Fraser coast and whale watching

After leaving Canberra, we headed north to Fraser Island and Hervey Bay.

A 4WD bus tour on Fraser Island which is the largest sand island in the world. Certainly changed since the last time I had visited. Fantastic when travelling along the beach on the eastern side of the island, but oh the bumps and bruises when on the sandy roads inland.


But the most important part of this trip with the Wilson’s coach tours from Oatlands Tasmania was going to Hervey Bay and whalewatching.

Would we see some whales?

Would we see them blowing?

  • Breaching?
  • Tail slapping?
  • Spy hopping?

Here are some of the photos Miss W took with her iPad. Aren’t they fantastic! Can you work out what the whale is doing? Check the link above to give you some clues. Did you work out what type of whale we saw?


Canberra, our capital city

I noticed Miss W had an activity in the student blogging challenge about places to visit in your country’s capital city, so this is going to be my post as part of the challenge.

Canberra is the capital city of Australia. Miss W and I have just been there for four nights and we visited some great places.

Canberra Floriade Festival showing off tulips and other special things to make the garden you always wanted. Check out the link to Miss W. flickr album at the bottom of this post to see lots of images.

We then went to Cockington Green – this is a miniature town from England but they also have an international section. Miss W is going to create a slideshow of many of these buildings but you will have to work out what the name of the building is from the country clue we give you.

Tulip Tops was our next stop – personally I liked this more than Floriade – two people have created these beautiful gardens which are only open for one month each year – lots of tulips and trees in blossom but I loved the entertainment – think the vocalist was Annie and the Armadilloes – very toe tapping music.

That mace is too heavyOld Parliament House is now known as the Museum of Australian Democracy. In the House of Representatives chamber, I checked out the speaker’s chair and tried to lift the mace without success.

New Parliament House is high on a hill looking down to the old house and across the lake to the War Memorial. Apparently Miss W owns $70 worth of this building because it was built for the people out of the people’s money. Now which part does she own? – The marble foyer area, inside one of the chambers or the outside of the building.

National Museum including the Uluru line like a huge ribbon outside the building, QR codes on the outside of the building and of course typical Australian things like Holden cars, rusty windmills, Phar Lap’s heart are just a few of the items we saw.

We travelled around the Embassy Row where the most impressive was from China, taking up a few blocks. Miss W also like the one from Papua New Guinea built like a longhouse.

The War Memorial is a do not miss sight. We timed it for the last post ceremony and 4 of the Tasmanians laid wreaths at the foot of the Remembrance Pool. Make sure you see the sight and sound show in the ANZAC Hall area. If you have a relative who died in one of the wars, or was injured then died within 6 months of arrival home, then you should be able to find their names on the wall.

Royal Australian Mint – see where and how are coins are made – trace the history of money in Australia from the use of rum and the holey dollars through to the holograms on our notes. You can even make your own $1 coin – but it will cost $3 – rate of inflation there!

For a calm, stress free tour, go for a boat cruise on Lake Burley Griffin – listen to the carillon, watch the birds, see the tourist places from a different vantage point.

Finally head to Mount Ainslie to see an overall view of Canberra and its expanding suburbs.

Hope this helps if ever you visit our capital city, Canberra. Make sure you check all the links in the post and check out our Flickr album here.

We are travelling again

Miss W and I are off on our travels again. This time we have joined 33 other Tasmanians on a Wilson’s coach tour run by Garry and Sharon. We were picked up at Eastlands at 10am Saturday 27 September.

I think I might be the youngest person on this trip so I will have to make sure I am not noisy nor getting in the way of the walking sticks, frames and wheelchair.

Where are we going? Over Bass Strait on the Spirit of Tasmania, then straight through to Canberra, the capital city of Australia, then we are going to Hervey Bay to go whalewatching. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Picking up more people as we travelled north to Oatlands for lunch – delicious chicken crepe and a berry pancake. If this is how we are going to be fed on this trip, I am going to need to do some exercise when I get back.

Next stop an early evening meal at a hotel in East Devonport, then onto the boat and an overnight cruise to Melbourne. Miss W wasn’t sure if she would wake up on time, but when all the messages were finished at 6am, she was wide awake.


