Indulge in the majesty of Mother Nature
Unspoilt coastline overlooks the kind of turquoise blue that instantly invites serenity on Moreton Island, a still relatively relaxed national park paradise just a hop, skip and ferry from Brisbane.
From families to backpackers, there’s something to tickle everyone’s fancy on this island escape. By day there’s a plethora of activities to indulge in. The adventurous traveller will enjoy four wheel driving on nature’s highway, climbing sandstone formations at Cape Cliff, kayaking, snorkelling, hiking (Mt Tempest is the highest point on the island where verdant views await) and tobogganing down sand dunes.
Those looking for a little restoration will enjoy observing the rich variety of wildlife (birds, dolphins, whales, turtles and more), relaxing at Honeymoon Bay, soaking in the natural Champagne Pools, taking a refreshing dip in the Blue Lagoon and soaking up spectacular views (including some serious sunsets). The most visited attraction on the island is the Tangalooma Wrecks – the rusting bones of old ship hulls that take you back in time, delighting your inner explorer. By night, the sky inspires with a majestic starscape that leaves you feeling a little smaller, in the best possible way.
Moreton Island is the third largest sand island in the world, so there’s no shortage of space to pitch your tent on the beach, and camping will only set you back around $6 per person per night.
There’ll be plenty of time to kick back when you arrive, but be sure to plan ahead for the very best experience.
Before you leave:
-Plan your ferry trip on the MiCat from the Port of Brisbane (the trip is around 90 minutes)
-Book your campsite and organise a camping permit via the Queensland National Parks A camping tag with your booking number needs to be displayed at your campsite at all times.
-A 4WD is essential for travelling around the island. If you don’t have one, you can hire one from Brisbane, or there’s a licensed Transfer Service on the island.
Where to camp on Moreton Island
With a little pre-planning, you can easily settle into the perfect campsite to suit your needs. Before you decide, consider the following:
-First-time island campers will be most comfortable at Ben-Ewa.
-The western side of the island is best for camping with kids for the calm waters (campgrounds are The Wrecks, Ben-Ewa and Comboyuro Point).
-The south-west side provides tranquillity, but is more challenging to access.
-You can choose from dedicated campgrounds with all the necessary facilities, and more rustic, beach camping options (beach campers need to bring their own essentials including drinking water, rubbish bags etc.).
-Most campgrounds allow fires in existing sites, but you’ll need to bring your own firewood.
-There are five beach camping zones on the island (outlined below) – you cannot camp on beaches outside these zones.
-Long weekends and school holidays are popular. If you’re looking for some serenity during these times opt for beach camping over campground.
-Bring your own drinking water or plan to treat it if your campground has water available.
-Mobile phone coverage is pretty poor everywhere you go, but there are some campgrounds with wi-fi access.
-Seasonal closures mean that not all camp spaces will be available year round.
-It’s recommended that long-term campers staying in beach/bush sites bring a portable toilet.
The National Park Campgrounds with facilities
THE WRECKS CAMPGROUND
Set next to a sheltered bay and surrounded by native trees and shrubs, The Wrecks is a walk-in camping area (vehicles can park on the beach nearby) with 21 sites available. It’s near the main barge point so is suitable for those without vehicles, and it’s not accessible for campers or trailers. Facilities include water, hybrid toilets, cold showers, rubbish bins and a wi-fi hotspot. Nearby attractions include the hike up Mt Tempest, checking out The Wrecks and snorkelling.
A favourite with families and school groups, Ben-Ewa offers sheltered bay waters next to shady, protected sites. Located just north of The Wrecks on the western beach side of the island, the 12 camping plots are suitable for caravans and camper trailers, and facilities include water, toilets, cold showers and a wi-fi hotspot. Campers can swim in the sheltered Moreton Bay waters, or enjoy a spot of fishing, kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding.
COMBOYURO POINT CAMPGROUND
Within walking distance of the Bulwer township on the west coast, Comboyuro is also close to 4WD tracks that lead to some of the island’s main attractions. The 49 camping plots of various sizes offer plenty of shade and calm waters for the whole family to enjoy, and the sunsets across the bay are majestic. You can park your car (also suitable for campervans) right next to your plot, and facilities include water, septic toilets, rubbish bins and cold showers.
