Iceland Tales- Why you need to go to Þingvellir National Park

If you are planning a trip to Iceland and need to know what to see and do then here is why you need to put Þingvellir (Thingvellir) firmly at the top of your list!

With the snow-capped hills, waterfalls, plains, rugged terrain from when time began and the largest natural lake it is a truly spectacular place. It probably sounds a little wanky but you can actually feel that it holds significant importance to Iceland and its people.

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#viewgoals

I don’t know how many more superlatives I can use when talking of Iceland but visiting Thingvellir and seeing the beauty and grandeur of the area really is something else!

Its name comes from the old Norse words Ping (assembly) and vollr (field). I’m almost embarrassed to say I didn’t know much about Thingvellir before went but i soon learnt it is more than just an important historical landmark it’s also where you can LITERALLY walk between a continental drift. Which coincidentally is also a GOT filming location. Two birds one stone.

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The National Park contains the site of the first parliament of Iceland dating back to 930. It was where the clans would meet, settle disputes and decide upon the laws that would drive the country forward. It became a national park in 1930 and this was largely to protect the ancient assembly site and to protect the natural land. There are several information boards up around the main assembly site explaining the history behind where you are standing.

If all that history wasn’t enough then there is the chance to see with your own eyes what a continental rift looks like. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is where the Eurasian and North American plates meet and the land between them subsides.  On average each year they drift 2 cms a year apart.  You can see, walk or even scuba dive along it!

The best place to do this is in Silfra Lake where you can dive between the tectonic plates. We didn’t get a chance to do this but it’s on the list for next time.

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The clearest water

If camping and hiking are more your thing then you are in luck and camping – There are facilities for this and It would be an AMAZING place to see the Northern Lights. There are two campsites and from what we found out you don’t need to reserve but you do need to obtain a permit from the visitor centre and there is a cost per person. Children under 17 are free though. If you just want to hike then there is plenty of routes to take you around the park including the remains of the historic abandoned farms of Hrauntun and Skogarkot.

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Oxarafoss Waterfall

Obviously, there has to be a waterfall, it is Iceland after all, and you can find the beautiful Oxarafoss Waterfall for yet another postcard-perfect waterfall photo. The good thing is you don’t need to hike to far to see this one as it is fairly close to one of the car parks.

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Þingvallakirkja
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Þingvallakirkja

There is a very quaint 19th-century church close to the assembly site which you should walk around. This church was built in 1859 but Christianity was introduced to Iceland prior to 1000 which at the time split people’s religious beliefs from paganism and Christianity. At the time to stop chaos the Lawspeaker declared that Icelanders should take up Christianity but if there were pagan they should practise this in private. There has been a church at Thingvellir soon after the decision was made. The church is open 9-5 daily from May/June to early September. We didn’t get to go inside but you can have a good peek in the windows and it’s beautiful to look at both inside and out.

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Continental Drift. You may also have seen this in GoT

If you are a big fan of Game of Thrones you will be aware there are many filming locations dotted around Iceland. Thingvellir was also used as a filming location with 4 scenes featuring in the show. The Wildlings Camp, the path leading to Eyrie, Brian and the Hounds battle scenes, as well as Arya’s and Sandors journey, all were shot here.

Thingvellir is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is located on Golden Circle route of Iceland, just 40ks northeast of Reykjavík. You can easily self-drive through the park just keep an eye on the weather or most Golden Circle Tours will include a visit within their itinerary.

As with most natural wonders in Iceland, it is free to visit and explore just be aware of the parking fees and if you need the loo it will cost you so have some change to hand. You may also need to check the seasonal hours as with the reduced daylight in winter certain areas may be inaccessible.

A trip to Iceland really wouldn’t be complete without visiting this stunning atmospheric place, that just epitomizes Iceland and its history.

For more ideas on what to do in Iceland check out our post on the Lava Tunnel and 38 Photos of Iceland

You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, check us out and if you like what you see please do give us a follow.

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planning a trip to Iceland and need to know what to see and do then here is why you need to put Thingvellir National Park at the top of that list! Post by thewanderingdarlings

Iceland Tales- The Lava Tunnel

Looking for a unique experience close to Reykjavik to see to the inner workings of a volcanic eruption? Then this is the tour of The Lava Tunnel is for you!

Have you ever been inside a lava tunnel?

To be honest, before I went to Iceland I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a lava tunnel. I always thought the lava burst up out of the ground and not flow underground like a huge fire breathing river. The things you can learn whilst you are travelling!

There are so many geological experiences to enjoy in Iceland and I must say this was one of my favourite activities that we did whilst we were there. Actually walking where lava once flowed! Not many people can say they have done that!

We came across the Lava Tunnel a little by accident (or luck you may say) and even luckier still got there with a minute to spare before the next tour. We thought we might just get to see an opening of the tunnel but no we quickly discovered they did two tours. One standard and one extreme. We opted for the standard as it was an hour tour and touted that it was easy walking. The Extreme tour is 5 to 6 hours long and for the more adventurous and go further into the tunnel. Maybe one for the next trip.

The tunnel is 1.4k meters long and was formed due to the path of the lava from the Leitahraun eruption over 5,000 years ago. This lava tunnel is considered one of the longest lava tubes in Europe. They have restored it well especially as it was only opened officially in Summer 2017. Initially, you could make your own way in however over time it was becoming more unstable and ended up being a bit of dumping ground with lots of rubbish being left in the tunnel. It was then strengthened with footbridges and lights and added knowledgeable guides that can talk you through the history of the tunnel. We had a really insightful guide who gave us so much information about the rock formations, how you can see what temperature the lava got to in places and also answered lots of questions about the geological makeup of Iceland and just Iceland in general.

