Thursday on LEI

Weather plays a big part of your enjoyment of an island.

We’re lucky we’ve had lovely warm mornings but unfortunately we have had rainy afternoons which really limits what you can do.

There was a little drama today and a lady on the snorkel tour had to be assisted. She swallowed water. Next thing the RACQ care flight was there and she was airlifted to Maryborough.

Fortunately we like to read. Steve has been gifted the Gin puzzle by Frances and made a great start. And this afternoon he finished!

I went wandering between rain showers. There is a games room which is underwhelming. Quite a few books are available but not many games. Unless the other holiday makers have them out.

Card players have an option! I think the staff could offer a few wet weather screenings of videos about the reef or sea life.

By late afternoon we headed over to the lighthouse for drinks and were happy the rain stayed away.

With our pre dinner G& T we broke open the pack of cards. I’ve never been much of a card player but I’m keen to learn. Ralph & Frances patiently explained the rules of 500 and we had a few games before dinner.

The meals have been good. Several choices each night. Tonight: roast pork, chickpea tagine, beef stroganoff and lots of fresh vegetables.

Then a short movie on the way plastic fragments are found in our oceans. Music & narration by Jack Johnson. I’ve been a big JJ fan so that made it easy to watch.

We had a ‘late’ night tonight playing 500 and I’m keen to try again tomorrow. Rain is predicted so I’m sure I’ll get a chance.

Quiet rainy day

I can’t complain.

About the rain!

We looked out this morning and though windy on the SE side the skies were only slightly cloudy.

Following breakfast we set off in an anticlockwise way to walk around the island. That’s not as easy as it sounds. The beach is a combination of sand, shells, rocks and rock pools. It’s rocky on the ankles but so full of things to look at.

By the time we’d almost done the circuit it had started to rain. Hard and heavy.

So it was back to the cabin to change, have coffee and settle into some reading.

Our friend Frances had brought a puzzle. 500 pieces – all about Gin!

We moved at around 1.30 to go on a walking tour but again it started raining! So into the bar for a G&T

Then at 3.30 we took the Historical walking tour with Mary our enthusiastic guide. She was very engaging as she told us about the history behind Lady Elliot.

It was named – as many islands and places in Australia are , after the English who may have sailed past or landed…… disregarding any indigenous occupation.

So Lady Elliot is the wife of the captain of the boat also named LE.

It’s was mined for guano in its early days before a tourism lease was granted in the 1960’s with a guarantee it was replanted and an airstrip established. The airstrip was completed in 24 hr. The tree planting and growing took a little longer

Originally just for camping it would have been a hot spot without shady trees! to read a little about the history …..

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Elliot_Island

We visited the graveyard with two graves. Both women. One the daughter of the lighthouse keeper. She died in 1896 of a cold that developed into pneumonia. Built in 1866 the lighthouse would have been a lonely place with a ship arriving only every 4 months. The 30 year old died before anyone could help.

The other was Suzanna, in 1907. She was the lighthouse keepers wife. They say after her 4 sons left the island for boarding schools she was so lonely she walked into the sea and drowned. Not great stories.

Our walking tour finished at the lighthouse and the tiny museum.

Perfect timing. We arrived for sunset drinks.

Snorkeling Wonderland on LEI

We’ve adjusted to ‘island’ time. Nothing happens quickly and in our case early!

Although, Steve and our travelling mate Frances went on the bird watching tour at 7.15. I’m still coughing so opted for more bedtime.

Breakfast was at 8.30, when the bird watchers returned. They were full of information about the birds on the island and were sprouting all kinds of facts about the various birds we had already seen.

Breakfast was buffet style with enough options to make us happy and ‘real’ coffee was able to be ordered from the bar. That made the coffee drinkers very happy.

Following breakfast I decided to walk at least half the island along the shore and check out the best swimming area. We were booked for the afternoon snorkel trip so thought a morning swim might be good.

I headed off leaving the others to read and in Frances’ case – do a puzzle she had brought.

I wandered along the shoreline. It was fascinating to see all the shells, corals, fossilised rocks, driftwood all along the waterline.

I watched a plane take off and arrived at the lighthouse beach to see the snorkel boat dropping off the first passengers of the day.

Conditions were beautiful. So beautiful, I walked back to our cabin and changed for a swim. The others came with me and we swam in the shallows and managed to get a deck chair for lounging under the trees reading. a tough morning.

We had decided to opt out of lunch – though there is a cafe offering the usual lunch options. We had a piece of fruit and some cheese and crackers that I had brought with me.

