Queenslanders think they have Winter and that it gets cold for a couple of months! As someone born in New Zealand but having lived in Queensland for over 30 years, I believe Queensland only has about a week or maybe two of Winter. The rest of the time it might be wintery in the morning or at night but the middle of the day is always Summer. Yesterday was one of those days.
I left the house at 8:30am in shorts and a tee shirt and arrived home at about 5:00pm still in shorts and a tee shirt! The only thing I put on all day was a hat and sunscreen. Queensland in winter is one of the most compelling reasons for me to stay living here.
Friday’s, over the last 4 years, has become the day when I catch up with my friends Marg and Ann. We used to work together then but all had Friday off, so once a month we’d catch up for an adventure. In the 4 years that have passed, life has changed for all of us. Only one of us still works at the same company, illness has taken its toll and all of our kids have moved out of home. We still really enjoy our adventure Fridays and although we don’t catch up quite as regularly, we do still have our times together.
One of our most favourite adventures we had was visiting Stradbroke Island and when we realised that the whales were in full migration mode, we decided that 3 years had passed since our last unsuccessful whaling spotting expedition and It was time to try again. So we packed up our picnic lunch, put on our walking shoes and jumped aboard the water taxi for the 1/2 hour boat ride across to Straddie. The skies were clear and blue and the boat was packed with a bus load of school kids, on an excursion.
On arrival, we disembarked and climbed aboard the local bus and rode to the top of Point Lookout. After a refreshing drink, we began our walk around the Gorge Walk which is a 1.5 km boarded walkway that has spectacular views of the ocean and marine life below. The first thing that you notice is the amazing colours of the sea – blues, greens, turquoise, browns and yellows, against the white foam of the breakers on both the shore and the sand bars.
While gazing out at this magnificent view, we discovered a couple of large schools of King fish, circling around in complete unison. My Dad would have loved to have been there to throw his line in! Our next marine discovery was a large turtle swimming on the surface, who was soon joined by a couple of dolphins, playing just out the back of the wave break. They appeared to be a mother and a baby. It was extremely difficult to get good photographs, due to the height we were up at. But just seeing these creatures in the wild combined with the constant, soothing sound of the waves breaking made being in the moment rather than living through a lens.
It was about this time that we saw our first of many whales but again they were too far out and too unpredictable to capture on my iPhone, so you will just have to believe me when I tell you that we saw them and use your imagination on the photographs I do post!!
We were more than happy with our marine wildlife discovery and after walking halfway around the track, we decided to double back the way we had come because the whales were travelling in that direction and were we glad we did! Next minute a very sandy bottomed koala, came wandering under our walkway and crawled up a nearby tree and put on its best tourist photo pose. This is only the second time I have seen a koala in the wild and it was indeed a thrill.
After all that excitement, there was only one thing to do, so we wandered back up to the park area and set up our picnic lunch. Gourmet is the only word worth using to describe our scrumptious lunch. We all contributed and co-ordinated and we filled our hungry tummies with fresh bread rolls which we filled with our own choice or a combination of salad, salami, ham, Jarlsberg and Brie cheese and avocado. We followed this up with the remainder of the cheese and crackers and tangelos. We ended our lunch with a cool drink of either or both, apple and cranberry juice and lemon infused iced tea, and a slice of home made ginger crunch. Contented, we sat and chatted – taking in the view and people watching.
With the bus back to the jetty due in about an hour, there was only one thing still to do. We wandered across the road to the little shopping centre and like 3 kids took an age before we settled on the ice cream flavours we desired. Cookies and cream, crispy lemon and strawberries and cream! The last 30 minutes before the bus came, was spent enjoying our ice cream cones. So delish!
Before we knew it we were back on the jetty, watching the pelican’s having a meeting on one of the sandbars and waiting for the arrival of our water taxi home. The boat trip home was not without a small drama with the power on the boat being cut at one point. The crew seemed to be rushing back and forth up to the bridge and cans of oil being produced. But the boat continued albeit at a slower pace and the staff just kept smiling at the passengers. So we are none the wiser as to what happened but in the light of the rest of our day it was totally inconsequential!
During the car ride home, we resolved to return to Straddie again next year – because 3 years is way too long to wait to experience such beauty and wonderment. It does our minds, bodies and souls so much good. Thank you Stradbroke Island and thank you winter in Queensland.