At the beginning of the tunnel, there are skylights where the cave has collapsed had let the snow in so formed huge big snow dunes. They allow the light to shine in and show just how expansive the tunnel is. Leading into the chamber you are also treated to a huge display of Icicles. There were so many and they were the tallest I had ever seen. We were told that in winter they are even taller and larger. They looked so magical and it just shows even further that Iceland really is the land of fire and ice.

At the end of the standard tour, there is a part of the tunnel where they turn off the lights and you can see how dark it is as there is no light from anywhere coming in. It really plays with your eyes. You truly feel underground and so close to the centre of the earth. It’s an unnerving experience in a way as it’s not often we ever get to experience true darkness.

The Lava Tunnel is located 30 mins from Reykjavik and is open from 10 am – 5 pm daily all year round. With your ticket for the standard tour, you get free hire of a helmet and helmet light. It does get chilly in there so make sure you are dressed warmly and definitely have sturdy footwear (it can be a little slippy in places). As with anything in Iceland, it’s not cheap but it is worth the expense for a truly interesting experience. The standard tour without transport is 6,400 ISK per person (as of June 2018) with the Extreme tour it is 19.900 ISK per person.

To see more about this tour or to book click here or for more inspiration on what see and do in Iceland click here

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38 photos that will make you want to visit Iceland, like right now!

Iceland had long been on my bucket list and I can hand on heart say that it MASSIVELY over delivered on all my expectations. The varied landscapes, the people, that lava fields, the waterfalls, the geothermal activity, the ruggedness, the midnight sun, the black sand beaches and just the absolute magic of the place. It was seriously like visiting another world or a secret land that’s been lost in time.

It is the perfect destination for all types of travellers, from the adventurers to the road trippers, to the science and history lovers, to the luxury travellers. It has something for everyone and if you didn’t leave in awe then you need to get your eyes checked.

Iceland literally rose up from the ocean and is still forming. There is even an island which recently rose up that no one apart from scientist can visit. It’s a geological hotspot sitting on the cusp of two continents. Because of this, there are more volcanoes than anywhere else and earthquakes are a daily occurrence although not that you would notice. There are so many reminders of the intricate nature of the island with snow-capped volcanoes, glistening glaciers, towering waterfalls, lava tubes, thermal pools, geysers, black sand(!), green mossy lava fields, commanding mountains and rugged basalt coastlines. It just shows that it is an island like no other and certainly very different to the dry paddocks of Australia and the green fields of England that I am used to.

Tourism is a big contributor to the Icelandic economy with over 1.1 million visitors annually(over double the population). Even with that many people visiting you can still feel the untouched elegance of the country. It’s got a rawness that even though you know so many others have been there before you that your almost the first ones to discover it. There will be some sites that are full of other tourists but it never feels too overcrowded. Maybe it’s because everything is so big and vast or maybe it’s because Iceland is still in its tourism boom. I often wondered what it would be like in ten years time and can it still retain its natural charm with even more tourists. We shall just have to see but I really hope so. Iceland is a country everyone should have the opportunity to see.

There will be lots of posts coming soon so keep your eyes peeled but for now here are 38 photos that will make you want to get online and book up your visit. Even looking at these photos I am just not sure they still give Iceland the justice it deserves!

pretty bike in reykjavik - 38 photos to visit Iceland from The Wandering Darlings
Cute find in Reykjavik
Þingvellir waterfall long exposure - 38 photos of iceland from the Wandering darlings
Waterfall in Þingvellir
Church in Reykholt - 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Church in Reykholt
Icelandic Horses from travelling to Iceland
Icelandic Horses
Grass Hut in Þingvellir National Park - 38 Photos to visit Iceland from the wandering darlings
Grass Hut in Þingvellir National Park
Rainbows at Skógafoss long exposure - 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Rainbows at Skógafoss
World famous Reynisfjara with its black sandy beach- 38 photos of iceland from the wandering darlings
World famous Reynisfjara with its black sandy beach
Sólheimajökull- 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings. Humbling landscapes
Such humbling landscapes about to walk over the verge to witness Sólheimajökull in all its glory
Sólheimajökull - 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Sólheimajökull – I could look at this view for hours
Skógafoss waterfall iceland - 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
You always just feel so small in Iceland.  Can you see the person in front of Skógafoss?
The Blue Lagoon Iceland - 38 photos to visit Iceland from The Wandering Darlings
The Blue Lagoon
Blue water, white silica and black volcanic rock at The Blue Lagoon. 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Blue water, white silica and black volcanic rock at The Blue Lagoon
mossy lava fields , 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Mossy lava fields
lava tunnel Raufarhólshellir, 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Lava tunnel Raufarhólshellir
Nature creates the most amazing patterns especially at Reynisfjara, 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Nature creates the most amazing patterns especially at Reynisfjara
Kleifarvatn Lake
Skógafoss on top of waterfall. 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
When visiting Skógafoss make sure you walk up to the top of the waterfall and follow the path for views like this!
Black and white Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik. Photos to visit Iceland from The Wandering Darlings
Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik
Moody lakes and black stones beaches at Kleifarvatn
The colours are out of this world.. Overlooking Reynisfjara
The colours are out of this world.. Overlooking Reynisfjara
View in Þingvellir National Park- 38 photos to visit iceland from the Wandering darlings
Þingvellir National Park
 Seljalandsfoss  38 photos to make you visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Seljalandsfoss
Wide open spaces
Different view of Hallgrimskirkja
Different view of Hallgrimskirkja
Views like this around every corner of iceland. visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Views like this around every corner
The Queen of all Waterfalls- Gullfoss. 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
The Queen of all Waterfalls- Gullfoss
Þingvellir - A GOT filiming location 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Þingvellir – A GOT filiming location
open road in iceland. 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Iceland is made for road trips
Muted tones at Kleifarvatn
Sulfur smells at Seltun.
Sulfur smells at Seltun
Behind Seljalandsfoss looking through the waterfall , 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Behind Seljalandsfoss looking through the waterfall
Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss
Eyjafjallajökull
This bad boy Eyjafjallajökull ruined so many holidays in 2010 but just looks like butter wouldn’t melt here
Geysir Iceland. 38 photos to visit iceland from the wandering darlings
Geysir
Þingvellir National Park
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Borgarnes
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Street Art in Reykjavik
Dressing as a Viking saga centre in Reykjavik. Photos to make you want to visit Iceland.
You can even dress like a Viking at the Saga Centre in Reykjavik

