The Mister and I are back from a very happy holiday in Queensland, still pretty relaxed from our time away but missing blue sea, blue skies and warmth (although today's temperatures in Ballarat aren't too bad, unlike the 10 degree days here while we were away enjoying balmy 28s and feeling warm and rather smug).
My niece Nicola's wedding in Townsville was lovely - informal and friendly and celebrated outdoors against the most beautiful backdrop of sea and sky. It was great to see her and her brother Andrew again and so special to spend time with her dad (my brother Alistair) and his twin Gary, who lives in Wellington, NZ. Gary brought his daughter Olivia, who is nearly 7 and lots of fun. I had books for her and her young brother Tom and for my three little great-nephews (golly, those last two words make me feel so old!) I'd made her a skirt, too - the first bit of clothing I'd sewn since I can't remember when. It fitted her (phew!) and she likes it (double phew!).
We hadn't been to Townsville before and it will always be memorable for the wedding plus the fact that it was our 38th wedding anniversary the night we arrived and we were able to celebrate sitting outdoors overlooking the sea (unthinkable in Ballarat at this time of year, let me tell you).
Just because we could, we continued driving up to Port Douglas, where we stayed in a small complex a short walk away from everything. We were really impressed by the friendly, laid-back attitude of everyone we met (but not by the fruit bats across the road which woke us early each morning with their loud screeching!)
We enjoyed mooching around town on foot and spending some time in the bush at Mossman Gorge and in the Daintree, where we were very glad not to meet a cassowary (according to all the warning signs on the pathways at the Daintree Discovery Centre, they're very fearsome birds indeed!)
Seeing another fearsome beastie, the crocodile, turned out not to be that much of a goer either. We enjoyed a river cruise, all of us on board the dear little paddleboat hoping for a promised sighting, only to see two quick appearances in the middle of the river turn into two quick disappearances, thanks to an idiot speedboat driver. Apparently crocs are scared of speedboats. Can't say I was disappointed as I probably would have had crocodile nightmares. Our trip was in the late afternoon and the sunset over Mossman Gorge was spectacular.
We splurged on a trip to the Great Barrier Reef - I don't have a bucket list, but if I did, seeing the reef would have been pretty high up. The photos we took from the semi-submersible boat we went on are pretty crappy but being so close to those wonderful underwater coral forests and their fishy inhabitants is unforgettable. The Mister had a fabulous view from a helicopter while I sat on the deck of the big pontoon our boat was moored to, gazing at all that blue water interrupted by the white caps of the waves breaking over the various reefs. It is such a fabulous, precious place and so deserving of protection at all costs.
We drove back to Townsville for our last night via the Atherton Tableland, which would be worth a trip in its own right. The countryside is beautiful and there are lots of waterfalls which unfortunately we had to miss for lack of time, along with tea plantations and other attractions.
The warm weather, the crops (sugarcane, macadamias and all sorts of others which to us were quite exotic) the mountain ranges and the signs at beaches warning of crocodiles and stingers made it all seem like another world. We were away for just over a week but it seemed longer - in a very good way.
Can't wait for the next little adventure - whenever and wherever it is.