NORTH POINT CAMPGROUND
North Point offers a large grassy area close to the beach and is within walking distance to Honeymoon Bay and the Champagne Pools. There are 21 sites available (many shaded, and four suitable for camper trailers) and it’s a perfect place to take the kids as the nearby swimming water is shallow and calm (plus there’s a little less sand on site to take over your tent). Facilities include water, hybrid toilets, cold showers and pedestrian access to the surf beach, and there are no open fires permitted (another possible appeal for parents).
BLUE LAGOON CAMPGROUND
On the eastern side of the island between Middle Road and Cape Moreton, this beautiful beach-style campground offers easy access to an ocean surf beach and is a walk away from the Blue Lagoon and some lovely walking trails. There’s parking available next to the campsite and while trailers and caravans are permitted, they aren’t recommended due to the soft sand and narrow road. There are 25 sites with access to water, septic toilets and cold showers.
The Beach/bush camping zones with no facilities
All beach/bush campgrounds are facility-free, so you’ll need to come prepared with all the necessities (including a portable toilet for longer stays). Fires are permitted in existing sites, and generator use is allowed between 8am and 7pm. You can really choose your own adventure – with spaces varying in size and seclusion, and many sites offering beautiful views and shade. Perfect for campers who are up for a slightly more rugged adventure.
NORTH-WEST CAMPING ZONE
This camping zone offers 76 beach campsites between Ben-Ewa and Comboyuro campgrounds, all with access to calm bay waters and some just a walk away from the Bulwer township.
NORTH-EAST CAMPING ZONE
Eighty-nine sites are dotted from Middle Road to Spitfire Creek on the Eastern beach, with many boasting views to the exposed surf beaches. Keep in mind the narrow, soft-sanded Middle Road if bringing a trailer.
SOUTH-WEST CAMPING ZONE
This zone covers all western beach campsites and offers 24 (mostly tent) spaces by calm bay waters that can be reached by 4WD, foot, or by boat or kayak. Some sites you can park next to, but others are impacted by the tides (with some spaces only accessible during low-tide).
SOUTH-EAST CAMPING ZONE
With 35 sites available, this zone offers exposed surf beaches between Middle Road to Rous Battery. You’ll need to be mindful here of access via Middle Road if towing a trailer, and high tide times where the beach is obstructed.
YELLOW PATCH CAMPSITES
Yellow Patch covers campsites between North Point and Heath Island, and offers 14 sites with access to surf beaches that are less exposed than the others. North Point campground is just a short drive away, so campers can take advantage of the facilities there.
Words by Jessica Humphries for Australian Traveller.
Creating and sticking to a daily routine doesn’t come easily to everyone. Add kids into the mix and it’s a recipe for a life of rushing around, chasing your tail and ending up overwhelmed and exhausted.
Creating a daily routine might sound like a boring task, but once you’re in the flow it will be your saving grace.
Many studies have indicated that time management and daily routine is beneficial for mental health and essential for children. When challenges arise you’ll have this routine to fall back on and help you move through times of turmoil with greater ease.
Make a date with yourself
Schedule time into your daily routine just for you. It might be twenty minutes in the morning before the rest of the family wakes up, or you might need to work it around your kids’ schedules. But make sure to find this regular time every day to do something that fills your cup. It might be reading, exercising or simply having a cup of tea. Creating and sticking to this daily routine for yourself will allow you to take a small step towards finding a flow in other areas of your life – including your family life. Time management isn’t just about chores.
Plan ahead to reach your goals
Create a routine planner. Choose one day a week where you sit down for ten minutes and write a daily routine for the week ahead (Sunday works well). It doesn’t need to be by the minute, but plan what needs to be done each day. When you’re writing in your routine planner, think not only about what you’d like to achieve this week, but what you’d like your life to look like overall.
Say you’d like to exercise more. What small steps can you take now to move towards integrating that into your daily routine? Perhaps you start with one group exercise class per week after the school drop-off, or five minutes of push-ups, crunches and lunges when you put the baby down for a nap. Schedule it into a weekly exercise plan. Then, give yourself a time limit for when you’d like to have achieved your goal and remember to reward yourself when you get there.
