Archive for the ‘lady elliot island’ Tag

The Last Post – Beaches and Reflections   14 comments

I can hear the bugle in the background. 22 posts done and one more to complete. I promised more stunning images of the beaches in the Cape Tribulation region so here we go.

Cape Tribulation beach itself stands at the very end of the tarmac roads in the region.

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

Beyond is 100km of rough 4WD tracks to Cooktown (although you can reach it by an inland route). Beyond Cooktown is wilderness without a paved road in sight all the way to Cape York, Australia’s northernmost point.

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

The beach is again a stunner. We spent a couple of afternoons just strolling on its firm sands

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

At the southern end is an area of Mangroves. I was fascinated by this with the exposed root systems, everything you expect Mangroves to look like.

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

We spent ages poking around under the rocks finding crabs and the like. The most numerous creatures however are mudskippers, a kind of fish that lives out of the water at low tide and skips/bounces across the sand. I couldn’t get close enough to one to get a photo alas.

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

I then started to notice that many of the shells under the rocks were cone-shaped. We’d seen many on the beach at Lady Elliot Island but all we just empty shells. These looked like they were something more. To the uninitiated cone shells contain a rather testy little snail. It kills its prey by first releasing a paralysing agent and then while its prey is immobilised, slowly envelops it. To finish off it then injects its prey with venom. And here’s the interesting thing, the venom packs enough wallop to kill – yes you’ve guessed correctly – a fully grown person. Another of Australia’s deadly delights. Yes, there are even deadly shells. Science is at a loss to explain why many of Australia’s smaller critters pack venom which such extravagant toxicity or why the country has such a profusion of venomous creatures. One thing is for sure, it makes life a little more interesting and we decided not to turn over any more stones on the beach 🙂

We decided that sitting on the sand and enjoying the warm sun and the tropical ambiance was much safer. As I sat on the sand I reflected at the name. Captain Cook ran aground on reefs just off the shore here, hence the name he gave to the cape to reflect his troubles. Hard to imagine a more inappropriate name as you enjoy these surroundings

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

Saving the best till last.

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

Thornton Beach lies a few miles south of Cape Tribulation. We only spent a little over an hour or so here but it remains my favourite spot from our trip.

IMG_7313

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

We strolled along it’s length down to the creek at the far end. The creek in question is Cooper Creek and a mile or so up the road they run boat trips to go croc spotting. As I wandered along I realised the rest of the family had abandoned me having noted the same. Not to be scared off by dinosaurs I continued on. The views were fine with Thornton Peak (second highest in Queensland) dominating the view

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

I spotted a dark shape on the sand upstream. I stopped! Now I’m sure you’d like a story of a close encounter with a croc, perhaps me wrestling one a la Crocodile Dundee. Sorry, it was a log. I decided that the views were not going to get any better so I thought it would be more sociable to return to the family 🙂

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

We spent a splendid time back at the other end of the beach just sitting on a very photogenic dead tree in the sand. The views and the moment were just sublime.

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

By way of celebration there is even a photo with me in it. Sorry about the lack of corks on the hat. I’ll only do so much for comedy value

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

We were lucky to see some extraordinary places on our trip but for me the hour we spent here was the best from a “place” perspective. I’m not sure if it was the weather (one of the best of the trip), the contrast between the sea, sand and forested mountains, the fact that we had the entire beach to ourselves (save one old couple) or just the simple pleasure of spending some quality time with my family enjoying this wonderful place together. Whatever it was Thornton Beach will always have a place in my soul

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

And, well, that’s about it. We left Cape Tribulation and as a final gesture we saw another Cassowary on our drive out.

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek, cassowary

The start of a very long and uneventful journey via lunch in the park at Port Douglas, Cairns, Brisbane, Singapore and London Heathrow. We had the usual airport frustrations (Brisbane, welcome the club of badly organised and unhelpful establishments) but lets not sour the memories with a rant about that.

