…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.