It was a recent conversation with my son James that has inspired me to write this post. We are having a cup of tea in the garden during the recent British August Bank Holiday weekend, one of the warmest ever recorded in the UK. Our mother-son bonding chat goes towards our love of travelling….. when he hits me with this sentence “I don’t like travelling to popular places”… Me: “Are you serious? What do you mean?” He: “when everyone goes travelling to the same place… it puts me off…” So I argue that popular places are popular for a REASON…usually an amazing land mark, beautiful scenery etc.
Hamilton Island is a little piece of heaven in one of the most beautiful of Australian landscapes …The Whitsundays archipelago, lying just off the coast of Queensland next to the Great Barrier Reef. Its credentials as being in the centre of the action is what puts this gorgeous Island in everyone’s must-visit list.
The island is served by its very own airport, which is small, but perfectly formed. We flew from Brisbane to Hamilton Island on a very small plane, using our Qanta’s “walkabout pass” . The journey was beautiful with views over the Whitsunday Islands and The Great Barrier Reef.
Brian, Yvonne and I boarded the Qantas flight from Perth to Brisbane and after about 5 hours crossing this huge country from West to East we landed in Brisbane, capital of the sunshine state of Queensland, Australia. Cousin Carol (Yvonne’s sister) was waiting at the airport terminal to whisk us to the seaside town of Caloundra, just an hour’s drive away from Brisbane.
We had never met Carol before, but over the following few days we got to know her well since she allowed us a glimpse into her life and entertained us with many stories about their family move to Australia as “ten pound pom” migrants. She is a storyteller with a big personality and a very generous heart, we stayed at her lovely home in Caloundra from Thursday 9th of February to Monday 13th of February.
Brian and I were beyond excited with our three weeks planned trip to Australia, not only because it was a dream trip for us, but also because we were about to reconnect with Brian’s long lost Scottish relatives on a three weeks trip that would take us to Perth, Brisbane, Caloundra, Hamilton Island, Airlie Beach and finally to Sydney.
Bleary eyed after a long flight from London to Perth via Dubai with Qantas Airways, we landed in Perth at an unsociable 2 am local time and we were delighted to come out of arrivals straight into the welcoming arms of lovely Yvonne, who kept herself awake with copious amounts of strong coffee to greet us so warmly on our very first trip Down Under….Welcome to Australia!!!
I relish being a tourist in my own backyard and showing off some of my favourite hangouts to visitors. With my sister and brother-in-law visiting from Brazil, I got a chance to give the newly-wed couple a little dose of Dorset and a quick dash across the border into Wiltshire to visit neolithic Stonehenge.
If you have been following this blog, you know that my sister Angelita and her husband Juliano chose Europe as their honeymoon getaway. On my previous posts I wrote about how my other sister Virginia and I gatecrashed their honeymoon and accompanied them to Paris and Amsterdam. On our return from Continental Europe to England we did not lose anytime to get in my car and drive South from London, minus our sister Virginia who had to go back to work the very next day. We arrived at my home in Dorset in the early evening where my husband Brian had cooked us a nice dinner.
“Built on 11 million wooden poles (houten palen) and more than 100 km of canals”…with open mouths we listened to our tour guide “Michael” enthusiastically informing us of how Amsterdam is a city built on a swamp. We chose to do a free walking tour on our first full day exploring the Dutch capital as a way of getting our bearings. Our guided tour started in front of the National Monument in Dam Square where a group of people quickly gathered around Michael, an American guy with an interesting hat and an orange umbrella with a sign saying “free walking tour”. We spent about 2 hrs following him around and learning a great deal about the history and other titbits about this intriguing city.
So happy our sister Angelita and her groom Juliano chose to come to Europe for their honeymoon, following their recent wedding in Brazil.
We are sisters that love spending time together, but we live many miles apart and therefore we grab every opportunity for a get-together. Although Virginia and I were not surprised that our baby sister chose to visit us in England to kick off her honeymoon, we were delighted ( if with a little trepidation) that she invited us to come to Paris and Amsterdam with them for the next leg of their honeymoon.
Many of our favourite travel bloggers have been raving about the advantages of staying in rented AirBnB properties when travelling for short and also for longer stays, so we felt it was time to check it out for ourselves.
After joining the AirBnB site, giving our details and having few attempts at choosing a good photo of me and hubby (easier said than done, since some were too serious, others were too smiley, or too cheesy…) and scouring available and suitable properties in the town of Seaton, we opted for a hill top property that had good reviews and looked rather old and charming. We sent the owners a request for a one night stay over the weekend of May 7th /8th 2016 and full of trepidation waited for their reply.
We visited the protected Curieuse Marine National Park on an organized day trip from Praslin. We were particularly interested in seeing the giant Aldabra tortoises that roam free around Curieuse Island.
The boat tour was organized via our Resort and a small minivan picked us up at around 9 am from our apartment to take us a mile down the road to a small beach where our tour boat was anchored and waiting for us. Our tour crew consisted of another dozen people from various different resorts around Praslin, our boat Capitan, and one crew. After boarding the boat we were told what our day was going to be like, and all information was given both in French and in English. The boat ride to Curieuse Island from Praslin was a very pleasant ride of only about 20 minutes.
Brian and I were truly wowed by the pristine, unspoiled beauty of the Island of Praslin in the Seychelles, our home for two amazing weeks of relaxing, exploring, swimming, snorkelling, making new friends, fishing and eating delicious food.
There is a reason why these beaches are so pristine and unspoiled; it is quite a trek to get here, we had to take three flights from London since there are no direct flights from the UK. We flew from London to Abu Dhabi with Etihad, and from Abu Dhabi to Mahé, which is the main island, with Air Seychelles and then finally a very small aeroplane with scary little propellers took us from Mahé to Praslin.