is a great spot and our highlight.

 

Elf’s Tip: If you like curry stop at Aalishan’s Indian Restaurant, the food is really fresh and yummy.

First Stop: Hervey Bay

First stop on our newest adventure is a return to familiar soil…it is Hervey Bay.

Hervey Bay is part of the Fraser Coast of Queensland, about three and half hours drive from Brisbane.  There are buses and the Tilt train, but the easiest option is to drive.

Hervey Bay is famous for Whale watching, I have done this in the past and would highly recommend, however, be aware that the season for this is August – October.  Other things to do are mainly the beach, relaxing, and eating!  Perfect. If you want great fish and chips head to Madagens.

Head over to Fraser Island to experience something unique.  You can catch the ferry of do a tour.  The Lakes are beautiful, the wildlife stunning and it is something you will not see any where else in the world… we skipped this, this time…too many school trips.

We recommend Bean Beat if you fancy a yummy coffee and also try Enzo’s on the Beach for a relaxed lunch.

Preparation

Planing is half the fun…sometimes.

Getting ready for our trip. This time we are organised, we have booked our hotels, our in country flights.  We have booked the car and tickets to events.

We’re making use of our loyalty points and programs.  Even I am impressed with our organisation skills.

Elf tip: We love Hotels.com – you collect nights from stays and these add up to free nights in lots of lovely locations.

 

We’re a month out from our trip so next on the list:

  • Travel insurance
  • Mowgli care arrangments
  • Cash conversions
  • Bug spray investments
  • GP appointment for medications and prescriptions

 

It pays to be ready and prepared.

 

Venom

We’re off to one of my favorite places, The Natural History Museum!  This time we are going to see the new Venom exhibition.

First of all, book tickets, the queue is something else entirely.  The size of it would strike fear in to the heart of even the most dedicated museum lover.  Luckily we have booked tickets, so with rather smug smiles we sidle past the massive line and straight in.

The exhibition, is beautifully put together, with lots of information and specimens as well as real life survival stories.  We spend a wonderfully morbid hour and a half perusing the fangs and barbs of snakes, jellyfish, spiders and all sorts of insects.

Get in before it closes, if you are a member it is free!

click here

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