Tag Archives: holiday

They called it Paradise!


And paradise it is,  even today!

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Norfolk island map

Norfolk Island is about a 2hr flight from either Brisbane or Sydney  and no matter where you are coming from, it is well worth the journey.

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Famous for it’s Norfolk Pine trees, this tiny sub-tropical island is the idyllic place for a holiday.  A peaceful haven to get away to, leaving the hustle and bustle behind.  We spent 2 weeks there and both agreed it wasn’t long enough.  One day we will return to do all the things we didn’t have time for the first time.                   Find accommodation on Norfolk Island

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Original Ford truck still running tours for Pioneer Village

So why is it called paradise?  Well that came from the first settlers and when you go there you can see why.  I think it’s paradise for everything it DOESN’T have!

It’s an island, but doesn’t have any pesky seagulls to steal your food on the beach!  It doesn’t have any poisonous plants or insects.  It doesn’t have any (or at least so little it’s not mentioned) crime – after all where would a criminal run to? And most of all it doesn’t have any flies to annoy you when you’re dining alfresco.

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Country lane where cows have right of way!

What it does offer is picturesque scenery,  fantastic fishing (my husband calls it ‘catching’ not fishing!)  great local produce, safe swimming beaches and the most friendly locals ever!  Getting used to doing the “Norfolk Wave” was quite fun, it’s a subtle one finger raise from the steering wheel as you pass another car!

And talking of cars,  a hire car usually comes included with your accommodation!  That’s because even though it is a small island, only 8kms x 5kms,  it is full of hills and winding roads, a car is really essential.  Just drive slowly to avoid the many roosters and cows that roam free everywhere. (oh yeah, and the pot-holes in the roads!)

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Emily Bay safe swimming inside the reef

Norfolk Island is an external territory of Australia, and was self-governed up until 2016.  It has one pub, mainly for the younger crowd, but has a golf club, a Leagues Club and an RSL club. You’ll find you won’t be allowed to drink alone, the locals like to make everyone feel at home and are really welcoming.  The capital – yes an 8x5km island has a capital,  Kingston,  is quite cosmopolitan with some great restaurants, cafes and bistros with alfresco dining.  Off the beaten track you can also find some nice homely rustic restaurants, little hidden gems.

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The history of Norfolk Island goes right back to the Mutiny on the Bounty which is what brought us there in the first place – read more about that on my other post here.

There is plenty to do on Norfolk Island, like I said,  we left there after two weeks wishing we had more time. Between museums, art gallery, pioneer village, historic buildings, national park walk trails, beautiful swimming beaches, wineries, and oh so much more!

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I could really go on forever raving about Norfolk,  but I’m not going to, you really need to go see and enjoy it for yourself.

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Nice is Nice…


The recent happenings in Manchester and London reminded me of the horrible night in Nice,  when so many people were killed or injured on the Promenade Des Anglais.  Such a sad night for the whole world, something we will never forget,  and it would be remiss of me to do this post without a mention or a thought to all those that suffered that night.

Hearts

Exactly one week before that night, we had been in Nice, and on our last night had been celebrating with thousands of people on the soccer win over Germany.  The streets were alive with locals, tourists, soccer fans, adults and children everywhere.  There were car horns blaring,  fire-crackers,  singing and dancing in the streets.  It was amazing!   We had such a wonderful time because NICE is NICE!

The Promenade Des Anglais is awesome,  running along the beach it’s the perfect place to wander along or sit and people watch,  and as it is covered, there is plenty of shade from the hot south of France sunshine.   We spent every evening doing just that and of course, chatting with the street vendors and performers.

castle hill view nice

Nice has much, much more to offer than just the Promenade, and in our few days there we managed to explore a some of these places.

We were lucky enough to stay at the Mercure Hotel, which is on a corner off the Promenade and so we were able to walk everywhere.  And walk we did!  Right after a wonderful breakfast in the hotel, we would set off each morning in a different direction to see what we could find.            Search Flights to Nice

Our first day was spent wandering around the old town of Nice, with narrow streets, loads of shops,  cafes,  bars and restaurants.  There isn’t much you can’t get in the old town!  It is a really pretty part of Nice and most of the  shops are decorated with hanging baskets outside.  There are numerous artisan bakers, and little places selling all sorts of delicacies like olives, cheeses, pickles, cured meats and local sauces and wines.  It made us a little sorry we weren’t in a self-catering apartment!  Nice Old Town covers quite a large area,  and it’s easy to spend a whole day wandering around, stopping now and then for “une verre de vin” (or two) and of course some lunch!

Flowers Old Town Nice
Flowers for sale, Old Town Nice

My favourite part of the old town was Cours Saleya , known as Marche aux Fleurs  which is a flower and fruit and vegetable market, held every morning.  I have never seen so many flower displays in one place before.

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Vegetable stalls Cours Saleya

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 2 sent us past the Old Town and around to the port where the ferries come in from Corsica,  this walk along the waterfront offers some great views back into Nice.  From there we found ourselves looking up to the cliffs and seeing people walking around, we wondered how to get up there without a car.  (It was a long way up and I certainly wasn’t keen on climbing the hill!).  While standing at the bottom looking at the steps debating shall we/shan’t we? I noticed a little sign and barely visible arrow pointing to “Elevator” Yes! There is a God!  I was going to get to the top and still be able to breath!  And so glad I was,  it would have been such a shame to miss what awaited us at the top.

