Blue and green …

The Frog Pond Farm correspondent has finally reappeared, taken pen to paper and edited some holiday snaps.  

For a birthday treat this year (one of the big ones), I opted on an island getaway which meant catching 2 planes, a van, and a boat (think small). The boat I was certain wouldn’t make the destination – given it was pitch black, no visibility and going at top speed! Was I scared? Absolutely … 

It was worth the day of travel though – as our holiday destination was Ratua Island in Vanuatu. A beautiful place to visit, perfect to relax and enjoy the amazing food and hospitality.

Of course holidays with my hubby always mean being active. Snorkelling, swimming, kayaking, walking and more kayaking. The snorkelling was amazing, not that I did it more than a couple of times though. It needs to be super hot for me to get into the sea, let alone put on a mask and flippers. Hubby threatened putting me in a lifejacket and then tying me to him. I had visions of bobbing in the sea while being hauled about and not having the opportunity for flight should I see something scary … not my idea of fun!

So as it transpired while he was snorkelling, I could be found lounging about with my nose in a good book.

Then of course there is kayaking – which I thoroughly enjoy. Although each time I participate I’m reminded that I’m not paddling correctly. Really? I was even more surprised this holiday when I was told to paddle faster, hubby’s competitive streak was showing. He was determined that we would catch our new island friends who had a distinctive lead on us .. and funnily enough appeared to be paddling leisurely. Not so in our boat! Did we catch up? No we didn’t – my fault of course! LOL

I also experienced my very first earthquake, which woke me from a slumber in the wee hours of the morning. My comment about the wind shaking our hut … was met with silence. However about 5 minutes later after consulting the iPad, hubby assured me that it was indeed an earthquake .. but of no concern. Really?

We saw turtles, friends riding horses in the surf and sipped on gin while watching sublime sunsets. 

Ratua was a terrific getaway- the staff and management were fabulous! 

Another perilous boat ride back to Espiritu Santo Island, a van and a plane ride to Queensland Australia .. where our destination was Crystal Creek northern NSW nothing like a couple of nights in the rain forest – literally!

Wood and bark …

Hubby again was organising the spare time and while there wasn’t a kayak in sight, we did some serious hiking!

To finish our holiday we motored to Alstonville to see our good friends Dallas and Kathy .. thanks for all those amazing prawn meals, the laughs, the great company, walks on the beach and for cleaning the lens in my camera! 

Victoria Park Alstonville

Handsome heron at Chinaman’s beach .. 

The Bonner’s … on holiday. Photo credit – amazing photographer Dallas Nock

Next post … you guessed it! Frog Pond Farm update … it’s still there you know!

Happy gardening 

86 thoughts

  1. These photos show a wonderful variety of life. Am so pleased you could share your holiday with us. The islands seem magical and the rainforest. The heron is a very Australian one, the British or dare I say European one is slightly different. And now you have Spring??

    • It’s always good to share adventures, even if they are relaxing ones 😀 The island is really lovely – remote. And it was super seeing the rainforests. Yes spring for us now – eager for the weather to settle! It will … take care and lovely to hear from you

  2. Wow, an amazing holiday and destination, Julie. I can imagine you lounging by the beach enjoying the sun. I could do without the earthquake scare though. My next thought would be tsunami!

    No food photos? I’m guessing you feasted very well there. You certainly know how to enjoy yourself on holiday.

    • Mr Draco always good to hear from you! It was a super holiday. I did enjoy some lounging in the sun, not too much mind you 😉 You know what, I didn’t take one food photo .. very unlike me. And the food was amazing!

  3. Perfect holiday with boats, planes, horses, underwater… and add on to it a bonus earthquake! I am sure you will remever it forever. 😀 btw beautiful pictures!

    • It was the perfect holiday … and the food was amazing! I won’t mention the EQ … We met some super people too. Glad you enjoyed the photos Raj 😀

    • Hello Anne … so good to hear from you! It was a fabulous holiday. Plus we met some super people .. I’m hoping to get back to more regular posting! Fingers crossed 😀

  4. Gorgeous pictures as usual Sis and lovely informative narrative too. So glad your special holiday was such fun and the earth even moved for you and AB.

    • Mr H, always super hearing from you! It was a brilliant holiday – but it literally zoomed past as holidays do. Lots of fun and we met some super people. The food was too good though, I over indulged. But then, that’s what holidays are for right 😀 Hugs

  5. Hi you two, thanks for sharing your beautiful holiday. It looks stunning as the photos do as well. I remember doing islands with Joyce but not as remote as that. Well you are coming into spring and we are in autumn. The weather is still nice and warm. The year is flying by. And god willing I will be on my journey once again to my second summer. So looking forward to seeing you and Frogpond angain. Lots of love 💖 to you both.
    Bill xxx

    • Mr Bonner hello! It was an amazing holiday – so nice to get away from the wet :). Yes we are heading into spring, although it still feels like winter. Mind you, the blossoms are out in the orchard, looks like there will be a huge crop this year. Just as well you are coming over – lots of preserving to be done Bill 😀 Can’t wait for your visit. And I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the photos. Thank you!