 

We’ll have more posts coming soon about Iceland and the places featured above so please do check back.

The wonderful Deb’s World has also blogged about our time in Iceland here

You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, check us out and if you like what you see please do give us a follow.

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Where in the World Wednesday- Stockhill Woods

Where the wild things are

I’ve only recently discovered this area which considering its only 20 minutes down the road from where I have lived for 11 years is pretty bad form on my part.

Stockhill Woods is located in the Mendip Hills just outside of the village Priddy and city of Wells and is a great place to explore if you want to get out and enjoy the natural landscape. It reminds me of a pine forest we have behind our property in Australia and as soon as we got into the tree line I automatically felt transported home.

The Mendip Hills can be found in Somerset in England and and have been named as an Area of Outstanding Beauty. THis is largely due to the stunning landscapes that you can find with the gorges, limestone outcrops, hilltops, lakes and and the grasslands that make up this beautiful area.

Stockhill Wood fits within this description and even more so when you learn of its past. This is what happens when an industrial wasteland becomes an area of outstanding natural beauty.

All over the Mendip Hills there is remnants of the 200 years of Lead mining that went on in the past. Over the years with every new technology advancement the mining took on a different shaped and in turn has shaped the landscape to what you see today. The rises, gullies and trenches haven’t just happened as nature intended they were set in motion by our forefathers looking to industrialise the nation.

It really is so hard to imagine what it was in the past, when what’s been left is a mystical and picturesque landscape. You feel like fairies should be buzzing around or that Snow White and the seven dwarfs will go marching by. The sun streaming through the canopy, birds singing, and hidden delights on what you will discover with the next step. It’s a very peaceful place and whilst every time I’ve been there has been a car park full of cars I’ve only ever bumped into a handful of people walking the trails.

There are soft trails meandering through the trees or dirt tracks if you want something more solid to walk or cycle on. It does have a sign saying no horses but dogs and bikes are certainly allowed. Just make sure you pick up any dog mess. No one wants to step in that!

There is a large car park and picnic area perfect for a  sarnie and drink after your walk. It is an easy walk but if you go on the soft trails you will need to go steady. Definitely make sure you’ve got wellies or boots on as it can get pretty muddy.

You may have seen on our Instagram that we’ve recently added to our fur family with a sweet and lively little pooch called Ozzy. With this it has meant that we have a whole new type of adventuring and if these are the types of places we can start discovering I can’t ruddy wait to find more!!

You can find other great pleaces to explore in Somerset here

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Take a walk through the South Bank, Brisbane

One of my favourite things to do in Brisbane (apart from visiting my sister obvs) is to spend the day down at the South Bank Parklands.

Located on the southern banks of the Brisbane River you can find this urban paradise. This vibrant area actually used to be the site of the Brisbane’s ‘88 World Expo. The new site opened in 1992 and has been a popular destination in Brisbane for tourists and locals alike. It’s often referred to as the cultural heart of the city and is the perfect play area within the city for all ages.

If you want to wander along the river, swim, watch a show, take in some art, sunbathe on the golden sand, sit in the park, walk amongst the Bougainvilleas, shop in the markets or just sit in a bar/restaurant and people watch the world away, then this is the place for you. It’s a completely pedestrian area and somehow just magically transforms you away from being in a busy capital city to an oasis.

There is plenty to see and do and something for everyone and all ages. If you want to eat and drink then there’s so many bars and restaurants to choose from with all sorts of cuisines. Being in Queensland and that its usually ‘beautiful one, perfect the next’ they all have outdoor areas to sit and enjoy your lunch in the sun.

If you fancy a bit of shopping you can find the South Bank Markets every weekend and also the night markets on a Friday night. We’ve been there for the weekend markets and found so many amazing items. I’ve always wanted to visit the night markets but we’ve not quite got there yet for those. Defo on the list for next time. There is also a whole host of other events so do check out their website for ideas and dates.

If sitting around and shopping isn’t your thing then you can talk a stroll along the river’s edge overlooking the city or you can do the South Bank Walkway and walk under the 1 km of bougainvillaea. It’s gorgeous colour just illuminates and really is the prettiest of sights. There are lush green parks with tropical plants and to wander around.

You can even get up high in the sky with the Wheel of Brisbane. I think it might be sponsored by 7.Mainly due to the 7 logo right in the centre. I’ve not been on this but I can imagine it would give some amazing views of the South Bank Parklands, the Brisbane River the City skyline.

Being considered the cultural heart of Brisbane It ozzes culture. With The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, The Queensland Performing Art Centre, The Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, The Queensland Maritime Museum and the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre all in the area there is plenty of places to get your cultural fix.