View over Port in Nice
View over Port in Nice
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Waterfall at Castle Hill, Nice France

The Castle Park (Parc du Chateau) is apparently one of Nice’s top tourist attractions and I can see why, it is beautiful and gives amazing  360 views of Nice. I’m a bit ashamed to say I had never heard of it before we went there!  It isn’t just the views though, it is the gardens, statues, remains of the original chateau and the history that is really interesting. Having been there it is a place I would advise all visitors to Nice to make sure they don’t miss.

Day 3 – Just wandering.  As our second day was so full-on we decided to just wander the nearby streets and so glad we did!  Only a block away in the opposite direction to the Old Town we found a shopping mecca!  All the brand names you could think of,  but with a price tag to match I might add!  There were clothes, shoes, electronics, everything and anything,  and all the genuine article!              Find Hotels in Nice

Of course, once again we managed to find some great little drinking and eating venues, and a place to go back to that evening for dinner.

Seafood Chowder Nice
Seafood Chowder Nice, France

On a narrow side street, a bit away from the crowds, we found a small family run Italian restaurant where Rick had a seafood chowder served in a crusty cob!

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I’ll leave you with this delightful video of the water park….

 

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So, Exactly Where is Mandurah?


It just occurred to me that in my previous post about my town,  I never actually said where “my town, Mandurah” is on the map!

Well Mandurah is a beautiful low-rise city about an hours drive south along the coast from Perth, Western Australia.

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I have lived in Mandurah since 2009, and love every little part of it. From the beautiful grassy foreshore, with its walkways, shady trees and barbecues, to the white sandy beaches ideal for swimming and fishing.

Mandurah is a fantastic holiday destination for families and couples, it has so much to offer, especially with the wonderful sunshine this part of the country enjoys.  One thing I really enjoy is taking friends out on our boat at Christmas, through the canals to see the lights displayed at many of the houses.  The Mandurah Christmas Lights in the canals has gained world recognition and rightly so!  IMG_1461

I’m afraid my photos don’t do the lights justice, they are truly magical and to watch children’s  (and adults too I might add)  faces when they see them is priceless….

Mandurah has always been a holiday town,  and I remember coming here for a “day out” with my sister and her family when I first came to Australia. There has been so many changes over the last 40-odd years, Mandurah has really kept up with the times.  Some may say its progress, others may not!  One good thing is that through all the changes, (I won’t say “improvements”)  Mandurah has managed to keep quite a few heritage sites and has not forgotten it’s days of yore!  Many streets are named after founders of the town and the museum houses some great memorabilia. mandurah-traffic-bridge-boardwalk-east-rcn-d162355689.png Even as I write this, more changes are being made, the new traffic bridge is almost finished, as the old one just cannot cope with the amount of traffic that passes each day. There will be walkways and cycle paths underneath and platforms at either side for fishing.

water  sport

Mandurah  also plays host to many festivites throughout the year,  in March there is the Crabfest where locals and visitors can enjoy loads of activities on the foreshore, watch watersports and shows, partake in cooking classes and demonstrations,  and of course plenty of food and  beer on offer! There is always a well-known band playing in the open air stage and when the sun goes down, the fireworks start!

Many Sunday afternoons throughout summer,  parks play host to outdoor concerts sundownerwhere people come deckchair under arm and picnic basket in hand to sit, relax or get up and dance to live music.  My town – Mandurah I just love it!!

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My Town – Mandurah


There are numerous travel bloggers to be found on the net, but very few write about their home town. And it occurred to me recently just how beautiful my home town is.  Well Mandurah is officially a city but that brings visions of lots of skyscrapers and a busy CBD, which Mandurah doesn’t have, so I like to call it a Town.

 

I am extremely fortunate to live here, 1.5kms from the town centre, an easy stroll along the water’s edge. Whilst on my (I’d like to say daily but that would be a lie!) walk I had the privilege of witnessing a mother dolphin and her calf playing in the Estuary.  This is not uncommon, as there are a couple of dolphin families living in our Estuary, along with pelicans and many other birds. It’s not unusual to sit in our front garden and watch the colourful parrots bathing and feeding, right there in front of us.

Mandurah is a town right on the ocean’s doorstep with magnificent beaches and huge Estuary for boating, crabbing and fishing enthusiasts.   Before we came to live here, we would spend weekends in the marina on our boat.  I always thought it would spoil the “holiday” feeling if we moved here permanently.  How wrong I was!  Mandurah is a holiday town, no two ways about it, and whether you live here or are just visiting, it always has that “holiday” feeling.   It’s just that kind of place.

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So what else can I say about Mandurah?  I never realised how much I take for granted until I started writing this post.  I live and breathe here, yet I have had to stop and really think about what to write – I thought it would just flow out!  But then maybe that’s because there is so much going on here, which bits do I include?  The restaurant scene? The arts scene?  The festivals? The watersports?  The spectacular sunsets?

Have you visited Mandurah as a tourist?  What did you like most about it?  Were we a friendly lot?  Would love to get your feedback on my town.  Do you want to know more about Mandurah – you ask and I’ll post it!

Perhaps just some images in this post and more details in more posts…………….. stay tuned!!

 

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