The day slipped away and suddenly we were getting our snorkel gear on for the glass bottom boat trip. Taken by Jacinta we were told there was a friendly 3 metre shark around the area and not to worry !

Through the glass we saw some manta rays, turtles and hundred of different types of fish. no shark.

Then it was into the water and away we went. The area is called the ‘coral garden’ – for good reason. It’s a paradise.

It’s fun watching the different holiday makers reaction to being underwater. Some are not too experienced and were nervous, others ecstatic. By 4.15 we were getting back on the boat feeling the chill.

Warm showers, warm clothes and another wine watching the sunset was a perfect way to end the day.

Tonight’s dinner menu: duck, potato bake, fresh vegetables, grilled fish , tofu!

And another early night.

Welcome to Lady Elliot Island – LEI

Flying north over the Pacific Ocean the blue of the water was exhilarating.

We flew along side of Fraser island – that waste sand island. Coming to Lady Elliot we could take it all in in one glimpse. A spec in the ocean surrounded by lagoons of coral filled with colourful fish and manta rays – even able to be seen by air.

We landed on the grassy airstrip which divides the island. The resort is one side and the large lagoon the other.

We were greeted not with an island style flower lei but with a big grin and a ‘welcome all’ by Mary a staff member.

She gave us a quick orientation talk / tour then allowed us to check in , to go to the dive shop and be kitted out with fins, snorkel-even a wet suit if needed.

I was pleased I’d brought my $10 Aldi wetsuit bought two years ago and never worn. It’s quite windy on the island and with temperatures dropping to 23 it could be cool getting in and out of the water.

There is only one resort here and people come for the snorkeling, diving , birdwatching, and reef walking. It’s not a glamour resort. No resort wear needed.

People are wearing shorts or jeans, and the ‘hoodie’ a fleece lined jumper. It’s not freezing just a little cool. Tomorrow should be warmer.

We settled into our rooms which though small are well suited for a relaxed 5 nights. There is a good sized verandah, somewhere to hang wet gear , comfortable chairs for reading and a beautiful view towards the lagoon just beyond our cabin.

At 2 o’clock we headed across to the lighthouse lagoon crossing the grassy airfield.

We wore our reef shoes into the water carrying our fins and snorkels. About 50 metres out there is a tall pole with a basket to store your reef shoes as you don the fins and swim out.

We were able to immediately enter the coral garden and start watching the colourful fish darting every which way along the ocean floor. Magical.

We swam along the roped off area where every 100 metre there’s a little platform you could stop and hold on and chat with your companions.

We’re traveling with Ralph and Frances, friends who love swimming and had come to our past trip to Vanuatu ( check out that blog post if you haven’t read it already)

We swam around for an hour or so and though the water temperature was nice I was happy to be wearing my wetsuit as the wind was cool as we left the water.

It’s hard going walking out. Lots of rocks and uneven surfaces makes you feel very clumsy!!!

Back to our cabin for a warm shower and afternoon cuppa before heading over the island for our sunset drinks.

What a sunset. Absolutely gorgeous.

You’ll find is here each evening!!

Dinner in the dining room is a simple but satisfying meal. Carrot soup followed by lamb shanks, beef ribs , fresh vegetables, polenta and a lentil dish. All very tasty. With a nice glass of red we were ready for bed by 8.30.

We’re on island time already!

Lady Elliot Island, here we come.

We’re off overseas today.

Yes you read that correctly. Australians going Overseas.

To an island 40 minutes off the Australian coast.

Yesterday we drove to beautiful little Hervey Bay about 3.5 hrs from Brisbane. It’s a jumping off point for a light plane to Lady Elliot an eco style island in the southern most area of the Great Barrier Reef.

http://www.ladyelliot.com.au

We stayed at the Tower Court Motel.

This morning we walked along the Esplanade and found a great little cafe for breakfast. ‘Eat’owned by Dan & Steff of MKR fame.

Fabulous breakfast

We’re now at the Hervey Bay airport. Check-in is simple – 15 kg of bag, which is as much as I take on an overseas holiday. But I do have my wetsuit ready for the beautiful snorkeling I’ll be doing.

Lady Elliot Island-LEI, is renowned for its pristine waters. It’s manta rays, fish, turtles – an under water paradise.

The resort is an eco style -with emphasis on the environment. It’s comfortable but not a resort where you dress for evening cocktails. It’s for observing the environment, enjoying the sunsets and the ocean.

Let the holiday begin.