Let’s instead close things out with a few reflections:

Travel

Getting to Australia is time-consuming but not as difficult as it once was. The joys of technology make long haul flights a good deal more pleasant than they used to be. I even did some calculations and the cost of the flights on a distance basis are pretty comparable with the flights around Europe. I’d also say that with a bit of planning and thought and Internet savvy it’s easy to arrange the whole trip independently. It’s as easy to book a hotel or a trip in Australia as it is in the UK. All the resources you need are online and you get the freedom to go where you want when you want. I would say that it does help to be a Project Manager and a serial planner.

Getting around Australia is also a breeze. It’s a big place, largely empty and long way from the rest of the world. This means roads are empty and beaches largely deserted. Driving around was simple and hassle free (not a traffic jam worthy of the name in 4 weeks) and almost everywhere quiet and unspoiled. Of the places we stayed only Airlie Beach seemed impacted by commercialism (we didn’t stay in Cairns). It feels very much like a stretch of coast that the rest of the world just hasn’t really found yet. To stand on a beach as stunning as Thornton on a cloudless sunny day and not see a soul is still hard to believe. It will be hard to walk on a beach in the UK or Europe now and not miss that sense of solitude

People

Without a shadow of a doubt the people in Queensland are the friendliest I’ve ever met while travelling. Very much the same feeling you get in the US but with a more down to earth feel and matey humour. I particularly liked their unique turns of phrase. My favourite was the car rental clerk in Brisbane when we arrived bleary eyed and jet-lagged. He asked me how we were doing and I said fine in the circumstances and returned the question. He replied “every day above ground is a good one” – I love that. Everyone we met, hotel check ins, bus drivers, waitresses shop owners was charming, friendly and funny. Everyone seemed to keen to show off the state/country and make sure that we enjoyed our stay. We did!

Final Memories

Much as I hate to do this I thought I’d share my personal highlights. It seems unfair as the whole 4 weeks was a highlight but as my blog is my own personal area of reflection I’m allowed to do it 🙂

Favourite Place – Thornton Beach, Cape Tribulation

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

Favourite Activity – Whale Watching

whale watching, humpback whale, hervey bay

Favourite Hotel – Ecovillage Resort, Mission Beach

mission beach, ecovillage resort

Favourite Bar/Restaurant – Marlin Bar, Magnetic Island (no photo I’m afraid) 😦

Favourite Meal – Lunch on the Beach, Dunk Island

dunk island

Favourite Animal – Saltwater Crocodile

saltwater crocodile

Favourite Swim – Lake Mackenzie, Fraser Island

lake mackenzie, fraser island

Favourite Sunrise – Myall Beach

myall beach

Favourite Sunset – Lady Elliot Island

lady elliot island

Reading through these it struck me that the Great Barrier Reef isn’t up there.

great barrier reef

This isn’t a reflection on it, it’s a truly extraordinary experience, worth the journey on its own and was the prime initial reason for choosing Queensland. I think it’s more a reflection on how much more there is to Queensland than just the GBR. I had an idea once I started to do the planning but once we were there it’s hard to put across just what an amazing place it was and how much there was to see and to do. I could list probably another months worth of trips, places and sights we didn’t visit on the same basic itinerary. Which of course leads to the inevitable conclusion that we will have to go back 🙂

So that finishes off my write ups of the trip. I think it’s appropriate that its 31st December so it just leaves me to say:

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY READERS AND THEIR OWN BLOGS- THANKS FOR ALL YOUR COMMENTS AND HOPE THAT 2015 BRINGS MORE ADVENTURES AND MORE BLOG POSTS TO ENTERTAIN AND INSPIRE ME

In and below the water on Lady Elliot Island   6 comments

“But Lady Elliot Island is on the Great Barrier Reef! Where were the photos of the reef and and all it’s treasures” I hear you cry! Patience patience!

 

The previous post highlighted just what an amazing place Lady Elliot Island is to chill out, take strolls on the beach, watch the sunrise and sunset and admire the birdlife. Of course the main reason people visit the island is that it sits on the southern fringe of the Great Barrier Reef with all its treasures. There are so many facts and figures about it that its never quite clear which are right or wrong. Longest, biggest living organism on the planet is it’s claim although the second part it depends whether you see a coral ecosystem as one creature or millions. Doesn’t matter. What is clear from our three trips to see it up close (this is just the first) is that it is magnificent.

