We’re driving through a patchwork quilt of blues and greens that make up the Atherton Tablelands. All the struggles of getting out of bed at an early hour are swiftly forgotten.
The group and I get out of the bus, eager to take in the scenery and snap a photo or two.
I think aloud, “If you look at one small patch of field, it looks a little bit like the English countryside.”
The girl next to me nods in agreement, “But then you look at the scale of it and you wouldn’t get this in England.”
I look out over the blue mountains in the distance. “No you really wouldn’t.”
We stop at our first waterfall of the day: Josephine Falls. The water is cold at first but my skin adjusts soon enough and I swim to the rock slide. The rock is surprisingly smooth against my skin and the slide is short but fun.
The day continues with such a natural and easy flow, everyone on board the Barefoot Tour bus is happy to talk to anyone. As a solo traveller, this is always an ideal situation to find yourself in.
It’s currently dry season, but our guide does not let this deter the day. The next waterfall on the itinerary wouldn’t be particularly impressive so our guide decides to take us to a more secluded one that not many people know about. It means getting there involves going off the beaten track, which is pretty steep in places. I have to hold tree branches to avoid falling, but it is not dangerous, being the clumsy person I am – I just take precautions.
It is well worth the short, steep walk.
We have lunch at Milla Milla Falls, made famous by Peter Andre and his Mysterious Girl. Plus the Herbal Essence adverts. It may not quite make the bucket list moment of the Great Barrier Reef, but it’s something.
I don’t stop and stare for that long, nor is my mind wanting to explore as it’s looking pretty murky.
I swim quickly to the waterfall, trying and failing to warm myself up. I attempt a hair flick like the Herbal Essence advert as apparently it’s a must do here, not knowing that the photo (which was a solid effort and something to be proud of) will get lost. I don’t mind that much when we leave here.
We arrive at our last stop for the day: Lake Eacham.
Of course, I get in the water as soon as I can. I lay on my back, making snow angels to glide through the lake. The water is still and it is almost too easy to swim far out, where my only company are reflections and ripples. The sunlight glows, my skin is wonderfully warm and my eyes close just for a moment as I try to settle in to the stillness around me.
I decide to head back to the group and swim with them for a while. The sun is sinking in the sky. We get out of the water, eat TimTams, drink cups of tea/ coffee, and watch the sun dive in to the forest behind the lake..
Later in the evening we will drink beers, dance, and drink more beers, but for now we are all pretty dozy. We are content to be nestled in this part of the world, blanketed in blues and greens.