Scary stories from a lovely place
We just got home from somewhere spectacular. A place ringed by beaches, each rivalling the other for beauty, fun and fish to see or waves to catch. Somewhere full of unique and endemic birds, insects, flowers, foliage and fish – without a cat or fox, pig or possum to catch the weak-willed ones. A place so small, it’s easily traversed on a bicycle. Somewhere with sheer cliffs, hovering sea birds and towering mountains – Lord Howe Island.
I have been to this wonderful place numerous times. Each time I leave I wonder if I will go back. Each time I return I feel overawed and so glad to be there again. We bushwalked and cycled, snorkelled and body surfed, fished and dreamed of spear fishing, climbed trees and wrestled naked on the sand (the kids), read and drew many pictures of trains. We saw reef sharks, turtles, coloured fish of every permutation, sting rays, garfish skimming the water’s surface, starfish, catfish engaging in some weird feeding orgy and many other bizarre sea creatures.
It wasn’t particularly relaxing, as no holiday with small children would be. We rose early and awoke multiple times at night to help confused little people. We dug many holes in the sand, constructed elaborate bridges and tunnels that were immediately trampled, ran from and jumped through waves, and bore the complaints and moans of children who don’t like change. It helped that every spot we played was quiet and spectacular.
It also wasn’t relaxing in that no holiday on Lord Howe Island should be. There is just too much fun stuff to do. Too many hills and mountains to climb, too many coral holes and islands to swim to, too many birds to watch, too many waves to swim in and too many places to cycle to. But, having the kids this time meant that we couldn’t cram too much of this physical activity into each day, there had to be lots of slow little person time too.
We have a fairly complicated relationship with holidays. Stephen wants to work. The kids, especially Silas wants to stay home all day, every day. We don’t feel like we really need them, or deserve them. But, we want to go to cool places and enjoy each other’s company. I didn’t feel conflicted about going to Lord Howe Island. With such scenery to behold, there’s no time for angst.