It’s cold, it’s really frackin cold here in Canberra. Seriously, my snuggie just ordered a snuggie for warmth! I do try to find the positives about winter…. pretty paddocks and parks all frozen white with frosts, and there really is nothing like mountain walks with Little Chef the dog in the snow, not to mention the time saved not having to brush my hair because of the beanie plastered to my head.
I guess the convenience of keeping my hands cold when working with pastry is a bonus, truffles, truffles, truffles and I LOVE me a warm cosy day inside stuffing my pie hole with fancy popcorn and watching movies too. But mostly, my winter days are spent longing for sun shine and warmth.
Now I can’t head north on a summer holiday, but I can reminisce on one of the many summer adventures where I’ve escaped the cold to beautiful, balmy and oh so sunny North Queensland.
Australia is massive with many extremes in weather, temperatures and landscapes, we are also home to the largest living ‘thing’ on this beautiful earth, the Great Barrier Reef which just happened to be the backdrop to my holiday.
This underwater giant can be seen from outer space and is made up of hundreds of different species of exquisitely coloured coral and home to a countless number of fish, giant turtles, sharks and dolphins.
No wonderland would be complete without a dash of mortal danger though, and The Reef does not disappoint. Somehow, we Aussies are used to the many deadly insects, spiders and snakes that live amongst us, so it’s not surprising we also have deadly ocean dwelling creatures so transparent and pale in colour they can cause excruciating pain and sometimes death to unsuspecting swimmers. We affectionately call them ‘Stingers’, and during the wet season (November to April) their venom is particularly dangerous.
North Queensland is one of my favourite places to escape during our freezing sweater-on-sweater-minus-degree-windy-winters; and also the best time to go diving if you can slot in a cheeky getaway, however I doubted diving in The Great Barrier Reef in stinger season would be an option, but Queen Suebah and I decide, where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Perhaps it is the Aussie way, or we secretly enjoy duelling with Mother Nature, I’m not sure! But we hopped a boat out to the reef where we were kitted out in our super sexy #NOT lightweight and comfortable, head to the tips of our toes nylon and spandex suits that strangely enough, offered some protection from the lethal stings.
Once over the initial creepiness of hearing your breath in your ears and you relax into the peacefulness of being under the sea, it is mesmerising. The water is deliciously warm, clear, still, and without a doubt completely beautiful, and it wasn’t long before we forgot all about swimming in a crazy jumpsuit amongst deadly creatures and found ourselves lost in the beauty only The Reef can deliver.
Tell me dear reader, are you a summer or winter person? What season do you try escape from? And would you dive in The Great Barrier Reef in Stinger Season?