Tuesday, 26 August 2014
It feels like winter has barely touched the south coast this year. I was back in my bikini wading through rockpools in sunshine that felt suspiciously like summer yesterday. So it was good to pack our winter woolens and head deep into the forest for the weekend - to an old mill town where the cold creeps through the wooden floorboards and you have to coax life back into the fire's dying coals each morning to ward off the chill in the air.
Donnelly River ranks right up there with Rottnest as one of my all-time favourite family holiday destinations. A place where simple pleasures are still celebrated, everything has been left a little rough around the edges, and the kids can roam happily around the old settlement on their bikes. The whole village is a little slice of nostalgia that I can't quite believe still exists in this day and age.
The kangaroos and emus crowded around our car to greet us when we arrived, and there were inquisitive brown eyes peering over our verandah railing whenever we stepped outside. Banging the tea leaves out of the pot was enough to bring three kangaroos jumping out of the forest and up to my side, noses pushed expectantly into my hands for the dinner promised by the gong.
The resident wildlife stayed out of the General Store while the grown ups quaffed wine and cheese at the Saturday evening sundowner, and the kids fed the roos handfuls of lupins and crushed corn. We whizzed through the forest on the flying fox, four-year-old perched on my knee. And best of all, the kids got to spend a happy weekend making memories with their aunty, who has moved to a far corner of the south west. It might just become an annual tradition.