  6. Happy birthday dear girl! I’ve also had a BIG birthday this year. With me it was a bit of a freak out but now things are just fine. Such a lovely jungle-y holiday you had. How wonderful. You both look amazing for it. Much love from me. XX

    • Hello Miss gosh it’s good to hear from you it has been ages! And a happy belated birthday to you too .. We did have a lovely holiday, lots to do and wonderful food. I’m hoping to get back to some regular blogging – I’ve missed all the wonderful people out there! Much love right back at you xx

  7. Ratua Island looks fabulous and just the right place to honour your 21st. 😉 That was your special birthday, right? Glad you have had a wonderful break and you are feeling well rested.

    • Ratua Island was fabulous and the perfect place for that birthday … LOL (I wish). We had the best time, ate lots of lovely food and met some super people. Perfect! Lovely to hear from you Gallivanta …

    • Thank you! It sure was a relaxing holiday 😀 Now if you want a great book to read, but it’s a biggie – look out for The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. My holiday books were good but this one is amazing! Great to see you here …

  8. Amazing destination and I hope there were a few birds and moths to enjoy too. I only went canoeing once and almost got blown away when the weather turned nasty. So I’m with you. Dry land is much better. Terrific photos. 👍🏻

    • It was an amazing destination. Not too many birds on the island but I saw a huge green stick insect that was a beauty. I did see some small pretty moths but nothing quite like the beauties that you post. I couldn’t imagine being out in a kayak if it turned nasty! Thanks so much for stoping by, glad you enjoyed the photos 🙂

  9. I am so happy to see you again in this blogging world dear Julie, beautiful photographs you had/captured… loved them all especially with the horses is amazing. I am glad you had a nice holiday, Thank you dear Julie, love, nia

    • Hello dear Nia! It has been so long since I last posted – but I’m hoping to get back to regular posts. I love being part of this blogging world! And I know you do too … I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the photos – thank you! It was a lovely holiday. Hugs

    • Hey Tim .. always great to see you at Frog Pond Farm. 🙂 It sure was a fun holiday and great to get away and recharge the batteries. Glad that you enjoyed the photos!

  10. Beautiful images Julie and what a magical way to celebrate one of your big birthdays! I’m glad you all stayed safe during the earthquake and look forward to hearing your news from the farm 🤗💖 xxx

    • How lovely to hear from you. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the images. It was a fabulous way to celebrate that birthday 😀 News from the farm coming soon .. I’m hoping to get back to some regular posting. Yay!

  11. It was so lovely to see your trip and all that marvelous scenery! But, most of all it was a HUGE delight to see the both of you there at the end! Happy Marvelous Birthday, albeit a tad late!!!

    • Hello Linda! It was a lovely trip and the scenery was amazing. How beautiful is nature 🙂 So pleased that you enjoyed that photo – our good buddy Dallas took that. He is an amazing photographer! Thanks for those birthday wishes …appreciated xx

  12. For a “one of the big ones” birthday girl, you are looking oh so fab, Julie! You and hubby look so darn happy! Put tears in my eyes! And what a vacation! Lucky lucky you! I hear stories all around me lately about vacations, and I sigh sigh sigh. Not with all the cats we have! Nope not right now. Gorgeous pictures!! My fav …. catching the wave! WOW!! Never have I FYI experienced an earthquake and I don’t want to. I absolutely adored your post! Thank you for sharing your vacation with me. Sigh ….. wishing ….. some day!! LOL

  13. Hello birthday girl and very best wishes from us both <3 Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos from your trip. You're right to make the most of it, carpe diem, just my motto. Love the pic of the two of you – you're such a gorgeous couple. Extremely hot here and so very dry but there's a hint of autumn and hopefully some rain around the corner…love to you both xx

    • Hey Annette always lovely to know that you have stopped by and thanks for the birthday wishes 😀 So pleased that you enjoyed the photos – it was super getting away. Oh I do hope that the rain is just around the corner for you. Wish I could send you some, we have had more than our fair share! Hugs x

    • Hi Miss .. and good to see you too! Thanks so much for the birthday wishes .. I’m pleased that you enjoyed them .. 😀

    • Hello! So good to hear from you! It sure was the perfect getaway. Hope you are well – so nice to see you in the blogging world you have been missed 🙂

  14. Whew! I feared the Frog Pond correspondent had gone MIA! Good to have you back. I thoroughly enjoyed your latest report and photographs. What a wonderful getaway. Happy belated Birthday. I am much too polite to ask which big one it was. However, as I say to my sisters; you may no longer be a spring chicken but you ain’t no utility bird yet either! 🙂 🙂 All the best from the Rocky Mountains.

    • Hey Bob … great to be back! Nice to know that you enjoyed the long overdue report and pics. 😀 Thanks for the birthday wishes .. laughed out loud when I read about the utility chook! Always great to see you here. Hope the family are good!!!