Delegate delegate delegate
Let’s be honest – most of the time, doing something yourself seems so much easier than going through the dreary process of teaching someone else how to do it. But this will definitely save you time and energy in the long run.
Sometimes it comes down to simply letting go of control. It’s hard to see someone else doing something imperfectly that you know you could do just right. But check in with yourself and ask if you’re letting your need to control get in the way of your overall happiness. Create a routine planner for you and your partner, set up a chore board for the kids and when someone offers their help don’t be afraid to take it.
Although your two-year-old may not be the best dishwasher right now, in a few years’ time you’ll be thanking yourself for teaching them young. Just don’t forget to take out the sharp knives!
Words by Jessica Humphries for Jenny Craig.
As a mother, self-care is probably right down there at the very bottom of your to-do list. But as Mother’s Day approaches, there’s no better time to think of how we can celebrate mums every single day. A big part of that is learning how to prioritise self-love and self-care. This will set you on the path to becoming not only a happier, more relaxed human being, but also a more present and nurturing mum.
‘Love yourself’ is becoming such a cliché in an era obsessed with self-love. But what does it really mean? Self-love is not smothering yourself in creams and lotions or taking endless trips to day spas. It’s taking the time to tune in to what you really want and need and honouring that as best you can, whilst often simultaneously looking after everyone around you. Here are some suggestions to guide you along the way.
The time is now
Don’t wait for your family to splurge on that pamper session for Mother’s Day. How can you nourish and nurture yourself right now? Even if you have just a few minutes to yourself, how can you squeeze in a little self-love? Call up an old friend, enjoy a few deep belly breaths, nourish your body with a fresh juice or take a stroll around the block whilst listening to your favourite music or podcast. Use your kids’ schedule to manage your own self-care time. When baby goes down for a nap or after the school drop-off, instead of frantically tidying the house, take just five minutes for yourself before you dive in.
Fill your cup first
While this might not always be literally possible (especially when screaming kids are involved), you can certainly start to consider ways to fill your own metaphorical cup. When you become a mother you often don’t have the time for self-love and doing what lights you up. You might sometimes feel like you’re losing a part of your self. By taking the time to fill your own cup you will be more present and available to your children when you’re spending time with them. Often if you’re okay – your kids are okay. Remember what you love and who you are, and make it a priority – even if just for a short time.
Despite the name, Mother’s Day is not really a day for you (along with all the other days of the year). On this day and all others, as well as thinking of how you might nurture yourself, think of how you can nurture and nourish the whole family. What do you love to do that your kids also love? Instead of trying to always balance ‘time for them’ and ‘time for me’, dedicate most of your time to doing things that you all enjoy together.
Words by Jessica Humphries for Jenny Craig.
Your immunity in winter is certainly challenged. Shorter days and less sunshine means less vitamin D and more work for the body to fight off disease. We huddle together indoors and are more likely to pass on infection to one another. It’s not the greatest combination, but the good news is that there are many ways to modify your diet in winter to ensure you can enjoy all the magic of this beautiful season.
Stock up on inflammation fighting foods
Research indicates that inflammation increases over winter. One of the best ways of combating inflammation is through diet. Integrate plenty of tomatoes, olive oil (hello tomato soup!), dark green leafy vegetables, raw, unsalted nuts, fatty fish and fruits into your diet. Check out our roasted tomato salad (served with the Jenny Craig Beef Pastie) for some inspiration.
Let it go
There are also, of course, foods that aggravate inflammation. See if you can say see ya to sugary drinks and fried foods to give you the best chance of a healthy winter.
Bring on the (healthy!) bacteria
A recent study has found that fermented foods may have a role within the immune system by activating immune cells when good bacteria is detected. Foods with good bacteria, or probiotics, include yogurt, sauerkraut, miso and tempeh. Try adding a little sauerkraut to one meal a day!
Vitamin C for immunity
Finally, we must remember our trusty old faithful Vitamin C – whose role in keeping you healthy throughout winter is undoubtable. Vitamin C deficiency is rare in healthy individuals, so you should be able to receive enough through your diet. You’ll get the greatest boost through citrus fruits, berries, kiwifruit, tomatoes, broccoli and capsicums. Integrate these foods simply by starting your day with a squeeze of lemon juice in your water or tea (hold the milk!), making big batches of tomato soup to snack on throughout the week and aiming to integrate broccoli into most evening meals.