But as with many people, the absolute cherry on the top of this stunning parkland is the swimming facilities! There are three different areas including the Streets Beach, Water Play Park and the Boat Pool. All are free to use, patrolled by lifeguards and open all year round. Whilst they do get pretty busy especially in the summer months you can always find a spot on the sand (yes they even have real sand!) or in the crystal blue water to unwind. I’ve heard that the sand is brought in from the nearby Moreton Bay and that there is enough water to fill FIVE Olympic size pools.

It really is a great place for everyone living and visiting Brisbane and if we haven’t sold you on visiting already then takes a walk through the South Bank below….

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What is the one thing you wouldn’t travel without?

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I am an over-packer. Fact!

So when I think about the question ‘What is the one thing you wouldn’t travel without?’ it makes me shiver. Only one thing surely there is at least 10 things that you have to have, like 5 pairs of jeans for a three-day trip just in case you need them all. Seriously!

Planning for a trip usually consists of the logistics and not always what your taking and I guess more importantly why are you taking it. There has been many a trip when I ‘ve looked in my bag and just thought why on earth did I bring that but then there are other items which I know I always need and they are the first things I pack.

Imagine turning up at the airport with no luggage and just one thing (i shudder at the thought) but what would that one thing be?

It’s a question we ask as part of our Globetrotters Series and I have been thinking about this question and what my own answer would be. Obviously passport, toothbrush and wallet are a given and it would be a pretty boring post if that’s what all the answers were so we’ve collated some of the previous answers and also added in some other bloggers who had other great suggestions. And as for me what would be the one thing I wouldn’t travel without, well you’ll just have to read on…

Camera- The Pamplemousse Papers

I would have a really hard time not having my camera with me, however, sometimes I think I should force myself to go without it here and there! I often worry I’m not as present in the moment as I could be if I were less focused on gathering a collection of images.

Go ProThe Wander of Two

We invested in one of these last year and now we honestly don’t know what we would do without it. It comes on every trip with us and is so easy to use.

Headphones-Her Favourite Food

Travelling can inevitably involve long waits, long journey and essentially a lot of time to fill. That’s why I always need my headphones on me and easily accessible too (remember not to pack them away in the check-in luggage!). Whether it’s on the plane, bus, terminal or even just in a cafe waiting for my next mode of transport, headphones are the ideal accessory to ensure that you can never get too bored! I use them to relax to my favourite music, watch a movie or box set I’ve recently downloaded or caught up with loved ones – headphones make this all possible!

Book-Wanderlusting Hippie

There is a book that I always try to have 2 copies of at any given time. It’s called, “Many Lives, Many Masters” and it’s a book that is very meaningful to me. I love to give away my extra copy when I inevitably run into the person who needs to read it.

A Person-Its All Bee

I have grown rather fond of not wanting to experience places without my fiancé. So…I guess it’s not a thing but rather a someone I wouldn’t want to travel without.

Kindle Adventures In Middle Aged Travel

I read a lot. A. Lot.

And I read fast, so I generally end up reading several books a week. This can be expensive, but it’s an expense I choose to live with. Problem is if I have several books on the go, and I’m going away for a week, am I going to use up valuable packing space with bulky books? Nope.

I bought my first e-reader (a Kindle) back in 2012 and I don’t think I’ve read a paper book since, even though I never thought I would be an e-reader aficionado. A lot of the time I use the Kindle app on my iPad, but for travelling, I use the actual e-reader. Compact, able to hold thousands of books, and with a battery life of weeks, it’s the perfect travel companion for a book lover.

The only drawback is that I can’t read in the bath.

Phone/Google Maps –Sarah + Laura

My phone, but more for camera and map purposes (I appreciate that Google Maps allows you to see where you are on a map without using WIFi or data – super useful when trying to find which direction you need to go.

Power BankGerman Backpacker

The one thing I never travel without is my power bank – mostly, I have at least two with me! The worst thing that can happen to me is running out of battery on my phone when solo traveling, I’d feel completely lost without google maps, whatsapp and emails. Additionally, I can also use it to charge my camera or my action cam if needed. Especially when backpacking in off-the-path countries, there might not always be (working) plugs available in restaurants or even in hostels and since I’m traveling a lot by myself, I need to be organized and have my devices available. I have one smaller power bank which conveniently fits into my pocket, and also a bigger one (with more charging capability) which is great for e.g. multiple day treks and camping without electricity.

I highly recommend getting one for your next trip!

Eye mask & Earplugs – Well Traveled Nebraskan

Whether I’m staying at hostel or a 5 star hotel or regardless of if I have a long haul flight or just a short domestic hop, I never go on a trip without my eye mask and earplugs.

It doesn’t matter if it’s my husband’s snoring or the very thin walls of the hotel that weren’t in the reviews, it seems as though you just can’t go wrong with having a cheap pair of earplugs tucked into your bag. They take up NO room and can save you an entire night’s worth of sleep.

Likewise on an eye mask Especially when traveling internationally your internal clock can be all sorts of out of whack. I love having an eye mask in my bag to help me get to sleep at oddball times to help me get into the right time zone.

I’m all about traveling light and efficient while still having all the “necessities.” Whether I’m staying across town or the world, two things I don’t travel without are my earplugs and eye mask!

Scarf- The Wandering Darlings

I love a scarf. I have over 300 (hoarder) and even if I am travelling to a hot country I will always take a scarf with me. It can literally be used for everything. Pillow, sarong, covering up when visiting temples and churches, blanket, shawl, privacy if changing on the beach, a fashion accessory to change up that tired outfit you’ve been wearing for the whole trip, picnic blanket to sit on and then most importantly it can keep your neck warm.