The common misconception is that the GBR (I can’t be bothered to keep typing it out and when you’ve been there you are allowed to shorten it like a nickname for an old friend!) sits but a short boat ride from the coast. It doesn’t. In most cases it’s around 30-50 miles out requiring a 1-2 hour boat trip across the coral sea to get to it. There are a few islands that sit right on it where you have the chance to see it without such a day trip and LEI (again I’m allowed to call it that) is one. Here you can walk a few meters from your beach hut, slip on a mask, snorkel and fins and away you go.

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

The photos while pretty good really don’t do it justice especially the fish which are impossible to capture in any detail. It also doesn’t really convey just how much life there is. There are a myriad of tiny colourful fish, crabs, molluscs, shrimps and the like which you just can’t capture with a compact camera. Hopefully they will convey a small part of the beauty but it is one of those things where you just need to see it for yourself. I count myself very, very fortunate to have been able to see it

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

The first thing that strikes you is the clarity of the water, it’s crystal clear. And then you notice the second thing, it is of course teeming with fish and coral. When I snorkelled in the Maldives the coral had been severely damaged by the effects of Coral Bleaching and the reef was a lifeless grey colour although the fish were still abundant and colourful. The GBR was not affected and it’s coral is still thriving so this was my first time up close.

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

The lagoon on the southern side of the island has it’s own reef flat and the water is only about 6-8 feet deep. This means you can just float right over the top of the coral and see it up close. The number and variety of fish is amazing but it was the coral I was pleased to see. Seeing the polyps waving about in the current was truly amazing.

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

Each time all you had to do was swim out against the current and then turn and drift easily back across the reef before getting out and doing it again. It’s absolutely perfect  for nervous beginners as the water is shallow with plenty of sandy spots to stand and take a rest and you are never very far from the shore with a current that pushes you that way.

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

Whilst the coral and the fish are amazing, LEI has something else.  Turtles

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

I was lucky enough to see one a couple of times in the Maldives but at LEI they are abundant. You were pretty much guaranteed to see several each time you got in the water and they are the most wonderful graceful and gentle creatures. Most of them are completely oblivious to your presence and you can swim right next to them while they glide through the water. You never tire of seeing them and every sighting and encounter was as amazing as the last. Like the whales its rare to get up so very close and personal to these animals and they are moments to treasure.

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

The only downside with the beach snorkelling at LEI is the tide. When it recedes the reef is exposed to the air so you can’t snorkel over it. You can only snorkel for about 4 hours spanning high tide and we were a little unlucky in our timing as this meant we could only snorkel first thing in the morning and at the end of the afternoon when it’s not quite as warm when you get out the water especially as it was so windy. It’s fine when you’re in the water as its pretty warm.

The flip-side benefit to this is that you can go out and walk amongst the reef. This gives you a chance to get right up close to all that same magnificent life you saw while in the water, and in fact more, without the need to swim or snorkel. Just slip on some reef shoes and pick up a stick to help keep your balance and you’re free to poke about as long as you don’t pick stuff up. This is after all a World Heritage Site and a very delicate and fragile environment. We took a little guided walk the first time and it was well worth it. The guide showed us where to look and we saw some great stuff.

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

The is a sea cucumber.

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

One variety, a leopard sea cucumber has the unfortunate distinction of having a fish that lives up its butt. The fish gets protection and some free food and the Sea Cucumber gets a rectal clean up. Isn’t nature wonderful 🙂

A Sea Hare (named for its two horns that look like ears). This fella squirts purple ink at you when he gets annoyed, very gross

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

A New Caledonian Starfish

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

An Abalone

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

A Clam. These are numerous and come in a huge variety of colours, all stunning

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

On our second trip out we saw more stuff. A Sea Urchin

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

A Conger Eel

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

More coral and clams

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

And a mutant New Caledonian Starfish with 7 legs!

