We followed our friends across the paddocks and through the ti-tree scrub to where the secret river flowed past their property. Our kayak and their tinny were lowered into the tannin stained water and we headed down river, past paperbarks and marri trees, the river widening until it was flanked by reeds and waterbirds on both sides and spilled and spread across the shallow sands of the inlet.
We spread out beach towels and sarongs on an island in the inlet of our very own and picnicked in the shade of the paperbark trees. Lashings of ginger beer, smoked salmon sandwiches, quince tart and cream.
Then we rolled around in the water and paddled through the shallows - six children and a dog all keen for a turn in the kayak, and almost succeeding in piling into it at once. The breeze came in and it was time to head home, back down the river and through the ti-tree and over the paddocks and down the highway. And with that the summer holidays were over.