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I look at places I visit as if they have a personality. In the past I’ve written about my impressions on Melbourne, Laos and The Viaduct Harbour in New Zealand. This weekend I’m blogging live from the Souther Great Barrier Reef. Day 1 found us in Childers, about 50 kilometres inland from Bundaberg.
There’s something open and honest about Childers. It might be the miles of open fields, neat lines of sugar cane or the many quant homes spotting the country side. I feel at home here: this quintessential Queensland setting is rich in history and there’s a confidence that comes with that. Up closer, below the seemingly flat tops of sugar cane is a dense forrest of intertwining stems that hold a sense of weight and mystery. I can’t help but acquaint that same feeling to Childers: there a confidence, an honesty, but a depth too, and it makes me want to find out more about the history of this area. Homework for later.
Nestled amongst the sugar cane farms on the shores of Lake Redbrook (so named due to the redness of the creek water that supplies it in flood) was our first destination.
Lake Redbrook Holiday Retreat
5:30am – The kids worke early, excited about the day. The youngest child opened our first clue and you can read it here.
7:00 am – Starting with a coffee beside the lake outside our cabin at Lake Redbrook Holiday Retreat. This place is a beauty! The facilities are modern and family friendly; the views: stunning; but it’s the obvious passion and joy which the owners, Gary and Sharyn, live by and how they share their gifts that make this place extra special. Much of the retreat was built by Gary himself (a builder) and I see a reflection of investment, love, care and thought here.
Lake Redbrook functions as a sugar cane farm too.
View looking over the self-contained cabins. There’s also caravan & tenting spots available.
8:00am – We were treated by Gary to a buggy tour of the 160 acre property, winding through cane fields with various stops along the way. The children loved experiencing the animals and played an active role in feeding deer, aviary birds, miniature horses, chickens, ducks, cows and some very adorable pigs. During our stop in the orchid, the children were able to pick their own fresh citrus and spent time devouring mulberries until hands were stained purple.
Gary also constructed an authentic bush hut (with a few surprises inside; you’ll have to go yourself to find out what they are) and a wonderful finch aviary with a multitude of species. I was thoroughly impressed by the thought and care that Gary and Sharyn have shown in developing this retreat. There’s an undercurrent of generousosity, like what you feel when you visit someone who truly cares for you. Many times throughout the morning, I thought, this is good…so good for the kids.
Looking back over the lake to the cabins on the other side.
We could of happily spent much more time here riding bikes and kayaking but we had to push on.
11:30am – Leaving, Lake Redbrook behind, we headed off on our first mystery activity as part of our Hidden Treasure Challenge. Snakes Downunder is a small reptile park just south of Childers. Although small in size, the park allows intimate contact with snakes, turtles, lizards as well as some Australian favourites. There’s plenty to do!
For those too dangerous to handle (which includes a lot of Australian reptiles!) park operator Ian and staff offer a number of shows which are educational as well as awe inspiring. The advantage of the park’s smaller size is evident in these encounters as you are able to get very close the action; you can feel the raw force that a 4m salt-water croc can produce (short vid here) and I had goosebumps as Ian expertly handled the world’s 5 most venomous snakes. It’s personable and the kids were able to ask a lot of questions of the experts.
Macca a 4m long, 1/2 ton salt-water crocodile in action.
It’s hard to believe that this little fella might grow bigger than Macca one day!
Inland Taipan (Fierce snake), the world’s most venomous. 1 bite can kill 500 000 mice!
Pictured below with Ian’s boot to give you an idea of the size of this one.
The way Ian handles the world’s most venomous snake: like a boss!
(Check out how close the snake’s head it to Ian’s hand)
There’s plenty of education warning children to refrain from handling any found snakes.
Top End Carpet Python
The kids experienced holding a Black-Headed Python. Loved it.
Before I could react, Miss 8 lent down to give the snake a kiss. Haha.
Meet Matilda and Millie
Mammino Ice Cream
2:30pm – After almost three hours at the reptile park, we went literally 30sec down the road to the Mammino Gourmet Ice Cream shop. The ice cream is made to a secret family recipe in a kitchen the same size you would find in a regular home. And the ice cream? Seriously wow. Most creamy and smooth ice cream I have tasted. I hunted down a few places that sell Mammino ice cream in Brisbane so I can try other flavours another time.
I went with Ginger & Macadamia nut; son decided on cookies and cream.
4:30 pm – Arrived at Kelly’s Beach Resort (aptly named!), near Bundaberg.
6:30 pm – At dinner, everyone shared a favourite thing about their day by drawing a picture and other members of the family had to guess what it was.
8:00 pm – Matt and I are weary after a full day. Just got all the kids to sleep upstairs in the loft section of our accommodation. It’s so quiet up there! The kids are exhausted (in a good way) from all the fun today. Big day tomorrow. Will open up the next clue in the morning to reveal what the day will hold.
10:00 pm – Loved looking at the pictures from today and uploading some of them here. Time for sleep now. Forgive any of my errors, would you?
Follow Along – Southern Great Barrier Reef Hidden Treasure Challenge
Follow along this long weekend as we explore by following:
The blog: I’ll do a quick update each day we are away, so look out for posts on Saturday night, Sunday night and Monday night (8,9,10 June).
Instagram: I’m @beafunmum on instragram and I will update regularly using these hashtags #BAFM_Travel #SouthernGreatBarrierReef #ThisIsQueensland
Facebook page: There will be snippets on the Be A Fun Mum Facebook Page too
This is a S1 post. You can read my disclosure policy here.