Altered States


One of the many small estuaries on Gloucester Island with a view across to the mainland.

If you think the title of this post sounds like a good sci-fi movie, then read no further. Rather, I want to explore how visiting another state (Queensland in this instance, which is right at my back door), can alter one’s perspective.

I ‘hop’ across the border from New South Wales into Queensland on almost a daily basis. Less frequently, I travel farther north. Queensland is a big state after all, some 1,852,642 square kilometres in area. 

My tiny courtyard garden allows me to live with nature, albeit on a small scale; to observe the interplay with flora and fauna and the impact we humans have on the natural system. To create a beautiful garden.

Camping gives one an opportunity to be even closer – to live cheek and jowl with nature.  And that’s what we did.

The Gloucester Islands National Park is more remote than some of the other parks in the Whitsundays, lying directly north of Cape Gloucester. Access is about a twenty minute boat ride from Dingo Beach. We had to take everything and leave nothing behind. It’s kind of liberating.

Lazy days swimming, paddling, playing beach cricket, fishing and beach-combing. Nights around a campfire under a star studded dome of sky. Good food, good company and the rich experience of the untouched landscape.


Despite the heat, the walks along the beach were the best, giving me the opportunity to see native specimens in their natural habitat. The largest, and probably oldest Melaleuca tree I have ever seen, was one of my favourites. The twisted trunk and weathered appearance made it stand out even from beyond the shore, although my photo doesn’t do it justice. I have written about these amazing paperbark trees in an earlier post.


Melaleuca Tree on Gloucester Island

A pair of curious Sea-eagles watched our meanderings along the shoreline. Although inviting, we resisted exploring the small water courses further inland due to what my grandies called ‘croci-ness’ – high probability to be home to the crocodylus porosus, or estuarine crocodile.


One of the pair of sea eagles

When it came time to leave, I truly was in an ‘altered state’ of being. Someone had pressed ‘pause’ on my console – no technology, complete respite from the noise and clamour of civilisation, a time to think, and just ‘be’, to look around and appreciate the ‘now’. It was like a meditation. The children seemed to thrive without their screens. The adults took deep breaths and gave thanks.

Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation. Jean Arp


Gloucester Island – dusk. 

The take-away from this trip was: my attempt to ‘create beauty’ in my tiny courtyard garden is futile. Nature does a far better job.







31 responses to “Altered States

  1. love your photos. I know what you mean about altering our minds. when we used to go seakayaking and camping evne a couple of days away seemed like weeks. I still love to camp and cant wait for spring. Today, it looks like we batten down the hatches as a nother storm is due to arrive.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Being off-grid is an enormous bonus on a holiday. Though some people are distinctly nervous about the prospect. I love your quote! And I think you do a very good job of creating beauty in your courtyard. Nature has a much bigger playground 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Trying to create a beautiful garden on this island would certainly be futile but in your courtyard creating a place that reminds you of the beauty of the wider world seems well worth the effort.

    Liked by 1 person

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