Leaving vibrant Sydney behind, a flight north took us to Cairns, where we had arranged to meet clients/good friends for a couple of days at Port Douglas.
Our two nights were spent at the beautiful Thala Beach Nature Reserve, which is positioned on a stunning private headland. A special place to stay, which I highly recommend.
Sitting here on a rather damp, grey and chilly afternoon in England....looking at the pictures above, makes me want to head straight back!
The highlight of the visit to Port Douglas was undoubtedly the day's trip out to The Great Barrier Reef on a private charter which we were so generously treated to! Monsoon Private Reef Charters were a fantastic choice. So friendly, knowledgeable and professional.
Taking us out for the day, to an exclusive part of the reef not visited by the larger tourist boats, it was an unforgettable experience of one of the true wonders of the world....
No wonder we had such smiley faces!
Being fairly new to the experience of snorkelling, I was completely mesmerised by the underwater world lying beneath....The Reef is truly spectacular! Words can hardly express the beauty of the sealife, and coral. The vibrant, exquisite colours and shapes. It felt an absolute privilege to be able to spy on their spectacular underwater world. How tragic that The Reef is slowly dying due to pollution....a problem that desperately needs to be tackled and resolved.
Mr. W was particularly over the moon to catch this handsome 'Giant Trevelya'...which was promptly popped back in the ocean.
What my pictures don't show is the delicious lunch which was put on for us on deck. In all it was the most perfect day. Having spent all day in the sun and fresh air, with plenty of time in the water, we certainly slept well that night!
Next stop was Melbourne, one of my favourite cities. A city of culture, great shopping and amazing restaurants...the perfect recipe for a few days stay. As with Sydney, I was free to explore in the day on my own while Mr. W had meetings.
Above is the beautiful conservatory in Fitzroy Gardens...
As mentioned, the restaurant scene is fantastic. Like Sydney, Melbourne has a wealth of amazing fusion food cooked by highly innovative chefs. Amongst our favourites for dinner were Coda and Tonka.....a must for anyone's Melbourne address book!
A favourite florist in Little Flinders Street....
Beautiful Victorian architecture in quirky Brunswick Street....
A day spent with my dearest childhood friend Joanna who lives outside Melbourne was certainly a very special day. Being on the other side of the world, you can imagine how much chat there was to be had between us as we shopped and lunched together for our reunion day. Thank you Joanna, if you are reading this, for such a fabulous day!
To end this wonderful trip, we flew back to Sydney and then drove the beautiful three hour coastal route up to Chef Rick Stein's beautiful hotel Bannisters in Mollymook. Positioned on a spectacular headland, the views were fantastic looking out to sea. Well known of course, for its renowned seafood restaurant.....the setting was a little different perhaps from Rick's Padstow restaurants and certainly better weather!
With miles of stunning, unspoilt beaches....I so wish I could start every morning like this!
A wonderful discovery on our second day, was a beautiful Winery called Cupitt's. With breathtaking views over lush green rolling hills and a sea fed lake in the distance, it was the perfect place to have lunch and of course, enjoy a glass or two of their delicious wine.
Cupitt's sweet resident Pointer obviously never grows tired of this beautiful view....and why would he?
It was a long 36 hour trip back home door to door, but as I snoozed on the plane, my mind was full of wonderful memories of our eighteen days away, and I have come back home inspired by so much that I have seen and done. Travelling is a huge joy and privilege, and one I so appreciate. Always so happy to get back to my home, family and dogs though....although talk with Mr. W over the last few evenings has unsurprisingly turned to travel plans for the future....where next?? It's a big and exciting world out there!
Have any of you been particularly inspired by a part of the world you have visited? If so, I would love to hear from you!
On the blog next week, I shall be sharing things that inspire me closer to home....
In the meantime, I wish you all a very happy weekend!