I'm back!

…and it was a wonderfully relaxing holiday. Despite 13 emails from the Big Boss while I was away *rolls eyes*.

So, I stayed at Sanctuary Retreat, at Mission Beach in Queensland (the north east coast of Australia, 2 hours drive south of Cairns) which is a private nature reserve and eco-certified ‘resort’. I loved it.

To get to Sanctuary – which is at the top of a decent sized hill – you either have to hitch a lift with one of the staff in the 4×4 or walk up the path (complete with gigantic spiders and brightly-coloured butterflies) through the rainforest.

This pics don’t really do the place justice (I forgot both my ‘proper’ camera and my underwater camera, so these are all courtesy of the iPhone), but inside the main Lodge building is the bar/restaurant, a library, kitchen, bathrooms, and several chill out areas – with a veranda looking out over the rainforest canopy to the ocean.

The yoga studio and massage hut are a two minute walk through the forest on the inland side, near this handily placed bench (which, incidentally, was the only spot with mobile phone reception).

They have two types of accommodation – luxury canopy cabins or basic rainforest huts. I was in one of the latter, which set me back the absurdly trifling sum of $40 AUD a night.

To get to the beach you trundle down the path through the rainforest again…

…and find this:

An absolutely deserted stretch of beach. An hour’s walk along which you come to the nearest town, Bingil Bay, which has a really relaxed and slightly alternative, barefoot, clean but somewhat raggle-taggle-gypsy vibe. Lovely. Brilliant live music on Sunday night where I indulged my predilection for drummers 🙂

Anyway, I did some scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, where ours was the only dive boat in sight and there were only 4 of us in the water. No photos of the white tip reef shark, green turtles, dolphins or other denizens of the deep because, as I said already, I forgot my camera. I was initially annoyed with myself for having forgotten it but then I found it rather liberating – I was able to concentrate on the experience in the moment, rather than worrying about trying to capture it for posterity. It also meant that I did more sketching that I would probably have done otherwise.

It was a wonderful holiday and I met and made some great new friends, including the staff at Sanctuary who had practically adopted me by day 3. I’ll certainly be back.

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11 Responses to I'm back!

  1. azahar says:

    Looks and sounds idyllic. That water is gorgeous.

    I’m off today! But will probably be back tomorrow.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful break.

    But no Cassowaries?

    • Norwichrocks says:

      Sadly, no cassowaries seen by me (though I heard several foraging outside my hut at night)… but they are wild creatures and can’t be timetabled, so I don’t feel cheated!

  3. modestypress says:

    I am not tempted to fly to Australia, but this is as close to tempting me as could be. Sounds like you had a wonderful experience and I am glad.

    • Norwichrocks says:

      I can see that I am going to have to increase the temptation factor of Australia to encourage you to come on over… 😉

  4. Australia may be next on our list of places to go. well, maybe. Jim really wants to finish his global circumnavigation by ship goal, and all he has to do is sail through the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal, and go from FL to CA via the Panama Canal. So those cruises may occur before a return to Australia but after reading this post Australia is a lot further up my list.

    That place sounds pretty much perfect, including the town with drummers and a gypsy vibe.

    So glad you had a wonderful time, and I know what you mean about not having a camera along. When I float with a camera it is an entirely different experience. And since I am floating today, I must go get my lunch and act together.

    • Except, I just had to say, what kind of holiday is it when the Big Boss can email you and expect a response? What will they do if you die, fall into a coma, or go somewhere where there is NO reception?

      This is a subject that has bothered me for years. Holiday means HOLIDAY, not go away but stay on the electronic leash. One of my clients went on holiday to Mexico and the first thing that happened to him was his cell phone was stolen. He reports that it was the most relaxing vacation he had had in years. I’m thinking there should be some sort of cell phone stealing service available to all people whose bosses think they should be available during their vacations.

  5. Fantastic! Glad you had a good time, the Big Boss’ importunities aside.

  6. doctordi says:

    Beautiful! And I understand completely your sense of liberation from the camera – it’s such a trap sometimes.

  7. What a perfect vacation, I’m so glad you enjoyed yourself! I sometimes make a point of not bringing my camera for that very reason. The human eye captures so much more than a camera lens, even the best photo is a mere shadow of the reality. Sounds like your boss should go on vacation too. Sheesh.

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