Words by Jessica Humphries for Jenny Craig.
As science uncovers the ways in which the body holds onto tension, we begin to understand the physical and emotional releases we often experience in yoga and medicinal movement.
By Jessica Humphries
I was born with a hole in my heart. At two years old I had surgery to resolve it and I haven’t experienced a single problem since. It’s all but a distant memory. However, since becoming a yoga teacher I’ve become acutely aware of the tightness in my shoulders – especially compared to my students. This tendency to curl into myself has left me constricted, and strong backbends often bring up feelings of extreme fear and vulnerability. Over the years, as I’ve enquired into this restriction, I’ve been flooded with memories of this childhood experience. Certain movements, when explored, often come with a primal surge of emotion – a strong feeling that I want my mother, and a deep sympathy and sadness for my two-year-old self.
You’ve likely had a similar experience – perhaps something that you can’t quite explain. But you know that there’s something going on. Something that connects your body to your mind, creating strong sensations and emotions when you move through certain shapes.
There are many theories about what is going on here, and one particular area that is being delved into more deeply within both eastern and western communities is fascia – the connective tissue that permeates your entire body. In fact, many researchers of fascia see this connective tissue as the part of the body that bridges the gap between eastern and western philosophies, finding evidence to explain the connection between the body and the mind.
Fascia has become a buzzword within yoga circles and beyond. Classes focusing on fascial stretching and releasing are taking off in Europe and slowly making their way to other parts of the world. And it’s easy to see why. I recently attended a ‘fascial fitness’ class at my local gym. Flowing, oscillating movements and slow journeys along foam rollers left me feeling softer, with the sense of more freedom in my muscles – the perfect antidote to the more dynamic movements offered in gym environments, and often now in yoga classes too.
It doesn’t take an anatomy or physiology expert to understand that something healing is going on beneath the surface when practicing these movements designed to release the body’s fascia – a mucus-like substance that penetrates your entire body. This matrix holds your cells together and is often referred to as ‘connective tissue’ (although not all connective tissue is fascia). Fascia is made up of fibrous connective tissue that contains tightly packed bundles of collagen fibres, oriented in a wavy pattern arranged in layers.
Fascia is like the clingwrap beneath the skin that wraps around all of your organs and muscles – fusing, separating, binding, and allowing glide between these muscles, organs and other soft structures of the body. It’s what holds us together, quite literally. Fascia is the biological fabric that connects, separates and forms the body. Like a big, internal spider web that penetrates all of you – from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes, fascia impacts on more of your physical and emotional life than you might realise.
Once you’ve experienced the physical and emotional release that accompanies fascial work, you’ll be hooked. There’s a subtle shift in the body and mind; a feeling of letting go. It’s hard to describe in words but you’ll feel it deeply on an experiential level. Even if you haven’t been to a fascia-focused class, you’ve likely felt it before. The long, slow holds of yin yoga invite the fascia to unwind. Or maybe you’ve experienced it while receiving bodywork. There’s a moment when your body softly shifts from resist to release. And as we begin to understand the ways in which fascia works, we can mindfully and consciously engage in activities that support the health of this connective tissue, leading to not only a healthier and happier body, but also a healthier and happier mind.
A new understanding
Until recently, we knew very little about fascia. Overlooked in mainstream medicine due to lack of suitable technology, its impact on our body and mind has been underestimated. Fascia was considered less important than the muscles, bones and organs, but recently fascia’s role in the body’s mobility and its contribution to generating pain has created interest within the western medical community.
The fascial network is now recognised by many experts as a rich sensory organ system, densely populated with nerve receptors that respond to stimuli in the form of pain, proprioception (the sense of knowing the position of your body in space – allowing us to move and navigate environments) and pressure.
Author of Fascia- What it is and why it matters David Lesonak, explains that “the most important thing to keep in mind…is that the fascial net is one continuous structure throughout the body…The ‘everywhereness’ of fascia also implies that, indeed, it is all connected.” Western science now understands that fascia connects everything in the body. What this means is that trauma in one area of the body can have a domino effect on the rest of the body, which can help us to understand the role of fascia in pain and its treatment.
