Time for the birds and the bees
By Tilly Smith Dix
Each one of the four seasons holds its own unique beauty. The balmy heat of summer, evocative of lazy days spent near water, preferably with something tall, cold and refreshing to drink while watching someone else in charge of the braai, or barbie as we call it in Aussie.
The golden hues of autumn have always enthralled me, when it’s time to light the fire and cosy up with woollen wraps.
Winter in Melbourne is cold and often wet, which reminds me of winters spent in a place forever stamped on my heart, Cape Town. I have always found winter to be a time of reflection, a bit like looking inwards as you tend to spend a lot more time indoors with your thoughts.
Then, there is that all-time favourite, which has inspired poets and composers through the ages to wax lyrical about the arrival of a chrysalis-shedding time, when the birds, the bees, hibernating animals, plants trees and humans unfurl and shed their winter covers in celebration of this enchanting season.
Spring is a time to pursue the best nature has to offer in its most spectacular regalia. Fancy a safari, when game will behave in the most delightful way to celebrate the abundance of nature, or the winelands and beaches of the Cape or KwaZulu-Natal? The Garden Route remains one of my most favoured spring getaway destinations on the planet, where all the special components of nature merge to thrill the senses. South Africans are spoilt for choice and this is the time, before peak season, to grab a special package before it escalates into that ever-increasing summer rate.
Want to go further afield? Take a river cruise in Provence in France, where the food is authentic, fresh and unforgettable, stop in Avignon, or head for the charm and magic of Italy’s Lake Como instead, where you can still buy freshly baked bread from a little bakery on a corner for breakfast.
One of my favourite spring holidays has been in the Istrian region of Croatia, in and around the picturesque Rovinj, a place I could have happily called home. The sublime scenic splendour of mountains, valleys and coastline will feed your soul and belly – and it is still affordable for South Africans with champagne tastes and beer pockets to travel to.
Of course, you could pop over to our neck of the woods in the magnificent Yarra Ranges near Melbourne. The velvet moss and lacy ferns of the forested mountains, lakes, rivers and creeks, vineyards, delicious food and wine in the magical valley and sublime Dandenongs might just captivate you as much as it did us, resulting in our eventual great trek across the ocean. The birdlife is prolific and their colours and plumage will astound you. They still enchant us every day.
If you prefer vistas of azure ocean, take a meandering drive from Melbourne along the coast of the Mornington Peninsula, spend at least a night in picturesque Sorrento, board the ferry to Queenscliff, from where the exquisite drive along the Great Ocean Road will take your breath away. Don’t forget to stop to take in the iconic Twelve Apostles…
Whether you prefer welcoming spring to the strains of Vivaldi’s Spring Concerto or Billie Holiday singing about spring, (April in Paris), savour every moment. Cheers to a fabulous new season, mate!
As Published in Diversions magazine, spring 2018 edition: