Our family recently took on a true nature adventure holiday - this is a short blog of what we got up to.
We started off at Fraser Island, which is a real treasure of a place! The vegetation is just so beautiful, and there is a real feeling of an (mostly) untouched ancient land as you travel through. The only way to get around and see things is through 4WD - so we thought we would make it a real adventure and hire one ourselves - this gave us the freedom to stay as long or as short in places as we liked and the kids could sleep if they needed to. They were bouncing around like teabags most of the time but they thought that was quite a bit of fun! We visited Eli Creek - so crystal clear warm waters flowing to the sea, Champagne Pools (rock pools), and the inner ancient rainforest! We saw some Fraser Island Dingoes - purest of their kind, heaps of different birds like Rainbow Lorikeets, White-bellied Sea Eagle, New Holland Honeyeaters, Eastern Reef Egret and lots of Grey-headed Flying-Fox feeding over our cabin all night.
Lady Elliot Island
Lady Elliot Island (LEI) is a coral cay about 80 km off the east coast of Queensland. It is a blip on the map, no phone reception, limited wi fi and very remote! Being at LEI though is a truly amazing, special and unique experience. Literally a few metres from the eco-resort is a 'lagoon' - part of the reef that surrounds the island - full of fish, turtles, sea stars, sea cucumbers, coral and other beautiful amazing marine life. LEI sits at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef - its crystal clear sea waters are amazing and visibility is second to none! Hubby and I took our first dive experience within the outer reefs of the island - between us seeing large Green sea turtles, White-tipped reef sharks, Manta Rays and a leopard shark - and hundreds if not thousands of colourful and diverse fish!
Our oldest daughter experienced 'snorkelling' for the first time with a 'Vu Board' - basically a boogey board with a viewing window - so she too could enjoy swimming with the fish and turtles - she kept yelling out to me 'this is awesome!!" The little one enjoyed playing on the beach, picking up and playing with different shaped coral and watching the fish swimming around her feet at the edge of the lagoon.
I had an amazing experience watching a juvenile Hawkesbill sea turtle feeding in the lagoon, it didn't seem bothered by my presence and continued munching away, coming up for air, swimming around near me - keeping an eye on me but never swimming away to get away from me - needless to say I took a 'few' photos and videos with my niece and nephews awesome GO PRO they very kindly lent us.
Reflecting on this experience it brought a tear to my eye (well maybe a few!) as I just thought this turtle species is critically endangered with extinction - its a beautiful, harmless creature which is a critical component of the marine and reef ecosystem. How can we let such amazing animals like this decline and possibly disappear?
Not that I needed it as such ... but my experience at LEI has strengthened my determination and drive to engage young children in the wonders of nature and to strive to promote nature and all its beautiful, wonderful diverse creatures and plants - from the endangered sea turtles to the common bugs found in our local parks! In the words of E.O. Wilson - we should be striving to "conserve every scrap of biodiversity" !
Immersing yourself in nature during a family holiday is truly reinvigorating and we highly recommend it! It doesn't have to be a 'big adventure' though, mini regular adventures are equally important!!
Short video of Hawkesbill sea turtle at Lady Elliot Island