  15. Good Morning dear Julie, Thank you for all your visits and comments, you are amazing, Thank you also for your beautiful sharings, love your photographs and stories, Have a nice new week, Love, nia

    • Hi dear Nia … Oh you are so welcome. I do so enjoy your blog .. and your wonderful photos and divine cats! It’s so good to be able to share stories and images with you! Have a lovely week Miss 😀

  16. Very belated birthday best wishes. A well chosen diversity of holiday escapes, with beautiful photos, as always. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only kayak incompetent. My speciality is a tendency to paddle in circles.

    • Ha ha I remember in a dinghy years ago doing that in front of a ferry full of people … was horrible! 😂 Great to hear from you … glad you enjoyed the pics! Are you still away?

  17. The first time my younger brother felt an earthquake he was so scared, he was five years old. As I am not used to them I told him it was only a big truck passing the street. I was quite wrong xD A quite active trip indeed, I felt like I had see a triathlon, in a paradise whose name makes me evoke entire civilizations going from distant island to others in canoas.

    • Hey Francis … so nice to hear from you! It was an active holiday, but also a relaxing one too! I miss your blog! But you know that don’t you? Hope all is well for you .. big smiles from NZ

      • I know and make me want to write so many things ^o^ (and at last I got a new good camera!), but before I am about to enter an even busier time to fix my life, so before going there I came to see you. Big smiles from PE ^___^/

  18. Ratua Island looks so beautiful and happy belated birthday Julie…you capture it all beautifully and so nice to see your post❣️…you have created some wonderful memories and today I will pull some of our garden…which is fairly lame…as it seemed to have rained here a lot these past months…green tomatoes 🍅 🧐 big hugs from town 🤗 smiles hedy

    • Hey Miss Hedy … It was a beautiful place to visit! Glad you enjoyed your visit to Frog Pond Farm – it’s always great to know that you stopped by! Gardening .. wish I lived closer, I’d whizz over and give you a hand 😀

  19. Well, it sounds – and looks – like an utterly fabulous 30th birthday! 😉 Joe and I are reading Paul Theroux’s book, The Happy Isles of Oceania, in which he kayaks all over Oceania. He’s very opinionated and back when he wrote the book, had broken up with his wife, so maybe that added to his negative outlook. I found his complaining tiresome, but still, I enjoyed reading about those beautiful places. There’s nothing like it, unless it’s going there! So good for you! I’m glad you sat there with a book, did a bit of snorkeling, kayaked at your own pace and hung out with old friends. Many more, many more! 😉

    • Hey Lynn I always enjoy your visits. Yes the 30th was fabulous indeed 😉 .. LOL Hubby has read some of Paul’s books. Must check with him if has read The Happy Isles of Oceania – given that he is a kayaking fan 😉 The holiday was fun and relaxing … where to go next 😀

    • Sorry about the ever so late reply Steve! Laughed when I read your comment … think you might be right about ‘paradise’!

  20. It sounds like you had a fabulous birthday, despite the scary boat ride — and even when being told to paddle faster! As always, your photos are divine. I can even see the cobwebs in one. Happy 29th birthday! (You did say you were not quite 30, right?)

    • Hey Cynthia … a very late reply! Sorry … Glad you enjoyed the photos (even with cobwebs)! And thanks for the birthday wishes … LOL

  21. What a wonderful holiday celebration! Your paddling story made me laugh out loud. I’m glad there were more thrills than spills and that you got time to put your feet up and relax.

    • So nice to hear from you and sorry about the late reply! It sure was a wonderful holiday celebration … glad you had a laugh! 😀

    • Hey Otto … so good to see you at Frog Pond. Ratua is a great place to visit – highly recommend it! An adventure … 😀

    • Hi Gilly so good to hear from you! I’m not round much either lately – my posts are few and far between. So pleased you enjoyed the photos Miss – so nice to be able to share the holiday. Hugs back at you .. x

  22. HAR too many grins to count. I like Hubby’s gung-ho spirit, despite all the endless agonies you must suffer in his wake. 😉 Marvelous and resplendent images. The jungle hikes remind me of my own jungly ventures. Pure magic. Congrats on your first earthquake experience, by zee way.

    Smiling regards with a wave- ol’ autumn jade toad

  23. Congratulations on the birthday, and also on the major destination ~ Ratua Island in Vanuatu, wow 🙂 Also, for however wonderful Ratua Island was as shown in your great photos, I loved the photos you have of the “wood and bark of the rainforest” in Crystal Creek northern NSW, this would have been my type of place. Sounds like you and your hubby had one of those magical vacations ~ cheers to more of those in the future.

  24. Sounds like the perfect getaway! Is Vanuatu where Survivor was filmed some years ago? Name sounds familiar. Kayaking is something I’d love to try. When I was in my teens / early 20’s I used to canoe a bit and thoroughly enjoyed it. Wow. An earthquake!! Glad it wasn’t anything serious. Loved the shot of you and the hubs. You both look happy and relaxed, exactly what vacations are meant to induce!

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