“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.


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.

Elf’s 3 things to do Luang Prabang

Our favourite three things to do in Luang Prabang.  In no particular order.

One – Cooking school

This might not be for everyone, but we love taking cooking classes when we travel.  I think it is a great way to explore local ingredients and traditions.  Having read some of the reviews we decided to book in with Tamarind Cooking School.  The group is quite small which is nice, we head off to the main market which is Phousi Market.  It is a complete sensory overload, the smell, the colours, the noise, it is great.  We then drive up into the hills and to a lovely cooking school hidden up in the hills surrounded by streams and ponds, there is beautiful lush forest around us.  We cook five different dishes and lots of sauces to accompany them.  the setting its lovely, we are outside and I especially enjoy love cooking on the outside fires.  The food is delicious, the teaching easy to follow and we even leave with a book of the recipes we have tried out today.

Two – Waterfalls

There are lots of waterfalls to choose from, we visited two Tad Sae which is less touristy and easier if you want to take a dip.  It is so beautiful it’s hard to believe.  We also visited Kwang Si waterfalls, also beautiful, it takes a little bit more of a walk to get to the main falls, but its lovely.  At Kwang Si there is also the bear rescue centre which is wonderful, the bear rescue relies on donations to continue their work and actually receives no money from the entry fee to the waterfalls.  There is a strict modesty etiquette at all the waterfalls, there are changing rooms and bathrooms.


Three – Alms giving ceremony

Every day at dawn the monks from all the temples in Luang Prabang to collect alms.  I take up a quiet spot on a stair to watch.  The devotees start to appear as the sun is rising, they take up positions kneeling on the sides of the roads, they bring offerings, normally of rice although some will offer fruit or other items.  The monks pass in silent single file past the devotees, the monks take the offerings and place this into their metal bowls, this is the food that they will have for the day.  This is a lovely and beautiful spiritual experience.  I find it very moving and feel very privileged to have experienced this ritual.