CUWAM- Rottnest Island: Paradise is where I am

The title of this entry should read ‘ Rottnest Island: Paradise is where I was’…for I am back on the West Coast mainland now..still paradise, but of the inland variety.

And after three sun filled days in the sun, I am left wondering…Can paradise be found anywhere? Is this ideal truly only realised when you dare to step on the treadmill that is everyday living, and in doing so, taking a look at the world around you with fresh eyes…

Whilst Rottnest was beautiful, of the happy tear inducing variety, perfect coastlines, white sand, aqua and deep blue seaside, I questioned whether my new-found inner peace was not only made possible be the islands breathtaking environment but from my decision to leave the everyday behind and do something different, experience something new and exciting…Paradise I came to realise was a combination of the two.

When in Rottnest, do as the locals ( of which there are few) do…Swim, cycle and sun yourself….I did all three, over a period of 72 hours. I went to bed early, rising early each morning, and either walked, rode or took the shuttle bus to a beach of my fancy….I was spoilt for choice…I swam at Salmon Bay,Lady Edeline Beach, Geordie Bay….and after numerous dips decided on a favourite, Little Parakeet Bay…

On an island of such beauty, it was fitting to meet beautiful people, like-minded souls who were all taking some time out from the daily grind that is life…We chatted over beers and wine, shared whatever food we had gathered from the general store…took time out to star gaze, for the night sky put on a fantastic display….glistening diamonds danced overhead as we sipped on our drinks and exchanged travel tales from adventures at home and abroad.

It is fair to say I had the time of my life…three very much longed for days away from the pressures of work and home life ( even if I do only live with a cat…Flora is a very demanding!!)…Three days that revolved solely around me. Indulgent? Yes…Do I  feel the need to justify this decision? No…. To put oneself first every now and then…recommended…to put oneself first on beautiful island, surrounded by like-minded people, crystal clear ocean and picture perfect surrounds….highly recommended.

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CUWAM- Treachery Camp, Seal Rock…the solo weekend road trip

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I have just returned from my first ever solo beach weekend road trip….I headed north on Friday morning, bound for Treachery Camp, Seal Rock….some 240 kms north of Sydney…It must be told that this road trip was never intended to be completed by me and me alone…This trip was booked some 9 months ago, and the friends that were to accompany me are in the family way…baby number 2 is to be born any day….

Little effort on my part was put into the recruiting replacement friends….Having returned from my own whirl wind overseas adventure a mere 5 weeks earlier, and on weighing up the craziness that awaited my return…the birth of numerous babies, the engagements, the birthdays, the catch ups, the reunions…a weekend removed from my social circle sounded like pure bliss…a weekend retreat for one…

If Australia is home, and you are fortunate enough to live close to the coastline, there can be no better way to spend a weekend, than by the seaside…This is a concept I am lucky enough to have grown up with, my childhood home was Austinmer, on the NSW South Coast, a sleepy town, were the only thing to do 365 of any year was based around the sea….you swam, sun-baked, surfed, talked and gossiped about the all-encompassing ocean that governed daily life in ‘Austi’….

Treachery Camp, Seal Rock, my home away from home, a place I have been returning to for the past three years, it draws me back time and time again with it natural beauty, native flora and fauna, turquoise water and white sandy beach.

The drive out of Sydney was pleasant…I cruised over the Sydney Harbor Bridge, listening to my road trip music of choice ‘ Washington: I believe you liar’…borrowed from the Randwick Library especially for the occasion. The music rolled on and on, high rotation from song 1 to 12, and then again…Washington’s sweet summer melody had me singing along…and  before I know it I was in Buladelah, stocking up on weekend supplies and indulging in a late lunch: a sausage roll and sauce and cream bun ( complete with MOCK cream and jam)

A surprise catch up with former work colleague Daryl, on the way to Seal Rock with his family… a blast from the past…A Buladelah highlight…Both Daryl and his family, I suspect, like me, are happiest when by the sea….

Arriving late afternoon Friday, I set up camp in a self contained surfside cabin for one. Surrounded either side by young families, I began to question my ability to survive on my first ever solo beach weekend….Not to worry….By Saturday night, though I remained inside my cabin, I was surrounded either side by family action, children performed a Saturday night concert from my veranda…dancing and a rendition of the classic ‘ Twinkle Twinkle Little star’ complete with dancing girls….solitude I miss you!!

Treachery Camp, I love you….made even slight more appealing by the ‘ Tim’s at Treach’ , a small seaside coffee van, specializing in coffee’s, lovingly made one at a time, bacon and egg rolls and home-made scones and date loaf….Never did I expect to have been served a cappuccino in bush land, and some may say it is not necessary …but lovely all the same, I definitely enjoyed it….Thanks Tim

The weekend was beach action and nothing more….I lounged about surfside all day Saturday, rotating rotisserie style ( I have the sun burn to prove it), book in hand, box of chicken crimpy biscuits by my side, water, my beach umbrella….bliss…Ocean swims, an afternoon drive to Sugarloaf Lighthouse, followed by more swimming at Boat beach, returning to Treachery late afternoon, to read the Saturday papers and drink red wine.

Sunday morning came around too soon….An early morning swim, in water that was bordering on icy ( but I made myself go in….for come Monday, I would be desk bound and this memory would be all I would have to sustain me!!) And then it was time to go….but not before enquiring about a booking for November 2012!!

And back to my summer soundtrack, Washington hit the airwaves, and I headed home….stopping via Newcastle for a bit of window shopping along Darby Street….too cool!…and a lunch break at…Mc Donalds….an outing I am ashamed to admit too…..It was a surreal experience….For I realized on entering this hamburger haven, that the last McDonalds I had spent time in was in Brooklyn, NYC…and Newcastle Macca’s felt no different…The were children everywhere….filling up on additives, running amuck,  as worn out parents waited for the sugar high to subside…..a melting pot of society all eager to snack on a quarter pounder or three….

Sydney, the eastern suburbs, with the smell of sea salt in the air I returned home …and the crash back to earth after a weekend by the ocean was softened by this reality…Flora was happy to see me, tufts of her winter coat scattered around the apartment, although a few high-pitched meows seemed to suggest a slight disdain for being abandoned over the weekend ( but she had a very lovely male cat sitter)…

And it all seems but a dream….and as I sit at my desk, listening to youtube as I enter student exchange applications, the hum drum of office life, the sweet tunes of singer Washington able to take me back to a place where the sun shone, the water sparkled and all was good…..

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