Crisp air, sweeping views, birdsong and a nice red… you can just feel the serenity. We’ve arrived at Binna Burra Sky Lodges, in the heart of the Lamington National Park, for some post-wedding R&R.
But it’s not long before EB is scanning the Binna Burra map to find a long, challenging walk for us to do. Clearly ‘relaxation’ is all in the interpretation.
The Sky Lodges are the newest edition to the Binna Burra Mountain Lodge, a nature-based resort founded in 1933, which still has that retro feel.
The beautiful, self-contained lodges are designed to capture the spectacular views across Queensland’s Scenic Rim, stretching all the way to the Gold Coast and the ocean.
EB may have his walking agenda, but I also have mine. So late in the afternoon we emerge, feeling very Zen, from the aptly-named Bliss Massage, to a mountain shrouded in mist – which soon unwraps a stunning sunset.
The next morning, we tackle the Ship’s Stern. To say I’m a little anxious is a major understatement. I haven’t done any serious bush walking since we climbed Mt Gower on Lord Howe Island in 2011 and, unlike EB who’s always exercising and has an active job, I spend most days firmly planted at an office desk.
The Ship’s Stern walk descends into the Kurraragin Valley, past towering red cedar, eucalypts and piccabeen palms, and natural viewing spots where looking down makes your legs tingle.
Along the way, dense rainforest gives way to open forest, with sudden transitions to open heathland. In places, the narrow track clings to the mountain edge and the drop-offs are breathtaking.
Pops of bushland colour…
When I’m certain we’re nearing the end of the 19km walk, we come across a sign that proves EB right (again). We’ve just passed the halfway point. Ugh.
But surprisingly, my bushwalking legs are back and I’m ready to take on the 9.4km uphill stretch.
Negotiating massive fallen trees and debris on the edge of the precipice along this section of the track soon makes me forget uphill battles and fatigued legs. There’s nothing like the occasional adrenalin rush to keep your energy levels up.
By the time we reach the end of the walk, I’m skipping – in an exhilarated, kind-of exhausted and lumbering way. I made it – and with far more ease than I expected.
Yes, EB would definitely have arrived at the finish line sooner, but he was very relaxed and accommodating of my slower pace (what a great husband!).
He wasn’t even phased by my constant oo-ah moments, when I stopped to take photos with my iPhone camera (because I wasn’t about to lug my real one on a walk like this!).
This was yet another reminder in my life (how many do I need?!) that when you think you can’t do something, you’re often underestimating your abilities because, most times, you can.
Somewhere along the Ship’s Stern, I decided there are so many things in life I can’t not do…
Which leads me to the ‘real’ honeymoon we’ll be taking sometime soonish.
It may involve some serious cycling training… but that’s another story.
Bridal waltzing, lou and EB style
A wedding postscript: The rain gods cast their blessing on our beach wedding. But, as some wise person once said, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade, then (our addition) splash in the gin and hand it around.
So we took the ceremony indoors, and nothing could dampen our spirits as the night turned into one huge party. It really was one of the best days of our life, shared with our fabulous family and friends.
After 19 years together, raising our blended family, we didn’t expect to feel any different. But we do. We’re primed and ready for getting on with this next phase of our lives… on the flight path.
And he walks in fields of gold…