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Dec
14th
  Winter When It Feels Like Summer Travel

While much of the Mid-West is blanketed in snow… the Minneapolis Metrodome caved in from the storm, we in Southern California are having a heatwave! It was an odd sight to say the least, when this weekend there were two cars stopped at a light – one with a surfboard on top, and another with a Christmas tree. Talk about backwards. It is 80 degrees.

On top of that, my garden is still producing roses – even more buds coming! Normally at this time, my roses would be dormant, and I would be cutting my orchids…It is all quite harmonious because I have roses May-Nov, and orchids Nov-May…so my vases are always full. But the wacky weather we have had all year is disrupting our circadian rhythms.

I was thinking about this when it dawned on me that I have some backwards tendencies myself. I have been known to crave¬† a beach vacation this time of year (haven’t we all?)… and welcome a disruption to my life’s normal weather pattern. One place I have escaped to during a dreary winter is Australia, and boy was it hard to come home to foggy, cold San Francisco afterward. Down under it is just about summer right now mate. I visited the usual Sydney…but made an extra trek to the Great Barrier Reef resorts of Hamilton and Hayman Islands. Hamilton is for families… Hayman, leave the kids at home.

Heron Island Resort, Australia

But I’ve always wanted to visit Heron Island, another island resort in the Great Barrier Reef. In fact, this may be the only island you can really mean it is IN the Great Barrier Reef because you can wade out to the reef from the shores of the resort. THAT makes for some easy marine tours.

Heron Island Resort on Great Barrier Reef

Heron is one of the few upscale GB reefs that caters to families. There is a junior ranger program, with heavy emphasis on the environment, and was developed by marine biologists and naturalists.  The Junior Rangers Program offers a range of nature based activities designed to nurture a sense of exploration and caring for the environment, from reef walks, bird-watching and beach combing through to tree planting and even the opportunity to design and run your own resort island. The young explorers earn badges through each activity.

The island is surrounded by bountiful wildlife, which makes it a perfect location for a resort research station…The crystal clear waters of the reef surrounding the Research Station are home to around 60% of the 1500 species of fish and around 72% of the coral species found in the Great Barrier Reef. One of my favorite things is that there are two types of turtles that nest on the island, and if you time it right, you can observe.

Of course, all of the enrichment and fun takes place against the backdrop of drop dead beautiful beaches. There are snorkeling and diving opportunities at the resort… or you can choose to kayak out in the waters and picnic on a deserted beach.

If you feel like you’ve “been there, done that,” when you look at travel brochures, this might be the perfect antidote. Especially if you are buried in the Mid-West. I feel for ya. G’day!