After reading these answers,  we are curious and would love for you to share below … what is the one thing you wouldn’t travel without?

If you would like to read more from our Globetrotter series then click here and even better if you’d like to be involved then send us an email at thewanderingdarlings@gmail.com

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Derby, Tasmania- Rejuvenating a town

We often hear of bloggers rebranding, people reinventing themselves and businesses rejuvenating with a complete change of priorities and/or focus.

So it makes sense that an entire town can also rejuvenate itself by changing direction and coming alive again.

On a recent trip to Tasmania, we experienced a town that did just that. Derby, (pronounced Dur-Bee, not Dar-bee) in North Eastern Tasmania, is just one town that has been revitalised.

And how have they done this?

With mountain bikes!

Derby was once a thriving town. When tin was discovered in the mid-1870s the town was booming with mines, businesses, people and activity. We found it to be a pretty little town, alongside the Ringarooma River but it has obviously seen better days. It’s surrounded by hills, forest and the Blue Tier Forest Reserve. There are accommodation, cafes and bike businesses catering to the influx of visitors and the town is starting to thrive once again.

Derby is just over 100km from Launceston and is now a popular area for mountain bike riders. All of Tasmania is actually getting a name for being a mecca for mountain bike riders. As well as Rail Trails, the provision of mountain bike trails moves the whole island way ahead of other states of Australia.

In 2015 a network of mountain bike trails was opened in the hills around Derby, called Blue Derby. It has reinvigorated the whole town, and region, with property prices doubling and houses becoming a high-end commodity. They now have businesses catering for all levels of riders and vehicles that can take you and your bike to the top of one of the big descents and then it’s up to you to ride down.

The trails are called Atlas, Black Dragon, Big Chook and Blue Tier descent – just to name a few. I’m afraid I’m not very brave but I did enjoy my meander alongside the river.

We took our bikes with us on the car ferry from Melbourne and rode them in most places we visited during our two week holiday. Although not into mountain biking myself I gave one of the beginner trails a go in Derby and was impressed with the work that has gone into the area. The Mathematician, unfortunately, didn’t have his mountain bike with him, but still had a good ride on one of the more difficult tracks and loved it. There were carloads of people stopping and unloading bikes all the time we were there and this was in a non-holiday time and mid-week.

As well as beautiful forests, bush walks and landscapes the area also has some beautiful waterfalls nearby. We visited St Columba Falls, Lilydale Falls and Halls Falls – these are all quite close to the town of Pyengana.

St Columba Falls is 90 metres high with a huge volume of water tumbling down over the granite rocks. The helpful signs told us that 42000 litres of water every minute go over the falls and in winter this increases to over 200000 litres of water. This water then flows into the sea at St Helens in Georges Bay. Most of the falls had easy walking tracks from the car park to viewing areas and the walk was always well worthwhile! The walks through rainforest, passing by ancient trees and under the cool green canopy were just beautiful and a highlight of our trip.

For more information on this lovely area

RideBlueDerby.com.au
DiscoverTasmania.com.au

This post was kindly written by a lovely Wandering Darling- Debbie from Deb’s World   Check out her blog and social media channels with the links below for more great travel, lifestyle and midlife posts.

Author Biography

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Debbie is not only a guest blogger but she is also my Mum! A keen blogger and traveller, she along with my dad have been taking my sisters and I on adventures since we were little girls. She has lived abroad, travelled to too many countries to mention and never once sits still. Always planning and thinking of the next great adventure. From treking in Nepal, hosting Rotarty Exchange Students, Riding rail trails,  Barging and cycling through Croatia, walking the Kokoda Trail or just coming to visit little old me on the otherside of the world they make the most of their life and show that you just need to get out there to explore.

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The Best View in NYC- Top of the Rock

For someone slightly afraid of heights I do love to see a city from above and New York is one city that you’ve not really seen till you’ve got up high.

On my first trip to NYC I went up the Empire State Building (which was amazing) but on a recent trip, I’d heard a lot about Top of the Rock and I wasn’t leaving till I had gone up there to see what all the hype was about.

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Opened in 2005 the Top of the Rock is an observation area literally on top of the Rockefeller Centre. The observation area is across 3 floor 67th, 69th and 70th (no idea what’s on the 68th!). You can visit every day of the year and the usual opening times are 8 am to Midnight with the last elevator going up at 11 pm but do check the website just to make sure. I visited at lunchtime but I’ve heard and seen amazing photos during the golden hour, sunset and in the evening with the city lights shining brightly. New York is one of those cities that you know is pretty darn special but once you get up top and look out across it you have a whole new appreciation for it. I could have had hours up there taking in the views and filling my memory card with pictures.

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On the 67th and 69th floor there are big panes of glass for protection and to stop the wind but if you take the stairs to the 70th floor you get a sweeping unobstructed 360 view of the city. You can see Central Park, the streets of midtown, Chrysler building,  Statue of liberty in the distance and the best is that you get a view of new york with the Empire State Building standing tall and strong in the foreground. Even on a cloudy grey day, it was the most beautiful view. You should note that is you are visiting during the Christmas holidays sadly you can’t see the ice skating and Christmas tree from up top but you can spend some time taking in the festive spirit once you’ve come back down to street level.

It’s a popular attraction for millions of visitors every year. It’s also a popular place for engagements and wedding photos. We were lucky enough to see a couple up there having some pretty spectacular wedding photos. Who wouldn’t want the NYC skyline in their wedding album! The tickets run on a timed system so you need to book for a certain time however once you are up there you can stay as long or as little as you want. I’d recommend at least an hour.  We booked online and you can do that or at the box office with several different options for tickets availabl. Do check out their website but a standard adult ticket is $36 which is brilliant value for an almost priceless view.