We then had a long drive to Canberra, fuelling up at Wallan where we had a late breakfast. Through Victoria on the Hume Highway to the border towns of Albury/Wodonga. No this is not a border town like those in USA/Mexico but a town straddling the Murray River which forms part of the border between Victoria and New South Wales.

Lunch was at Gundagai, that famous town where the dog sits on the tucker box. Sharon told us the story but I am going to leave that to the readers to find out by searching the internet.


Our final stop for the day was Canberra, our nation’s capital city. But another post will tell you about our time there.




Around Sligo

Because we went back into Northern Ireland when we were leaving Donegal area, it meant that we missed the Slieve League. So one day in Sligo was heading back to the cliffs at Sliabh Liag. A long drive but certainly worth it.

The cliffs of Sliabh Liag

Arrived to a closed gate but saw a taxi go through, so decided to follow. Nearly two kilometres later we were at a little turning circle with coaches and cars. It is actually a tall mountain just over 600 metres, but the cliffs go straight down into the Atlantic Ocean. We saw lots of sheep just wandering around here, so of course lots of photos by Miss W.

Back through Ardara then over the hills towards Ballybofey in Donegal and through mountains at Barnesmore Gap. There are tales of ghosts being seen at night through the gap. Back in the days of Miss W. great great grandmother (mid 1800’s) there are stories of robberies in this part of Donegal.

Back towards Sligo we saw a road heading to Glencar Waterfall. This was the first waterfall we had seen on our travels so off we went. This is mentioned in WB Yeats poem The Stolen Child apparently.

Another day was spent heading south towards Galway. We knew we were going to miss this part of the country once we headed to Cork. Down the N17 to Claremorris and off to Cong between the two loughs Mask and Corrib. Got in a traffic jam in Cong, so many tourists visiting the castle there or heading off to fish, horse ride or golf.

Looking down Killary Harbour

On through the lake country of Ireland to N59 heading towards Clifden but we diverted instead through the R344 near the Connemara National Park. Next stop was above Killary Harbour for a fantastic view down the fjord. A bit further along was Leenaun where they were advertising seaweed baths.

One more day near Sligo so we went to the beach first at Strandhill – clamber over lots of boulders or stones to get to the beach – didn’t stay long. Then north to Mullaghmore – beautiful sandy beach and lots of kids learning to sail as part of their last weeks in school field trips.

Representing Yeats’ poetry

We also stopped off at WB Yeats grave at Drumcliffe then saw a monument for Constance Markievicz who took part in the 1916 Easter Rising and was jailed in solitary confinement in Kilmainham Jail.

So our next stop will be Cork – see you then.

Student activity

Would you ever try a seaweed bath? Why or why not?



Travelling the north

Well we are now tourists, no longer researchers so we can travel where ever the mood takes us. First we headed to Northern Ireland and the fantastic Giant’s Causeway. If you like golf and motor homes or hotels, then the coastal route is the way to go. Not a skerrick of land between the road and the coast was left vacant; they all had golf courses on them.

Davo at Giant’s Causeway

Now the causeway was very interesting. We travelled via the bus rather than walking – lazy Miss W.  Listened to all the stories on the audio headset – loved the one about Finn McCool that was back at the visitor centre. An amazing basalt rock formation and all of this is looked after by the National Trust of UK.

Now you all know we never travel the same road twice if at all possible, so we headed back to the B&B via the ferry at Magilligan Point which is at the entrance to the Lough Foyle . There is a Martello Tower on the point.

Across on the ferry then heading inland to the Famine Village at Doagh. Thought this would give Miss W. a look at what her great great grandmother might have been living like during the famine years. Learned about things like the hearth tax and how landlords evicted their tenant farmers during the famine years.

Eviction then house destroyed

Back through the hills and noticed a sign to Carrigans ( great great grandmother got into a lot of trouble here) – maybe that will be a place to visit tomorrow.

Activity for students:

Have you been to the Giant’s Causeway or something similar in your country? What made it so amazing?

We found Cloughfin!!

It took us a while but we did eventually find Cloughfin National School with principal Fiona Farry @ffarry1 on twitter. We actually arrived just as school was letting out on Monday afternoon. What a very polite group of students! It was interesting to see a school where the principal and teachers knew all the parents – 33 students with two pairs of twins.

