For the last few weeks the Atelier has been having a rest, the studio locked up and the machines unplugged – we’ve been travelling! After requests and invitations, we decided to start the One Dress Work in Progress tour all the way “Down Under”.
Australia is far, the flights alone created over 6 tonnes of CO2 – that needs around 35 trees to offset (we’ll make sure to ask our tree planters in India to make that happen!)
So when we arrived in Oz, we decided we would be as sustainable as possible. We had One Dress showcases lined up in a few cities and a bit of time to explore (a relatively small part of) the country, and after a frenetic first half of the year we were in need of a little R&R. We landed in The Gold Coast and headed 6 hours north, to a small town called Hervey Bay, and straight onto the Ferry for Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, an immaculate eco retreat in the Coral Sea.
Photography supplied by Kingfisher Bay Resort
We stayed at the Kingfisher Bay Resort – a gorgeous and indulgent lodging on the west coast of the Island, a little taste of luxury, in amongst the wilderness. Immediately we were warned to be confident if we saw wild dingoes(!!!) and had to decide between relaxing in the pool, going to the beach or indulging in the many incredible activities the hotel has to offer.
As newbies in Oz we decided to try out the fascinating Bush Tucker talk – tasting an array of wild seeds and berries. We canoed – our fabulous guide admitted to us that our tour was the shortest she had ever led (our city girl arms did not take us far along the quiet and alluring creek) we enjoyed it none the less, spotting rays in the water and birds in the trees along the immaculate sandy shore.
We chose Kingfisher Bay for its commitment to sustainability and we were not disappointed. The staff are all incredibly knowledgeable, championing the excellent eco credentials of the resort, yet nothing was imposed on the many relaxed and delighted visitors. Kingfisher Bay was certainly the break we needed to revive ourselves, acclimatise to the glorious Australian climate and get ready for the tour ahead.
We took the sunset ferry back to Hervey bay, and marvelled in the spectacular view – sunsets in Oz are quite remarkable! Then took the (comparatively) short drive up to our amazing eco-residence for the night – the “Tiny House” in Glenwood. We spotted wild Kangaroos on the way, and from the veranda in the morning we saw a little Joey giving his poor mother the jump around. Our host, Leroy, built this little lodging himself, a scaled down version of his own home on the same land – with every eco amenity you could want – harvested rain water, compost toilet and organic snacks. All immaculately clean and luxurious in it’s simplicity. Our only regret was having to leave so early the next morning to get to Mooloolaba.
And what an adventure we had there – we had just enough time to stop at a fabulous eco boutique, Meraki at The Wharf, before jumping on the Sunreef Wild One boat to go “Swimming with Whales”.
Dear reader – we entered this challenge with some trepidation – I, very much a city girl, with my feet firmly on concrete pavement, and not in shark ridden (we all had to wear shark repellent bands!) oceans. I tried, I went in, I swam, I got a cramp, I panicked (bobbing alone in the middle of the ocean – someone who doesn’t even really like the Hampstead Heath ponds because you can’t see the bottom), a wonderful fellow diver rescued me, and I spent the rest of the adventure on the boat – marvelling at the immense hump-back whales and their incredible curiosity in us, one even stayed a while to perform some tricks. So even though the swimming with whales was not my cup of tea – the other divers were delighted by the experience and we all thoroughly enjoyed the magnificence of these most incredible creatures, free in their natural habitat.
Sunreef also offer whale watching tours, but for thrill-seekers go for the swimming with whales (you can be a spectator if one of your party wants to swim). They are certified by Eco-Tourism and throughout the trip I was reassured they really do respect and revere those incredible whales.
One Dress was travelling with us too, collecting words along the way! It’s now at almost 600, about a third of the way there, still plenty to go and we’ve picked up some beautiful and unique words in Australia…
Yours in Oz!