The main entrance is on 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue. You can’t miss it there is a big red carpet out the front and likely a queue of people. The queue does move fairly quickly and be ready for security checks when you get inside.

We visited late December and even with the foggy and grey skies, it’s still so beautiful…

Central Park is there under the clouds I promise

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I’d seen this shot on Instagram so obvs had to copy

Looking for other things to do in NYC then check out our post on The High Line and The Brooklyn Bridge.

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The best view of NYC from Top of the Rock on The Wandering Darlings

10 Photos in London

Welcome to our new series, 10 Photos in…

To kick off our first destination we are heading to London. There are probably over a million photos taken of London every week (or even day!) but we have 10 photos from bloggers and Instagrammers who want to share the best places, different views, a new side to popular landmarks and their favourite photos of this wonderful city.

As a lover of photography and travel one of the first things I do when I’m going somewhere new is google images, peruse Pinterest and stalk every possible hashtag or location tag I can on Instagram. I want to know where to go and what looks great.

With this series hopefully, you’ll get photographic inspiration, learn about some new places and meet some new bloggers.

This is London

Ezra Street,  By Meandering WildLondon takes on a magical feel at night and even more so when you explore the back streets and alleyways that are still lit by gaslights.  Columbia Road in Bethnal Green is well known for it Flower Market. On most Sundays, a longstanding market, which attracts flower buyers from across London fills the street with colour and fragrance.  Halfway along Columbia Road is The Royal Oak, a public-house rebuilt in 1923 sitting on the corner of Ezra Street.

This little street is still cobbled and holds a magical charm all of its own. Sometimes forgotten by its larger and bolder Columbia Road neighbour this street can compete with many of London’s more famous locations.   Walking onto Ezra Street is like being transported back in time. The cobbles remain and the shops keep their 1930’s feel with a solitary lamp lighting the street. During the day this is a busy café with chairs and bustle but at night when no one is around you can easily imagine London from the Victorian era and beyond. It may seem familiar and that is because it has been used extensively for wartime and 1950’s movies.  Most notably ‘The Kray’s’ and Guy Ritchie’s ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ as well as being the pub in the TV series ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’.

It may be a small corner of London but it gives an insight into the old and ‘normal’ London that millions of people once knew.

You can find Meandering Wild  on Facebook here 

The British Museum, By Two Traveling Texans

I chose this picture of the new British Museum roof to share because it is a perfect example of one of the things that I love about London – the mix of the old and the new.  The British Museum was built in 1852 (it has been expanded several times since) and the new roof was added in 2000.

There are so many new buildings going up in London now and I love that they all have fun nicknames.  Some of my favourites are the Walkie-Talkie, the Shard, and the Gerkin. The new buildings are in stark contrast to the older buildings like the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul’s, yet to me, they compliment each other.

The British Museum should be on your list to see in London.  They have a vast collection of historical pieces there are impressive.  You won’t want to miss seeing the Rosetta Stone, artefacts from Ancient Greece and Egypt, the treasures from Sutton Hoo, and much more.  If possible I would recommend allowing at least 3 hours for your visit. You won’t be able to see everything but you should be able to cover the highlights. Just like many other museums in London, admission to the British Museum is free.

The Elizabeth Tower & Westminster Bridge, By Travel Stories and ImagesThis is one of my favourite photos of my brief visit to London a few years ago. I chose it because it’s so iconic. The Elizabeth Tower (commonly, but incorrectly, referred to as Big Ben) is arguably the most recognizable symbol of London and represents the heart of the country’s tradition and its government.

The photo also captures Westminster Bridge, which is the primary thoroughfare between the Westminster and Lambeth districts of London. While it’s an important route through the city, it also holds more sombre significance for Londoners: it was the site of a terrorist attack in early 2017 that killed four and injured 50. Memories of this attack will not soon be forgotten.

The photo is a long exposure, meaning that my shutter was open for several seconds. This is why both the water of the Thames and the clouds above the Tower and Parliament buildings appear so smooth. I also chose to render the final version in black and white. This gives the photo more of an antique, timeless look that, to me, echoes the fact that London is a timeless city – always growing and changing, but ever rooted in thousands of years of rich history and culture.

You can find Travel Stories and Images on Pinterest here

London Cobbled Streets and Pretty Houses, by The Glittering Unknown

Though my address may say Paris, my first city love was London. At fourteen upon my first visit, I decided I would one day live there, and consequently, I love the looks of all the different residences around the city. London is beautiful because it’s so different and diverse- the people, the mix of cultures, the architecture.

I love wandering through each quiet little nook I find, relishing the fact that it’s possible to find a calm spot in such a huge city. These mews streets always have the cutest details, from the bikes out front to the picnic tables to the vines snaking over the multi coloured facades. It’s so easy to become wrapped up in a picturesque moment and forget that there are real people who dwell behind those doors until the red-jacket-clad postman comes rolling down the cobblestones and into your photo. To tell the truth, I’m not sure if I’d love or hate to live in one of these houses given how popular they are with photographers! But they are a good reminder that behind every picture-perfect facade lies something raw and real, which I think is a notion that encapsulates London as a whole- beautiful, gritty, and always something new to discover.

