Sunday, 18 July 2010
Picture this – you’re in a boat on a lake. It’s a man-made lake, twenty-one times bigger than all of Sydney Harbour, a huge expanse of fresh water, teaming with fish, bird life and freshwater crocodiles. The lake is dotted with islands, craggy mounds rising out of the water. They have little vegetation beyond tufts of native grasses and the occasional shrub. If you’re lucky, you might see a short-eared rock wallaby bounding over the crags and disappearing into crevices. These haven’t always been islands. Once they were the tors of majestic ranges. Now they hold their heads proudly above the water, while their feet sink into the old riverbed far below.
The boat is still, floating on the glass-smooth surface. You’re supping wine and watching the sun set over the distant shore. You’ve travelled the lake from north to south, east to west. You’ve manoeuvred up a river, seen osprey nesting, pigmy geese flying and crocodiles sunning themselves on logs. You’ve landed on a small island and spent delightful minutes searching for the elusive zebra rock. Now the sun slips behind the hill and the sky turns to gold. The hill is the deepest purple velvet and the lake itself takes on the hues of both.
You turn. Behind you, the rocky islands are rich orange, the sky pink above them. Between them the water seems to drop off into nothingness. The air is balmy. It’s so peaceful and calm. Not a sound, but the soft lapping of the water against the hull of the boat.Actually, there are thirty other people with you in the boat. Some of them are in the water, having a great time trying to drink champagne while they float in the cool lake. They laugh and chat and ask questions of the tour manager. But you don’t really hear them. You’re in your own world, your own magical world, where nature is painting a new scene every minute, just for you. It’s you and the lake.