Eastern medicine, on the other hand, has been curious about fascia for eons. In Daniel Keown’s The spark in the machine: How the science of acupuncture explains the mysteries of western medicine he explains that the acupuncture channels of the east are the fascial tubules of the west. According to Keown, fascia is what channels Qi, keeping everything in order, both physically and emotionally.
Why it matters
Fascia is fundamental when it comes to mobility and function because, as it thickens and becomes tight (due to sustained movement (or lack of movement) in a particular direction – like sitting, or certain exercises practiced over time), it impacts on our range of movement.
Inflammation causes fascia to tighten and lose its flexibility, and, because fascia weaves throughout the entire body, inflammation in one area can contribute to pain in an entirely different part of the body. Because the fascia is so connected throughout the entire body, it also contributes to the respiratory system and breathing mechanics.
Dr Robert Schleip is arguably the world’s greatest fascia expert and is the director of the Fascia Research Project at the University of Ulm in Germany. He explains that lack of movement quickly causes the fibres of the fascial tissues to lose elasticity. Think of a sponge. When it is dry, it is easily broken, but when it is hydrated it easily moves around. It’s like the difference between wearing yoga pants made from flimsy material that breaks when you move and your favourite Lululemons. Healthy fascia is hydrated fascia.
Schleip uses the example of an immobilised knee. After a few weeks, he says, you can no longer stretch the joint because there is a chaotic growth of collagen fibres, or fascia, in all directions. We can understand how this translates to the bodies of office workers, or those of us who spend a lot of time sitting in chairs. The fascia around the neck, shoulders and hips becomes tight and dehydrated, causing constriction, inflammation and impacting on mobility throughout the entire body over time.
Erin Bourne is something of a fascia expert. Currently writing a book on the topic, she is a qualified Exercise Scientist and yoga & pilates teacher who has also trained in Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilisation and Myofascial Release. She explains, “Fascia has more sensors than the eyes, tongue and muscles, and is able to communicate more about the body than almost all other tissues and organs.” There are many types of mechanoreceptors (a sensory receptor that responds to mechanical pressure or distortion) in the fascia that detect muscle contraction, muscle length and vibration – this is how the brain knows what is happening in the body, where it is and how to control it. The fascia stores and communicates information across the entire body.” And so, working the fascia through physical movements can develop its strength and responsiveness – giving us a much better sense of ourselves.
Given my own experiences it feels clear to me that our physical bodies can hold onto certain emotions, which can then be released through movement, accompanied by a kind of catharsis. This begs the question for many like myself: can our bodies actually physically store emotions or memories?
Can fascia hold and release emotions?
It is a common belief, especially amongst body workers, that fascia can store memories. Many body workers and their clients have experienced the sense that old pain and trauma is stored in the body. When worked on manually, this old ‘stuff’ can be brought up and eventually released. A physical sensation may be accompanied by a memory, and, when worked on, the potency of the memory may be eased along with restoration of the body’s tissue function. The issues are in the tissues!
According to Paolo Tozzi, an Italian osteopath who wrote for the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, memories in the body may also be encoded into the structure of the fascia itself. Most people believe that memories are, of course, in the brain. However, because fascia is so rich with nerve endings, Paolo explains that a neuro-fascial interaction may be responsible for the setting of a local tissue “memory”. Thus, touch or manual therapy may “unload” the tissue, causing a change in neural input to the brain, which may trigger the memory.
Tom Myers has been involved in bodywork for over 43 years. He is the author of the hugely popular Anatomy Trains and also lectures on the topic of fascia. He responded to Tozzi’s editorial, remembering the many instances during his own career where “touch has seemingly elicited memories of traumatic events (and occasionally simply pleasant ones…). These memories are not always of consciously remembered events, and the exposure and resolution of these ‘issues in the tissues’…can often involve dramatic emotional and physiological responses, followed by lasting relief from pain or somato-emotional ‘weight’, and occasionally a total change of course in life.”