You can find The Glittering Unknown on Instagram here

Skygarden, By Travel Hacker Girl

Skygarden is my favourite place in London. Whenever I have friends or family in the city I make sure to take them there. I have visited Skygarden 5 times and each of my visits has been different. You can get a great view of London and the best part is it is all free. However, you need to book tickets ahead on their website. Tickets are released every Monday and you need to book about 2-3 weeks ahead. One of the most special visits was when I witnessed a rainbow above London. It is also a good idea to plan your visit to watch the sunset. This was really great because we got to see the city with the lights on after darkness as well. Skygarden is not just famous for its stunning 360-degree views over London, but also of its lovely garden that is located on the top floor. You can see many different plants. You can also find a restaurant as well.

You will need to book ahead if you want to dine there. I am sure it is a great experience to enjoy your meal with such amazing view. Another option is to have a little nibble or a hot drink in the cafe that is also located on the top floor.

Find Travel Hacker Girl on Instagram here

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St Pauls Cathedral, By The Wandering Darlings

St Paul’s Cathedral is one of my favourite places in London. It’s just such a commanding building and just being in its presence you can feel its greatness. The delicate detailing of the interior, the huge dome, the history that lies in every brick it really is a must visit on any trip to London. On a recent trip, we climbed to the very top to see the views of the city. If you are visiting I would recommend you do this, London should be viewed from above as much as possible.

You can find The Wandering Darlings on Instagram here

Queen’s Guard By My Suitcase Journeys

Find My Suitcase Journeys on Instagram here

Greenwich, By Where Jo Goes

Greenwich, London, is famous for being the home of Greenwich Mean Time and the prime meridian. This unique claim to fame is explored in detail at the Greenwich Observatory where you can find out how timekeeping here changed the world.  Stand with one foot each in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres!

But Greenwich is so much more than the birthplace of GMT.  A world heritage centre, it is home to three more royal museums. The National Maritime Museum houses such historic treasures as the coat Nelson wore when he was fatally wounded, cannon balls from the Battle of Trafalgar and artefacts from hundreds of years of Britain’s maritime history.  Head to the Cutty Sark to find out why this tea clipper was the fastest ship of its kind, see the collection of figureheads and watch actors bring to life this iconic vessel. The Queen’s House, regarded as the first classical building in Britain, presents art and architecture and the royal history of Greenwich. Christopher Wren’s Royal Naval College is famed for its celebrated painted ceiling, book a tour if you want to climb 60 feet for a close-up look or visit the chapel and visitor centre.

Greenwich has a flourishing market – a great place to grab lunch from the many food stalls or a locally made souvenir. The park that spreads out beneath the Observatory is a wonderful spot for a stroll. From Greenwich, you can catch a boat down the River Thames and see London’s iconic sights by the river. Directly across the Thames from is the O2 and the Emirates Airline cable car.

Greenwich has more to offer than you could pack into a single weekend from the modern to the historic, from the royal to the relaxed, it truly is one of London’s gems.

London Scenes by Emily Fedorowycz

The London Eye, By The Wandering Darlings

Yes, it’s totally touristy but you can’t go to London and not see the London Eye. Even if you don’t go up it makes for a picturesque view of the South Bank of the Thames.  If you can stomach the line and the ride up (it’s not scary I’m just not good with heights) then I would 100% recommend you go up especially at dusk. You get the best views of London and as it is goes very slowly you get the time to take it all in and honestly you can see for miles!

You can find The Wandering Darlings on Facebook here

And that is our 10 Photos in London. Did you discover somewhere new or is there somewhere you would have liked to have seen? Let us know in the comments below.

Coming up we have Barcelona, Paris, New York and Marrakech if you would like to be involved then get in touch! We’d love to have you involved

Globetrotters- The Pamplemousse Papers

This week we are welcoming the delightful Caity from The Pamplemousse Papers to our Globetrotters series. I have long been a fan of Caity’s both on Instagram and her blog so I’m so excited to have her involved.

She’s an upstate New Yorker who has travelled to so many places, lived in France and even got to call my homeland ‘home’ for a period. Travelling is certainly in her bones and the passion she has for it is evident in her writing, her stunning photography and how she has put her blog together. Her answers below are so insightful and such a joy to read especially with a freshly made brew. I love that she just wants to share and pass along her tips and tricks. I can sooo relate to the surprise at the Turkish Hammam!

Caity’s blog (links will be below) it’s so beautifully laid out and so stylish.  Easy to navigate, written with a friendly tone and packed to the brim with great content from all around the globe there is so much to love. From packing advice, storytelling and guides for a wide range of destinations you are sure to find something that will help or inspire your next adventure. She just comes so authentic and real. It’s like she’s a friend you’ve known for years sharing her experiences to help you have an even better time. It’s hard to find genuine and real bloggers these days and Caity is certainly one you want to have experienced.

I’ve really got into photo tours these days and this one Beacon Hill in Boston is so picturesque. I’ve never heard of this area of Boston and after reading this post I felt as those I had walked the streets myself. The pictures are so inviting and capture the area brilliantly. Another post I’ve read over and over is Your Mini-Guide to Tulum. More and more people that I know are venturing here and I’m so desperate to get there. This post is only increasing my wanderlust further.

Once you’ve read the below I know you’re going to be desperate to see more from Caity so as usual, we’ve included all links to Caity’s blog and social channels below.

It’s my absolute pleasure to introduce Caity- you’re going to love her! And wait till you read where her blog name came from! I wasn’t expecting that.

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Hi there! My name is Caity and I’m a native of Upstate New York. I’ve spent time living, working and wandering in France and Australia. I love to explore new places and then share my adventures: the beautiful successes, the challenging missteps, and everything in between. I’m currently pursuing my goal of visiting 30 countries before my 30th birthday, as well as exploring more of my home country, the United States. I hope you’ll stop by my blog and social media channels and say hi!