So Tuesday morning after a great breakfast at the B&B we headed up a road, hoping to find the school. Miss W has this google mapping down to a fine art now. We arrived just in time for school to start.

Of course I was a hit with the students as was a platypus we took with us. I think it stayed behind – not sure what the students will name it. We talked about Tasmania and Ireland, schooling, money, weather and of course animals. We also left a 2015 calendar with lots of animals on it so the students and staff will remember our visit.

Students at Cloughfin

We took quite a few photos and Miss W has created a collage from them. When we went into the junior room, they took me to the veterinarian centre to check me out. Thanks goodness I was well, don’t know what they would have done otherwise.

Talking to all the teachers we have visited here in Ireland, we have noticed many resources teachers use are the same as Miss W used in her classes. Most teachers here are still reluctant to use technology in the classrooms just like back in Tasmania. But at Cloughfin National School where there is a lot of use of computers, twitter, edmodo and Khan Academy, the students looked more interested in what they were learning.

Fiona tweeted out once we left that students were learning the song Highway Number One and then adapting it for places in Ireland. I hope they add their results to their blog.

This was our last school on our Ireland trip.  Many thanks to Martina, Merry and Fiona for allowing me and Miss W to visit. We hope you enjoyed the gifts we left and learnt something about our state Tasmania.

You will notice I am about to add a page called About Ireland to the blog. Any students who read this blog and have questions about Ireland, please leave them on that page. Maybe the students we have visited can then leave answers in the comment area.

Davo visits Greystones

After a fantastic morning with the students in Bray, we then followed some little country roads south to Greystones. According to @merrybeau1 we had to make sure we veered left at the tudor building at the top of Bray otherwise we would get lost. A lovely drive along narrow streets with lots of small shopfronts and we were in Greystones.

We followed the road around the coastline and came in to St Brigids via Kimberley Street where we parked in the church car park. The school is in an old convent building but they are gradually moving into some newer classrooms, so lots of packing boxes in the narrow corridors.

We visited three classes and each time Miss W spoke about our country and the students had lots of questions also. In two of the classes, students sang a song in harmony for us to listen to – it sounded fantastic. They also tried to teach Miss W some words in Irish. I think she might need some more lessons though.

After lunch break with the staff, Ms Beausang @merrybeau1, Jane, Miss W  and a group of students went for a walk to the Greystones Bear where we had a photo opportunity. Then it was back to Mrs Mooney’s sweet shop to get some jelly snakes and finally back into school for the end of the day.

Can you see me in the spade handle?

We headed out to the Firehouse Bakery with Ms Beausang and her husband who has the same surname as Miss W. ‘s convict relative. A lovely chicken sandwich on sourdough bread and a cappuccino before heading back to school for Miss W to get the car and drive us home via the M50 again.

An exhausting day but it was great to meet excellent students in both schools and to hear the harmonious songs by the students at St Brigid’s.

Activity for students

What are some Irish words you think we should learn before we start travelling any further around Ireland?

Leave a comment with the word in English, then Irish then how to pronounce it.

Davo at St Peters Bray

What a great morning at St Peters Bray!

First was the long drive around the outskirts of Dublin on the M50 then branching off to Bray. Google maps gave Miss W excellent directions on how to find the school.

We met Martina Sexton @ceanntina who was looking after the remnants of the year 2, 5 and 6 who were not at the sports day.

What a great bunch of students. They listened to all the information Miss W gave about Australia and Tasmania in particular. They asked interesting questions about the animals.

Then we headed to the library where the children logged onto the computers to show us their favourite blog post on their school blog. Many liked the post about their principal who has recently had twins.

Some visited my blog to check out what we did on previous travels and Johnny left a comment.

Then Miss W learned how to make a podcast using the soundcloud app on the ipad and how to make a 6 second video using vine.

A lovely morning tea with the staff and we were then on our way to Greystones for the afternoon.

Here are a couple of images from the morning in Bray.

Davo loves being patted by students!


Davo loved reading to the students and Martina!

Activity for students:
Leave a comment telling an interesting fact you learnt about Australia or ask a question you still have about Australia.