Our little light plane for the 40 min trip

Holiday Close to Home

The beauty of Queensland is there are so many great places to visit close to home.

It’s school holidays so eldest son Peter is home and invited us to have a day out on his boat. He keeps it at home and trailers it to boat ramps for a days outing.

Today we headed south towards Dreamland. Just behind there is a boat ramp and today, a Wednesday, it wasn’t busy.

In no time the boat was in the water and we were away.

We were heading towards South Stradbroke Island. I’ve written an earlier blog on North Stradbroke- go back and read it.

Today South Straddie. We headed into the wind so it was a little breezy !

Ollie didn’t like it much! He pulled his hat down and listened as I sang in his ear.

Happy but hiding from the breeze

We passed the lovely Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove. We’d stayed there a few times when the boys were young. It’s a lovely resort.

https://www.intercontinentalsanctuarycove.com

We headed past the resort Couran Cove. This resort has rooms, little apartments and house. All available for rent.

https://www.courancove.com.au

And arrived at Tipplers. The weather was perfect.

There’s a beach where you can pull up and jump out onto the sand. The minute you arrive it feels like a holiday.

There is a restaurant with indoor and outdoor tables. all very casual resort style.

We made ourselves comfortable in the shade, waiting for our lunch to be delivered and were entertained by a watching a large lizard roaming around.

Ollie watched from the safety of Didi’s arms.

Our lovely lunch came – nice salads, sandwiches and fish & chips. Ollie liked his kids serve contained in a pirate ship!

Good to look at!

After lunch along came a wallaby! So much entertainment.

Standing up for a better view!

Following the wallaby show we played in the sand and the shallows until time to go.

El and I walked along the path to find the camping ground. It’s really lovely. There’s a few tent structures for hire if you don’t want to bring your own. lots of bbqs , picnic table and access to the beach. We decided we’d like to come here to stay.

Back on board the breeze had dropped and we cruised back via Couran Cove. There are some great looking houses. Again we decided it would be good to rent a house when we want a family getaway.

We cruised around the canals of the Coomera area. Then back to the boat ramp.

Ollie was having a great time and loved running up and down the ramp! With me in hot pursuit.

He wore himself out and slept on the way home.

Why not consider a Queensland holiday? Right in our own backyard we have a wealth of great beaches, rivers parks. Plan a visit soon. You’ll love it.

Thank you Adelaide.

Adelaide really turned it on for us.

This year has been so hard with covid. Restrictions, closed borders, no live shows, restaurants and businesses closed.

Living in Queensland has been better than most states. We’ve had very few local covid infections. We’ve been lucky.

Now we are able to move around between states and things are opening up.

These past 12 days in Adelaide have been a return to live music, concerts. A Festival – probably the first in the world to go ahead.

Today Tuesday was our last day. I had one last long walk. Beautiful homes and gardens.

A favourite is in Avenue St. The house is beautiful. Not overly big or grand but just lovely. Pale sandstone, bricks, little Juliette style verandah, a sunken pond, a gazebo and best of all – a fairy garden.

Then, a new coffee shop. There are lots of great little coffee shops nearby. But today we visited a beautiful one in Norwood. Along with a bookshop.

I had to visit what is probably the best – certainly the biggest bookshop in Adelaide. Dillons Bookshop in Norwood is amazing. Don’t miss it. Norwood is a great area for shopping. The Parade is the High St shopping area with lots of great shops and beautiful buildings.

In the afternoon we head up to the Adelaide Hills to visit niece Vashti, Jeremy and their four children. They have a small farm with chickens, alpacas, dogs and a dam. The children had gone blackberry gathering so we had them along with champagne and little sausage rolls Marg made. They are really nut, oat, feta rolls and so delicious.

We sat around the fire pit – but the weather was so nice. No fire needed.

Our last night we went to our last Fringe show. But before it we had dinner at a very popular Afghan restaurant called Pawana. You may have heard about it. Run by a couple who migrated here in 1987. Please click on the link and read about the family and the restaurant.

https://www.parwana.com.au

Read the story. They welcome you to the restaurant like into their home.

The owners of the restaurant receiving an award from the Afghani Ambassador.

We had a beautiful meal – delicious dumplings and an eggplant dish so delicious I could eat it every night.

The cook book from the restaurant

Following dinner we moved onto the Grace Emily Hotel. It has seen better days, is a little moth eaten but is a small hotel full of charm.

An eccentric little nativity scene! I think! Look closely.

