There are two freshwater lakes here on North Stradbroke Island. Blue Lake and Brown Lake, so named for the apparent colour of their waters, offer a stunning contrast to the ocean environment that is synonymous with the island.
The warm, tea-coloured water of Brown Lake.
This year, we packed a picnic and drove to Brown Lake early in the morning. We were the only ones there and the quietness surrounded us like a tranquil blanket. The lake, its water deepening gradually in darkening shades of brown, was warm and still. Leaves from the Ti-Trees and Paperbarks settle on the bottom of the lake and their tannins leach into the water turning it the colour of brewed tea.
Paperbark Melaleuca leaves release tannins that stain the water.
We walked part of the shoreline to find our swimming place. The strappy grey-green leaves of the reeds that line the lake rustled quietly in response to a quiet breeze. We spied a pair of goannas who left curving tracks in the fine, white sand as they made a hasty retreat at our approach. Large dragonflies, red and blue and stripy, darted this way and that, above our heads. And the tiny, silvery fish that we swam in the shallows with, provided much joy to our young son as we tried to scoop them up in handfuls of water for him to see.
The shallows of our swimming spot.
Holding one of the tiny fish that swam all around us in the shallows.
Later, while floating on my back, eyes up to the wide blue sky above and enveloped in silence, I felt so very thankful that we'd been able to enjoy this special place by ourselves for just a little while. It is one thing to share a beautiful, wild place with crowds of people but quite another to be alone there within the quiet.