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

We had another look at the fish feeding so I stuck my camera in the water for a closer look

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

We also had a visit from a large conger eel that stuck it’s head out of the water looking for food – they have quite a chilling scary face but alas I didn’t get a photo. TBF also spotted water squirting from a crevice in the coral that turned out to be an octopus but he was well hidden although you just make out a curled tentacle and some suckers

We also took a couple of short boat trips in the resorts glass bottom boat. The daytime trip was in very rough water which the kids found a little trying but we did get chance to try out deeper water which they didn’t seem to mind. Photos from this little excursion were marred from my waterproof cameras propensity to fog up so no photos from under the water

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

We also took a nightime glass bottom boat trip which was also amazing, seeing the the different creatures that come out. They also turn on the UV lighting causing some of the algae within the coral to glow with an unearthly blue light which is surreal and exciting in equal measure. Alas nightime photos from a moving boat over moving water of moving objects is much harder than it sounds 😦

We managed to squeeze in one last snorkel on our final morning

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

You might be asking where is all the colourful coral you hear so much about as it looks very green and brown here. Well, these greens and browns are an indication of very healthy and happy coral. Coral live in a symbiotic relationship with algae that live in it’s tissue. Coral is an animal that lives on passing detritus in the ocean but it needs energy from the sun to survive. The algae, being a plant, can photosynthesise and passes that to coral. This algae is normally green or brown hence the colour of the coral which would be primarily translucent without it.

Global warming means the algae produces too much oxygen and causing the red/orange colours of oxidisation you often see in photographs and the coral doesn’t like it much. Rather than seeing this as a display of healthy colour, these reds and oranges are a sign of very stressed coral. When the oxygen enrichment becomes too much the coral rejects the algae and it loses all of its colour and eventually will die without it. This is coral bleaching. The primary greens and blues at LEI show that the reef here is happy and stable

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

australia, fraser coast, flight, great barrier reef, lady elliot island, queensland, snorkelling, green turtle,

So there you have it, the wonderful underwater world of the GBR at LEI. Much more GBR to come later in the trip but to be able to see it whenever you want and to get up so close and personal is LEI trump card

Above the water on Lady Elliot Island   10 comments

Back on  the mainland but for a few short hours. We were heading into Hervey Bay for breakfast but not after a comedy episode with our first sight of creatures that bounce across the landscape. So excited was I to see my first kangaroo that I grabbed the camera from the boot. Unfortunately, not only had they bounced away by then I also drove away without closing the boot and some of our luggage fell out the back and onto the road – most embarrassing!

Nothing damaged other than my poise and calm persona and after a feast of food and a bit more roadside packing we were back at Fraser Coast airport for our flight to Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef.

 

No airliners here, just a small plane for the 40 minute hop across to the reef.

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

The flight was amazing, over the edge of Platypus Bay where we’d seen the whales a few days before, with Fraser Island in the distance. I was lucky enough to sit up front next to the pilot. I faithfully promised not to touch anything, just as well it wasn’t my mate GM who just loves pushing buttons in someone else’s vehicle  the little tinker

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

And then we saw our destination in the distance, a small tree covered island with the airstrip down the middle surrounded by its own reef. It looked stunning from above. The pilot takes the plane on a full circuit of the island to maximise the views

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

Then it’s time line up with runway and bounce down onto the grass. What a way to arrive at your destination.

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

After a brief guided tour and lunch we were shown to our little beach cabin. The island is an eco-resort where the emphasis is on nature and simplicity rather than luxury. The rooms are simple and basic but clean and have everything you need (you can read my TripAdvisor review here).

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

But its outside where the real pleasures lie. A few steps from our verandah was the coral beach and the islands lagoon reef and it’s just stunning. Crystal clear water just teeming with fish.

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

We watched the daily fish feeding session at the fish pool, a large gap in the coral where the fish gather and you can paddle right amongst them while they brush against your feet and swim between your legs.

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

The island is so laid back and easy-going that you just slip into a happy routine of beach strolls, bird watching, reef walking and snorkelling.