However, Myers believes that ‘memory’ is not the best way to describe what is happening within the body, suggesting that we re-frame the question from ‘Can fascia store memories?’ to ‘Does fascia contribute to awareness/consciousness?’ Our experience of memory is always neurological, whereas emotional memory, such as that invoked in deep bodywork, is a fluid event – a change in the body’s fluid chemistry (i.e. an increase in the fascia’s fluidity due to changes in pressure and temperature brought on by movement or bodywork).
How to release fascia
It should be noted that there is some debate over whether fascia can be released through physical movements and therapies (it is difficult to find clinically relevant science to support the idea that fascial manipulation can actually alter fascia). However, many who are researching the topic believe that it is of fundamental importance for a number of reasons, and these people believe without a doubt that the fascia can be stretched, softened and released through certain practices.
We don’t know for sure that by releasing the fascia that the emotions that have caused me to curl in all these years will be released. We don’t even know for sure that the fascia can be released. But we can know from our own experiences that profound healing can come from moving the body in different ways – and these ways are often understood to work on the body’s fascia.
For Myers, changing the fascia changes everything. By changing the fascia, we can change the way that people breathe, and when this happens, “their chemistry changes and their outlook changes…shape is hugely important, and that’s where yoga and bodywork really shine.”
Myers stresses the many ways that show great promise in releasing the fascia such as yoga, bodywork, osteopathy, chiropractic and Alexander/Feldenkreis. He explains that long, slow stretches allow us to reach the deeper tissues of the body and change the fascia – like those common to a yin yoga practice. He says, “The muscles have to relax first and then the fascia starts to stretch and release. And that can facilitate the kind of repatterning that leads to lasting release of chronic holdings and, in many cases, a profound change of mind and body.”
Your own body can guide you towards a deeper understanding of fascia. When you’re practicing yin yoga, you can feel the moment when resistance subsides – a gentle unlocking in the body’s holding reminds you to soften. When you’re receiving a massage you can sense your body beginning to surrender in time. And when you glide your quads along foam rollers, you can feel the tension slowly increasing, until it releases and you can finally breathe and let go.
For Myers, finding this release always begins in the mind. “The way of the yogi is the path of disciplining the mind, and it’s good to remember that the fascia is part of the body’s mind, or an expression of the mind, if you will. The patterns of held tension we need to unravel are first in the mind, then neural, who export them to the muscles, which in turn shapes the fascia. Rollers and tools are great for hydrating and revivifying, but the greatest tool for unraveling neuromyofascial tension is you, a mat, and a practice that has you fascia-nated.”
Words by Jessica Humphries for Wellbeing Magazine.
Gut health is gaining popularity as we begin to cotton on to its vital role in overall health, well being and even weight loss. We’re discovering the potent power of probiotics and how enjoying foods rich in healthy bacteria can help us to thrive not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally.
The latest research illustrates the connection between the gut and the brain, with studies showing that there is, indeed, a link between gut bacteria and behaviour/mood. The delicate and complex eco system inside your gut must be kept in balance in order to thrive. Armed with this knowledge, it’s more important than ever to take care of your gut health. Here’s how.
Embrace the power of probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms, or good bacteria, that live inside your gut. They are essential in maintaining good gut health by preventing the invasion of bad bacteria. Foods rich in probiotics include fermented goods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso and tempeh. They’re also delicious!
Don’t forget the prebiotics
Prebiotics are foods that act as a kind of fertiliser that feeds the good bacteria and encourages a healthy gut environment. Common foods that can give you a good dose of prebiotics include garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus and bananas. For a real prebiotic boost, source some chicory root from your health food store.
Whole = wholesome
Include plenty of whole foods in your diet like whole fruits and vegetables. Try to also get these foods as close to their natural form as possible, for example swapping the fruit juice for the whole fruit. Not only will they help with your prebiotics, but they are full of gut friendly fibre.
Become friends with fibre
There is research showing how fibre can support weight loss. Fibre is essential for both a healthy weight and a healthy gut, and most Australians aren’t getting nearly enough. A proper fibre diet feeds and makes your healthy bacteria thrive. Stock up on whole (unprocessed) fibres like fruits and vegetables, legumes like beans, peas and lentils, and whole grains like oats, whole-wheat products, quinoa and brown rice.
Words by Jessica Humphries for Jenny Craig.