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.

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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.

nearly time

Hold on tight we are writing up a storm…lots of new travel and lifestyle articles are on the way! 

Goals

We are looking at the blank slate that is 2018 and making some plans and brainstorming some ideas for the year to come.

We’ve booked in a trip to Australia and to Hong Kong and are raring for that one.  We are making plans for a trip to Wales and possibly back to Edinburgh.

Also on the cards is a British Sign language course or many a French Class.  We are definitely signing up for a cooking course and have an adventure in Covent Garden planned.

But….we are on the look out for inspiration, what should we do?  Where should we go?  What are your favorites?

Making plans is full of excitement!

Trim Castle

Its raining…its been raining…but it is Ireland so we get up and head off into the countryside.  We are heading to Trim Castle via some pretty places on the way.

We stop at Bective Abbey and watch birds dip in and out of its ruins.  It’s stark beauty is strange and desolate.

When we make it to Trim, we park up head for cover in the entrance of the castle.  It is 2 euros if you just want to wander in the grounds, or 5 euros if you want a guided tour of the keep as well.  Pay the 5 euros…it is so worth it.

The rain is really coming down, so I walk the perimeter of the grounds rather swiftly even so it is clear that the castle is very big and intact.  Our guide arrives and we head into the keep.  Our guide is wonderful, she invites us to use our imaginations to see how the castle would have been in the different periods of its existence.

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We work our way up spiral staircases and visit the chapel and walk among the history of the Castle.  Eventually we make our way to the very top and look our on the misty countryside and town of Trim.  I very very much recommend this stop on your tour of Ireland.

You might recognize the Castle from Braveheart! There are lots of photos at the entrance of the transformation for the movie.

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Also another fact…this is the largest Ango-Norman Castle in Ireland.

When we are done at the Castle we head into Drogheda.  Drogheda is one of the oldest towns in Ireland.  St. Peter’s Church is one of the famous sites of Drogheda,  the church is not very ornate inside, however it does have one unusual thing…a severed head.  Yes, a severed and preserved head.  St Oliver’s head to be exact.  The shrine is quite beautiful and the hand written confirmation of the authenticity of the head is very intriguing.

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If you are hungry in Drogheda I definitely recommend The Bare Food Company.  We had scones and coffee and they were so good!

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And that is about it for the Elf in Ireland.

Elf at the Tate

The Tate Britain is an overlooked art gallery that really does deserve more attention. The Tate Britain is home to a whole range of art through time. My favourite section is the School of London, which houses beautiful portraits.

The Tate Britain is a short walk from Pimlico station, although also a lovely walk across the river from Vauxhall. It’s a beautiful building and impressive to behold.

The galleries are laid out in time periods. Follow them around its worth it.

We stopped to spend time enjoying Ophelia by John Everett Millais and Carnation Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent. Two of my absolute favourite paintings.

The Tate Britain is free to get into and also has seasonal exhibitions that cost to get into. It is much quieter that some of the art galleries in London and has a much calmer feel to it. It is a great afternoon out and the cake from the cafeteria looked amazing.

 

Elf on the bus

We love an afternoon tea at house Elf, and this one is a little special…its on a bus.  That’s right afternoon tea on a Routemaster bus.

IMAG3143.jpgThe bus takes you around the big sites of London starting at Victoria Coach Station.  Heading past Big Ben, Harrods, The Royal Albert Hall, around the park and back through Piccadilly to Victoria station.

Elf tip: Make sure you book in advance, you can select the seats and table that you would prefer.  We recommend paying the slightly higher price to sit on the upper deck, it is worth it.

We opt for the 5pm slot and climb on at Victoria Coach Station.  We’re on the upper deck and settle in with the amazing spread in front of us.  The team introduce themselves and take drink orders.  Cold and hot options are available and are served in lid-ed cups which fit into sunken cup holders on the table to prevent spillages.

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And we are off.

It is, slow.  Delicious but slow.

We munch our way though sandwiches of all different kinds.  Yum!

We make it to the Royal Albert Hall and the traffic gets the best of us so the bus makes a u-turn.  Meanwhile we are on to the cake section.  There are mini lemon tarts, mini chocolate muffins and little raspberry topped tarts.  Everything is superb.

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The whole thing is a great experience but:

Elf tip number 2:  Don’t book during peak time, go for the 12:30 slot instead.

The whole afternoon tea is wonderful in any case.  Cake, beautiful London, tea and the sights!

If you fancy booking in click here and always this is not a sponsored article.