It was the first day of school holidays when Bear and I packed up the car and set out on an adventure. We decided not to make any plans and just see where the road took us.
It was marvelous! Glorious sunshine, great audio book to listen to as we drove, holding hands, stopping wherever our fancies dictated.
Mostly it consisted of looking for green spots or water on the map and going “there” – wherever there was.
Our first stop took us to the gorgeous red beaches of Oyster Point Park.
At lunch time, it took us here: Logan River Parklands.
The fun part about not having any expectations is that you’re always surprised, usually pleasantly. Such was the case at Logan River.
There were a few people about, mostly families flying kites and riding bikes, but it wasn’t remotely crowded and we had oodles of empty picnic tables to choose from.
We chose this one, right by the river, under the partial shade of a gigantic gum tree.
How we loved it, munching happily as we watched the river roll by, listening to various birds chattering in the trees, grinning at an adorable little boy beaming proudly as he showed us how well he could ride his bike.
We tucked into gluten-free meat pies I’d made the day before, full of savory veggies and tender chunks of beef.
There is something absolutely heavenly about not having a deadline or a commitment spurring you on. To just be able to sit quietly, soaking up sunshine and fresh air, feeling and loving every moment. How we needed and treasured it.
It didn’t take long for the birds to discover there was food to be found at our table, and we happily shared a few bits of pie crust with them.
While Bear stretched out on the grass, I moseyed along the waters edge, loving the profusion of purple blossoms festooning the river bank.
Everything was so quiet and peaceful, the only sounds soothing and happy ones: wind in the trees, water gurgling through twisted tree roots, the occasional shush of bicycle tires as someone rode past.
I joined Bear on the grass and we leaned back, utterly content, delighted with this little escape. There’s no need for much talking at such moments, just the occasional sigh and “I love this” more than sufficed.
After a while we broke out dessert and dined on smooth, dark chocolate, lingering over each piece.
I love how places like this settle the mind, relax the body, and nourish the spirit. You can arrive worn out and frazzled from that stressful last week before holidays begin, but just a short time in a gorgeous place has you so relaxed you could fall asleep right there under the trees.
As we started to nod off next to each other we laughed and shook ourselves and went for a walk instead. We had a good visit with some fishermen waiting patiently next to lines trailing in the river and learned how to catch mud crabs from a couple of Maori ladies stuffing crab traps with whole chickens.
It was a beautiful discovery and as we drove home we continued to sigh happily. It was a great start to our holidays.
Where is your favorite place to go for a picnic?