We saw The Ukulele Death Squad. Mmmm some very strange named Fringe shows. We thought it would be more of a ukulele band but it was two ukuleles and three other singers. They sang Nick Cave songs. Quite well actually and we enjoyed it.

So my ten days in Adelaide is over. It’s been great.

I recommend a visit to the Adelaide Festival. Writers Week. The Fringe, Womad. Take it all in.

I know I’ll be back.

The Adelaide Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music

The day started with a long walk up and down the streets of Fullerton and Unley.

I choose a different route each day. The walking is tree lined and flat. Ideal.

Today I looked at the furniture people place on their verandahs. I love the variety.

Four types of seating.

There is also a walking trail you can follow.

Great for exploring

An old barn and community garden.

Little bits of history everywhere
A street library. Very popular in this area.

The old and the new.

Which do you prefer?

I stop at a different coffee shop on Duthy St. This time I did see Lycra! Two men arrived on their bikes and sat near me as I perched on a stool in the sun. They apologised for ruining my view!

I returned to our house and we had lunch with the family.

Then off we set for the Adelaide Hills. Ukaria Cultural Centre is perched in the hills near Mt Barker. It is a purpose built 220 seat theatre for chamber music. It hosts concerts and recitals all year. It has the most beautiful setting.

You arrive looking up to the Centre through beautiful gardens.

In 1985, Ulrike Klein AO co-founded the internationally acclaimed skincare label, Jurlique. The state-of-the-art and environmentally sustainable UKARIA Cultural Centre, which opened on 29 August 2015, was funded by the Klein Family and built on what was once the Jurlique Farm, where many of the herbs, flowers and plants were grown for natural skin care products.

Today we were here for a 4.15 composers talk and concert at 5pm. There have been concerts all weekend as part of the Adelaide festival.

We listened to Elena Kats-Chenin, a Russian born Australian composer. Her music is beautiful. Modern but still tuneful!

She is a colourful lady in style as well as music.

She autographs with a few bars of music.

Inside the auditorium it was quite light when the concert started and we sat looking out at the beautiful hills and gardens.

By the concert end the light had changed and light rain had started. Very beautiful.
The art through the centre reflects its aboriginal heritage.

Another lovely cultural day.

Port of Adelaide & then, Lizzy from Brissie!

A change of pace today. Marg had given Steve tickets for a visit to the Adelaide – an 1864 clipper ship. It’s down at Port Melbourne about a half hour drive from the city.

It’s still undergoing renovation but is open for tours. Only problem …..today it was closed. So, we shall return to visit – another time.

Instead we walked through the historic port area. There are some lovely old buildings. Sadly many shops are closed – probably a result of covid last year. Hopefully, things will get back to normal soon.

The lighthouse. Originally at the entrance to Port river built in 1869

Next , a visit to the railway museum. A great museum with many examples of the early trains. Also a bonus! A little train to tour the whole museum site.

A model railway with amazing scenes

Then a visit to nearby Semaphore where we saw not a lighthouse, but a semaphore signal house.

A beautiful little seaside place ideal for a fish & chip lunch out of paper by the seaside.

We headed back to Margs house via Bunnings! What’s a Saturday without a trip to Bunnings.

Around 7 we set out in an Uber for the Fringe. Half of Adelaide was there.

We arrived at The Garden of Earthly Delights! part of the Fringe. It’s a parklands type venue with lots of colour , movement, action & people.

Covid. We have you covered. It’s a covid safe venue with phone app check ins, hand sanitizer, social distancing! But loads of people and fun.

A bit like the Ekka, or the Royal Easter Show. There are food stalls, drinks, play areas and tents for entertainment.

We checked in at Babylon. We’re here for Chicksal 500. Four women comedians. Denise Scott, Cal Wilson, Geraldine Hickey and Lizzy Hoo.

There are so many comedy shows in the Fringe. Hard to know what to choose. I heard about this show from Barbara, a friend who follows this blog . Hi Barbara!!!!

She told me her lovely daughter Lizzy was now a comedian. I remember Lizzy from the days when my son Peter played rugby with her brother Damian at school. It’s been a lot of years!

Cal, Denise, Lizzy & Geraldine

But what a great show. All four were terrific and we all thought Lizzy was great. She talks about her mum and dad Chan with such funny warmth. She’s sharp, witty, delivers in a conversational way, and giggles! Well done Lizzy Hoo.

Each of the comedians told stories – usually about themselves & their family and had the audience rocking with laughter.

We walked back out through all the people enjoying what Adelaide has to offer. What a festival .