What do you enjoy most about travelling?

It’s the little things that end up being the most exciting for me. Exploring a local grocery store, stumbling upon a piece of beautiful street art, soaking up the atmosphere at a café, people watching in a park, and appreciating the local architecture are all things I love to do in any new place.

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Why do you think travelling is important?

For me, travel is an exercise in perspective. Everyone has beliefs and impressions that they’ve gained through their life experiences, and these differ so widely throughout the world. I think it’s healthy and important to shake these notions free on a regular basis.

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Where are you off to next? Or where have you just come back from?

I’ve had a whirlwind first few months of 2018 visiting friends and family in some of my favourite American cities: New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. My next international trip is to Portugal at the end of May and I couldn’t be more excited!

What is your favourite photograph from your travels?

This photograph was taken in 2010 while I was teaching English at a summer camp in the tiny French village of Azé. Some of my fellow friends and counsellors took a nighttime walk through the surrounding farm fields. I’m sure my yoga posture isn’t perfect and the image quality isn’t great, but it’s a very fond memory of the small but beautiful moments I’ve been lucky enough to have while travelling.

Do you have a pre-travel ritual? If so what?

As challenging as packing can be, I love the ritual of preparing my carry-on bag. I make sure I have nothing superfluous by paring down my wallet, purse contents and anything else that may have extra items floating around in it. When it’s all ready to go, it’s such a nice feeling knowing my essentials are all in one place and helps me clear my head before I hit the road.

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Who do you usually travel with?

I’ve been lucky to travel with a variety of people, from childhood best friends to my boyfriend to family members. Some of my fondest travel memories are with friends I’ve made while travelling that I’ve continued on to new places with. And while I don’t mind travelling solo, it’s definitely not my preference! I love to have someone to share both the good and bad with.

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If you were to give one piece of travel advice what would it be?

Don’t be too hard on yourself! There are bound to be aspects of your trip that don’t go perfectly. Maybe you get ripped off. Maybe you get lost. Maybe you don’t have enough time to do everything you were hoping to do. It’s so easy to dwell on the negative, but try not to beat yourself up. Not to mention, it’s often the mishaps that turn into great stories and opportunities for advice later on!

Tell us the most memorable moment you’ve had whilst travelling?

It’s so hard to choose just one, but I love thinking back on the things that now seem so funny and outlandish: Sleeping on the beach in Nice with friends while trying to save money – something we pictured being relaxing and fun but was actually a very cold, rocky and uncomfortable night! Visiting a traditional Turkish hammam with friends from college and not realizing we were going to have to strip down to nothing but bathing suit bottoms. Having to do the same – sans bathing suit bottoms – at a public bath in Iceland. Last but not least, WWOOFing for the first time, which I wrote about here . It remains one of my most cherished travel memories.

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Where is your favourite place that you’ve been to?

Another hard question! I think ultimately I’d have to say France and Australia. Those are the two countries where I’ve spent an extended period of time living, working, and studying as opposed to just visiting. The emotional connections I forged with both of them are hard to top. But more often than not, I love the places I visit and am hoping to get back to most of them: the UK, Scandinavia, Mexico, Asia… the list goes on!

Where was one place that didn’t live up to the hype?

My only visit to Spain was a long weekend in Barcelona. One of my friends was mugged, one was pickpocketed, and it rained all weekend, making sightseeing challenging. It was not the most carefree trip, as you can imagine! I would love to get back to Spain (as I realize none of those things are the fault of the place!) and rectify that experience.

Tell us one place/experience on your bucket list?

I’ve visited Italy, but largely cities. I would love to rent a car and explore the beautiful countryside, stopping whenever and wherever I feel like! Dining at Massimo Bottura’s renowned Osteria Francescana in Modena would be pretty great, too!

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What is the one thing you wouldn’t travel without?

I would have a really hard time not having my camera with me, however, sometimes I think I should force myself to go without it here and there! I often worry I’m not as present in the moment as I could be if I were less focused on gathering a collection of images.

Your go to or favourite book/film/tv series that always makes you want to travel?

Ensemble, C’est Tout is one of my favourite movies of all time. It’s set in Paris and whenever I watch it, I long to be in France! For books, Peter Mayle’s series about Provence (A Year In Provence, Toujours Provence, and Encore Provence) is so lovely. I also love Bill Bryson’s In A Sunburned Country, which he wrote about Australia.

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What can readers find on your blog?

I love to share tips and recommendations from places I’ve visited, as well as general travel advice, reflections and photos. I’ve been lucky enough to be inspired in the past by so many writers, bloggers, photographers and more – I’d love to repay that favour in any way that I can by helping to inspire others.

Where does your blog name come from?

After much brainstorming, I landed on The Pamplemousse Papers. Pamplemousse is the French word for grapefruit and one of my favourite words in the French language. Pairing it with papers captures my love for France, citrus fruit, writing, language, and alliteration all in one!

Do you have a favourite blog post? What is it and why?

I don’t think I have a favourite post, but it’s always exciting when something I share seems to be especially helpful for readers. After sharing my “Three Days in Pittsburgh” post, I was so happy to see comments from individuals who would never have considered visiting Pittsburgh and were adding it to their bucket list. I love the idea of offering new trip ideas that might never have occurred to someone. Plus, underrated and less-visited destinations are often cheaper and a lot less busy! It’s a win-win.

To see more from Caity check out the following links

Blog

Instagram

Facebook

Pinterest

To see more of our Globetrotters Series click here