Water Dragon at Marylynne's river home. Taken by Reginald J. Dunkley

Water Dragon at Marylynne’s river home. Taken by Reginald J. Dunkley

Patricia Newell-Dunkley Photographs by Reginald J. Dunkley.

Greetings from down-under where February temperatures were the hottest for 150 years, and it seems that nothing is cooling down. The extreme heat is being attributed to climate change and is a serious health threat for many Australians. The number of record hot days has doubled and heatwaves have become longer, hotter, and more intense. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions rapidly and deeply is the best way to protect Australians from worsening extreme heat events, but little is being done.

A trip to Haymen Island is a good way to keep cool and the way to go. The Island is the most northerly of the Whitsunday Islands, part of the Cumberland Islands, which are located off the coast of Central Queensland. Haymen is a private Island open to the public, most famous for its luxury resort which was first built in the 1950s and updated as recently as 2011. Haymen joins ‘The Leading Hotels of The World’ with five-star luxury amenities. A relatively small island with magnificent views to the south, on a sparkling sunny day the colour of the water of Hayman’s Lagoon and Whitsunday Passage are stunning- with hues ranging from gold to turquoise to emerald to sapphire.

Koala sitting in the sun.  Taken by Reginald J. Dunkley

Koala sitting in the sun. Taken by Reginald J. Dunkley

Other islands and the mainland can be seen from Haymen and are accessible by boat or yacht. Haymen is a resort like no other. Situated around a crescent-shaped, white, sandy bay on the south-western side, the resort is the only facility on the island. Spend your days relaxing under a palm tree, and sipping cocktails, swimming in the spacious pools or exploring the exotic bushland around the island. The island is renowned for its incredible range of native flora and fauna and many species of birds including Kingfishers, Kookaburras, Painted Lorikeets, and white Cockatoos, with colonies of Prosperpine Rock Wallabies along the Island’s walking tracks.

Flanked by the Coral Sea and a number of Coral fringed beaches, with easy access to The Great Barrier Reef, Haymen Island is the place to escape to for personal pampering, divine food, and a chance to recharge your batteries.

Yachts on the Lake taken by Reginald J. Dunkley

Yachts on the Lake taken by Reginald J. Dunkley

It is exactly two years since the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. It is believed that the plane will be found in the next four months, even as the multimillion search effort enters what is likely to be its final stage. Two pieces of flotsam recently found on Reunion and Mozambique are suspected to come from the plane, but yet to be positively identified. Since March 2014 Australia has led the search for the plane, investigators have always considered the most likely scenario known as “The Ghost Flight” theory – that no one was at the controls when the jet went down.

After running out of fuel the plane would have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, off the coast of Western Australia. As of this month, four ships have searched more than 85,000 sq km of a long but narrow “seventh arc”, totalling 120,000 sq km of seafloor – without success. With 30,000 – odd sq km yet to be searched it is hoped to be found when the operation concludes around July, if not before.

The disappearance of MH370 with 239 people aboard has become one of the world’s biggest airline mysteries. In an era of smart-phones and sat-nav, how could a passenger jet vanish into thin air?

Norah Head Lighthouse  on the Central Coast of NSW. by Reginald J. Dunkley.

Norah Head Lighthouse on the Central Coast of NSW. by Reginald J. Dunkley.

For those that have never visited Tasmania now is the time. Wineglass Bay, on Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsular, is considered one of the top ten beaches in the world. This flawless crescent of dazzling white sand and turquoise coloured sea set against pink and grey granite peaks is one of Australia’s most beautiful environments. It’s the perfect location for fishing, sailing, bushwalking, sea kayaking, and rock climbing, or simply soaking up the spectacular coastal scenery. Wineglass Bay is a favourite honeymoon destination for couples to escape and relax away from the rest of the world. With secluded sandy beaches, luxurious eco-lodges, and fine Tasmanian cuisine, Freycinet Peninsular is an adventure of pure indulgence. Taste crayfish, scallops and fresh oysters picked straight from some of the world’s cleanest waters, complimented by Tasmania’s internationally cool-climate wines.

Relax in your luxury lodge watching the sun set across the water and you will feel truly in touch with beauty and depth of nature. Wineglass Bay is approximately 2 and a half hours drive north of Hobart or South of Launceston.

For a trip into the “Outback” Australia, Silverton New South Wales is the place to visit. Get some corks around your hat and have fun. Silverton’s unique landscape has drawn film makers from around the world, the most famous movie being “Mad Max” where a replica of the interceptor is parked outside the pub today. The film industry is an integral part of Silverton and the list of movies filmed in and around Silverton is amazing, going back as far as 1970 with “Wake in Fright” and twenty three others including “Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”, plus commercials shot in Silverton every few months. There is also a thriving art centre displaying the work of dozens of artists. The rich landscape with endless views, breathtaking sunsets and pure light make Silverton ideal for capturing on canvas.

However, Silverton was not always like this, in the 1880s it was alive with activity, as miners claims sprung up as pioneers arrived to seek their fortune in the outback earth. Silverton was truly born in 1883 when its name was proclaimed and it received a Post Office. In no time the population increased from 250 to 3,000 with shops, businesses, medical practitioners, solicitors, and entrepreneurs of every type. Over the years Silverton boasted entire convenience and Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (B.H.P. Billiton) was formed in the Silverton Hotel in 1885. As larger mines sprung up in Broken Hill and the regions rich mineral deposits declined, the unique land and light led to Silverton being immortalised on television and the movie screen. Mineral wealth has moved on, but Silverton is now richer than ever before and a delightful “Outback” spot to explore with a fascinating history.

Here at Shelly Beach the summer sun is still strong with temperatures in the 30s and 40s making the surf ever popular. Ice creams, ice blocks, frozen bananas, and Knickerbocker-Glories are the way to go to keep cool.

Princess Pixie the Pomeranian is as beautiful as ever and still on the lookout for the lizard, recently we have had a large ginger cat daring to visit the garden, and needless to say it is quickly shooed away from our lovely birds. My Mistletoe Thrush adores being hand fed and the Lorikeets, Pee Wee, and Crested Pigeons are all doing well.

For those that wish to read back issues of Shelly Beach Snippets conveniently, tap up Patricia Newell-Dunkley and they are there in order. My website www.patriciasartworld.com   is where you can find my books “Letters of a Travelling Lady, Wallis the Woman I Love, and The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain” and also on Amazon and Xlibris.

Cheers. Patricia.