The beach is not sand but rough coral and sharp on the feet. This is how a coral island should be I’m told rather than pure sand. I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Maldives with its talcum powder sand and I was left wondering how “manufactured” the beaches might be. Doesn’t matter as the feeling of isolation in the middle of a vast ocean is the same and walking around the island is just heaven, watching the waves crash around the reef edge, birds soaring overhead and trees waving in the breeze

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

Day trippers as well as overnight visitors ensure a regular to and fro of planes

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

The island is known for its birdlife and they were everywhere. They seem to be completely oblivious to our presence and you can pretty much reach out and touch them while they are roosting. They make a hell of  a lot of noise and often swoop right in front of your face. There must have been several thousand on the island but this is the bird low season. In summer they number almost 100,000 which is astonishing. Apparently every single branch and twig that can support a bird has one. The resort provides ear plugs to cope with the night-time chatter. What they can’t prevent is the smell which is pretty bad so I’ve heard and Lady Elliot Island “Tattoos” are common 🙂

This is a White Cap Noddy

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

And this is Brown Noddy

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

They get their name from the way they nod their heads to drain the saltwater out of their beaks

I’m not sure what this one was but it was nesting a few inches from the path right next to someones verandah

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

This is a Common Rail, often seen in the dining room scrounging for food and stealing toast from the table while you pop off to get a cup of tea (with the kids watching no less!)

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

There are also a wide variety of Gulls and Oyster Catchers. In short the Island is teeming with life both above and below the water.

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

Being on an island you get the benefit of superb sunsets and sunrises. I got up at 6am each morning to see the sunrise and they are majestic.

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

Even TBF who loves her bed in the morning was persuaded to join me once although she did a great job of looking very cold, which in truth it was (it was windy for most of the time we were there).

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

For me, life is pretty good when you can draw back the curtains of your cosy little room and see the sun rising through the palm trees over a warm tropical reef and ocean. Wandering aimlessly around the island before most other people are about and just savoring the solitude and beauty is a memory I will treasure forever.

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

The sunsets weren’t too shabby either. On our last evening we spent a couple of hours just sat on the beach watching the colours change as the sun descended.

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

Just as the sun sets the birds fly out and swarm and swoop over your head. I’m pretty pleased with some of the shots of the sun with the birds silhouetted against.

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

As the sun went down the moon came up, lighting up the sky once more and laying its silvery trail across the lagoon. I even managed some pretty good close-up shots of the moon – not bad for a handheld telephoto shot

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

We only spent two full days on the island but the place really gets under your skin. Almost immediately it feels like home and everything feels so familiar and comfortable. The staff of the island are warm, friendly and knowledgeable. It has the feel of a research station that allows guests in. I wonder if they have any jobs?

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

It was a sad moment when we realised we had to pack up and leave and continue our journey. It was a common feeling we had everywhere we went on the trip, the consolation that there was another great place to come but it never helped that sense that you needed more time. Even though the island is small there is so much to do and even doing nothing is a delight. It must be a wonder to see the island in the summer when the turtles come ashore and lay eggs and thatch their young or when the birds arrive in their thousands to breed.

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

hervey bay, lady elliot island, great barrier reef, white cap noddy, brown noddy, common rail, oyster catcher, snorkelling, fraser island. flight, fraser coast

A little slice of tropical paradise and yet another to add to the “I must go back and stay longer” category. This one was one gorgeous lady!

Back from Travels with my Family   12 comments

Been a bit quiet on here the past few weeks and I bet you were all wondering where I’d gone. You were worried, I can tell as you’re all very caring readers, I can see that from here.

Well, after a year and half of planning and anticipation we went to Queensland, Australia for a month and what an amazing time we had. I’m still sifting through photos and in fact I’m still several posts behind from my pre-holiday antics so it will be a few weeks before I start to write up all the fantastic stuff we got up to.

In advance of that here’s a bit of taster of what’s to come and the places – and wildlife – we saw

Whale Watching at Hervey Bay

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Fraser Island

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Lady Elliot Island

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Eungella National Park

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The Whitsunday Islands

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Magnetic Island

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Mission Beach & Dunk Island

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Port Douglas & the Great Barrier Reef

IMG_7037 P1230374 P1230356 Leanna Koala

Daintree River

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Cape Tribulation and Far North Queensland.

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But first, back to Shropshire, The Elan Valley and the Lleyn Peninsula………

 

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