TRAVEL: Discovering the magic of Seventeen Seventy
ONE word comes to mind when thinking about the town of Seventeen Seventy…magic.
Some of my greatest childhood memories are the times I spent at this glorious sleepy town near Agnes Waters on the east coast of Queensland.
My parents had access to a holiday home and once a year we would make the five-hour trip north form the Sunshine Coast, for a week of relaxed bliss, returning bronzed and refreshed.
When I was 10-years-old I had my first snorkelling experience off Lady Musgrave Island.
Aside from realising I am prone to sea sickness, by spending the first two hours of the day vomiting into a little white bag on board the speed boat, it was the most wonderful - and magical - experience.
My mother and I held hands as we kicked our flippers, floating through crystal clear, cyan coloured water.
The sun and the water were perfect companions. I could feel the warmth of the sun on the backs of my legs as I watched the water glitter on the horizon, which was a refreshing temperature in comparison to the hot, coral sand.
We were immersed in the aquatic world beneath the surface, as the most magnificently coloured fish danced with equally stunning coral, just close enough to touch.
I remember following a sea turtle for what felt like hours, joining the beautiful sea dweller on its exploration of the reef, before a man on a jet ski glided over to tell me I had strayed from the group.
That was 11 years ago now, and I wanted to relive those childlike memories through adult eyes.
I wasn't disappointed.
The five-hour drive felt much shorter than I remembered, and we took a wrong turn, ending up on dirt roads in the middle of nowhere, going past old cane-train tracks that were overgrown with weeds.
Just as we were about to give up all hope, we took a sharp-right turn and were suddenly driving across a very narrow one-way bridge, surrounded by the most dazzling river, illuminated by the full moon.
We drove across the bridge, our minds consumed by the mesmerising water beneath, as the road took a steep ascent into more cane-filled land.
Shortly after passing the river we saw red light ahead. As we approached we realised it was smouldering flames - the bushland to our left was completely engulfed by fire.
My companions and I were utterly speechless until one of them blurted out "did that just happen?"
One word, again, comes to mind - magic.
We arrived at our holiday home, perched high on the eastern most point of Seventeen Seventy, directly beside the famous 'The Tree Hotel'.
The three-night stay included sleep-ins, snorkelling, lazy breakfasts, mid-day naps and afternoon fishing.
On the second day I discovered it was butterfly season, when 1770's 'butterfly walk' becomes a teaming hive of gorgeous insects.
During autumn and winter each year, the walk is overwhelmed with hundreds of thousands of butterflies. It's a very easy 15-20 minute stroll that starts at the Captain Cook Monument and is best from March-June every year to see the Blue Tiger Butterflies.
We ventured out to discover the butterflies for ourselves and as we started down the path, which follows the coastline along to 1770 Headland, a lady passed us by.
"When you reach the bottom of the path, shake the palm trees, you won't be disappointed!" she said.
She was right.
I was surprised that what was advertised - was actually what we received, thousands of the fluttering creatures danced in a swarm under the shade of a dense palm-forest canopy.
The sight was fit for a Disney princess and there's really only one way to describe it, that word that keeps coming to mind - magic.
On our last day we decided to visit the 1770 Headland, but being our usual rambunctious selves, my friends and I ventured off the beaten track and down onto the rocky cliffs that line the shore.
The sight was breathtaking, the contrast of strikingly blue ocean crashing against deep orange and red rocky-cliffs.
I was taken back to a time I've never seen, a time when Captain Cook himself first set eyes on this gorgeous land.
Three nights away usually feels far too quick, but this holiday was full and replenishing, in the best possible way.
I know I'll be visiting this historic town again soon, while my adult eyes are still able to see the magic.