#55: Australia Adventures! (Day Nine.)

 

Alright, it’s been one week since my last post, and over two months since I came back from this fabulous place. I can’t use the assessment excuse anymore, so I absolutely need to get going with this before I start procrastinating again. If I can churn out 2500 words on three books I’ve never read within six hours, then I can surely write these up! Besides, this day was absolutely amazing, and it’s definitely worth documenting, hence the sheer amount of photos. On that note, I guess I’ll start tapping away!

Our second day on the beautiful island of Rotto consisted of a big breakfast, and a trip down to the hire depot to score us some bikey bois. Listen, I’m trying to spruce this up as much as I can. As I previously mentioned, there’s nothing that strikes me with more doom and gloom that the thought of a bike ride. Seriously. It’s always confused me. To think, people ride around on bikes for fun?! In some cases, it’s almost romantic. Romantic?! Heck. I can’t think of anything less alluring than matted hair clinging onto a helmet that resembles that white ball on a snooker table. But hey, life is about pushing yourself, and applying yourself in new situations, right? So off I went, tottering around the bike testing bit on this gigantic metal monstrosity looking thoroughly out my element. This managed to draw a few laughs from Jacek, mind, so it can’t have been in vain.

With the testing centre only confirming my inability on a bike, I assumed that the tempo for the day had been set. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself zipping around the place with ease, and came to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, I’d been a little bit dramatic about the whole thing. Hey, I only said maybe! I still managed to go flying down some stairs thinking it was a ramp, but you know what? I stayed on the bike, and I think that’s what really counts here. Not the intense burning feeling that left me hobbling along the street afterwards. Moving swiftly onwards, I think we managed to bike around for most of the day, covering the bus route that we’d taken the day before whilst stopping at the prettiest parts. You’ll have to forgive me for the lack of detail, but there’s a couple of photos near Jeanie’s Lookout. The rest is a guessing game. Just know that it was all absolutely beautiful, though. Even if we got bitten to shreds. Silly bugs.

After biking all the way past the salt lakes (which smelled…funky.), we noticed that there was one, or rather, a couple of hundred island treasures that we hadn’t seen on our bike route: the quokkas. We knew we’d be coming closer to their favourite getaway, as the tour lady from yesterday mentioned a tree that they’d usually gather under and wait for fallen fruit. From what she said, it seemed like the fruit for them would be our equivalent of alcohol, and they’d just sit about all day feeling nice and giddy. With this in mind, I decided that I’d completely flout the sobriety and do everything in my power to give these little cuties the party of their lives, and make sure I could give them their magic fruit whenever I next saw them. Finally, as we were biking over what might possibly be the biggest hill of my life, Dan spotted them. They scurried across the skyline, as if they’d just come out of a movie. And my golly goodness, they were adorable.

This next paragraph will probably seem very downtrodden in comparison to the rest, but I think it’s worth noting given the popularity of the quokkas on the island. I found them to be completely lovely, harmless, and if anything, completely welcoming to us humans. They’d follow us around, and when I gave them food (now, this bit is important!) from their natural diet, they seemed to return the favour by strolling over to us for a cheeky photo. However, for anybody reading this, one thing’s that’s extremely important to keep in mind is that they are animals. Like us, they need their own space, and they certainly don’t need our big human hands swamping them. The ones we met were friendly enough, appearing to nuzzle us for a stroke or two after we brought down leaves for them, but that’s my point. Respecting animals in their natural environment makes for the best experience, and by keeping them nice and healthy with the correct food and space, it means that they’re much more likely to reward your kindness with their own. Okay, eco-rant over!

We spent a fair amount of time with the quokkas, with a fair part dedicated to capturing the world-renowed ‘quokka selfie’. I really thought the tour lady was joking when she said that they’re curious animals by nature, but within moments of me whipping out my phone, my little friend decided to bound right over to it, and flashed a cheeky grin! Of course, this isn’t what really happened. Apparently, their mouths curl up a little when they’re intrigued by something, just like we might furrow our brows or something. Still, my buddy seemed to appreciate the limelight, especially when he realised that he’d be rewarded with some fresh leaves! Dan and Jass weren’t as lucky, however, as the other quokkas seemed to drive a hard bargain for their candid shots. Perhaps they’d seen me feeding the other one and wanted to talk business. What can I say? Just call me the quokka whisperer!

After we completed our bike circuit, we felt as though we’d earned a cracking dinner, and with a night as gorgeous as this one, the choice was obvious: a good ol’ Aussie barbie! With the cooking extraordinaire that is Jacek, he quickly whipped up some groceries and got to work whilst Dan chilled on the settee. And where was I? Helping him slave away at the food, I suppose? The truth is, I’d seen some quokkas gathered under a tree waiting for some food to fall, so I thought I’d give them a hand. As you can see from the photo on the bottom left, this one was most grateful for my endeavours.

The time came for me to head back, naturally, just as Jacek had finished cooking everything, and the food was absolutely top-notch (I expected nothing less from a guy who binges Carluccio and Genarro videos for hours at a time!) In fact, the food was that fantastic, it might have attracted…not one…not two…but four quokkas to our yard. There wasn’t a milkshake in sight. (Pop culture reference jokes, who am I?) The four amigos kept us company all night, brushing past our legs in the hopes that we’d spare our food for them. Unfortunately, as I said before, I was pretty uncertain of what we could give them, so I ran around the block to grab some signal, and check with Google. It wasn’t all that much, but thankfully, they were allowed some pumpkin from our salad. As they munched away, it seemed as though we’d given them a new taste of paradise. I just hope they don’t start craving it too much. Not entirely sure pumpkins are native to the island, but we can only hope.

By the end of the night, things were starting to wind down as the sky changed colour, and after the quokkas decided to call it quits and head off to bed, Dan thought it would be a cool idea to put some music on. And it really was a good call. As all three of us sat under the sky, it started to hit me that this would all be coming to an end. There was an unspoken sadness in the air between us, thankful of the time we had, but dreading the incoming loss. Suppose the music spoke for us, at times. It has a tendency to do that. As my brother wrapped me up in a warm hug before we headed off to sleep, I couldn’t help but carry this somewhat mournful feeling back with me. Something in it wasn’t shifting, and I couldn’t work out why. It makes sense now, of course, but at the time, all I could do was convert that feeling into something positive. The day had been incredible. One of the better days of my existence. And although a lot of these activities may seem mundane to you all, but I’ve never felt closer to the people I loved. Does that make sense? You hold fleeting moments with people, whether it’s a laugh, a smile, an exchange in glances, and you just get it, get them. There’s an entire person in front of you, and in a split second, they become transparent. You stare right into their soul, and you see it staring back in vivid form and colour.

Maybe I’m not getting my words right. Will I ever?

~Millie

  • The music on this particular day seems pretty relevant now, and there’s one song that stands out to me so much more now. I hope this makes some sense. Gang of Youths ~ The Deepest Sighs, The Frankest Shadows.

 

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